Wednesday 5 November 2008

An evening to remember...


It was an usual day in office. Indulging in my usual work, equal doses of firefighting and wool gathering. Suddenly Anant brought along a batch of 20/30 people who were students and teachers from Goa out on a mission called 'Discovering India'. They came to visit our office and then were planning to go to meet the Tibetans. Anant was coordinating the meeting.
Post lunch when I was about to settle down to my regular 10 min nap, Anant suggested that I accompany him. Lewis our British intern was also coming. Prodded by Jayshree I finally agreed to sacrifice my nap and go meet the Tibetans.
On our way Lewis became an instant hit. Girls were drooling over him, the boys dutifully took the cameras from the girls and asked Lewis to pose for them. I could see the interested girls blushing all around. Since Lewis was walking with me, I became an unwanted celebrity too. In my 2 minutes of fame I got about twenty photos taken. Oh well...
Initially we heard some interesting talks on Tibet, but the real fun started when we went to visit the Tibetan refugee settlement near Majnu ka tilla. A monk who had been in Chinese prison and dreadfully tortured by the Chinese came to talk to us. He told us how he was educated in Chinese run schools in Tibet and regarded Mao as his leader. Then he met an American lady who told him about Dalai Lama and changed his life forever. When he started getting involved with the freedom movement he was picked up by the army, tortured and kept in prison. I have seen loads of documentaties on Tibet, heard lots of Tibetans speak but listening to this monk speak was an entirely new sensation. He had a very soft voice and a gentle manner and it was very difficult to imagine that this gentle man had to undergo such torture and better still he survived.
Next we heard a young boy speak of his passion--Tibet. This boy born of Tibetan parents was born in India and lived all his life here. A school drop out, because he was terribly afraid of learning the English language, he had been a monk for 3/4 years. The he became a fireband freedom activist. He had stormed Chinese embassy in Delhi, demonstrated before Chinese delegations, been put into Tihar jail for his efforts and yet seemed undaunted. For someone like me without any strong conviction, talking to this boy was a revelation. His entire life seemed centred around Tibet and the freedom movement. I am sure with maturity he has the capability of becoming a leader for his people.
Met some more interesting people, Tibetan settlement looks like a mini Dharmashala, has great and cheap food and very touristy.
On the whole it was a nice and very interesting kind of evening. I would miss these kinds of experiences once I quit HRLN.

1 comment:

  1. They are an amazing nation that has suffered such hardship. I would giv eanything in the world to meet the Dalai Lama...

    ReplyDelete

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