There is a lot of places on this Earth that I want to visit. I do not want to just gaze at the famous and beautiful things around. Because I know that there are more than just the seven wonders, more than tourist spots, more than vacation hubs, more than what meets the eye. There are wonders deep in the history, in the rain, in the sands, in the food, in the rivers, in the languages, in the dirt, in the corners, in the hutments, in the minds of people. I want to see it all. See the things hidden, camouflaged with the sheet of ordinary, ugly, forgotten, distant, apathetic.
There are places that I want to see and leave once I have seen them. There are places that I want to be a part of, settle in, for a couple of months, or years, whatever it takes. One such place is Tibet. Apart from the political unrest, and the non-violent storm inside Tibetans, I do not know much about Tibet, and Tibetans. But I do know that there’s treasure that I can soak in. I want to live with Tibetans, in Tibet. I really want to.
I had been to Nainital more than three years ago, on a vacation with my friends. On our final days, we were mostly shopping, and trying out foods like momos. This one night, we went shopping for woolens. There was a colony of Tibetans selling sweaters, shawls, and beautiful crochet clothing. It was a colourful and calm community. There was a large cloth banner unfurled right in the center, in full sight. It talked about their right to freedom, in a very straightforward manner. No anger, no violence spewing. Simple words.
I bought a couple of sweaters and shawls from a beautiful Tibetan lady. She smiled a smile of serenity. I asked her if I could click a picture of her with her shop. She said, with a smile on her face – No, I don’t like that. Usually shopkeepers love being clicked, and oblige when you ask for a photograph. That lady and I talked about her sweaters and profits she earns, for a bit. Later we hugged and I left.
My respect for Tibetans has grown manifold since that incident. Their constitution of mind is solid – strong and determined, without having to try to be so. Calm, non-violent, void of hatred, naturally so. There’s just so much all around us. I hope I can visit Tibet in this life of mine.
For now I am content with trying to keep my house clean, sipping on my ginger tea, and watching the wind push off snow from the top of the pine tree in my backyard, that manages to keep its needllike leaves green throughout.