Something went wrong with my work in the last semester. It was the time, time and time. It slipped away though I was 24 hours around KU. There were ridiculous strikes, and absences of students. I missed a few classes for some inevitables. And it was enough to make me feel that I could have done much much better. But the truth is that I was never idle. The four groups of science and engineering, two of media studies, four of I.Sc, and those commitments for Dhulikhel … Work for Bodhi, and other undefined responsibilities in and outside the department (inside KU), the several to-dos from home. Sounds too many, but I feel I should and could have done more than I did.
On the surface, our department is a small entity inside School o f Arts. Ironically, people see it small, both in terms of space and number of faculties. The number of students is just about four dozens. This gives a fine reference to others that there is less to do and earn with this smallness. I sometimes have this conviction that the smallness is most complicated, too small to illustrate the old adage that small is beautiful.
What is the complication then? It is easy for everyone to equate the size with fewer problems. What are 47 students and just above half a dozen teachers? The complication is that the 47 do not say they are satisfied with the size management. Forty seven means ten times forty seven expectations.
All of us see something out of joint now and then. Gossips are cumulative, and each time one partakes in it, a hill of problems and errors pile up. Does anyone show readiness to work out solution? Or does anyone say ‘I would like to help this way’ without keeping some conditions up the sleeves? Finding answers to these is the complication I may have missed clarifying earlier. Well, there can be no more explanation than the fact we have matured with this notion: All those good things are due to me. Ask the Head why something went wrong! If we think that students are loitering unawares, it is only an illusion. Nobody has really cared the surge of activism against any negligence. Yes, I share some of the blame; I should have worked to prevent inefficacy. I realise that the groups that will pass out of KU with all natural credits and critiques in our names have not got enough to justify everything went as it should. Suffice it may to say ‘we’ are letting the smallness adjust itself, but it has not.
I listen to students. Why? Do I enjoy? No. But listening tells me where the department is heading. Do I have to bother about the department’s direction? Yes. When I began in KU, I began to bother. First, it was the lack of a separate program to feel proud of and to work for. So, I worked tooth and nail for Media studies program. In fact, the earlier English department was a synonym for commitment. We worked up to establishing a proud department of Languages and Mass Communication. It is not a sheer pride. It is a pride that comes out of a true spirit. We who worked from the formative years remember the arduous task of tilling the land. Those who come to pick the fruit complain about the thorns.
Something has gone wrong in my way — growing dependence on and waiting for formalities; search for authenticity/authority despite the surety that full involvement is inevitable; expectation that someone would volunteer to right the wrongs, and so on… When a student comes and says, “I don’t know whether I should tell you this, but I feel like telling you,” I feel obliged to help her/him speak the mind. I think it gives some perspective for looking forward. If a student expects a bit of sympathy, guideline and commitment from a loving teacher, the expectation is by all means productive.
One of my seniors here says, “Don’t wait if none helps you do what you are capable of doing alone. Put people behind by outrunning them. Run faster, that’s all.” It does make sense, after all.