Because Dzongkha Lopon was my inspiration and to become Dzongkha Lopon was my ambition. I feared his canes. He put the stick in between my fingers and clamped them until my half body bent sidewise and until my eyes were welled up with tears. Passed class IV, I knew Sumtak by heart and my handwriting took the shape to scribble on a paper to be stamped by the legal stamps.
Because I liked to watch the strongest bulls fight in the freshly harvested fields. The winning ox brought pride to the village folks and the children like us were the ardent fans of it. When he fought, there was no provoking voice from the microphone and my village girls wore the full length kira by chance they were interested to watch the show. I, in particular, liked everything about that winner ox and if there were the posters of him, I was not sure if I would ever hang it on the wall. Sometimes I do think it would have been a nice idea to see him watching me from that wall without a tattoo on his limbs. Animals are yet so natural in any form.
I looked forward for the Saturday afternoons. I spent them in the jungles where different plants grew. I liked collecting walnuts with my friends in those jungles. The color of our hands after peeling the walnuts off proved who had accumulated more. Of course, the Mathematics teacher, a lady from India would pull our ears coming Monday but the smile on her face in Novemeber said she really liked our dried nuts. In those jungles and bushes grew plenty of marijuana plants too. And the experience of relieving in between those tall plants is better than sitting on the expensive Italian commode even with a cistern full of water inside it.
I have never felt my own hair on my face. The headmaster often told us to roll our eyeballs up. If I see the tips of my hair on my forehead, they should be met with the scissors the very next day. And resounding strong to the headmaster’s voice, my hairs have not seen the light of meeting my eyebrows to this day. “Smart,” was what he said, and smart is what I feel I am today.
Going back to the nineties and if you check what is inside my gho, you will find an old geometry box, few pairs of walnut that drifted around the rim of a round aluminum plate and some notebooks. Inside that geometry box, I carried sharp equipments called divider or compass that came handy solving mathematics and drawing different shapes. I carried the sharp sword but not to the school.
On Sundays, dangling the sword from the waist, I could comb the entire jungle looking for the best of woods. The metal was of superior quality that I mastered to identify from the old carpenters in the village. They said it could cut anything. But I made use of it to only chop the trees. I think it was meant for that purpose only and they also must have not meant anything beyond it when they said my sword could cut anything.
And with those firewoods in the oven, my parents around the hearth waited until I closed the notebooks to start the last meal of the day. I used to feel proud from the year one of my schooling life. Whenever, an adult asked me my class, I would proudly say, “LKG” in the first year and “UKG” in the second year. Sadly these acronyms are already forgotten in this age.
And because I worship the hero who is the hero to everyone – His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk. “Study hard,” he said whenever he visited our school. And we studied hard.
Because…….(to be continued).