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The Journal of Mirandita

Deep Confectionery

INDIA | Friday, 10 May 2013 | Views [375]

Joyfully we left Amritsar behind. We had spent ten days there while Fernando recovered from tonsillitis, holed up in room nine (aka The Tower) of the Tourist Guest House, sandwiched ‘tween the dual carriageway, and the railway tracks laden with hooting trains. I became a regular customer at the swanky (but safe) Crystal Restaurant while Fernando got by on rice and curd.

Mountain-bound once again the soul becomes soothed and inspired. We spent ten days in Mcleod Ganj, a small, busy village cuddled up to the Himalayas and home to HH Dalai Lama. There are over 90,000 Tibetans living in exile in India[i] and most of them have settled in and around the area of Dharamsala and Mcleod Ganj. Although I was aware of the Free Tibet movement and a little of the story behind Chinese-Tibetan relations, the time we spent here gradually bathed us in the omnipresent spirit of the Tibetan people´s struggle to uphold and cultivate their national identity. I had a sense of their cause and culture being vibrantly rich - culturally, spiritually and historically. Perhaps I was able to feel this in such a short time because Tibetan life is so vivid in this particular place (it felt more like Tibet or Nepal than India), or because when we risk losing something, we realise its true value and celebrate it all the more fiercely. Despite the hardships borne by these Tibetan refugees, those whose paths we crossed were gentle, sweet-natured and quick to smile.

With this backdrop has come a flourishing of meditation centres, monasteries, temples, Buddhist retreat centres, Vipassana centres, massage courses, tai chi classes, yoga courses and classes, tantra groups, reiki trainings, rainbow gatherings, and more. Indeed, one is offered spiritual cakes of many different shapes, flavours and sizes, prepared with a range of ingredients, by distinct bakers and with intentions diverse. The question arises: How to navigate this sea of deep confectionery?[ii] Well, in my case the full moon and my feminine cycle connived to create a tense frenzy of cake-perusing and salivation. Luckily the lovely Tsering Lhadon gave me a powerful Tibetan massage which knocked me out for two days, cured my cravings and let me know that I was full! I am full to the brim with experiences and it’s time to stretch out and digest like a boa constrictor.



[i] Tibet in exile: India 94,203; Nepal 13,514; Bhutan 1,298; and rest of the world 18,999 (Demographic Survey of Tibetans in Exile 2009, by Planning Commission of Central Tibetan Administration, 2010)

[ii] I am grateful to the Deep family for inspiring the metaphor in this blog, because I saw these seemingly incongruous words on a sign outside their roadside shop as we left Dharamsala. It took a moment to realise that ‘Deep’ was the surname and ‘Deep Confectionery’ the family business!

 

Tags: dalai lama, dharamsala, mcleod ganj, tibet

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