Chapter One ~ Hostel Life "HELLO DAWA" GREETED PENJOR, AN ENERGETIC BOY who woke up first than anyone else. He is fairly handsome with modernized hairstyle who never failed to gel his hairs. His eyes are hazel and face oval, quite long at the chin. "Yes Penjor, anything else?" I responded yawning because of the nightly hours. Usually at night, fooling the Warden and the Night Guards-those lazy fellows and fools, and no place for the Captains, we enter through the pearly gates of our 'Divine House of the Heaven' for the mundane activity. Let me say it in simple, we usually blowed smokes or sometimes teachers said feeding on the grasses. Mary Jane was the usual mandatory one and seldom psychoactive drugs like LSD and DMT. After that, we felt divinely euphoria and even the stars seemed to twinkle in the dark obnubilate night. Laughter was another feature, we laughed like mentals and thought like an ass. The funniest things would happen after we were intoxicated by the venomous power of the weed. Whenever we looked at each other's face, some driving factors would made us to burst into undefined laughter, which would last practically about five to ten minutes. Study was another fucking stuff, my teachers, poor fellows, kept on advising me that I have to burn my midnight candle and often said I was performing very poorly. Their efforts went as if they were pouring water onto the nonporous and compact boulders! Parents and teachers exhortations made me hurl, be it of any degree of persuasiveness, I was fade up of hearing. Let me be precise, I was sort of inexorable. My ears operated very poorly due to buggy and pressurised advice. One day it so happened that I was referred to the school counselor, a real chump, by my class teacher who had still some hope of turning me to humanism from barbarian, poor him. He questioned me, which were considered the technique of the counselor, which I don't wanted to disclose. I simply said, "I am not able to perform well as expected and awaited for because my brain is fucking poor." "Hey! Repeat it once again! You child of a dog. Don't you have manner to talk with your elder. You rascal." His voice heightened and his eyes turned red. He caught hold of my robe right at my chest and pushed me back, tumbling me from my chair. I severely hit my head on the bookshelf. "Err....I am fucking poor!" I replied, getting up from the floor, getting irritated. As I used a word 'fucking' in the conversation, as in the Bhutanese context it is understood as filthy and inappropriate, he was exasperated and whanged his broad hand on my face as he considered the talk to be official. I said firm and entrenched, "If you will, you are welcomed to another as well", so I willingly gave my left. He was extremely fierce then, so he forced me out of counselling service room. "Let us go fast to the school. Today is Chemistry test, you know that?" He asked, sashing for the final round around his waist. His smiles were lively and sometimes he stretched so broad that even his jaws would be displayed outside his two thick brown lips. Chemistry? Stoichiometry, Mole Concept and Gas Laws? All were the toughest chapters. "Chemistry? When is the period?" I interrogated him solemnly for sake I could not afford to conjecture chemistry teacher, a real sorcerer indeed! He roughed out any student if misbehaved without having mercy. I still reminisced how badly he had beaten the stuffing out of me when I couldn't state the Gay-Lussac Law. I still have contusions to prove. "It's second period, you heard me?" He said earnestly, applying the 'Fair and Handsome' cream. "Then, what is the first period?" I asked him, totally psyched and brought into life. "Haha...why do you even ask that?" He asked rather mortifyingly, gelling his already porcupine-like hair. They looked too glossy to touch. "If it's free, I can get time to study." I mused, finding myself oblivious of what is really happening around. I felt completely disorganised and insane. Since Chemistry was my toughest subject, very much hated subject right from class IX, without practising I din't have even hope of scoring one. "Haha...unfortunately, it's Mathematics, dude!" He said simply stretching his thick lips. He certainly had studied thoroughly as displayed by his pride. "Oops! Bad luck, Dawa?" I whispered to myself, unheard by others; mused to the land of unknown dilemma. "What did you say?" He asked, smelled the rat, time and again combing his hair. "Nah..." I responded dully. Maths teacher, another nutcase if it was in Japan, would arrive before time and never left the period free, not even single. Swotting up on maths was like sweeping the awful lavatory with rich in pungency which would take to the bed for weeks. The best mark that I ever hatched in my so far attended Mathematics exams was twenty-five out of hundred, it sounds hilarious! "Penjor, then please show me your answers during the test." I pleaded, melancholia indeed burnt my root of hopes and strength through. "May be, if situation permits." He replied with a theatrical smile. Oh My Soul! Before I could get dressed, he left the room and other mates too. I was the tail end hippo to go to school with morning blessing from the warden, hear me. It took me almost ten minutes to reach, almost behind time by fifteen minutes for the study. I was seriously dealt by the TOD, you know what? Classmates made me a play of fun and animadversion when they saw imprints on both sides of my coarse face. I was embarrassed. I opened the Chemistry Text Book and tried to scan and if possible mug up. But, my efforts dissipated, not even single definition entered my brain. I, with some hopes, repeated again but my exertion had no positive impact. It rather caused cephalalgia, so I just turned my blind eyes on it and reluctantly went for sleeping. "Why are you sleeping Dawa? Today we have Chemistry test, you know that right? At least read and turn over a new leaf, my poor chap." Yethro woke me up. She often times provided me flowery smiles and advised me with her singsong voice not to take drugs. I too liked her said that not too madly though the fact was she was the most beautiful angel in our institution. Every boy followed her! She was medium sized, with shoulder length reddish hair, white complexion and had loveable body physique; a callipygous! She looked more beautiful when dressed in her favourite attires. She was the turn-on of everyone's burning veracity. "Haha...really? My angel?" I teased her. I was fond of playing with her with words because she was sort of bounty and talkative. Moreover, kind of lenient and understanding. "Haha...you keep on praising me, Master Druggist! You will score zero later. I know you like me but..." She said incompletely that led to the suspense of my heart. "But...?" I asked her back, heated up. "But....you will know as time passes by." She replied with a different impression. I found myself dump and in the climax of her say. I was too shivering with excitement and I could feel the increased heart pulse and my mouth was dry. "Haha...don't vex much. I meant you will again get the dog beating like what you get oftentimes." She switched the topic and teased me but I felt tee totally different. I kept on gazing at her face that looked brighter than the moon, which is taken into account the most beautiful in the entirety cosmos and gasp at her way of laughing. Those cute and pearly eyes that resembled the twinkling stars, those snowy face, the way of laughing, the way she wiggled her waist while walking..... "What happened?" She prodded and woke me from my reverie. "Nah...nothing. Nothing!" I revived my consciousness, a reality. Our conversation was cut in by a bell. Hostel life is all about bell, we wake up, bell; we study, bell; we eat, bell; we work, bell; we sleep, bell...and what not to bring in? "OK, you keep on sleeping, a bone-idle pig!" She taunted me so pleasingly. "Tee hee...'' She went for breakfast and I too trailed her in the kitchen. There were queues of students waiting for the meals or comestibles to be served. These young ladies and lads were even worse than the animals associating with the mannerism. "Class tens, you're last today." Announced the school boys captain. He looked even older than my father; his face was filled with hairs and mouth with mustache. "What the hell? Class ten last" I growled in dismay. I completely lost my constraint and temper. "Yeah, why not?" Thinley, a Jewa House Captain as well as COD of the day, replied shrugging his hunched shoulders. "Really a fucking day!" I muttered angrily. Serving the meals last is directly proportional to no time to study. I was immeasurably tensed. 'Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry....let it study by the chemists, why we?' It resonated and echoed to and fro inside the circular wall of my unproductive brain. I could not wait so I compelled myself into the tight buzzing procession. Those sounds of falling plates and mugs on the ground were really choleric and disgusting. "Hey dog? Why you in the front? We have been waiting for long, our legs are paining....Go back to your own place!" A black-necked crane by appearance, affronted me publicly and forced out from the line. "Please brother, we have Chemistry test today. I haven't study, let me go." I pleaded though I was internally tempered because of his bossy pride. "No way!....we too have mathematics test today, you got me?" He grunted like a pig, no condolence in the least. I felt like blowing his nose with a punch so that he would realize his status. I, like an underdog, went putting my head between my two skinny-hunched shoulders. I was at the tail end. I missed my earlier place. Eventually, after a long wait, my turn rolled. I received my share. It was fried rice mingled with raw cabbage. I ate them speedily but unfortunately, a lump of bolus stopped its acceleration at my vocal cord. I hiccoughed, water forced itself from inside and rushed out of my nose mingled with alimentary mucus forming viscous homogeneous mixture. Luckily, Yethro saw a fuss that was going on me and she brought water and made me to drink. She hit on my slimy neck to make the bolus flow in. Everyone concentrated at us. I was jolly ashamed. Yethro, a Lucifer in comparison, took me to the classroom. I felt ever so ashamed as everyone watched us going to the class. I trembled with fear as illicit relationship was strongly proscribed by the school and if the administrators had seen us, by misfortune, I would have been mercilessly chastised though in actuality we weren't. But I felt the pinches-chicken hearted? Not really. She seemed to be bold enough to catch hold of my arm, which were shivering, after all. "Aren't you feeling anything?" I asked her, shivering like in the cold as mine legs were emasculated. "Why? What are you talking about? Which stuff are you referring to?" She inquired raising the firmness in her tone piercing her pearly eyes straight on mine. "Nah...nothing. Nothing at all! Just asking for a sake. " I replied forcing a fake smile, still quivering. We ascended the lengthy steps to our classroom. Finding the suitable chair right below the fan, I reposed under the spinning fan at a celerity of level five. I felt the cool sweat on my body spreading all over. She looked at me differently and supposedly longingly. I felt uneasiness prevailed in me. "Why are you looking so differently at me today which you never did before?" I enquired her uncomfortably. "Nothing special, just felt like looking at you." She said and continued, "Can you imagine how you would have looked like when a stuff stopped at your Adam's Apple? Haha" She taunted me, masking her merrily laughing mouth with her snowy and nesh palm. "I don't know. You are the one to witness, so you should know better than me, isn't it?." I replied sternly. "Tee hee!" She just laughed and I kept on looking at the happiness her facial expression revealed. Her way of laughing was tee totally different that nobody had. I have never seen any. Ever. With some elapses of time, assembly came into existence. I was just standing in the line and trying very hard to recollect those RAM, GMM, Dalton's Law, Partial Pressure, Ideal Gas Law, Finding the Empirical or Molecular Formula, Percentage Composition,....but nothing seemed to favour me. I was pathetic. I just looked at the lofty pine and homely oak trees, which seemed to laugh at me, where various birds sing sang with their melodious voices and looked at how they flied in utter liberty, after countless attempts to recollect but in no avail. Yethro had earnestly looked at me from her line, perhaps seeing my pathetic condition. I smiled and she too did but obviously artificial because her mien spoke more than that. After the demise of Assembly, first period started. I went piercing through the hissing and buzzing disorganised lines of the students. It was a good irony that despite the door being too small to support those many students, they were piercing themselves into, though they knew its carrying capacity to allow them to enter, some even hurting their arms or heads. Before I reached the classroom, Mr. Sithub Lhamsang, M. Phil., M. Sc., B. Ed., our Mathematics Teacher was teaching on 'Precision and Accuracy'. "Sir, may I come in?" I asked for. "Oh! Where were you?" He inquired rather flat, twitching his mustache. "I am just coming from the assembly." I replied, stunned and scratching my porcupine-like head as always-as I was inured of doing unwittingly. "Till now? Oh my goodness! Come in and listen this is the last chance being given to you. And the class I don't want to see such thing again." He warned, seemed I did his head in. But he too was mingling with such an itsy bitsy fuss, a minute late or less. "OK sir!" Buzzed the class. He taught numerous ways of reading the significant figures abbreviated as SFs and taught the ways to take into consideration. "Dawa? How many significant figures does this number has?" He asked me by writing the integer '2000' on the green board. "It has four." I responded quite confidently but the class burst into laughter and I was embarrassed. Actually I was sure that I was correct. "What! What the hell you are talking about?" He boomed into flame and rage. "How dare you say? Can you prove it to the class?" He questioned me harshly. His eyes were widened and face enveloped by anger, just like able to explode. "It's simple. I just counted all the numbers." I replied making myself presentable. "What the hell is this son of a bitch?" He slammed the door and retired. I hear at distant someone murmuring, 'only one' but unfortunately, before I could correct my boo-boo he went out of the classroom. Chapter Two ~ Chemistry Test "YOUR CHEMISTRY TEACHER ASKED YOU TO COME in the MP Hall." Said one of the junior boys. All the classmates rushed towards the Multipurpose Hall and some even deceived by saving the formulae in their calculators while some wrote the definitions and some important notes illegibly on the back cover of their supporting books that they cunningly use to support their answer sheet amidst the coarse surface of the tables. I felt blank and so did the gloomy Yethro's face looked like. I didn't know why? We twain too ran towards the hall which was of two minutes walk. Subject teacher was busy distributing the question papers and the sheets, when we entered the hall. I too took the papers and searched Penjor, frustrated, but he was very far in the corner and the nearby seats were already reserved by the mates. No option left, I had to sit next to the subject teacher. All the questions seemed strange like an alien for me. I was ineffectual so my brain was a blank page. To be honest, I could only answer confidently a unit of pressure and state the Boyle's Law that are worth of three marks; 1 for the unit and 2 for stating the law. I could vividly appraise that I scored 3 out of 20 marks. My body lurched time and again when I came to normalcy from the reverie of teacher again beating me to a pulp like making a traditional 'desho' from the bark of 'Daphne' tree. "Dawa! Where are you? Did you finish answering the questions?" Chemistry Teacher hollered. I was awakened completely from the unconsciousness and nodded my head to signal I didn't. "Write fast, there is no enough time." He shouted. How much I exerted to write still and all my attempts were next to nothing. No solution left than carbon copying the questions on the answer sheets. So I sighed one deep breath of relief and went out of the hall. "Hey Dawa! How was your test?" Penjor asked brightly. His eyes a twinkling star. "You know it very well. No better than the predecessors." I replied and without the mood of having further conversation I went to the class. Most of the student faces showed how well they had attempted the questions, so I, too, once again sighed as I was not only the one. The following day was being scheduled for giving our papers. â¢â¢â¢â¢â¢â¢â¢ I was totally lost and couldn't stop from hallucinating. The Chemistry teacher came and all the students stood up to greet him. I too tried my hard to stand up but I felt my spine and my skeletal systems as soft as rubber. I was emasculated and melted through by the thought of apprehension. "How did you do in your test?" He asked the class providing a greeting smile. I couldn't dare to look at the cane stick he was carrying with him. I could construct a perfect scenic animation about his beating in mine cow-dung brain; applying all his efforts on the stick and whooshing so hard at my skinny caboose. "Ah!" I outcried unwittingly. "What happened Dawa? Are you OK?" He asked me in a consoling manner. "Umm...Nothing sir. Well...I am...uh...okay" I replied stuttering the sentence. "OK then" He said and continued, " I'm not really impressed with your test." Everyone looked at each other's face as if lost somewhere. "Some of you have done goodly and maximum of you have done very badly." He said flipping the answer sheets and continued, "Let me start from the good ones. Those who got below ten will get the beating according to the mark you scored" Then he started calling out the names: "Som Nath scored 18, Penjor 15, Dendup 14.5,...Karma Cheki 10.5 , Tshering 10 , Bhim 9...and so on." Bhim became the first to get the taste of cane stick and trailed by others. Everyone was called including Yethro who scored 8.5 and she looked so gloomy and yes my name was not called out. I started to grew skeptical about my own mark. "Who didn't get your paper?" He asked, affrontingly. I, with all the energies stored for me, raised my hand and responded, "I didn't" Then he asked, "How did you do your test?" I couldn't answer to his question and remained stuttering. "Come here Dawa!" He asked me reassuringly. I neared him, unable to pace further and not able to cohort myself, shivering. I couldn't directly look at him and just bent my head like a branch of a tree unable to withstand the charge of its fruits. "Haha..." He started to laugh looking at my answer sheet and remarked, "Class, he is a kind of cunning boy. I am really proud of his shrewdness. Haha....he just carbon copied the questions in the answer sheet, that's pretty good. He scored one out of twenty for writing the unit of pressure." He remarked, still unable to control his fucking laughter. "Position yourself, Dawa. My poor child. You will definitely know once you get the sweet taste of this blessing." He commented while I bent down. "Please, sir! One chance." I requested, protecting my butts from his captivity. "No...it's not going to be fair and just. I have already beaten your friends. They will sue me and I don't have favoritism." He said and my plea fell on the deaf ear. I was option less and reluctanly had to relent. Then the beating started. I couldn't withstand his strength applied in his cane stick. I got five sticks on my butt and I was sure I passed out for some countable moments.
Sham Kumar Monger