Showing posts with label Step Father. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Step Father. Show all posts

14 October 2015

My Stepfather

(Good people in my life-II)

“Does your stepfather treat you well?”
“You should hit him on the head when he is asleep.”
“Why don’t you go and live with your ani?”

Some people in my village diligently let me know that the man in my family was not my father, and that he would treat me bad. I was only over three years old to understand anything but they made me into a suspicious little boy. It was their usual rustic way of having fun; teaching me all the tricks to challenge my stepfather.
I would happily report to them, “He is scared of me.” Because my stepfather wouldn’t hurt a fly I really thought he was rather scared of me. I wish they had taught something good, or just nothing at all, so I would have thought he was my father or at least as someone who wouldn’t hurt me. I regret having never called him apa. I didn’t even call him aku. I would call him by his name until I was much older.

His real name was Phub Tshewang, which only our grandmother fancied, rest called him Aatsho. A serious infection in his childhood had left him limping. He was a natural introvert who mostly had nothing to say. But he had another dimension to him through which he was capable of expressing himself; he was a man of many skills.

He was homeschooled by his tyrant father who taught him religious scriptures, tailoring, carpentry, and the art of making torma. This set of skills made him one of the most sort-after persons in the village. Perhaps he must have been the only person in the village with such versatility, a man who was useful across all seasons.

Though his earnings kept us well fed in the village, we have had difficult times meeting my school expenses when I grew up enough to need a pair of leather shoes and sports shoes simultaneously. In village we all wore those greenish Chinese canvas shoes, which came for Nu.120, but he understood I couldn’t take those to school. One evening he returned from the town with a pair of sport shoes for me worth Nu.700. It broke my heart, because that was a lot of money in the village and I knew how hard he toiled to save so much, but those were the moment that helped me become a responsible youth. I gingerly wore the shoes for many years.

When I reached high school he started communicated with me more, more than to anybody in his entire life. One evening when he didn’t return from woods, we were so worried at home. We had even planned to go searching for him if only we knew which direction he went to because he wouldn’t tell anyone. He didn’t need company. After dark when he finally returned appearing so casual and took his place near the fire, my mother shouted at him for not informing us about the late arrival. He gave a few words explanation. After she went to bed he quietly called me and showed me his leg. He was in extreme pain. His axe slipped of a log and hit his already limping leg and left a deep gaping wound. He lost much blood. Though freaked out, I carefully nursed his wound and put him to bed. He told to keep it between us. Since then there were lots of things that were kept between just the two of us.

When I had my first girlfriend I showed him her picture and told him everything about her but he laughed at the picture and told me she looked like a sick horse because she was thin and fair. He rather had another girl on his mind for me, a huge wrestler like girl in the neighbourhood. I laughed at his choice too. We were gradually beginning to understand each other.

But he never let me or my brothers touch his tools. He didn’t pass down any of his arts to us. He never wanted us to learn his arts and live his life. He always told us that life would be easier if we rather went to school and used books as our tools. All three sons in the family grew without any of his skills, but his bigger plan worked. We all completed our schooling.

When I was in college first year he came to meet me with some stuff my mother had sent. He had sent a boy to call me behind the college building, thinking I would be embarrassed if he came limping in front of my friends. His shyness and being a loner must have been because of his disability. But I couldn’t be bothered; I took him around and show him my college. I saw pride beaming in his eyes as he scanned the Dzong-like structure of my college.

One of the first things I was going to do after I began earning was to take my stepfather for treatment and give him the comfort of walking without having to limp and wear any kind of shoes. But just one year short of my graduation he passed away. He must have suffered for a long time but he never disclosed it to my mother, if only I was around he would have told me and I would have taken him to hospital on time. He rather went to his mother’s place and died peacefully. More than ten years have passed since but I still couldn’t fully overcome his death. I live the regrets that he never truly knew how I felt about him, I had only begun to open up with him and he left. 

A few years after his death I became a stepfather myself and that’s when I found a new purpose in life and that’s when I found him again in my stepson. Over the years I realised that the best thing my stepfather taught me was the delicate art of being a good stepfather. Jigme was a much better stepson than I had ever been; he knew I was his stepfather yet called me dad. Our affection flowed naturally; stepson to stepson.

Some good people never cease to love you and guide you, not even after their death. 

14 October 2013

Because My Parents Are Divorced...

Once upon our time divorce was a strange word, and we were made to believe that stepparents are always evil. Interestingly I grew up with my stepfather who proved my beliefs wrong. As a child I waited for him to treat me bad so that I could challenge him and run away from home. I was 21 when he died. I thought I cried enough but I was wrong. Often during my sleepless nights I miss him, in fact I could never overcome the tragedy of his death. A part of me was broken forever.

Not all marriages are made in heaven, some people are never meant to be together, and divorce is not everybody's first choice but there comes a point in relationship where all all logical reasoning ends, where the best chance is to stay away from each other. Lucky are the people who could choose their separation this way, unlike my mother who was separated from my father and even my stepfather by the unforgiving hands of death.

Psychologists say that children from broken families are vulnerable to many social problems, and it's mostly true. Some children change overnight and some bury the pain inside until it snaps. But some children selflessly become part of the happiness that their parents gradually find outside of their irreparable marriage. Sometimes it's good for children to live with happily separated parents than to bear with unhappily married parents, who fight every night.

As a teacher I am witness to so many problems related to children in school and being in School Human Resource committee (discipline committee renamed) I had the opportunity to get to the depth of many issues. We have been very sensitive in dealing with children when they appear before us and before we decide on anything we do a thorough background check on them. But recently a new trend of blaming parents' separation as the cause of their mischief has become popular, probably it could could be because of their initial success with the excuse.

  • A boy bunking classes, says he is doing this because his parents are divorced.
  • A girl caught smoking during the lunch break says, she is smoking because her parents are divorced.
  • Boys caught smoking marijuana in the school dustbin tell they are doing this because their parent are divorced.
  • Girl who ran away from home with her lover says parents are divorced.
  • Boy who breaks class window with his punch says he misses his father because he stays with his mother. They are divorced.
  • Girl who drinks during the weekend and found sleeping on the road say she is depressed because of her parents separation.
All the above examples are not real but do have connection to real incidences compiled from different times and places.

With due regard and sympathy for the children who are really suffering, I would like to urge those children who break rules to be honest enough to accept the outcome of your misdeed on to yourselves rather than shamelessly dragging your parents along to take the blame of your selfish behaviours. Know that there are millions of children around the world without parents, without home and without food, and consider yourself very lucky that you have both parents. When you don't appreciate the enormous luck god gives you now and make mockery of it, you may have to live without it someday.

And remember you have to become parents one day...