Saturday, February 27, 2010


Somehow it is already my forth day in India. Our first day was spent in Delhi, India's bustling capital, which was somehow tamer than I expected. Don't be mislead, it is still very chaotic, noisy, and crowded, but I was pleasantly surprised at the ease and comfort I felt there. We stayed at a lovely hostel (Nirvana) in a residential area in south Delhi. We were able to roam the streets unharassed by touts or beggars, but instead got to catch a glimpse into ordinarly Indian life in all of its cow loving, horn honking glory.

Currently, Amy and I are staying northern India in a small village called Naddi, which is a few miles northwest of McLeod Ganj, the seat of the Dalai Lama's government in exile. Today we waited on the road side leading into town to greet His Holiness; the Dalai Lama was returning "home" from the airport. As the anticipation of his arrival built, Tibetan children dressed in school uniform aligned themselves down the road with arms outstretched. Laying over their arms where long, white prayer scarves. They waited patiently while Amy and I tried to kill time laughing at nearby men trying to fix an auto rickshaw which was precariously perched on an angle off the side of a cliff.

At last the motorcade arrived and I looked curiously inside the passing vehicles. There he was, seated in the backseat of the second vehicle, waving to us as he passed by. It was a blink-and-you'll-miss it kind of moment (which Amy unfortunately did), but I couldn't help but feel overcome by happiness just to have seen his kind, elderly face.

After he passed, we followed the vehicles up the road and made our way to McLeod Ganj. Next we visited the town's temple, which echoed with the sound of mysterious Tibetan chants. Hundreds of maroon-robed monks and nuns were seated inside, surrounding a small group that was chanting into a microphone on stage. The atmosphere was powerful, but eery though it was nothing compared to the haunting Tibetan museum found on the temple grounds. The pictures and stories portrayed there were chilling, to say the least. The two hour documentary we watched on Tibet and the Chinese occupation of it was heart wrenching.

But these are all thoughts and experiences I will mostly keep to myself when I return to China. I must leave them behind, along with the 'Free Tibet' tote bags and t-shirts, Dalai Lama postcards, and Tibetan flags. I guess this is the issue I'm struggling most with today--that in addition to the injustices committed against these and other people is the added injustice of silence.

No comments: