My thoughts and activities in Dharamsala

Monday, August 07, 2006

HHDL on the Moon?

I have just come from my house just a few minutes ago after experiencing an hour of Hindi soaps while I studied Tibetan in the living room. Even though I was not watching the shows, I could still feel the melodrama involved due to the intensity of it all. Of course my family members are all deeply in gross in their favorite show Kasauti Zindagi Kyi.

My host brother Tashi is very happy, nursing school is about to start for him in Dehra Dun and the family have just brought him a motorbike, a total crotch rocket. Blue with the word movie star written on it in big white letters. The owner sold it to him for 20,000 INR with is dirt cheap for a bike. He told me that the guy is with a rich white lady who sends him money, in which he keeps on buying newer, better bikes with.

I met with two BC Tibetans, Thupten and Nangkyi today hanging out in Kokonor Italian restaurant. I always cherish hanging out with these folks, and to see them in their hometown. On my way home I ran into one of my neighbor who lives slightly uphill from my house. He has been having pujas at his home for the pass couple of days. Every morning for the pass few days I have woken up to the sound of drums, cymbals and the deep guttural chanting of monks. It was interesting talking to him. He is from Phari, Tibet and father moved to Bhutan (right across the border from Phari) after Chinese occupation. They have lived in Bhutan for some time, but they left because the King of Bhutan wanted to force the exile Tibetans to take Bhutan citizenship and Bhutanese identity by wearing Bhutanese clothes and hairstyles. He told me that it wasn’t the citizenship that has bothered him, but that the Tibetans will have to take on Bhutanese dress. For this reason he family moved to Dharamsala.

He told me that folks have been calling from other Tibetans settlements in India, and places in Tibet, claiming to have seen the face of HHDL on the moon. Even Nangkyi told me that someone had told her to look at the moon, but as everyone in McLeod Ganj knows the clouds have just cleared out this afternoon after a solid week of rain. The sky is clearing up today, but I am not sure if I will be blessed enough to catch it, but I will get to see him at the next teachings coming up in a few weeks.

The rain here is something else. Yesterday, I had to go to TIPA and on my way up it was just raining not so hard, I saw an old Tibetan man with a long wooden pole in the mud trying to get the water to go down the hill. At that same spot last year that house developed a huge crack and in front of it on the road a huge hole developed, big enough to swallow a motor-rickshaw. But on my way down the rivers were coming every which way down the mountain in gullies that are getting bigger and deeper. Already there are sections where the road has sunk. Rich brown water just flowed over the road. The few drainage holes that are there are pouring way more than what they were designed to hold. I was thinking that at this rate with the looming threat of an earthquake that McLeod Ganj will end on top of Lower Dharamsala. When I think about this place, it seem to be built like a huge strip mall, with buildings sprouting everywhere faster than one can count.
The picture that I have place with this entry is from the TIPA quad while I was sheltering myself from the rain in the company of some dogs who looked like drown rats.

My room has turned into a kind of animal sanctuary. I have a group of sparrows that now live inside my room. On my ceiling there is a hole with wires sticking out below it, that had at one time held a light bulb. But now is has become a birds nest. The Papa sparrow sits on the wires all night, while the mother with her little birdies live inside. At first I did not notice the birds until one day I looked up towards the ceiling to see this Papa bird just chillin’. He was not bothered with me at all so, that is cool. Some times other birds come in and they fight. I have to keep a dirty cloth in the middle of the floor so that the bird’s droppings fall on it. I also have spiders, mice and slugs greeting me at times too. And yesterday during the downpour there was a donkey outside my door braying like crazy. My little zoo.

My time is going away; I have about three weeks left here. My friend Jason Fults is coming in a few days for HHDL’s teachings, so I will be happy to see him here. I have been studying Tibetan extra hard trying to see if I could make any incredible progress in the language before I leave. I have two tutors now. Pema is back from Spain, and I am meeting with her three times a week, along with Thupwang six times a week.

One thing that I noticed is that Pema has framed her picture of her with Richard Gere. On that note, supposedly Hillary Swank and Maria Shriver wife for the California Governator Schwarzenegger have graced McLeod Ganj recently. But these things I wouldn’t have known, until a friend told me. Pema also told me of her experience with briefly speaking with Heinrich Harrer author of Seven Years in Tibet. Pema told me that there was a picnic going on Thardoeling (a tiny hill area in McLeod Ganj) before it was all build up. She sees this old white guy passing by where she was sitting. So she ask him where he was from in which he responded in perfect honorific Tibetan that he was from Austria. She was totally shocked to hear this old white dude speaking the Tibetan of old Lhasa aristocrats. Pema’s friend next to her then whispered in her ear who he was. He told Pema that he was just visiting and that has was about to have lunch with the HHDL. It is interesting to me that people that I have gotten to know have met some interesting people.

Well that is it for now, my goal for the next few weeks are to get ready for returning to the United States of America.


No comments: