He showed me the way

Brother Tshering with his son Jampel Namda

My parents thought that going to school meant waste of time. They did not have much choice to let themselves see and understand more. What was more important to them was to have someone (to) help them at home. Earning an Education was a long process…even I saw it a very long process when I looked at it then. It would be years before a child can serve as a civil servant and who would live that long? This was their thought.

My sisters were not sent to school for the same reason. They were needed at home. They could not be spared for the luxury of learning. They were the indispensable lot at home. But I being the youngest got this opportunity they did not. I feel a little guilty now to think that they had to work at home when I enjoyed in the school. (I call it enjoyment cuz there was no worry of having to work hard, except those exams…and they weren’t too much of a monster)

It was my eldest brother who took me to school. My parents didn’t want to send me to school because I was the youngest and it pained them to think of me away from them. Because of this I got late for the admission. The first day I was in school, I could barely breathe…not because of the crowd but because I was the ‘frog from the pond’. Get me? I never had many friends to play with. It was my elder sister and my friend Lhadon with whom I could play at home. Others were all beyond age to be my play-mates. In the class: a teacher entered and everyone stood to greet...’good morning sir’ was only a blank note to me. We were made to stand and sing ‘head and shoulder’; I didn’t know where to point with the song. I felt dumb and lost; and I knew there were many things for me to learn.

But I knew ‘A B C’, ‘1 2 3’ and ‘ka kha gha nga’ even before I was sent to school. I still have this gratitude for my brother. He made me literate before I knew its meaning. And during the winter of my ‘class p.p’ my brother Tshering taught me ‘Science and Math’. I had reached farther than I thought I would. He lost his temper when I could not catch up what he taught and beat me… (kegpa fin gawa). I suppose it wasn’t painful; I don’t remember it having caused me pain. But I cried; my mother got angry over this and shouted at him that he need not teach me and that it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t know anything. But he only knew what he taught and his vision…he didn’t stop.

I remember the chain of experiments we did when I was in class five. We did experiments on distillation and evaporation. We dissected flowers – he taught me filament, stigma, calyx etc of the flower. Even when he went to reach me to school, he would teach me about ‘molecules’ and how it travels. He taught me little things about everything he saw on the way. While we rested he read ‘wisdom’ – a small book where there are nice articles and proverbs. I remember this and it holds me into wonder even to this day. His patience is beyond I can understand and he has heart that can reach out to everyone.

He is the person who taught me to be a person. He individualized me into me and he made me the person I’m today. He showed me the way.


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