Friday, May 31, 2013

Potato People

Despite incessant rain, I accompanied my sexagenarian mother to the polling station to cast our votes. Choden had wished all the best for us as if we were going for operation flush out!. "Whom to vote?", my mother finally asked. "Hmm, mashey", i replied her. I didn't want to distort her vote by trying to explain about my vote. She continued with her prayer beads while i continued driving carefully on those bumpy roads.
Coincidentally, the Maukhola bridge was washed away on the eve of elections. I almost celebrated that the last legacy of the bamboo bridge over infamous Prem-khola had to be washed away correctly at that time but only boomerang yet again. DPT won the gelephu constituency with more than 1000 votes against their compatriot PDP.
But that was good. I have seen how adamantly that temporary bride across Maukhola had stretched. If it had lasted for few more weeks, one or two people, without doubt, must have fallen off the bride,due to imbalance. It was like walking over a tightrope! People had no choice but to tread on that bamboo bride that out government so handsomely calls it a bridge. Come general election, i am sure the vying candidates will promise the farmers that he/she would consecrate another bamboo bridge across it. Farmers are too soft and forgiving. They melt rather too quickly but have high ignition temperature to burn out of frustrations. DPT banks on that Achilles's heel which works, ofcourse. No doubt.
I once heard from a colleague who said that farmers are potato-people! "Kindly elaborate it", i demanded him. He gave me a wry smile. According to him, potatoes go well with anything. Almost anything. It makes such a fine dish with beef, pork, saag, bitter goud etc. It has no specialty of its own but others can manipulate or modify it in such a way that it is always palatable.
"Aludum?", i chipped in to argue against his theory. "That should go well only with puri", he replied. Ofcourse. I thought of Puri-fied aludum!
He talked about how life is so unfair. Some people have to shout throughout the month to get the monthly salary. He was referring to the FCB in Gelephu town where the salesgirl always shouts at her top voice so that it can get through the glassed counter across her where her bosses in that AC glassroom just make the list of items and the total cost. "If only she knew how harmful is shouting to her larnyx or her pharynx", he said. He went on to relate about a Paan shop who toiled all her life and still runs that shop and another man, a security-guard dropout, who went to with illegal Dzi business. He now runs Hotel Keralafornia(name changed).
Finally,"You must be having Dzi?", he asked me. That took me off balance. Yes i do, i cheered him up. "One eyed Dzi", i confessed to him. "And truly coherant shape!". We broke off to our respective classes:)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Holy Day

So there was a friendly khuru match yesterday to mark the Buddha's parinirvana. Infact i had wanted to abstain from that luxury especially on such a holy day but i also wanted to impress my colleague that i can be a good pick for any traditional tournaments. By noon, we realised we were fighting a losing battle. Lucky that there were not many spectators except for the few elderly people who came out despite the extreme heat. Most of them had their rosary beads being rolled at unwilling speeds to mark the holy day. If i were playing this match in Europe, i would have been charged for first-degree assault with that shiny pair of khuru flying out haphazardly at random targets. But here we understand each other.
Playing Khuru is quite a tasking job. On any given day, i would rather opt to cut the grass than play khuru if it were not for my ego. It makes your arm too painful that you cant even lift it and if you were really cheering up your friends, you are in for sore throat that takes almost a week to cure. But i am a sporty man to complain about these trifles although i am at the wrong side of 30.

Back to Norbuling, Choden is all complaints.To every phonecall that she receives she would narrate about her sorry state."Zaii, it is too hot!". She would go on to explain that nothing was well at her side. She would complain about the sunshine that nearly roasts her, about the ants that intrude in her kitchen, about the moths that flock around the tubelight and so on. Last night, she complained about the frogs that croaked as if they were raging war against humans. I confessed that i hated the frogs this time. Her concept of goodness extends to all the living and non-living creature sorrounding her life. She admitted Norbuling is not good.

At School, summer heat is playing all the talk plus the politics. If you are in the town, it is all about making fashion statements. Personally, the more curves that you can manage to show off, the more trendy it should look until finally we hear of the Emperor who had no clothes! The other day i was in India trying to treat myself to a latest and the most coolest T-shirt available there. The shopkeeper requests me to sit. He pulls down all the T-shirts available in his shop and explains each one of them. "HOw much?", i asked him to ease the business. "Only 350 sir". I allowed mentally to bargain 50 from that cost price. Taking a step further, i asked him if i could buy it for 250. He frowned at my idea. "Last dam sir", he negotiates, "take for 300". I nod my head in disappointment. "Alright, take for 250". He confessed. "@250 IC". I explained that i had only Bhutanese currency. "If BC, 300. IC=250"
I left the shop with disgust. A T-shirt that could barely warrant a week's life should be so costly.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hello from Norbuling:)

I failed to post last sunday but that was not important. These days only politics is important. It has invaded our normal routine. We talk about it in the staffroom, in the canopy, in the class, in the soccer field, almost everywhere to prove that we are morally normal. If you are not talking about politics and if you are apolitical these days, you are abnormal:).
As a matter of fact, i still do not know which party to vote. Five years ago i would have banked on DPT if i had voted then. But i didn't. Five years hence, i would talk about whom i had voted. Going by the present scenario, it looks much complicated and volatile. The fuse that taps disharmony in politics would blow off any time.
Out of curiosity, i asked Choden about her favorite party. She said she has only favorite colour but no favorite party. She asked mine. I said i have only favorite girlfriend.

      So we had Science Test yesterday. It was a disaster without comparison. In one of the questions, i had put up two stick figures pulling against eachother to depict "Contact force". They wrote 'fighting'. I blamed on their poor visual stimulation. Two students bagged a Sunya each. Out of despair, I chided them to fry and have it over their weekends!  6 passed out of 25 students. Bravo:(
I remembered one Kharkha colleague who is quite a friend to me. He has 25 years of teaching experience under his belt and a  PTC certificate. Wait. In 1985,he had to quit his school after completing class IX(due to relapse from malarial protozoa). He joined the then erstwhile TTC two years later. In early 2000s, he was manning class X students at Sherubling HSS, teaching them mathematics. "I watered the theorems that are there in geometry!",he said. I went O with amazement at his declaration. {"Pani banai deko"}
As we drove, he talked about his early postings. I learnt that he once was the headmaster at Kalikhola School. "Same year, we brought zero pass% in class VIII common exam", he boasted. I went LoL freely.
I have come across lots of people but most of them faded without much ado, but not this man. With critical eye for almost everything, he can talk about any subject under the sun. I was so shocked when he declared that the white Amul cheese that we buy from shops was made from horse milk! Surely, you are kidding Kharkha sir? i managed to say. If Choden knew about that, she would sue those Amul manufacturers.
What i liked in him is his stubborn non-acceptance of anything that other common people readily agree with. He has counter-theorems for all the things that has harmony. He can give full course to a novice about religion and Dalai Lama. He can talk non-stop on Marco Polo,DPT, kublai khan, Obama, BUmthang Mathra, Saddam Hussien, Ayurveda and sutras, notably the Kamma Sutra. He he.
One of the Geography teachers is on maternity leave. This PTC maths teacher surprised me when i knew he was teaching all her geography classes!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Where are we?

Without doubt, most of us are watching updates and it almost confuses us to remember so many names of the candidates joining the political parties. If they failed, they would find comfort in their lofty conviction that they atleast heeded to the Nations' Call while the rest of us mostly cowards being mute spectators.
Of late we have heard many conspiracy theories brewing up. Party A accuses Party B and so on but that is excusable in politics. What is not possible is to cleanse the murky mess that is left by the outgoing party. We were almost made to believe that DPT was the best choice for governance had it not left more ruins. Alas, we start all over again trying to portray our happiness to the world. If you went through the recent NSB's report, it sums up all.  Choden would not believe that one in every eight Bhutanese is poor. According to her, most of people are rich except herself!

Well, we celebrated our Teachers' Day with pomp. The beautiful show that the students put up for us were beyond words. I nearly thought that it was my birthday. What touched me most was one incident that a student from my class did to me. He had a small card that he made himself and wished me happy teachers day. Ofcourse he mis-spelt the word Teacher. I am not surprised for that.His name is Durganath. Slow kid he is! The moment i deal with him, i think of that Darsheel  Taare Zameen Paar. When his class mates, as young as 9 years old finish writing a sentence, he might just have started the first word only. So slow he is. Dyslexia? I once asked his age since he is quite huge to be in class IV.
 He said "Sisteen"! Not able to believe, i asked again. He gave me his child-like smile and said "sisteen". At 16, i had my first girlfriend, i nearly announced to the class.
After the class, i called him so that i can talk to him because he just wont talk in the class. It is like he would lose gold while uttering words. So silent he is!

So you are 16 years old? "Yes sir", he muttered. "Where are you from?", i asked him. He raised his hands reluctantly and gave me the direction of his house. "Oh. Where is it? Any name?". He looked at me as if i was giving him science homework. "So how many family members do you have?" He said 9. He nodded his head when i asked if he was the youngest. I presumed most of his siblings were working in Thimphu: one a driver, 2 sisters working in a hotel.And some more. "Do they send you money?", i asked him. He smiled blankly. I took it to be yes.
I also asked if he studied at home since he rarely can catch up with peers in the class. "Pecha lhab ney trowa yoed ga?", i asked him out of curiosity. He nodded in affirmative.
"I would like to adopt you as my son and make Dasho out of you. OK?", i blurted out of my ambitiousness.
He almost laughed at the suggestion.
I took leave as he walked away to his class.