|"It was too little but there was miles to go"|
“zangpo are you done with the assignment,” I heard Nedup who just came rushing to the class and sat beside me. He was arranging the books which he had brought from the library on the table and was staring at my laptop screen, while I was busy writing my assignment. Other mates were busy chatting and some were in their own world, as there was enough time for the next class to begin. “Don’t ask me about the assignment, I’m having a tough time doing it,” I was frustrated at myself. It was not the first time I was having trouble in completing my assignments. “The assignment is due the day after tomorrow, hope you did not forget?” said Pema who was sitting behind me… I was lost in my own thoughts then. How I wish I had continued with my Taekwondo career as the national team of Bhutan.
“Congratulation! Zangpo”, happily said my coach. “You did well with the Third Dan examination, we are proud of you.” He looked cheerfully and smiled at me like he always did. He always wore a track suit embedded with our country name with a flag and the Taekwondo federation logo proudly where ever he went, be it in the gym or morning jogging also. People around the park and town used to stare at him and call out, “see the national team coach of Bhutan Taekwondo Federation.” He was a proud and a respected man in the society; every person knew him for what he did. “Thank you coach.” I was excited that I upgraded my Dhan to level three with all my sheer hard work and dedication.
The next day I got a call early morning after I was done with my breakfast. I answered the call, “Hello…” it was the manager speaking. I was startled to hear this “Zangpo, you contributed a lot to the country and have made the Taekwondo in Bhutan a popular sports among the people, moreover the sport has encouraged all the youths,” I was speechless then. “From the federation we are honoured and proud of you. And I’m happy that at least we could do something good for you. That is we are offering you a scholarship in Sherubtse College.” After hearing such words from the manager I was like a rock still on the top of the mountain. “Zanpgo are you listening to me. Are you there?” manager prompted me. “Oh… Umm, yes sir.” I was speechless.
“Do you agree with the decision we made?”
“I’ll think about it for a while sir.” I wasn’t sure.
There was lots of questions arising in my mind, how I would be able to study after a long time? Could I study after twelve years? How would I cope up with the works in the college, all the studies, assignment, presentation and all? And many more.
“Ok, then I’ll call you one more time tomorrow. Do think about it.” He hung up the phone. After that I was still in dilemma, what should I do now? Many questions popped in my mind. I was confused. I didn’t know what to.
“Hey zangpo, are you done with the assignment?” asked Pema when I reached my room. I was totally lost for the whole day in the class. He was my roommate who loved reading. He loved to stay in a silent environment like I did; we were very much alike when it came to such matter. “Oh yes! I did. After so much of hard ships I faced.” I was happy at least I completed it. Sigh! I was relieved after all. I took a long breath while Pema was still staring at me and I felt happy for myself for completing the assignment. To complete the assignment I ran here and there to clear my doubts and approached all the lecturer of the English Department, every concept seemed difficult to me while my other mates did it easily. I browsed internet, searched for the simplest form of materials to read and then only I was able to do my assignment peacefully. We were having a cup of coffee and it was raining outside. The rain reminded me of my son Dawa, he loved playing in the rain. I started missing home, my son and my love.
That night I was in the kitchen and Pema came with my phone, “It’s your Munching Bum, it might be important master. Call back.” I called back to my Menchung Bum
“Hello…,” her voice echoed in my heart.
“Oh Zangpo, hope you are doing well?”
“How’s Dawa? I’m good here, I’m cooking right now.” I eagerly asked my beloved wife. I wanted to talk to him.
“Zangpo, Dawa is suffering from cough and cold. He played in the rain for too long today. He got a mild fever too but you don’t worry I’m here looking after our son,” she assured me.
“Ok…Do take care. My exam is approaching near and I’m having a tough time studying here and at the back of my mind I was worried I won’t be able to clear my back paper.”
“You don’t worry about us, you better study hard rather than being so concerned about us.” She comforted me every time with the right words. I was relieved that I had her at home.
Exam was approaching near day by day. The day seemed longer and the night became shorter for me and every time I received a call from home, I felt relieved to hear they were ok. On top of that I was worried like the mothers at home did, mostly when their children were sick. Moreover the text that was provided to us was becoming more of a monastic text, I was able to read it well but I could not get the meaning of the text.
Every morning I woke up earlier than everyone else did in the hostel, did my daily jogging. I would take bath right after I was done with jogging. I would prepare coffee and start studying, I could finish one chapter each morning and two chapters every evening but it seemed like the more I studied, I forgot what I have first studied. Moreover I could barely understand the text. The more I studied, the more confusing it got; it was not like the punches and kicks that I learned in Taekwondo. My friend Pema would write his assignment just the day before submission. I would be scratching each page of the text and scribbling whatever information I got the day the assignment was handed over to us. If the assignment was given for the duration of three weeks I would be running here and there to the I.T lab to browse information. I would also make appointments with the module tutors and visit the tutor’s office before the actual day of the submission.
I did my exam with all my abilities. I thought I would not feel bad about my result as I did my level best. I drove back home and was happy that I would be meeting my son and my wife after staying in the college for approximately six months.
After reaching home I was relieved. As I stepped in my three and half year old son came running towards me, “Apa Apa Apa…” He came with his biggest hug and I embraced him. We started our normal chit chat, “How are you? …How is your pet...” and went on. I went toward karma who was busy in the kitchen. As I entered in the kitchen the smell and the aroma of dry meat being fried made me hungrier. I went in and helped her. I couldn’t stay idle and rest as I loved cooking too. In the kitchen we were talking about how we were and when I mentioned about my exam she asked me, “Zangpo how was the exam? Did you do well?”
“You know I’ll do my best and I did my best!” I assured her but I was not sure of how the result would be.
Just after two weeks there was a call from Pema. “Zangpo, how is your result?” Pema asked. Just as I heard it I ran towards my computer to check it online, my heart beat increased with every passing seconds. “Hey! Zangpo let me know the result as soon as possible. Ok!” Pema hung up the phone. I checked it online but it was not out. After few minutes I knew I was fooled. Still then I left a massage on his phone, “Thank you Pema for the reminder. You fooled me…haha I was scared to death. Anyway good luck with the result.” I had completely forgotten that the result declaration was tomorrow. That night I couldn’t sleep well. I was afraid I won’t be able to clear my back paper which would result in termination from the college. I was haunted and I couldn’t think of what I will do next.
During the exam, I was completely nervous and worried and I wrote everything in haste. The last time I did my exam, I was not able to complete on time and I failed as I was not able to fetch the required marks.
I woke up around 8:00 am and was really worried, I went towards the computer with my half pant tugged tight on my waist. I didn’t even brush my teeth and I could hear my wife cooking in the kitchen with all the sound of pots and plates crashing into one another and I knew she was certainly washing the dishes, the result declaration online flashed in my mind and I went to check on it. I punched in the college website and clicked on the result as I entered in my enrolment no my heart skipped a beat and the heart beat increased. Just as I thought, I failed in two papers and that was also the paper which I was not able to clear in last two years. I could not do much, I went to the kitchen and told my wife that I couldn’t clear the back paper of last two years. She wasn’t sad to hear it, instead she comforted me. “Zangpo, I know you did your best. Remember you are a good husband and a great dad,” she stared right into my eyes and said again, “rather than worrying about it think what will you do now, better you plan other things now!” I knew that my instinct was right so I planned to go on further. I know I didn’t do well in college but I was determined to do something good in my life. I planned to open up a Taekwondo Training club in Thimphu, because that was the field where I was good in. Moreover I had permission to teach Taekwondo too.
It have been one year since I have been terminated from the college. But I don’t regret it at all as I was able to follow my dream. I started my own Taekwondo Training club in Thimphu. The club is still running well and I don’t blame myself for not being able to attain a degree in college as I have attained a degree in life. I didn’t give up on life. I thought I will carry two degree certificate but I failed in one. I have no regrets in being terminated as I am able to sustain and continue with what I dreamed of doing before I joined the college.
"This story is based on True story. The good news is he cleared both his back paper and is now going to be in IV semester, he is no other then my room mate and he said not to use his names. This story is dedicated to my friend. Wishing him success and luck ahead"- Author.