Since childhood, I understood that a teacher’s job is a well respected and most secured one. There were the days when a teacher’s verdict would be the final one in Nepalese villages in settling some disputes too. A teacher was a representative to make a deal, and even a negotiator when someone from outside appeared with any reason, be it a political, social, or anything. People even invited the village teacher to read out the letters that were sent by their sons or daughters from their far-off work stations. Therefore, a teacher was everything for the people and one day, I also, being no exception, wanted to become the one when I grew up.
The teacher as a “guru”, who I believed knew everything. Teachers, I still find hard “not to understand”, are the only source of knowledge. Those days, children from a remote village like mine, the northern Dhading, whoever could afford the school used to dance according to the tune and timing of the teachers, and whenever were questioned about their future quests, almost all, I remember, wanted to pass SLC and become a teacher in a nearby primary school.
That was sufficient for me to motivate myself until grade 10, but to better prepare myself for the SLC, the “iron gate”, I left for the district headquarters in search of good teachers who would give me tutorials to complete my incomplete English course. To my dismay in making a deal with locally available “chief” tutors at Dhading Besi, It became a compulsion for me to make an odyssey to Kathmandu, the all-the-time welcoming boulevard, from where I could decide upon my future life. In Kathmandu, I joined the coaching class run by a team at Shanti Vidhya Griha, Lainchour. That was a welcome relief as the teachers helped to complete all the un-finished subjects including English. After a two month stay in the capital, I returned to my home district, Dhading. I appeared the exam, passed with comparatively good marks.
Being an SLC graduate, I became a potential candidate for the job, the job of a school-teacher. I was invited by a school next to my village. But, I more preferred the one in my own village which I did not get. That was an interesting moment as I recall now, and that was the time I had to make a decision in planning for my future. I rather decided to leave the village and pursue further education in the subject that had bigger market – English. Realizing this, I took English as a major, only thinking to improve the language competence, not worrying in knowledge at first. Yes, English was responsible in sending me from Village to Dhading Besi, the district headquarters and to Kathmandu from Dhading Besi while preparing myself for the SLC.
I enjoyed various turns and twists of life once I left my home, family, village, and the home district first time, for such a long period of time. After I passed Intermediate level, I started looking for a job- of course, the teaching job. It was the late 80s, when Nepal was heading for a revolutionary political upheaval. In Kathmandu, there were not many private schools that time and the existing few would not announce vacancies in the media. I did apply whenever I became aware on them, but there would be no responses every time. This led me to take other jobs but teaching, and that provided me with ample opportunity to learn other things which proved to be beneficial in life later.
However, I also started giving classes voluntarily in any school around during my free times. I used to walk in the schools and then to the classrooms where the teachers were absent or whenever they were nice to offer their periods that I could use by discussing some topics from literature, the English literature. I took that as a good opportunity to struggle with self and with the existing social, political settings. By this time, I also realized that studying the subject, “English” was not only for the sake of language, but also to broaden the horizon of knowledge.
English has become the medium to access information related to history, culture, the human existence, about me, and what-not. English has been a faithful companion of every moment in life which was filled with a strong feeling and urgency to update myself in any matter. English the “one time terror” of my life became the deciding factor to embrace teaching as a profession, a university teacher. This has led me to be with “good” human beings, my gifted students and colleagues around me everyday, and thus reuniting me with the original dream of my life.