Thursday, September 19, 2013


“Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you, it’s late September and I really should be back at school” Maggie May

Mist swirls in mystic dervishes rising languidly from the shimmering Dagme Chu through the scant pines of Tsenkharla. The cloud break reveals the hinterland of Arrunachal Pradesh beckoning me like a sirens song. The Yin of layered forests blankets the ridges of Tawang while the bare Yang of Kiney pronounces the end of Bhutan. The last drops of the monsoon gleam upon lush grass where insects whir and butterflies flutter about aimlessly. Students are gaily preparing for a three day holiday to celebrate Shakshang Tsechu and I scratch my head and wonder what to do? After delivering my lesson I allowed some free time for the students to practice dancing for the event. Bhutanese traditional dance always recollects images of kelp underwater drifting in the waves, a rhythmic and gentle swaying accentuated by the waiving of hands and simple footsteps. Sonam Rinchen orders the students around monitoring their every movement and making modifications when necessary, this is all done in Sharshop but it is evident that the kids are enjoying themselves. There is a sparkle in a child’s eye that cannot be reproduced by an adult. What have we lost while growing up and can we recapitulate that potent magic? As time rolls on I become more embittered and more attached to my situation here, darkening like the trees of the forest glancing towards autumn. That fresh squeezed elixir has soured but I swig it down anyway like Coca Cola. “Sir you are addicted to coke!” Phuntsho says as I walk by the whole expanse of Eastern Bhutan glistening like Chinese brocade before my shaky eyes.

It’s been a gruelling week on campus with all the highs and lows that punctuate my life here. I just got back from working with a group of last year’s students who I helped with an upcoming presentation. I enjoy working with individual students or in small groups which is a rare treat. Afterschool we had a mock earthquake drill (this is earthquake country) and tonight I’m supervising night study for class ten. I have been earnestly prepping and delivering lessons but have a lot to cover before exams. Hence TIAT has not been active of late. In other local news one of my students was involved in a gang fight last weekend outside my home.  The gang fight constituted one of my student and his two adult peers jumping a student and beating him outside the hostel. Incidents of violence are rare and I couldn’t believe it was my top student in 9C perpetrating the incident. Alcohol was involved and my student was suspended and the two adults were briefly incarcerated in Yangtse. I gave my student some friendly advice pleading with him to earnestly consider his actions.  A boarding school is an organic entity a massive blob of students coagulating into daily life like ema and datse. The beating goes on at school as someone handed me a whip to help control the students during the mock drill which I tossed aside. The second year has proven extremely intense and extremely rewarding, one can only postulate what a third year WILL bring???

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