A JOURNEY TO SCHOOL
It was bright sunny day. Few kids (all boys) were lined up. I was one amongst them. I didn’t know what was going on. It was very unusual and I was very scared. We were taken in one after another. Before, it was time for me to get in, I decided to escape. I ran as fast as I could. But unfortunately (unfortunate atleast that time) I could not out run people who ran after me. I was taken in, and there were three or four people sitting in there. I was still not sure what was going on. One of them asked me to put my right hand over my head and try to reach my left ear. I tried stretching so hard to make sure I reach it, so that I could get out of there as soon as possible. I didn’t know why I was made to do that, but all I knew that time was, that I need to get out of there at any cost. Other guy said, you are good to go, now you are ready to go to school. School!! What was that? I didn’t know anything about school.
My parents tried to explain me about school, but still it didn’t interest me. I had no option, after few weeks everything was ready, and I am to go to school. May be new dress might have inspired me to go to school. That was only time when I got to wear something new. My mother packed something for me. We are ready to go, my younger sister came to me and said, “Acho!”. “Yes”, I replied. “This is for you”, she said, and handed me a two Ngultrum Note. Two Ngultrum was very huge sum by then, it would fetch me around twenty lollies. She gave me her saving out of love to me, I could feel her love. There was no time to say farewell to my other family members, they have already left to attend their daily chores. I was escaping from my share of works, I would usually cow herd. That day was different for me, I was leaving home to place I have never been; a place away from home. My mother and I, along with other two boys accompanied by their parents walked, crossed rivers, mountains, deep forests, farms, fields, bridges. Still I could not see so called school anywhere. It didn’t matter, I was still with my mother by then. After almost a day long walk, we reached at new place. Place called Lichibee. School was located on top of the hill, my school, ‘Goshing Primary School’. Many new faces, some well and smart looking boys, some beautiful girls, some even dressed worse than me. Some were wearing something on their feet. I didn’t know what it was that time, if I could recollect it now it must have been shoe and slipper. Not many had it, may be teachers’ children and some health staff’s children must have had it. Did I envy their looks? I don’t know if I did, but very hard thing for me that day, which I can still remember is that pain I had to bear when my mother left me at that new place with new people.
I could not talk to anyone, I was not brave-hearted, was always a shy and reserved boy. Didn’t make friend very easily. I started to worry; what would I do alone in this place? Where do I sleep? Where do I eat? Where do I find toilet? I cried whole day that day. I missed home, I wished if I could find a way home, if I had strength and heart to cross rivers, thick jungles. I was too young, too subtle at heart, I could not do anything. I stayed close to my other two friends from my village. To make sure that I don’t get lost somewhere in the crowd of new faces. We were taken to a traditional house, a two storied traditional house. The top floor and half of down floor housed boys. In other half of the down floor there were few girls. There was nothing inside, I had one small bag with me. I didn’t have mattress, I didn’t have quilt, all I had was that new school dress. by then I knew that my that dress will have to serve not only its original purpose but also be my mattress and quilt. I missed my home that night, I don’t know how much, if there were devices to measure that, it must have been immeasurable. I missed, my mother, my father, my brothers and sisters, the dinner we used to have together. I could not control my tears, tears of loneliness, tears of fear, tears of missing home. I cried that night until I was totally exhausted, slept a night with salty smell and taste of tears running through my cheeks, wondering about tomorrow; thinking about what it would be like, how would I be able to see through tomorrow.