With the NC election becoming an overriding issue and common talk in the streets, it became everybody's concern to help the Election Commission of Bhutan conduct a smooth election. As teachers and as the credible lot in the society, we were notified in advance that we would be send to various polling stations as polling officers. It was a chance to lend our helping hands to the ECB. But here I must make a point clear. We never intended for monetary benefits. It was all out of concern for a smooth election in the country.
With just few days remaining, the Dzongkhag election officer sent a letter asking us to confirm on our availability. We replied in affirmative. We had all the intention to help the Dzongkhag Election sector. Just few days before the refresher course, many of our friends knew in advance the polling stations to which they would be sent. So, I went to the election office to ask my placement with the hope that the officer would tell me the placement. But it wasn't to be for me. I was rather paid indifference and hostility by the election officer.
I greeted him ' Kuzu zangpola'
He didn't bother my greeting. He was engrossed in typing.
I stood before him for quite sometime, while he still didn't pay heed to my presence and a long silence ensued.
I felt awkward to be standing before him like a dummy. So i dared ask him humbly 'Sir, I came here to note my placement for the election'
'No we don't tell the placements to anybody' he replied.
'Sir I would like to prepare to go to the place, if you could kindly tell me my placement' I said humbly.
'I said we don't tell the placement to anyone' he said with an authoritative air this time. I felt guilty because I seemed to have got on his nerves.
However, I plead him 'But sir-'
But he cut me short. He interrupted even before i could complete my sentence 'I said we don't tell the placements. Can't you understand?'. He seemed not to be allowing a word out from me. At that moment I wasn't quite happy with the way he was reacting to me.
Then i picked my point. 'Sir how is it then that some teachers already know their placements?'. This time he stopped typing, glared at me head to toe and said 'What did you say? Say again!'
'Sir, many teachers already know their placements. How did that happen if the office didn't tell anyone the placements?' I asked him.
'Could you tell me the names of those people to whom we have told the placements?' he asserted.
I could have not only named them but brought dozens of teacher who knew their placements to his office. But i didnt want to make the situation graver. I wanted to end it before it picked any more heat and I said 'Sir, I came here only to ask my placement.'
'Have you come here to disturb us?' He asked me.
'No sir, I just came here to ask my placement. If you don't allow I will just leave'
'I already told you, we don't tell the placements'
Then he asked me an unexpected question 'Tell me. Are you interested to go as an polling officer or are you not?'
'Sir, if I wasn't interested, I would have not come here to ask my placement. It was only out of dedication and concern that I came here.'
'I think you are not. So, I am striking off your name from the list and mind you! We don't have time to greet back to your 'Kuzuzangpola''
I patiently said 'That's fine sir.'
And I quietly walked away because I remembered what His Holiness The Dalai Lama said-
'In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher'