My thoughts and activities in Dharamsala

Monday, July 31, 2006

Kyi Ani

I was not planning to update but I saw this article about a documentary made about a 70 year nun who lived underneath my old apartment on TIPA Rd with tons of dogs in a plastic shack. I have fond memories of her and her dogs, and how she was amazed that I could speak some Tibetan.

My first memory of her was when I first moved into my apartment. I was walking through the maze to get to my room and carefully navigating around the many piles of dog poop to be found. She was is the pathway picking up the poop. I asked her what she was doing and she said one word "Kyakpa" shit in Tibetan, meaning that she cleaning after her many dogs. And of course I remember the dog fights that broke out almost very morning, and the late night barking.

I do know that some Tibetans disliked "Kyi Ani" Dog's Nun in Tibetan, which made me sad, for last these dogs were loved. My Tibetan tutor, Pema, who helps with getting her and other elderly Tibetans sponsorship has related the stories of her experiences of deal with her to me. Every now and then when I see her on the street she will stop a bit just to say high. Last winter her doggy shack burned to the ground and afterwards when I came back from South India, I heard that many people pulled resources together to build her a new and better house. Some people at first suspected that someone might of burned down her house for spite. I hope not. I my self have not seen the documentary but I hope to before I leave.


Release of another Tibetan Documentary Film
Phayul[Monday, July 31, 2006 10:53]
By Phurbu ThinleyPhayul CorrespondentDharamsala, July 30 -

With big budget feature films still a far-off distant dream for many Tibetans who have taken up film making as their professions; it is, however, not unusual to see young Tibetan movie making enthusiasts from surprising us with their small improvised budget documentary films from time to time.

Lining up in the list is Mr. Kelsang Tsering Khangsar, who today launched the Press Premiere of his first debut documentary film, titled, "THE JOY OF LIVING", at 4:00 PM local time at the Tibetan Community Centre McLeod Gunj, Dharamsala, India.

The story of the film revolves around a true life account of an elderly Tibetan Buddhist Nun, Anni Sonam Tsering and her unconditional love of street dogs that ultimately transforms her life to devote her time completely taking care of these hapless dogs for the last more than 30 years.

Anni Sonam is among the first groups of Tibetans who settled in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala after invading Chinese Communist forces finally occupied Tibet in 1959. Since then, her life has been a constant struggle for survival. In spite of all the difficulties in her personal lives, her natural sense of sympathy and consideration towards other creatures has not faded from her life.

For Tibetans in Dharamsala, this unique story of Anni Sonam is not new. She is popularly known to the local Tibetan people as 'Khi Anni' meaning, 'The Dog's Nun' a symbolic gesture that her unyielding service that she renders for the well being and needs of those helpless street dogs are acknowledge by many.

Despite simple production, Mr. Kelsang has made his full attempt to capture the various facets of the nun's life and her usual day to day playful routine with her pack of dogs.

Although the idea to bring this unique story on screen was conceived by Kelsang way back in 2003, it took him more than three years to actually make the film. The main reason being lack of financial and other concrete supports.

But, all these short comings has, however, not deterred Kelsang from his idea of showing the story while Anni Sonam, who is now over 70, is still very much a living example.

In this 52 minutes film, Mr. Kelsang portrays Anni Sonam's uncompromising sense of responsibility and the extend of sacrifices she made either in saving the street dogs from human brutalities or from day to day hunger. It explores the founding of a relationship between Anni and the street dogs that simply forced her in accommodating these poor creatures in her own dingy shaft home even if it means adding extra burden in doing regular clean ups from their messes .

Unlike in her youthful past, where she had been able to feed dogs with her own meagre savings of the day, today, Anni moves from door to door collecting food for her dogs. And this has become her daily routine.

Life has now become unimaginable to this tireless Anni without the company of these faithful dogs, who never fail to wag their tails whenever they see their loving guardian coming along. She means more than a mother to these street dogs and she has accepted these creatures her own family members. It is visible from the film that the indefinable bond of love that has developed between them has given so many reasons to Anni to believe that her living has, in fact, become much more joyful than ever.

In showing this unique story of Anni Sonam on screen, Mr. Kelsang seeks to add a little spiritual dose to the viewers by awakening our inner beings and reminds us - "when a relationship is bound by love, there is no end to sacrifice".

An alumnus of Tibetan Children's Village School, Mr. Kelsang Tsering finished his graduation in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh, India and also a diploma degree in Correspondence Studies in Mass Communication from the same university.

Kelsang has to his credits the experience of working in 5 major Tibetan film projects including the much known recent Tibetan feature film, 'DREAMING LHASA' by Ritu Serin and Tenzin Sonam. He also worked in two International feature films- VALLEY OF FLOWERS and LOOKING FOR COMMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD.

It is his experience of working in these projects that helped him in making his first self-financed present documentary film. As of now, Kelsang is looking forward to the release of another documentary film titled, "DHARAMSALA", directed by Sahil Segal, which is due to be released very shortly in October this year. The film is now at its post production stage and Kelsang has worked as an Associate Director for it.

No comments: