Today there was a mid day surprise experience at Jigme Namgyel School, Thimphu. An early finish to my chores in the town had me arriving much before the pickup time of my ward. But pleasantly I found that I had actually come on time to share the public reading at the school.
Jigme Namgyel has so many sections in classes VI , VII and VIII. The reading was being done by one student from each section of a class. Class VI reading was going on. The storey was about a boy called Einstein and three friends going to Arizona to find a dream catcher that entraps bad dreams on its kind of spider web like net. I kind of liked the imaginative narrative of imagining fierce dream like a tiger turning to orange kitten. The voices were sweet and the flow flawless.
Next was Class VII and the storey about a young man and his childhood friend and playmate dog called Ivan. The child had grown up to a young man of 20 years age and the dog about to breathe his last breath at age 14. In such a short passage so much varied kind and level of emotions were reflected. The mother trying to ease the pain of her son and the son confronted with the imminent approaching death of Ivan and perhaps a sense of guilt in having passed by that childhood intensity of affection between Ivan and himself but still loving the dog deeply. Then there was the feeling of rejection felt by Kate his girl friend who does not recall of ever hearing about Ivan and now all of a sudden her boy friend cancelling their movie date that they had long been planning, on the pretext of a dog called Ivan.
Next and last was class VIII the senior most. Jigme Namgyel School has classes from PP to VIII. The school complex is quite congested with about 1300 students. But it is quite an organised world unto itself. The flow comes gradually upon a frequent visitor like me
The storey being read is on separation and tears. It is of a younger sister returning to her village home to attend to the sad affairs of managing the funeral rites for her only sister. Upon approaching the village Chorten, memories of last and only farewell scene between her and her sister floods on. She was then an innocent young girl going off to Thimphu to work as a baby sitter. Her sister had advised her to be responsible and gentle with the baby and respectful and honest with the master and mistress. An advice that helped her to chalk out a decent life of her own and now she had returned with her husband by her side to bid her sister a final goodbye and take over the responsibility of educating the young son left behind by her sister.
It was amazing to hear different age level and voice level read through the different emotion level and experience level stories. The carefree and imagination run wild joyful storey read by class six students followed by the first heart burn adolescent storey read by class seven students and finally the reality of life and its pain plus success storey of grown ups read by class eight students.
Reading in a way is also experiencing. And reading aloud to a congregation of over thousand students plus teachers and judges elevates the readers to a higher level of awareness and discipline. There is no better way to mould young hearts to learning and experiencing. Congratulations to Jigme Namgyel Teaching Faculty and all dear students. You are treading the right path in education in actively participating in the Reading Year.
Wangcha Sangey dtd 06/06/2015 Thimphu.