“What else do you lack to make it right? Cats down under the stars tonight” Jerry Garcia
There are bright spots like the sun burning a hole through a sea of foamy clouds, a streak of rainbow smearing the sky over Tawang. In the classroom I was impressed by 9C’s writing about their vacation. I know what did you do over summer break is trite but this moldy oldie gets results. The students feel at ease writing about their own experiences and I get to glean insight into their lives. Pema spent her break toiling in the fields and I felt a twinge of guilt thinking of my own burger filled escapades. Most of them devoted the break to ceaselessly helping family and villagers with the unending cycle of field work, weeding the maize terraces or transplanting chillies. I admire these kids so much and their well rounded attributes. One of my brightest students in class nine admitted to using drugs over break in his beautifully poetic writing. When I asked which drugs he said smoking and alcohol and his honesty was touching as I hope my students feel free to be candid. Of course I cautioned the class about use of substances but they are teenagers on the cusp of adulthood and must choose wisely themselves and most just helped their parents brew Ara without partaking. But the writing was solid and even the strugglers managed to communicate efficiently so that made my day. Speaking is a challenge but intelligence courses through their noggins so that’s reassuring. Overall it is great to be back in the classroom but fatiguing and I worry that teaching exacts too much fuel from my leaky tank, or maybe its improper diet? Afterschool was Social Service Club, the ongoing battle with trash. With classes, the reading program, and social service I have plenty of balls in the air to play with but still find myself lonely. Pangs of DESIRE flood my data board and I am left to ponder things. Things like will I ever find romantic love or will it find me like the ephemeral voice in my head promised one golden afternoon inside the gilded main chamber of Zangtopelri. Meanwhile a teacher’s life consists of thousands and thousands of tasks and questions. I remember hearing that teachers answer three thousand requests a day or something like that. (I am the god of the toilet) since “May I go to the bathroom, sir” is the number one question. Sometimes the poorer students just say, “toilet” So it goes as tuffs of steamy clouds smother the ridges as fluff rises from below, it wouldn’t be a lie to say I have my head in the clouds. Bhutan definitely is the most beautiful place in this world but it’s a might bit dark and cloudy. Except last night a mercurial moon poisoned the night sky burning away mauve clouds with radiant lunar heat. A phosphorus disc howling at the earth hence that hastily scribbled dribble posted herewith. But it was good to see old pock faced Luna our constant concubine through the ages. What did the ancients think peering at her glare and was Tsangma surprised to see her glow kissing his house in old Rangthangwoong. Something tells me our good refugee prince had the company of a woman to wax or wane with though. (Remember kids the moon is female not the old man in the moon, and I’m yet to see a cow jump over her yet) For dinner a can of cream corn (acquired in Thimphu Town) that familiar side at a manly Grossman dinner taking center stage. Now I will take temporary leave to wander the three minutes into Village Incognito for a Coke and a smile, or better yet come along! We step out into the mild night and a faint glimmer from splattering stars paint the planetarium. Starlight from whence we came merely pin pricks in carbon paper but the real celestial light comes from electric constellations smattering the ridges. Trashigang burns an orangey Milky Way and I view it like an alien who took a wrong turn at Neptune three thousand years ago. I wish I was somewhere else says the wayfaring alien piloting his own vessel on inertia nearly bumping into a cosmic cow in the dark road. At Sonam’s shop where they have chilled Coke Karlos is butchering a hide for drying while both Dawa Dema and I hungrily glower and growl at the raw beef. If we were let off our chains simultaneously we might rip both the beef and each other to shreds. DESIRE! A group of teachers talks Sharshop in the shop so I bid farewell and walk back home under a cobalt sky, a big cat under the stars of South Asia.