Friday, 23 October 2015

Deliberate Ignorance - The Misunderstanding

I was not trying to eves drop but the blaring noise from the mike which was coherent, presumably the principal's advice to the students from the school nearby, penetrated the room where I was staying and it took me back to my school days.

One thing that caught my attention in the speech was that students should not ignore or act as if they do not recognize a teacher when they meet outside the school campus. I just hope that no Bhutanese students would do that deliberately to ignore a teacher approaching upfront on the footpath.

It is almost two decades that I passed out from school and I still remember an incident where my Headmaster refused to acknowledge my recognizing him where I was trying to approach him with a broad smile to introduce myself as his student was met with a complete frown which discouraged me to further dwell on the reintroduction.

The Headmaster was very strict but never manhandled anyone. He was great in all the sports including tracks and field. He always kept his hair short but tolerated a little longer hair on the students' head, if it is kept tidy. The real role model for young minds morally, physically and spiritually.

Upon trying to recollect what led to this attitude of a teacher to whom I always looked upon with awe and reverence and with whom I had several contacts because of the same amount of respect that I have for him, he had that much expectations out of me which encouraged me to pull through so as to not to let him down.

The realization of his changed behavior dawned on me. It was after my twelfth grade that I was roaming around in Thimphu town and I was busy window shopping when my friend nudged on my rib cage and told me that a man in that 'pangtse gho' was smiling at me and waited for sometime looking towards my direction as if waiting to talk to me. (Pangtse I assumed it to be his favorite gho and it suited him).

When I looked back from the window I saw my favorite teacher and a role model walking briskly. I can recognize him from the back, how can I not? and his gait confirmed it. I thought of running after him and wishing him but those days teachers are feared and he was the head teacher so I decided against it. (How I wish I had done that)

After I became officer, I met him once and with a look of stranger and indifference he addressed me (I was not alone) as "dasho". "Dasho tshu gen gen" I thought I heard a tinge of sarcasm in his voice, it must have been my imagination but it did bring tears in my eyes. I did not get an opportunity to talked to him alone, to clarify, alone because of the awe that we still have for the teachers.

Even when it was a sheer misunderstanding I am guilty of ignoring him on the footpath of Thimphu town because our eyes could not meet despite approaching from opposite directions. The moment he looked at me at the same moment I might had look towards the window. It was not intentional and I had never thought that I would bump into my mentor and a role model.

The principal's speech today that I heard accidentally might be inspired by such misunderstanding and the poor student would never get a chance to clarify. We sometimes lack one to one talking and assume lots of other things.