February 25, 2014

Ordinary at sight, Extraordinary at blind

I had admired the personalities of various finest men of the centuries in books and movies. Not that they were genius but because of their daring comeback from the downfalls of life and touching plethora of lives.

Since our exit from apes many centuries back, some emerged extraordinary even though they were not ordinary at birth. Yet, they played significant role and left behind immortal legacy to which the world saluted. Some were left visually impaired at some point in life; however they continued to inspire unimpaired ones and unremittingly lived for the cause of the others.

Today, I see a gifted figure whose personality and deeds resemble those of what I have admired in books and seen in movies. Surprisingly, a pure manifestation of what the charismatic leaders of past had done once upon a time, which is too scant to find in normal beings.

Mr. Sangay Tala, who is currently on royal patronage as music teacher in Zhemgang Lower Secondary School is one such species of man celebrated for his skill in traditional musical instruments.

Hailing from a far-flung place of Zhemgang, the 32 year old NID graduate was not born sightless. Like many of us, he was filled with ordinary hopes and dreams until the age of ten.

He recalls vividly how on that stormy evening, some possessed sort of strange mania lurked inside him and cursed to grieve for rest of the time. As if like portent of ill fate was to befall, he succumbed to illness that same night, inflicting pain with bouts of vomiting.

What was going to come next worried everybody at home.

Since his parents were pious and ignorant of modern approaches, they solely relied on local rituals for his recovery. It was only when their home remedy failed to improve his health that they took him to the district hospital.

The condition was critical and needed immediate attention. He was then referred to national hospital.

Being a direct descendant of financially unsound family, his parents couldn’t afford to send him for further treatment. Gradually, the condition aggravated and his dreams of life dipped into the abyss of madness only to await the eternal darkness thereafter.

“In retrospect, had the treatment been early, he could have retrieved his lost vision” says the young man with big smile on his face.

After leaving visually challenged at very young age, Sangay was unable to continue his studies and like a fly in forgotten tea, lived handicapped for nearly ten years.

Realizing that he has purpose to serve and family to tend, he set out on looking for means to battle his nightmare. Rarely anybody had any idea on the existence of blind school; let alone its name and location because hardly the family went out of their territory.

Despite remaining insulated from urban access, Sangay developed strong taste for music and found every day joy in listening to music. By then, the sophomore college goer Druptho Zangmo was already hitting eastern part of Bhutan with her debut single “Tabu cholay mawa” (impermanence) themed on loss of her vision, was overthrowing almost every sharchop songs of the time.

Later when he came to know that the eastern amateur celebrity was visionless and a produce of NID, he decided to embark on his maiden journey to khaling to rekindle his bleak hope. Thanks to her.

At twenty two, he felt revived once again, and it was there that his despondent instincts were awakened, all over to restart the long lost voyage.

There he studied among children’s who were aged in between five to six, which he told was huge embarrassment for adult like him. By then, he was fertile enough to produce his own or father those in the class, had not destiny betrayed him.

First few days of sudden distance had him plunged in surging thoughts of wilderness in which he longed for that serene green field spilled with herds of cows. Shortly, he got adapted and the institute served as the home away from home.

In pursuit of his destination, he was subjected to the brutalities of the reality and in the test of time, soon he dreamed of rainbows and butterflies which were yet to come as surprise package.

Since he went till class two in public school, he was proficient in alphabets and immediately got promoted to first grade. He did well in conducts and got famed for excelling in studies. With loads of challenges, he completed his education fruitfully. But he had miles to ply before he could reach the final destination.

Undaunted in the face of shattered dreams, he was all set to confront the way ahead. Through tenacious grip, he managed to get into his first job as a novice musician that served his belly abundantly. It was during this job he revisited the institution again to see if he can give back anything to which once he gulped ocean of wisdom freely.

Of course not in cash, he donated a set of instruments brought about by accumulation of his salary, for wellbeing of ones like him in future.

His next area of work was in Druk star as a full timer musician. Prior to current job, he worked for a renowned private resort conquering the interest of many foreigners leaving them at tears often, with his story of life fine-tuned by his traditional guitar.

During his tenure there, he exhibited the crown of loyalty and dedication in his service. Noted as a singer, several of his songs went viral and were mostly cherished by elderly folks since his genre was mostly of indigenous origin.

Soon on account of awful plight, he was granted support under royal patronage to mainly sustain our traditional instruments and age old songs in a fragile world of cultural dilution.

By the grace of royals and some luck left in store, Sangay could find decent job under ministry of education as music instructor and commits to work selflessly with great gusto.

Leafing through his miserable story, both tears and joys welled up in my eyes. Tears because life didn’t do justice, Joy because he had indomitable spirit to rise no matter how rude life battered him.

Above all, he is a strong believer in destiny and ever since his impairment at tender age; he has been happy with life and a caring wife and two lovely kids in the upbringing.
With so much of battles, he is finally up on his own foot with self-reliant job in hand and handsome salary to handle his family. He firmly pledges to serve the country and do wonders in others live.

How far he has sailed and what he has achieved till date is the testimony of his turmoil in the vicious circle of karma and unshaken faith in a murky oasis of hope.

I would not be what I am today if I were not blind and perhaps even dead if I were not blinded, Concludes the extraordinary man.

NOTE: The refined version is given to the owner of the story, who will be shortly leaving to japan with my write up.....

February 20, 2014

Of change and controversies

With the reopening of new academic session, our school has instigated many new changes and progresses, unexpectedly to which few of our parents are already talking ill of. Comments are floating in against the improved system and some even dare to point fingers to the big strides achieved. However, many farsighted parents remain optimistic about the changes.

School is one key institution where countless lives are transformed forever. Because of this simple inevitable fact, it becomes indispensible for the institution to have set of detailed framework that eventually will serve as the stairway to success. And to achieve the feat is to comply with norms of the school faithfully and undeniably because the essence of good education is entwined in discipline.
Every schools of our country believe in establishing precedence over discipline than to merely pass the exam with good marks. Ultimately, the prime motive behind education is to give birth to good human beings furnished with essential values and ethics.

It is also the main spine that steers the learner in right direction. Parents have the greater role in laying this foundation as well, because a child who lacks discipline at home finds it difficult to deal with the ordered environment of the school. Perhaps, they can drill better than what teachers do in the school.

However, many of our parents are circled around the myth that the school is only place to inject discipline and that teachers are accountable for. Teachers and parents have equal contributions and share common responsibilities in shaping the Childs future. Collaboratively, we can usher in the best and embrace the least trodden paths constructively when they have to stroll alone.

But eavesdropping on some resentment, few are of opinion that the school is going stringent and bringing in various alien changes. One such particular grumble was that of seeking admissions.

Intakes for students from same district are given first preferences while others are based on first come first serve basis. If the admission is sought after the closure, regardless of what the matter is, the school doesn’t entertain any case thereafter except for students whose parents are on transfer case.

Meanwhile with the burgeoning population of the students, it is also mounting pressures and, likewise, demanding challenges. If school insists to live by strings of lenient rules and fail to abide by explicit guidelines, what more can be anticipated than to consistently remain at stake.

Also if we intend to propagate with unrefined system, chances are certain that we might fail to battle the growing pressures and challenges as time plods by.

While we strive for excellence, and that, whenever there is need for betterment of an institution, we supplicate our valued parents to kindly cooperate. Whatever is pioneered and adopted by the school is not solo decision; a lot of heads come together, brainstorm and arrives to a final consensus before it is put in place.

Notwithstanding some spiteful pleasure, I hope that the school will cruise gracefully through the switchbacks in accomplishing its motto “ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD”

February 10, 2014

My ex teachers' dialogue, me and my ex student

Americans have started settling over mars and here we are still fighting over a piece of egg- a dialogue lambasted at us, back in high school, when we failed to live by the advices of our chemistry teacher.

Roughly after six years of long gap between us, his dialogue resonated in me when I took over as school mess in charge for a month long. Running mess is a responsibility which everyone disliked, since it would also mean foul mouth and malicious comments. However, none could skip this despicable task as it was scheduled on rotational basis.

Moreover, of all the task in the school, It is considered hectic as lots of planning works goes into it beside calculations, keeping records and risk of running at loss, otherwise. The provisions need to be stringently planned at the beginning, such that at the month end, everything is in accord with the designed plan.

Should there be any shortage; the refunding should be borne by self.

One morning it was my turn to monitor. As breakfast is usually delicious compared to lunch and dinner, students often stampede through the narrow entry to come for second share. To avoid the complications, they are asked to proceed in file.

No sooner did a twelfth grader student enter than she began complaining about salad. I appeared at the sight immediately to sort out the matter but she tried to ignore my presence.

Since the meal is served for hordes of students, there is often uneven chopping done by the cooks, especially the cabbages. When it comes in notice, we remind cooks to be mindful and that they render their best service to the students’ interest and their health. But many a times it goes unnoticed.

Thinking that it would only ruin her day, I didn't reprimand her for the misconduct and advised her to be mindful next time.

In spite of my contrite apology on cooks’ behalf, she was totally oblivious of what she had done and abused my leeway which only angered me.

That was when I berated her with the dialogue which before 6 years, my chemistry teacher fired me assuming she would learn from the misdeed.

However, it was not my deliberate notion to embarrass her before the mass nor was it the personal grudge. I just wanted to make her realize on the hard work someone had put in for her, and to remain grateful for the facility which comes without having to pay.

With the meager stipend she is entitled to, it is doubtful to sustain even a week, let alone month. Later in the afternoon, she was delectably feasting as she fasted her breakfast that morning.

I wondered on her status. Who knows she must be doomed with plight back home. Perhaps even woeful than what is being served in the school mess.

Were it not for that dialogue, I would not have succeeded in transferring the wisdom that he passed on me to my student.

How priceless and true it was.