Monday, May 2, 2022

Remembering the First Teacher of My Life

Madam Krishna M Tiwari is the first teacher of my life. 

It was in 1993 when I was enrolled at Tingtibi Primary School, a remote school located along the Gelephu-Trongsa highway in Zhemgang district. Madam Krishna, then, was a young lady, at the peak of her beauty, tall, slim, and fair, and just married to her husband. 

I was nine years old then, too big, old to be admitted in class PP. Our family had just moved to Tingtibi after the upsurge of protests in southern Bhutan posed risks to us and our home in Gelephu was demolished. However, due to good fortune, my father got a caretaker’s job at an orange orchard in Tingtibi, and there we built a small hut and called it our ‘new home’. 

That year, with the support from Madam Krishna, my elder sister and I got admission to the school, which has changed my life forever (for the better). Madam Krishna taught me English in class PP. She was a brilliant teacher, with a great passion for impacting her students with knowledge and values. She would look stern but was always taking care of her students. 

More specifically, those days Madam Krishna gave me special attention and care. Maybe because I was an older student, or just maybe she discovered different qualities in me. Soon after, I was offered a double promotion by the school, which means I was promoted to class II directly. 

Soon afterward poverty ensnared our family, as my father’s income was not enough to feed us. Unfortunately, my sister had to drop out of school to work on the farm and support the family. However, my parents continued to send me to school. During those trying times, Madam Krishna was very supportive of me and my family. 

It was in 2013, after 19 years, that I met Madam Krishna in Thimphu. Thanks to a journalist friend of mine who brought us together. I was working as a program officer at the Department of Youth and Sports after graduating from Sherubtse College and Madam Krishna was teaching at Etho Metho Primary School. In the beginning, I didn’t recognize her and she didn't either. One evening, after work, we were walking to our homes, talking about our work, hometowns, families, and education. 

“I studied at Tingtibi School,” I said after she told me that she had taught there. 

“What’s your name?” she asked curiously. 

“Riku Dhan Subba,” I replied. 

“Goodness, you, idiot,” she cried and punched me in the ribs with great force. 

That punch shook off my balance on walking. I felt that I deserved more than that, for not recognizing my teacher. I felt ashamed. After that, she took me to her home. And I was more surprised to discover that she lived in a building just 20 meters away from my apartment. 

Today I am a proud citizen of Bhutan, contributing to my society with my best abilities and knowledge. But without a teacher like Madam Krishna, I would not be where I am now. So there is no other better way to show my gratitude and appreciation to the first teacher of my life—someone who had shown me the better direction of life—than to wish for her today. 

A Happy Teachers’ Day, Madam Krishna. Thank you for being such a great teacher and thank you for everything! 


  1. Thank you so much Riku Dhan, indeed it was clever of you to pick out something so perfect for me. I enjoyed those days having you in my class and appreciated all the effort you put into your work. I am sure you will go on to do great things since you are talented and smart too.
    Thank you so much dear for still remembering me.

    1. Is she the same Madam who was/is still teaching at the Early Learning Center?

    2. Yes la.She taught in Early learning center for a long time.

    3. OK... Thanks .. she taught three of my children in ELC,

      Take care and stay safe

  2. During my brief 12-year career as a teacher, I discovered that students remember teachers who love and care about them. They vividly remember teachers who were optimistic or nurturing of them, or who saw something in them that no one else did (see my post here: Students also do not forget  teachers who helped them to get pushed in genuinely believing in themselves and gave extra zeal to confront the challenges on their way. Interestingly, students also remember the teacher who were a little idiosyncratic in their talents. 
    Because I have been a teacher, I get deeply moved when my students remember me for the small things I have done for them. My students were 99 percent of those who wished me congratulations after I made some headlines (see here: (excluding my parents, families and relatives). I wish to script my gratitude for my teachers and students when I have the time and opportunity.