What was the purpose of my years?
For me life is a little bit more stuffed with hard questions and always trying hard for the answers that we seldom find. On one of these trials: a group of us were invited to the Royal Thimphu college purposefully for orienting their newly recruited faculty members on the expectations of the Bhutanese students from their teachers. During the session we were discussing the question of use of education. To say the truth, we were accused that we studied only to get jobs and that's true to the extent possible. The new recruits of RTC said that it was not good because there is more to it than that. To that, my colleague Tshewang said, "before anything, we must meet the basic physiological needs of food, clothes and shelter" first. I seconded him saying that we must talk reality before going to the philosophical aspects of it. I said that until the final year in college I only saw that purpose of my college education was to get me a good job and that's where my wisdom ceased. Today after having given a guarantee of a job in the civil service, I said," I can see something beyond just a job".It has in fact something more.
When I was a child in a far flung primary school I thought and said blatantly that I would become a Dasho but didn't know how and why?. One important factor then was the fear of sticks. Bhutanese children need sticks to study. I used to do better in the subject delivered by a teacher who beat me. I was against the policy of doing away with the corporal punishment. This is a driving force at the stage when we are not able to understand the purpose ourselves. But we must be wary of going to the extremes; beatings should not maim a normal functioning of the body. A stick on the buttock, palms and the calf were fine for me then but probably not on the head, ears or eyes. Copying what was a western policy blindly is not a good initiative because in the developed societies they have enlightened cultures at home. More over societal dynamics are totally different. What works for USA cannot work for Bhutan.
Getting back;later when I grew little older I felt it was my own duty to get to the next higher grade, then to the next and then next. Without any aim you can land up nowhere. But with that end in mind I progressed effortlessly.
Later I felt I had to pass because that was my moms expectation from me. I studied with an emotion that one day I can make my mom proud. At every stage thereon I seem to have had a north star of my own stature and definition.
An important name that resounds best in my memory is Jakar. It so happened that one fine day in 1999 when I visited Jakar High School, a mysterious link has been established. Then, I was a student of Wangdicholing Junior High School studying in class 7. I was unusually naughty, active and a carefree boy. During the summer vacation the High school and the NTTA (National Technical Training Authority) together organized a basic electrical training, where students from different schools were invited to attend. As a member of school vocational club, I was also one of them. On one of these days when we were training. I happened to peep through the window of a class and saw the well arranged furniture's. That moment a chill rippled through my spines, triggering a feeling of wanting to sit on one of those seats very ardently. Writing this sentence, even now gives a vivid view and the same reflex that I saw and felt twelve years ago.
Ever since I conceived this dream, it made me feel ill at ease. I not only wanted to pass but reaching the high school was equally an important aspiration. Later It was my time spent in this dream land, that proved to be an important link in the journey of my life. It is here; I was introduced to the beauty of shakespeare's imagination. I was taught the basics of applied sciences. Buddhist philosophy was taught in dzongkha which enhanced my understanding of what the daily rituals that we do really meant. In this school I practiced the concept of consistency and sincerity. I still remember how I used to sleep during the exam time, because by then I used to be thorough with what was taught. There used to be almost three hours a day of self study and I used it as it was designed. Hard work then was neither burning the oil in the mid night lamp nor working when others slept but taking the right dosage daily.
For the first time I took responsibility as a house captain at Jakar.Then it was a huge duty on the tender shoulders because I never dared to venture away from my comfort zone. Here I was able to learn as to what it takes to be good leader, and now when I look back I used to be more of a working leader than an inspirational one. Social skills were ingrained by nature, being a boarding student for as long as 13 years.
In this school I crossed two great hurdles. Should I fail after tenth grade I was no less than a vagabond because I was not so fortunate to feed on the family fortune or do business. Similar would have been the trial had I not qualified for government scholarship after twelve. At that stage, understanding of my own position got me going. This fear of landing nowhere, made me feel uneasy each time I felt like resting.
As I already discussed in college I was very much mindful of the place, time and situation. I was responsible in whole should anything happen other than an accident. In college my bottom line was making myself a job worthy graduate. I developed a habit of updating with the affairs in and around me through periodicals,journals and news papers. I broadened my scope of study. I read more of philosophical and fiction books than my mandatory disciplines. The more I studied, more rapidly my view of the world changed.But my ultimate objective never changed; it was landing a good job.
After I got selected through the civil service common exams I felt at ease because I reached the ultimate goal. After staying here in RIM for 8 months, reading a couple of hard core philosophical books, my perspective of the world saw a new dimension. Getting a job means being able to meet the physiological,social and psychological needs. Now I know that getting a job is not an end in itself but just another means to a greater end. And that end is getting to truly know who we are, becoming a better human being.
At this juncture I was reminded of the story "The bet" by Anton Chekov. After 15 years in self imposed confinement the money that he bet was nearing realization but his wisdom grew to let go of that desire for money. Ultimately when it was exactly time, he unexpectedly fled with a bizzare note. I sometimes feel I had to juxtapose mine with that.
Lately I deeply feel the need to know beyond just ordinary things. The questions like, What are dreams?, What is it like after death?, What color is our mind? etc bother me so much. But all these are reflections of a mad man seemingly recovering from a madness. All phenomena in this world are subject to change.Everything from the mountains to thoughts are unstable. I second the adage that "NOTHING BUT CHANGE IS PERMANENT".