Today it was a busy day in the School. I had requested Choden that i be excused from any chores that she usually awards to me during saturdays. Firstly, it was the Award Day. There were numerous prizes for the students to formally call it a year! Captains, custodians, Incharges were all duly awarded certificates of recognition. Then came the Champion class and House. Atlast,as the subject toppers received their prizes, other students were busy clapping their hands and cheering them enthusiastically. As they cheered, a teacher colleague told me,"I remember my School days!". Being curious i asked him,"So you used to top in many subjects?".
"No", he said wryly, "how i used to clap my hands!". He looked at his hands as if he could see those times in them. I just patted him in acceptance and to also let him forget those warm years!:)
Looking back at myself, there were not much of any awards won. But during those times, few of us ever bothered to develop ourselves wholesomely. For me, it was just books. Read, revise. Read, revise and memorise. I would play less and study more and end up being a simple teacher. These days, students would play, dance, taekwondo and hardly study. They land up being a Chemical Engineer! Well, this is what we mean by wholesome education.
Secondly, it was our School picnic. But you already heard about the recent passing away of a teacher colleague in my School? So we had a small get-together within the campus and had our lunch in silence. I have always had this weakness of not talking much while eating. There i triumphed. Infact, eating silently saves time and increases our appetite. Well, something just struck my mind while we were eating. In our culture, we sit cross-legged usually in a circle and quietly eat. You eat it the other way, whatever ways, you wont feel comfortable. Now sitting cross-legged and eating has so much to do with our health too. Dont you think this particular position gives the least space to food storage? In simple terms, we can not eat too much sitting cross-legged. That explains why most of the Bhutanese are not obese. The WHO says we have the least available balanced diet. Shoo with it! In many other parts of the world, they do not have much formality while eating. Most of them would love to eat sitting on a comfortable chair relaxing all their body muscles and opening up most of the available spaces to push in more foods. They end up being obese.
If you stand up and eat, i bet you can eat more than your normal share.(Most Indians in a busy metro do this). You surely must have seen some old Babus eating Dhal rice. His chin would nearly rest on one of his knees that was folded while another leg would be tucked in at the base such that it made 90 degrees. His pot-belly would fill up the space between the two legs. A comfortable and relaxing pose it is! In that posture one could easily empty a rice cooker without straining a single muscle.
On the other hand, i was amused at how the Iraqis ate their delicacy. They would sit on their knees while their butt would rest on the floor and put down all the rice and those exotic dishes in a single but alarmingly large thali. You have to eat from that common heap. Few years ago, in a house warming get-together at a Iraqis' apartment, i and my fellow Bhutanese had this opportunity. I remember this sickly face made by Tandin while eating from that thali as if he was being punished for no reason! "Go boy, go", i remember cheering him up. "Kham log dhi bey ra ma tshu!", he told me later. Few days later,as a warm gesture, we invited them back to our apartment for the dinner. Time for the Battle Tit for Tat: we prepared Ema Datsi!
I needn't explain how punished they fell as they tried one more morsel of rice with that typical south indian chilli!:)