Monday, January 1, 2018

A letter to myself to jumpstart 2018!

Dear Gayatri Bhandari

For sure the year 2017 was very memorable for you. Thus, I would like to make a special announcement here. There can’t be better year than 2017 to start a sacred journey of writing a letter to you on the first day of each commencing year henceforth. Through the letter I would like to share my observations about how you justified the various roles you were deem to play as a responsible human being during the year 2017. Now without any further delay allow me to share.  

After leaving Trashi Yangtse in December 2011 you could meet again in 2017, though through Facebook, with all your students of Lichen Community Primary School where you had first begun your teaching career in the spring of 2010 and 2011. You must have given to the community more than you were paid for. The children had send Facebook friend request and you were ever ready to press the ‘Confirm’ button to accept their requests. Gayatri, the children that you had the privilege to teach have cherished each moment they had spent with you. Your genuine support lured them to connect with you after 6 years at least on the virtual world of Facebook and Messenger to know your whereabouts. They havn’t forgoten you. This only testifies that you had given your best in rendering your service as a teacher in a remote school. Life is rich if memories are. Cherish them. Treasure them.

The same spirit of contribution was seen in delivery of your duty in 2017. The preceding years were equally good but something more happened in 2017. It was a very successful academic year with many new initiates being institutionalized. With strong support from your teacher colleagues you could greatly involve yourself in conducting ‘Flag Day’ celebration, observing International Literacy Day, publication of School Magazine and conducting Mobile Film Competition. You got to thank enough the beautiful people you are blessed to be associated with. My best wishes for 2018 academic year friend!

This part of your story made me feel happy. Why? You had already spent seven long years and I didn’t want to see you leaving. I believe there is more that you can give. I am happy because you were also proactive in solidifying your career as an educationist in 2017. You wanted to earn a Teacher certification through your enrollment in Post Graduate Diploma in Education Course at Samtse College of Education. Because of the decision you made a year ago you have become better teacher today. Keep moving forward. Life will give you more if you give out more! 
The next two are milestones of your good life so far. 

It isn’t Tom, Dick and Harry’s cup of tea to write a book and get it published too. You could do it. And I am so proud of you. Friend, though it never could be a best seller as of now, you should always take pride for giving shape to your imagination in the form of a book. Hundreds of people only plan to write a book. 

I know the Proprietor of DSB Enterprise Mr. BP Bhatarai was generous enough to help you with the printing cost of the book but it was you who had put in all your creative juice to transform words and sentences into a story to share with the world. To help show a way to the lost ones. To make believe that gangsters and drug addicts need our support and intervention and not our swearing and ignorance. Your book entitled Eight: Nyingtob Tshering’s Amazing Journey couldn’t captivate the imagination of Bhutanese readers at large but you did what was right. A humble attempt from your side to correct the incorrect world. A personal legacy to be proud of. Don’t listen to the clatter of the world. It will test your patience and will leave no stone unturned to pull you down. You got to keep writing. Till the world gives you the due attention. Till the clatters are only in favor of you and your work. Till the world willingly give in or buy your idea.

Gayatri, I was very impressed while assessing the responsibilities you undertook and the very mindful decisions you made in your process of becoming a good father and a loving husband that you always dreamt of. Yes I am using the term ‘Process’ deliberately here because I know a lot of planning has gone into before you and Tara decided to be parents. Financial stability was number one priority. Only you and Tara understand it better. Thus collectively you and Tara had decided to put aside a special amount of money each month so you people could lavishly spend during the post-delivery period. That’s being wise and smart parents. Keep doing the best. 

For the following 9 months after Tara became pregnant I saw you responsibly taking care of what Tara should eat and what else she shouldn’t. The new sets of clothes for her to wear and the healthy and right fruits and vegetables to eat. From what good thoughts to think to what habits to avoid you were there to help her out. You didn’t let Tara do any household chores. You gave the best that you could. In fact you took more care of Tara during that beautiful 9 months and had often behaved like you had fallen in love with her again. That’s how it should be. You did what any loving husband should do during that period and you have passed the test with flying colors. And now like a real man you have been taking up responsibilities of a father. Both Tara and Yashayr are doing fine. Hats off friend. I am simply speechless. Keep rocking.

2018 is a brand new set of 360 plus days. Play tactfully! I should say. Yet you have to be humane in all roles you play. Keep showing gratitude. Always be humble.  Never give in or give up. Remain motivated and keep inspiring others. Be a caring son, best brother, a loving dad and husband, resourceful teacher and a responsible citizen.

With a promise that you would live your life fruitfully by making the best of all moments life has to offer you, allow me to take leave for now to meet you again on the first day of 2019! 


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Welcome home madam!

Aum Tshewang Choden Wangdi is a household name when education is a matter of discussion. She is the former and the incoming Principal of Druk School. 'Former' because she had spearheaded the administration of Druk School for eight long years before she left for her sabbatical break for two years (2016 and 2017). The school could achieve in many folds during her leadership.  Off and on record accolades and achievements speak volume of her contribution to the school. Read more here.

Druk School was acknowledged with Triple Star certificate by the Ministry of Education (the certificate was received in 2012 for securing top position for three consecutive years: 2009-2011). Thus became the first school in the country to receive the honor. What Druk School is today, in many ways, is unanimously credited to her dynamic leadership as the Principal of the school and also an inspirational mentor for the teaching faculty. What Druk School will achieve in the years to come is also anchored in the golden hands of our Principal Aum Tshewang Choden Wangdi.

She has her own style of executing her role as the administrator. An aura in her personality inspires many to follow her path for ‘Perfection’ come rain or sunshine. She is very much an open minded person but quality cannot be compromised. A Perfectionist in her work ethics, visionary in planning and coupled with dynamic leadership traits: That’s our Madam Principal.

Aum Tshewang Choden Wandgdi had this vision to introduce Drama (professional) skills to create an avenue for our learners to explore their talent. She also wanted to use it as a tool to help make learning more fun. This ‘million dollar’ dream and a sincere vision could be actualized by inviting Charmi Chadda to facilitate drama lessons to the students of Druk School back in 2014. This modest initiative later got propelled to National Level in the form of National Drama Festival due to the support and the equal acceptance of its significant role in education shown by Our Honorable Sherig Lyenpo Norbu Wangchuk. Miss Charmi Chadda will agree with me to accept that Druk School is the genesis of the Drama fever in the country! Aum Tshewang is the Architect and you were her god gifted special agent! In 2018 we have to work together to make the magic possible again!

Before Aum Tshewang Choden Wangdi was the DEO of Thimphu and had rendered her leadership in school administration as an able Principal, she was a Course leader at Samtse College of Education. As a farsighted professional, she knew that her teacher graduates needed to upgrade their qualification. Thus she initiated the Distance Education Programmes at Samtse college of Education almost two decades ago. The institution was then known as the National Institution of Education. And Today I pen down these lines from room number six of Boys hostel located beside the old counselling block where I will be staying for next twenty one days to complete my winter prog. to upgrade my teaching certification.

As the Principal of Druk School she had recruited 27 fresh graduates in 2012 academic year. She took the risk to employ them as she wanted to infuse new ideas, high level of energy and create vibrancy in her school education system in her capacity as the leader and the administrator. I was one among the group of 27 fresh graduates though I had two years of prior teaching experience. To equip us with tricks of the trade, we were given training in Transformative pedagogy funded by the school in March 2012. That’s four years ahead of Ministry of Education rolling out the training programme for entire Sherig Family.

That faithful night when the whole school teaching and the support staff gathered in the ‘Simply Bhutan’ restaurant inside the YDF compound to bid you farewell in December 2015, many of us promised a lot of things to you as a parting gift for nurturing Druk School to the level it is today. We assured we will all work hard and keep the flag of Druk School flying high. Among the long line of staff prepared to say a line or two I was one among them.


Well I cannot make judgements and declaration about others. For sure I can recall for myself what I have been doing of which I had solemnly promised on that faithful night. I had promised to work harder and to bring every possible initiatives for the betterment of the School. With full support from my teacher colleagues the followings were possible. And interestingly these listed items were briefly discussed in person (between Madam Principal and me) but left unfinished.

1.Many promotional videos of our school were produced.

2.Flag day (was initiated because Druk School Must always lead, Druk School Must not be Led)

3.International Literary Day was observed with Digital Book Review competition.

4.School Magazine was published.

5.Update regarding school events on School Facebook page and through my own site.

6.Did a small yet sincere Action Research on IB lesson planning and methodology to initiate for IB certification of school in the future( Which is one of Aum Tshewang’s long cherished dreams)

When we were made known officially that Madam Tsewang Choden Wangdi is coming back to join the school as the new Principal of the School, I was first to stand and speak my mind. I said Druk School can’t get better experienced and professional educator then her. She knew the inside out of the system and she had given her heart and soul for the betterment of the school. We can’t imagine to have someone totally new to fill in. After all Druk School is one the finest educational institutions in the country and we cannot afford to dilute its ethos with some alien system and policy of administration.

If educating the Nation and administration of an Educational Institution was a Beauty Pageant Contest, she is the Beauty Queen, if it was a war, she is the Commander in Chief and if it was colossal darkness, she is the light in the end of the tunnel. Epitome of knowledge. Spark of inspiration. The hope for the hopeless.  
After 20 months of sabbatical break...she shall join us in 2018.

In fact the journey with her has already began with planning meeting for next year …That’s Miss Tshewang Choden Wangdi for you. The planning meeting began day before yesterday on 19th December. The teachers involved in the planning received and welcomed her. A ‘Labsang’ was also arranged for purification of body, mind and speech so nothing obstructs Druk School Family to soar higher. And the faculty of Druk are also informed to report to School on 22nd January 2018 for extensive planning and organization of the school before the commencement of 2018 academic year from 1st of Feb.

Don’t smug of your 20 or plus teaching experience….Don’t think you know everything regarding education…A day’s work with her will answer you a lot. And don’t conclude quickly here! She is more than my description because I believe my limited language competency failed to adequately illustrate and elaborate her rich life experiences, 30 plus years of service in education and exceptional  career as an educator fulfilling her duties in various capacity.

The intention to write this piece is to celebrate your comeback Madam. It’s also an act of humble submission to work and earn (one’s living and experience) under your dynamic leadership. Show us the way again to confront this tricky job of educating children of this high-tech modern world. It’s has always been and shall always be an honor to work along with you because we can busk in the rich experience that you have and also learn from your experience each day as we teach. Welcome Home Madam!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ode to our office Printer!

When I joined the school
Six long years ago
Your output was your best proof 
Without you the school stood still
Struggling six long years still today
You have either mend or better
All our lives I must say

You printed my first joining letter with my designation
You also helped many colleagues print their resignation

I got my ‘Letters to parents’ 
So did the ‘Sanctions and misdemeanors’
Documented students work for fair recognitions 
Submitted my paid and unpaid leave applications

I too got my re-leaving orders
To attend workshops and for duties on Examinations 
The heads sending their Executive orders
And worksheets for my students I could print it in order.

Million pages of Exam Question papers
With its own complete Model answers
To assess intended learning of my students
Name tags and name list with their roll numbers
What else have you not printed?

I can’t believe the Rumors I hear now loud
They say you have become Old and cranky
You produce more noise and less printouts
I hear people scream and swear

Oh lord…the creatures of flesh and blood
How could they become so outrageous?
You are just a metal box with wires and machines!
They could have just become more courteous.
For all the valuable documents you printed.
Of which you have never asked any credits. 

As all good things come to end too early
The ones who didn’t swear will miss you dearly
I pray you have enough courage
To bravely lay down your arms to rest
You don’t have to scream and swear 
The God is aware that you did your best.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Helipad for ‘Brave Heart Brothers’ (BEAR Team) on the roof of JDWNRH?

As a responsible citizen I dare to dream of this possible and very critical venture of building a helipad for our very own BEAR Team (Air Ambulance) on the roof of our National Referral Hospital. I strongly believe that there is a need to have one if the proximity of the present Helipad and the ever increasing traffic flow in between the Hospital and the Helipad is to be considered. 
The BEAR Team:Dr. Charlie Haviland Mize(middle), Lhab Dorji(right) and Kiran Biswas. 
The Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval Team, also known as BEAR Team was initiated as the first-ever helicopter-based emergency team to deliver ICU-level emergency all across Bhutan. It won’t be fair if I don’t mention the names that constitute the BEAR Team: Dr. Charlie Haviland Mize, Lhab Dorji and Kiran Biswas. Since its inception the Team has managed to save many lives.  

At the moment the BEAR Team has to land first at Lungtenphug Army helipad some 4 kilometers away then their patients are taken the rest of the way by road. An ambulance has to drive along one of the busiest roads in Thimphu city (Babesa-Thimphu Express way) to finally reach the patients to the hospital. 
God forbid such situations where a critically ill patient has landed safely at the helipad with the help of BEAR Team but the patient does not make it to the hospital. On the way, the patient dies. It is certainly a loss for the family members. The Team will also definitely feel the loss. Why?

Losing a patient just a few kilometers away from the hospital after being airlifted tackling the ever challenging weather and the difficult terrain will be a grave loss for the BEAR Team. (Please accept my sincere ‘Thank you’ for doing what you do best- Saving Lives) The BEAR Team surely deserves all our respect and gratitude. I refer them with great respect as “Brave Heart Brothers”- Risking one’s life to save others.

So what are some of the benefits (Department of Health Estates and Facilities Division, Feb 2008) of having helipad on hospital’s rooftop? For that matter on JDWNRH’s rooftop!

1.So critically ill patients can be treated sooner: Having a helipad on the hospital roof will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for a seriously ill patient to get to the expert care they urgently need. The quicker they can see a consultant, the better chance of survival and making a full recovery. It will help save many lives.

2.From both the aviation and the long-term planning perspectives, the best position for a hospital helipad is on the roof of the tallest building on the site because rooftops are generally unused space.  

3.It shall also raise the helicopters approach and departure paths by several stories high. This raised level reduces certain environmental impacts; particularly the noise and the dust that gets blown away from the ground when helicopters make their landing. The arrangement will not only be valuable for hospital activities but is also significantly likely to reduce complaints from neighbors. 

4.The rooftop helipad also provide unobstructed path to land and take off. The general lack of obstructions at rooftop level allows the helicopter to fly in smoother air compared with the turbulence that can be experienced when landing between buildings. This in turn will greatly reduce patient’s discomfort and the helicopter’s power requirements.

Click here to what's happening around the world in regard to elevated helipads.

The present Helipad was never built to bring in patients to the National Referral Hospital if its location is to be considered. The proximity to the Royal Bhutan Army Headquarter at Lungtenphug defines its prime purpose. However, as and when required it has served its purpose in many different ways. Receiving many delegates on their visit to Bhutan to name a few.

During the fall of 2016, the Team was engaged in airlifting a 14 year old boy from Tashigang. The boy’s live could have been saved by timely resuscitation ad emergency care facility. Interestingly it was only after this incident the BEAR Team was equipped with ICU-level emergency facility. One cannot effort to loss another life blaming the distance and the heavy traffic flow (in years to come it will be even worse) between the present Helipad and the National Referral Hospital. 

This morning I heard again the Helicopter hovering over my apartment only to see it land on the Helipad at Lungtenphug and after few minutes I hear the siren of an ambulance rushing towards JDWNRH. After many years of helicopter hovering and the dreaded ambulance siren, now it has become a routine to spare few seconds to pray for the sick to recover soon and to whisper a ‘Thank You’ note to the “Brave Heart Brothers!”

We Bhutanese are blessed to have benevolent Monarchs who care about its subjects the most. The Royal Government of Bhutan has been doing everything possible for our benefit. The Ministry of Health has always strive to do everything possible so to save more lives. For sure we cannot make miracles to happen. That’s not in our hands. 

Practically speaking, the BEAR Team also cannot save every patient they airlift but surely we can construct the Helipad on the roof in our collective attempt to help BEAR Team save more lives. I wish my dream comes true someday. All I wish is that we don’t regret of not being able to construct the helipad to save more lives. The new Helipad would also be our sincere gesture to acknowledge, support and honor the brilliant effort of our Brave Heart Brothers in all their life saving adventures! 

Department of Health Estates and Facilities Division. (Feb 2008). HBN 15-03 Emergency care: Hospital helipads. Quarry House, Leeds, LS2 7UE: Department of Health Estates and Facilities Division.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Funny yet wired dream!

The previous night I had a dream. It was funny yet wired dream. Let me narrate the dream in nutshell.

I see an elderly woman standing as firm as a rock on the staircase. It must be at Dochula Druk Wangyel momerial site. I could see Chortens akin to the site. It must be also foggy too because the Chortens in the background was not clearly visible. The whole backgroud was blur to be precise. 

The lady had worn a syndicated kira with flowery patterns engraved on it. Her face adorn with lines of wisdom and rich experience. I instantly assumed.

She is seen assisted by two other young ladies to climb down the staircase. These two young ladies  were perfect in what they did. With great love and grace,  holding her hands and helping her step down towards the lawn.

Then i notice something funny. This seriously looking woman has worn a pair of fancy canvass shoes. It was blue and white coloured. With trendy laces. The funny part? One of the shoes was very very large and the other was of the normal size which perfectly fits her other foot.

Then I find myself waiting to receive this lady. She approaches closer. Closer enough now that she starts to talk with me. She informs me that I always misspelled the word 'humble'. The lady corrects me that I shouldn't spell it as "humbel" but instead spell it correctly. 

Thus with abrupt ending the funny yet wired dream comes to an end.


Misspelled: Have I stopped being humble? Was I made to realize this truth? I don't know. But one thing is clear. I must  remain a humble person no matter whatsoever dreams I have to dream again!

Large sized shoe: I assume that they elderly lady is burdened with huge responsibility. Or some worries? Or name and reputation to hold up? It could also mean incomplete project/endeavour to attain so both the shoes bulge into same sized.

Trendy shoes with laces: she is an elderly woman but she is blessed with sense of creativity and is a very critical thinker.

The lady must be indirectly telling me to be part of her endeavour shouldering responsibilities or incomplete project or worries for that matter. The only requirement on my part is to remain humble! This is the best interpretation I like to take home.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

That joyful day- A romantic poem straight From my middle school notepad.

I remember that joyful day
Where hearts were shining gay
The souls and minds were wheeling around
In the world of romance with the mutter sound

So graceful her figure, so lovely her face
She is the best among the rest
For whom I will bring soon
The heaven's brightest moon

So interesting her way of conciliatory 
And so sweet her voice
She inquist about my life
But everything was not possible in this short period of alive
For she I will pluck the flower rose
And arrange them on her body in rows

We were sitting beneath a tree
And we felt the passing of breeze
We were lonely on that land
And we piled our hand over hand

The air was polluted by the words of love and Lord
And we were kissing and nuzzling a lot
The flower around us bloosmed out of season
What we did was the main reason

Her strong kisses dazzled head of mine
Like an innocent man dazzled by a cup of wine
Our untold romance carried on as a ride
And we neglect to stop and hide

Her nuzzles disturbed me yet the tumult grew
That small lips could bear it, I knew
The lips were exchanging the termless views
And I could bear it more, I knew

We felt elated by that permanence 
And we were proud of our performance

Written in spring of 2000.
Class 10 
Phuntsholing Higher Secoundary School.

Friday, September 8, 2017

"Mobile film competition" at Druk School to celebrate International literacy Day!

Exactly  a month ago Druk school celebrated the unofficially the official National Flag Day on 8th August. Today on  8th September we celebrated International Literacy Day.

September 8th was declared International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Celebrations take place in several countries.

The Rationale behind the day being observed is because of the following reasons:

"Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults are still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or are drop outs."

This year, International Literacy Day is being celebrated across the world under the theme of 'Literacy in a digital world'.

At Druk School, the students of classes pp-6 today submitted their mobile films- A digital Book Talk under the theme "I read a book".The mobile films were to be screened in our MP Hall as part of International Literacy Day Celebration.

The children were instructed to read a book of their choice and do a book talk and then have it get recorded on mobile camera.

There were more than 60 entries from our students for the special screening.

The celebration also included many other programmes.Speeches  were delivered to mark the day.

The highlight of the day was the two short skits performed by class 9 and 6 students .

Class nine students staged their short play showcasing the  importance of literacy. And through their silent skit, class vi students shared how illiterate and literate persons' approach towards solving issues at hand. It was a mute play. No dialogue deliveries but communicate through act and with help of words and phrases written on cardboard for display.

"Literate will understand and illiterate will judge" was the bottom line of their performance.

Both the groups were brilliant in conveying how important the literacy skills are and has become even more important now. Miss Sherab Wangmo and Lopen Chado  were the teacher coordinators for the skits. Hats off teacher colleagues. You guys are awesome!

The skits were followed by one long hour of Drawing and painting activities for the children with the theme "Importance of literacy".

The programme was conclusively ended with the much awaited event. The Screening of the Mobile Films. Children really enjoyed watching themselves on the big screen doing the book talk. 

From this year Literary month of Druk School will start with Flag Day Celebration on 8th of August and end on 8th September by celebrating International Literacy Day. It can't be better than this!

A letter to myself to jumpstart 2018!

Dear Gayatri Bhandari For sure the year 2017 was very memorable for you. Thus, I would like to make a special announcement here. The...