It is disheartening to see only three people making to the top to obtain a degree's certificate. We were 48, way back in 1995, when we were enrolled in class PP.
Today, after sixteen years of study, my life in retrospection sees a lot of regrets for those friends who dropped out from their journey, an odyssey in fact. When the school was first opened in our village, there were lots of zests on the minds of people. And indeed the year marked the very end of our isolation from the rest of the places.
I was eleven years old then when I was enrolled in Pre-Primary (Class PP). I had finished my first course - milking the cows - and I was into reading scriptures under my father's guidance. During the day time, I was after the cows and in the evenings and mornings, I was after my father, who never forgets to pull me along.
The lives of people in my village are troubled by many inevitable factors such as poverty, diseases, shortfalls, misunderstandings, lack of awareness, death etc. They somehow live but do not know if they are living indeed. Facing lots of difficulties, people are in fact looking for a better solution to come up in their life.
With no schools in our village, parents could not educate their children. My brother was one among many who lost the opportunity to go to school as he was old enough to become a father by the time a school established in our village. Today, I sometimes take to think how different a life my brother would have experienced if he had had the opportunity of going to school. I also see him a greater prospect of his serving the Tsa-Wa-Sum—in a better way than just remaining idle as he is now—if he had but the modern education.
When I say many could not make it to the top, you may think that Shingkhar Lauripas got the heredity of a poor brain. And whoever think this to be the sole factor has a sole default in their thinking. My friends could not make it to the top not owing to the possession of a poor brain but due to the financial constraints. You may not believe when I say many doctors, engineers, philosophers, poets, politicians etc. are born in Shingkhar Lauri.
Whether you believe or not, I as someone born in that corner have seen Prime Ministers born there. And we all had set forth in full enthusiasm and determination to do our best not only to our own village but also to the country and the world at large.
However, many had to drop their studies after class IV when we had to go to a primary school (boarding school). We required many things in a boarding school. Our parents woke up early to manage some money for buying mattress, blankets, school uniforms and other necessaries for their children. However, we are so poor to afford all these luxuries.
As a result, many, destined to become Prime Ministers landed up becoming home ministers (housewives and husbands). I vividly remember how my friend cried for several days as his parents could not manage him ahead after class IV. There was no reason to blame his parents. They had nothing nothing but a plot of land that hardly gave crops to feed the large family. Those who had cattle, their children reached lower secondary schools and those who had more land, theirs reached high schools. Beyond this, no one was destined to see except three; Tshering Yangzom, Yangchen Dema (sisters) and myself.
While my two friends who graduated hail from a rich family with large family networks to support them, I come from a very poor family background with my only mother as the sole breadwinner. Many times I was pulled back from classes; not by my mother but by my problems. I had to walk barefoot but I understood that I need not worry of losing my shoes. I had no lunch sometimes and I knew that I wouldn't be fed everyday.
I struggled a lot. I have many benefactors in my life to be remembered and thanked. Without them I would not have seen what rich people have been seeing all the time. Life is so hard when you have to grow your own. Above all, my Principals in high schools had been very magnanimous to assist me at all levels.
After a long duration of a tedious study, I go back to my village only to see my friends in tears. Girls (once) have become housewives and boys have taken up various professions. Most of them have taken up the blue-collar jobs as they have no higher qualifications. Three of them have become non-formal educators while others have joined armed forces. Some have become monks and others Gomchen, way down in the village.
Life takes a different shape when it is not under our control. And the saddest part of it is to accept whatever comes to us; we have no knowledge to alter its mainstream.