October 28, 2008

Unexpected Re-entry

I am just transferred to this new school, because my father is transferred. The prospect of new faces, new teachers, and new environment is scary, but I try to subdue my fear. Being away from my friends in Trashigang is bad. Trashigang is my blood as I have many friends there. I also have my girlfriend there. Actually, she is not my girlfriend. I met her one day, well… not actually met but, saw her.

She was in a shop, I was in the market. As I saw my principal, I ducked into her shop. That is when our conversation started. Her name is Karma Lham, and she is… she doesn’t tell me what she is doing, or where she is studying. Anyway I am not interested in that. I am busy gazing at her face, my heart pounding loudly… loud enough to wake up the dead. It is love at first sight.

The next day onwards, I am a regular customer at her shop. We grow close, talking about anything and everything… except us. I fall in love with her soft voice, with her sensual body, her ideas. One week later as I go to her shop, I don’t see her; instead there is a toad-faced woman. She scowls at me. I can’t ask her. I don’t ask her.

Then my father is transferred. I am sent to this boarding school. I hate this school at first sight. The school is bad, the students worse. The warden… I can’t seem to find the appropriate word to describe him and his regulations – so strict is he. The rest of the teachers, apart from the principal, I am yet to meet.

I am assigned to section ‘B’. I have a card that says, ‘Name: Dawa Gyeltshen, Class: XB’.

I enter the classroom, my bag under my arm, and just stare. The girls are shapeless, the boys midgets and famine-stricken giants. I am the normal. I see an empty chair and shuffle towards it. Nobody says a word from the moment I enter, to the moment I sit. After I sit, they resume their talking. I hear snatches of their conversations. ‘… new class teacher… temporary… miss… beautiful… sexy…’

I peek around the room. You horny bastards, I shout mentally.
Someone is on duty at the door… a lookout. He dashes inside hissing ‘miss is coming’
We are silent, waiting expectantly: I, the most curious.

As her footsteps reach the door, everyone stands up. I do too. I can feel the boy behind me slowly dragging my chair backwards… meaning to topple me as I sit. I curse silently and turn around to retrieve it, my face turned away from the door. I look daggers at my first enemy.

“Hi class… Good Morning!”

The voice is real and familiar. I freeze. I cannot turn around. The others reply a mixed ‘good morning’. Slowly I turn around and reply ‘good morning ma’am’.

She is Karma Lham. Madam Karma Lham.