Archives for the month of: May, 2014

The last couple of weeks at work have been particularly stressful and unhappy. (That feeling is not exactly unusual and the  details are terribly uninteresting.)

So that’s makes being publicly and enthusiastically appreciated by someone unexpected, someone you admire all the more encouraging.

This year, I was once again asked to moderate a session with a popular Indian writer, in this case Anuja Chauhan, at the annual Mountain Echoes Literature Festival in Thimphu. Anuja has written three funny, smart, interesting books ( that happen to be centered around  female protagonists.)  It was very much “love at first read” and I can’t even tell you how excited I was to get a chance to talk to her in person ( with or without an audience). This year I was ever more nervous then last year because when you like a writer’s books this much you really want them to like you too! The session turned out to be this amazing combination of very fun and very serious, irreverent but also earnest. Its just felt like such a treat.   And I loved that.


But ever more than that I loved that took to twitter to say how much  she enjoyed the session too and that she appreciated the work and thought I put into it.




Bonus that it turned out to be a nice picture of us too!




So Teachers Day is a thing in Bhutan.

Seriously celebrated with songs and dances and speeches. Far too many speeches for my taste usually. In other words its  another very formal and ceremonial ritual. And usually it feel  perfunctory  and insincere to me. Like enforced gratitude.


I always appreciate the sweet texts and messages from former students because with a  little  distance these off stage messages manage to feel unprompted and genuine. So I got some of those and they made me smile and I thought well okay so that’s that.


But I was wrong, that was not that.  This year was different, this year teachers day was actually happy. There were just so many wonderfully unscripted and heartfelt moments.


To start with one of my more scattered students showed up over an hour late for class without his assignment but as I sent him out to go work on his missing assignment, he shyly reaches into his large Gho pocket and pulls out this small bouquet of yellow and purple flowers and hands them to me saying, ” Happy Teachers Day , Madam” before running away.  It was so cute.


The after class my second year students who I have taught for three semester tell me they are throwing all their teachers a surprise party and asked me to come back to the classroom in half an hour. When we returned the classroom has been transformed with tables arranged like a long banquet table and decorated with pink  balloons.



Once we were seated they served us tea and the class president made a very earnest speech about how much they feel they have learnt from us not just about the subjects we teach but also about life.

And then out comes the cake.




I don’t know why I was so touched because after all there is something very ritualized about the event, the cake the speeches but just for a moment their gratitude felt so real.


And I love that. I really love that.