Chapter 6: Blessings-Mad Dog at Zangtopelri-Magic Mushroom-Commandeering A desk-Fat lizards-Roll out the tiger in broad daylight
“It hadn’t ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was doing but now it did; and it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more” Huck Finn
Perhaps the universe just happened upon itself that is to say it wasn’t created by anybody in particular, this thing called the universe just came to be on its own accord beyond the scope of any reason or imagination, and in this self made void little people made up gods as they went along. Emptying meaning makes everything utterly miraculous as we are now unburdened by fear and can make it up as we go along. An atheist told me that there was no point of origin to the universe or that the BIG BANG was EVERYWHERE which made no sense but got me to thinking anyhow. Since I’m neither a man of religion or science this spontaneous conflagration of creation makes the most sense and like a tiger in a trance I’m going on a feeling. During morning assembly we christened a statue of Jamyang the god of wisdom who the students pray to each day. At the blessing I watched the pious students file passed the statue through plumes of cedar smoke bowing in reverence while our VP bleated a long brass horn and another teacher beat a large animal skin drum with a curved striker. So thus began another day in Bhutan as someone pointed to a sundog in the sky calling it auspicious. The morning consisted of regular classes and after lunch was a quiz competition. In the local category students fielded questions about Rangthangwoong primary school established in 1978 (A few months after Mr. Tim was established) currently at Tsenkharla T.M.S.S we have approximately 675 students and 32 teachers. In the afternoon I headed up to Zangtopelri where I was attacked by an aggressive little bulldog that nipped my ankle with his fangs but didn’t break the skin. I slipped in the temple to pray where butter lamps were lit on each floor. In the attic evening light reflected off Sangay Dempa’s cheekbones as I focused on the still flame frozen on the wick of the lamp. On the return trip I passed through my shady grove and discovered a remarkable white mushroom towering to my kneecap. In that lonely grove I sat side that mushroom trying to muster up some tears but they wouldn’t come, sadly I just can’t cry. The mushroom balanced on a thin straight stem like a taut pallid umbrella. How lonesome a scene listening to the wind rush through the canopy sitting on the carpet amongst fern throngs, fallen pine cones, and grass. The gloaming glowered so I bid ado to the ashen shroom and headed back to campus via Prince Tsangma’s ruin. At home I helped Sonam with his presentation before typing these words to you, outside a mushroom moon eludes a veil of cloudlets shimmering off the meandering Dagme Chu in a timeless lunar ball.
Last week while I was out of the staff room, desks were delivered and claimed by my colleagues. Unfortunately there were only desks for half the teachers so I raised some Cain bout it. I actually go home to do most of my prep but that is because there was no comfortable place in the staff room only benches and tables. Well my VP hooked me up with a spare desk that he commandeered from the library so now I have a place to work on campus! School is busy with plenty to consume the periods and free time. In class seven students completed comic strips for a Ruskin Bond story where they each had to present their strip to the class and once for me personally. I was impressed with their speaking ability and enthusiasm for retelling the tale. Both sections of class seven are enjoyable to teach with some of my favorite students. I try not to have favorites but there are boys that spend a lot of time at my place hanging out or helping me with chores so I get to know them better.
It’s Sunday night and I just made some delicious Emadatsi (comfort food) with local cheese, white fluffy pungent stuff sold wrapped in banana leaves just one of the arcane touches that make up Bhutan. I’m also sipping on an imported Indian tall boy Coca Cola that I purchased at the K.C. (Coke in a can is a luxury item for this poor boy) It was hot in T-Gang with FAT LIZARDS (or were they LIZARD FIG’s?) scaling the walls and Bhutanese airing out their bellies by pulling up their T-Shirts. The half gho is also a popular style in the summer heat. I went to town to acquire items for my grant project but I didn’t come back with much at all which is a story I prefer not to tell. The upshot was meeting Bunks although we both felt subdued or overwrought depending on point of view. We did enjoy a classic twilight walk to the Dzong where august monks congregated on the steps to enjoy the warm breeze. The Dagme Chu snaked under Chazam Bridge and huge mountains towered over the pitiable road to Mongar. Up at Tsenkharla it’s considerably cooler as huge psychedelic moths (Karmaling Dream Moths) glue themselves to rose bushes camouflaged as leaves. Even a blind man would revel in the pallet of summer scents a base note of wood smoke layered with lemongrass, overlay with baked mud and sprayed with fragrant purple rain. So it goes as we drift in landlocked doldrums under foamy clouds. ZONKED OUT! Year Number Two it’s a battle to muster energy to fuel the fun! Instead of energy there’s entropy and ONLY the routine of a boarding school keeps the train teetering on the tracks. But on languid afternoons the brain drifts home to hamburger stands or backyard BBQ’s poolside with loved ones as it occurs to the Rocket Man that he hasn’t had contact from his home planet in a long time. (Breaker Breaker I hope all is well back in the land of milk n’ Honey, This is Mr. Tim orbiting the LOT, do you read me??? Over and Out!) Living ones dream can be a bit of hard work actually and a downright lonely business too. A fellow can get ornery out on the fringe and I’m not sure if this experience has hardened or softened these tiger pads. Nevertheless I’m here so roll out the tiger in broad daylight!