MEMORIES WITH THE YOUNG SHRUBS AT UPPER TCV
SonamDolkar, MA English Literature (Final year) Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The Four years have elapsed so swiftly, since the time I came out of the cocooned shell of TCV and embarked upon my further academic journey of the so called college life in the Indian and international students’ milieu. As each academic session comes to its conclusion, every student in the university campus starts leaving for their vacations; either back to their home towns or for various educational-cum-entertaining trips as per their plans.
The scorching heat in the capital discharged my energy though I was steadfast to look for an experiential internship opportunity in Delhi. In the midst of solitude on account of the unprecedented migration of my childhood friend Choeyang to the west and simultaneous excitement for the upcoming auspicious events of His Holiness’s Buddhist teachings at Dharamshala, I was flamed with a new idea of visiting TCV and working with the young students for few days. Immediately, I emailed Gen PhuntsokNamgyal la, asking if there is any possibility for me to spend a month or two at Upper TCV.
One of my core reasons for choosing Upper TCV among the other branch schools was what I had stated in the application that “working at Upper TCV will definitely be a great honor for me as I can pay frequent visit at Tsulakhang. Staying and studying in a metropolitan city like Delhi renders us various exposures and experiences, however, from deep within, I always long for a spiritual bless from the seat of His Holiness’s temple. I will fathomlessly grateful for your great opportunity and will not leave any stone unturned with any kind of services at TCV” I received the acceptance reply from Genla on the very next morning that I will be allotted for a teaching service in the senior section. However I never knew that my assignment would be regular teaching for twelfth standard till the day when I was personally summoned to the senior school headmaster’s office, two days before the actual teaching began.
A sense of ineffable complacency bubbled across my psychic landscape as I got three rounds of continuous teachings and conversational privilege with His Holiness in various groups from my first day at Dharamshala till the day I joined my students. While sitting among the global devotees at the Tsuklakhang temple, I embraced the sacred privilege and pledged to do my best with a sincere heart in whatever would be my assignment at TCV.
Initially, I was slightly worried because it was my first time to come down on regular teachings though I had erstwhile experiences of taking a number of casual classes at Gopalpur and elsewhere for Tibetan college students. I was assigned with quite a number of lessons to be covered within a short period of time till the end of the term and unfortunately there wasn’t any chapter which I had studied either in school or in college. Nevertheless, with the passage of time, I was able to implement my intuition out of excitement and conviction to be creative enough to handle the young minds. I initially appeared through the classroom doors as a complete stranger to all the students except few former Gopalpur students whose faces I did remember with blurring familiarity; however I am still too happy for I was able to excavate pretty deep about almost all of my students at the end through various informal interactions apart from the CBSE prescribed text chapters.
Grounding on my experiences in my academic voyage, I personally feel the fundamental role of a teacher is to be a source of inspiration for the innocent minds to make them to believe in their own strength and be resilient to move further in life. By keeping this principle at the centre, I put tremendous effort to create an informal lively atmosphere in the classroom where students can learn out of joy and confidence rather than taking the learning process as an imposition on them. Through the tide of time, I came to realize that respecting and understanding the students by being humanely polite is far more efficient in making them responsible by self-realization and this is also the noblest way through which a teacher can bring the students closer.
It had always been an inexpressible joy in my heart when I behold the somehow naughty but innocent behavior of the students. Once, I was completely swayed by a boy called Tashi while reading the sublime joy on his innocent cum ever ebullient gesture from his face. Many times, I had to laugh my heart out instead of scolding rudely while seeing how the vibrant students make their funny but true excuses for coming late for classes. Never within the period of my sojourn had I harbored any ill feeling against the students’ misbehaviors as long as they are being honest with themselves. These small but beautiful acts by my students convinced me that children are the purest form of humanity!
Apart from the normal classroom routines, I was suffused with elation as I got opportunity to attend many of the gracious official ceremonies like His Holiness’s Birthday celebration at the main temple. Reciting the prayers on Buddhist significant date like ZamlingChisang(Global Incense burning) and LhababDuechen( Descend of Lord Buddha) brought me back to the memoirs of my early life in TCV, marking each day with the enchanting prayer rhythms from the morning. There is an innate feeling of comfort and contentment within me while staying in a Tibetan community like TCV due to the presence of spiritual bliss which reminds us to live each day with purposeful essence.
It was the day when my short duration at TCV came to its conclusion with the students’ terminal evaluation which deepened my understanding of each individual student. However I was overwhelmed by the strong wave of emptiness and longingness for I was running out of my time and was not getting even a single period to notify the students’ casual mistakes in their exam papers though I strongly wished to do. Somehow my eyes welled up with tears when some of my students came to bade me farewell with their scarfs in the torrential rainfall on that day and even one of my boys happily came to drop me till the bus stand in that late evening. I couldn’t control the tears streaming down my cheeks as the bus moved far to farther away from TCV.
Though I will not get a single day to visit the classes again, I always have the warm feeling of concern for my students. It has again been a great happiness for me that I have started a new group on Facebook “Bridge Between TCV and JNU” with the suggestion and request by TCV Head Boy to create a special conversational platform for my students to come up with any problems and moreover to give them guidance regarding their future college admissions. I personally feel that this is an absolute noble contribution that I as a senior can make for our younger ones and I am hoping for this will work efficiently with the students.
This is the trace of recollected memories which I will never be able to erase in the sand of time. This is the recounted flashback of one of the most empowering phases of my life where my wonderful students made me aware of that; teaching is the most rewarding profession through which we can teach the most as well as learn the most through perennial growth!!!
(I extend my heartfelt gratitude for the unfailing moral support of the esteemed administration of Upper TCV including Gen PhuntsokNamgyal la, School Principal, Senior School head masters and all the staff who made my holiday meaningful and worth remembering. Thank you and good luck TCV!!!)