‘’Why do we sometimes write about ourselves and expect people to be interested? Because our stories are usually not about ourselves. It is about everything, and everyone, around us.’’ – Within the Realm of Happiness, Dasho Kinley Dorji.
I first met Sonam Gyeltshen five years a go when I first came here to Punakha HSS as a teacher.
We were new to the school only as teachers having been here as students before. He came on transfer from a middle secondary school but it was my first placement as a teacher. He got a transfer, I later found out, because he had some problem with the principal who according to him was not so nice.
Sonam Gyeltshen AKA Jackal is one of a kind and like any nickname-story he has his story too. When studying at Zhemgang High School he danced to a Michael Jackson song, and he got the name Michael Jackson. Over time Michael Jackson became Michael Jackal and by the time I met him he was only Jackal.
Jackal is an interesting man, someone you would call a straight guy. Once right after the winter break we were behind the kitchen smoking and I saw a fresh scar right in the middle of his forehead. I asked him what happened and he said his wife broke a mug on his forehead. I didn’t buy it at first but then I saw he was not kidding so I asked why. He said he was flirting with a madam from Thinleygang MSS and had some messages in his phone, which his wife saw. His wife brought it up during dinner. He didn’t give in to the accusation and failed to dodge the mug.
I used to often see Jackal busy engrossed in chat rooms. Once he met a girl, he told me. She told him that she was a divorcee running a shop at Wangdue. His Jackal ears sprang up. She seemed unrealistically interested in him and wanted to meet him having already seen him before. He could not believe his luck. To me he later said, “I was a tsagay (idiot), she was too sweet to be true”
They agreed a time and later that evening he told his wife he was going out to attend a farewell party for one of the out going teachers. His wife didn’t say anything, but when he was about to reach Wangdue his wife called.
‘’I know where you are tchaytola (sex maniac) come back home or else…!’’
The girl he met in the chat room was his wife.
Was there another mug thrown at his forehead? I didn’t ask, may be I should.
Once in his class, in order to revise the previous lesson he decided to have a question-answer session. He asked a boy, “Wrong answer!” so he knuckled his fore head. He continued asking the same question and he received the same answer from almost half of the class. He went on knuckling all of them until he stopped to think and then realized that the answer was right. He was wrong.
|The Jackal at the school dairy farm.|
To me, with a smile he said, “We are lucky to teach in Bhutan, to have students who would just laugh and forget about something like that.”
But all said and done, Jackal is a good teacher, above all he is a good person and a good human being. He is the SAP (School Agriculture Program) coordinator in the school and with his effort the school has received numerous recognitions and awards.