Topden is in the last stages of his degree course in Optometry at Uttaranchal (P.G.) College of Bio-Medical Sciences in Dehradun. He should have finished last year but had a leg broken in a hit and run accident and did not recover in time to take the exam. Finishing the degree course is only part of the process of qualification, so although Topden was at home in West Sikkim, we asked him to arrange for us to visit the college and meet his Head of Department on 5/6 October.
We arrived in Dehradun to find that although it is close to the Himalayan foothills it was very hot. We were met at the airport by a friend of Topden, a student in the same year before he had to repeat a year because of his injury. Now she is an intern at the hospital. She took us to see his Head of Department (HOD), who was very complimentary, saying Topden is a really good student but is also always cheerful and a friend to all. His final exams should now take place in January 2024.
From then the next step is a one-year internship, followed by a Masters. He could do a distance Masters but his HOD recommended the course at Chikara in Himachal Pradesh as the best in India. After the Masters he can set up a clinic, work in a hospital or do both.
Later on 8 October were able to meet up with Topden in Buriakhop, West Sikkim at the primary school Sikkim Himalayan Academy. He has had to take charge of the family mourning arrangements which, being Buddhist, extend over more than a month. He is thinking that he could find an internship and afterwards study at the new government hospital in Sikkim, STNM Hospital. But first he must sit his final exams in January 2024
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