“In 2006, I went to Chennai to study digital marketing. However, a tour at a dentistry college inspired me to become a dentist instead. The first year was tough but slowly it became fun. After graduation, I returned to work at a private clinic in Chennai. But a health sector that only worked for money dissuaded me from continuing, so I returned and started a job at JDWNRH.

In my spare time, I started trekking with friends and found myself in villages that lacked good medical services. The villagers started consulting us but without any equipment, I was useless. It occurred to me to make timely visits to the villages to offer free dental services. My trekking friends chipped in to buy equipment that fitted into a portable suitcase.

I started visiting places that had as few as 15 households. When I couldn’t go outside Thimphu, I visited the local nunneries and hermits in the forest. My excursions also became a chance to visit remote communities and explore their stories. Some people still believed that extractions could cause sickness, while others consulted shamans who used blood-sucking methods as treatments. All this indicated a wide gap in our society between rural and urban dwellers.

With a regular job, my social endeavors became a challenge so I decided to resign and focus full time on the ‘Mountain Dentist’ project. Weirdly enough, I feel like a selfish person who believes in reaping good energy by being around those working for the good of society. That’s how I got involved in football, bringing crowds of like-minded friends to sing for 90 minutes through a match and organizing the first Mexican wave.

Years ago in Chennai, I read about a group of kids in Bhutan who were into hip hop. When I met them, they weren’t active anymore. Apparently, they were made to perform for events but never paid properly. I used my status as a doctor to go around as their manager, fixing contracts and getting their payments through. That is how ‘Gokab’ was formed. With their talents, they made international connections and sent members to dance academies abroad.”

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