|The Legend-Benji in our humble hall|
This was so far the best talk ever heard in my school hall, I feel very sorry for the remaining half of the students who couldn't be accommodated in the small space. The lucky half who attended the talk listened with all the keenness in the world. The subject of the talk was drug abuse and reading habit, which the students have heard many times so far and are fed up of, therefore I invited Dasho Benji. It takes Dasho Benji to add life to such topics and send it straight into the young hearts. That's called the Benji Factor.
I have never seen my students respond so excitedly to a talk. They laughed when Dasho imitated Bob Marley, the cheered when Dasho acted like a doped guy, they whispered to each other when Dasho told his alcoholic history and the hall went silent when Dasho shared about Tashi Namgyal Dorji, his dear son who left him last year. I met Tashi twice in Thimphu and we talked of many beautiful thing in life, he was so full of charm. He could do magic with his camera and had great dreams but one day he took his beautiful life and left thousands of hearts broken. Dasho shared with my students that his son was influenced into drugs that took his life. He beg of my students not to give that heartbreak to their parents. I could feel the message seeping into the little souls.
Dasho then talked so profoundly about the magic of reading, putting it against drugs. He said every bit of drug makes our brain a little dead, little weak and little dull. On the contrary every book we read adds a new dimension to our brain making us wiser. Children roared their agreement to his confirmation questions. But the talk seemingly ended very soon when everybody was hungry for more of Benji Talk. He promised to visit us again and I am in charge of any future arrangements.
Dasho was on some environmental campaign when I hijacked him en route CNR Lobesa to Taktse in Trongsa. We had talked at length during out first meeting at Mountain Echoes in Thimphu where I made a casual invitation. He accepted generously expressing his strong urge to reach out to as many school children as possible. I already received some "How to Invite Dasho Benji?" questions from school teachers and I answered them easily because it's that easy: Send an Invitation on Facebook and Dasho will kindly respond depending on his schedule. Unbelievable but true when it comes to him- The Benji Factor begins right there.
|Kids requesting for autograph from the star before he left like a shooting star. We were having a quick tea in our rustic school canteen. (Seen on the right is my principal Shangkar Lal)|
|With Dasho Benji @ Mountain Echoes 2014 (On Right: Jambay Dorji and Nawang Phuntsho, two published yet humble writers)|