Any volunteers who can sing?", i surrendered to the class. Thursdays, i have three maths periods in class six and students always want it "free" or "games" or some other activities where they dont need to apply maths! Many of them raised thier hands automatically. Tulsi(the boy that i mentioned in my last article) didnt raise his hand and that provoked the desire in me to listen to a nepali song.... I announced his name while he looked at me as if a tropical thunder had struck him! "I cant sing, sir", he squealed like an over-sized pig overcome by thier seasonal sexual orgy!(do excuse me for the bizzare comparision..lol). He denied the offer despite my repeated urge. "Who else?", i asked the class. Most of them opted for a girl whom i had mistaken all these days. "Sir, Sonam Wangmo has bery good vioce sir", the nearest girl told me. She is quite a lost girl, i thought. One reason why i suggested these students for remedial class in maths was for her but i guess she never got that idea and had frowned her face at that suggestion. Despite, i have often seen her too moody to handle with. "Alright, Sonam are you serious?", i asked her. She hesitated, but her desk-mate Dechen had her pushed before i could hand the floor to her. She came in the front and cleared her throat nervously. I cud see the redness in her face improving more than the one that i usually saw when she didnt know maths."Think that you are singing alone", i offered my warm encouragement. She sang a song(Choe ghi shay gha), and Wow! She really got nice voice in her. I guess it pierced into my animal soul. Everything that i thought about her in the bygone days melted with that song from her. "Hey, you have very good voice. I really didnt know that", i blurted out. She became more red.
I asked her to sing again."Same song, sir?". "Yeah, if you will". She sang fixing her gaze to a window probably not to get distracted by the faces that the last benchers make at her. I looked at her face with my thoughts running all topsy-turvy. Total failure in maths, a moody girl and a social leper. But listen to her voice. Honestly, i could have broken down with tears if it was not for the thought that i am a steely teacher! Deep inside, i promised "Thou shall not under-estimate children" and said amen!! I clapped my hands when she finished and said that it was the best vioce that i have heard in Chumey. Hmmm..any other? Ngawang came forward(his father is a Dzongkha teacher in the same school). A small boy he is but quite bold. He came quite near my seat as if he had a confession to make. "Gurmaa, ghi tuub ga la?", he asked earnestly. "Oh boy, you mean Milarepa's Gurmaa?", i repeated him to make sure that i heard the right thing. "Yes sir". I like Gurmaa, i told the class. These kids are full of surprices. "Hold on, let us all close our eyes and open our ears", i suggested the class. I get into euphorial trance especially listening to devotional songs but these are during rare occasions when i feel like suicidal attempts are overwhelmingly near my boring life! Ha Ha. He sang the gurmaa and i came to realise that i havent heard it before. He ran to his seat as soon as he finished it. I didnt quite like the way he sang but i clapped my hands anyway. "Anyone else?". Thinley came next. Being class captain, he fared well on confidence but his voice was mediocre. He sang as if he was buried 12 feet into the earth. Another boy came. Rabgey, quite smart in studies too. He sang a Boedra quite admirably. We all did our work by clapping our hands. The bell rang and we hurried to the assembly ground for the reading hour that i have talked in my recent article.
Friday, second period is maths in the same class. We are bit lagging as per my term plan but there is no other way. We have just started Decimal chapter. After thorough explanation, i asked delibrately to sonam wangmo. "tell me which one is bigger, 0.01 and 0.008?". She took her long breath and marvelled at the decimals that i have written on the board. I cud see her face ripening like an alpine apple. She paused and said in a whisper,"0.008 , sir". By that time i had reached near her seat. "Yaa chhoey!", i hit her on her head! After saintly explanation on decimals and now she said this?! Darn! Gathering the last of my patience, I explained again to the whole class. "Is it okay?", i shouted at them admirably. "Yes, sir", the class responded...............
(This i have written since this sunday i have a programmed schedule from 8 am till evening and i wont be left with any energy by the time i come back after chooping my woods. Didnt i say i was busy building my muscles these days? It is getting colder in here , folks! Good weekend!)