Monday, October 30, 2006

McLeodganj -2-day 1

Its almost 1.30 am, India lost to Australia in cricket by more than a mile, there was a dinner and a little more than usual and a little less than needed to drink. Therefore, this is probably not the right time to be typing out all this stuff. However, lately I have found that I am getting pretty obsessive about keeping this thing updated. This post is going to be the walk from the shrine on the temple road to the temple. Its about 600 metres and there is so much to see. For instance, the picture above, a foreigner in the company of two tibetan women, they seemed to be engrossed in some discussion. I wondered what it might be.
The road is lined by shacks and wendors selling stuff like fake/real antiques, beads, jewellery and stuff. All the faces tell a story. There are many who probably came in 1959 and have seen life change right in front of their eyes. I am sure most of them cant decide whether its for the better or for the worse.

There are lots of pretty faces around, espescially at the cafes just down the fork that leads to the hotel complexes and the temple roads, here I met Leila Mead again. She probably thought I was taking her picture and we got talking. In hindsight, I think she was very quiet and very modest. Anyways, she told me that the Dalai lama would be giving an audience the next morning at 7AM. 7AM???????!!!!!!!!
SO I walked on......

The other thing that struck me was the absolute love and doting that parents shed on their children. I mean, sure all parents love their children. But here, wherever I saw, children were the center of attention, someone fawning on them all the time. And all the kids are really sweet.

On the other hand are the common people, the unemployed and the poor. They are here too, and no matter what people think, and I dont know whether there is Nirvana, peace, direction to life to be found over here or not; people need to earn and live in respect everywhere. And if peddling peace is the way to it, then so be it.

Just outside the main temple, I saw this old man dancing and singing an old Raj Kapoor song. He seemed to be alone, and his song had a poignancy that made me weep. Seeing me take a picture, some other tourists also started to film him, and seeing that he stopped. Some part of him realised his folly but soon enough he started again. I left there feeling a mixture of a parasite, a vulture and a voyuer. not a good feeling to have.

Later that day, I visited the Dolma memorial Tibetan hospital and asked the lady doctor there about mental illness in the Tibetan community. She looked at me a little dubiously but when I introduced myself and told her that I am a psychiatrist myself, she said that everyone was quite "normal", and there was only one crazy fellow around and he is quite harmless and roams about only "occasionally".
Thereafter crossing the mani stones lining the road below the temple, I walked into the narrow passageway that leads to the temple complex proper.
More on that tomorrow...


Suruchi said...

Hi ,

Gaurav and Sydney highly recommended your blog to me . I personally feel you are definetely gifted . I am keen to learn photogarphy . What equipment do you use ?

Your pics are a treat to my sore eyes !

yakyakyak said...

Dear Shrinked Immaculate,

Do u want to know the truth concerning the guy in the picture, addiction, mental health issues in McLeod Ganj? I have only lived here for 10 years...tibetans are possibly the only culture on the face of the planet for whom "western" pyschology/psychiatry/12-step programs have yet to be of any benefit...the guy in the picture for years (possibly still does) lived in a shelter under a huge boulder when one circumabulates the Dalai Lama's palace...he was a monk, fell in love, disrobed for the tibetan woman, she took off to the states with someone else, and what u witnessed is what is left of him...for all of his ranting and raving, it is for the most part unsavoury truths that he shouts from his inner core...the community just ignores him as it continues to dwell in a stupified bliss of apathetic denial of on the ground realities...
just a taste:
Tribune Newspaper
Suicide by Tibetan woman
Our Correspondent

Kangra, November 26
Tibetan woman (40) mother of four committed suicide at McLeodganj near Tibetan Library by hanging herself from a tree, the police said here today.

The police said Chungla wife of Tsring Norbu was found hanging from a tree near Tibetan Library by a passerby this afternoon. She worked in the Tibetan Welfare Office and attended duty yesterday but did not reach home in the evening.

Her husband is a paralytic and two sons and two daughters study in Tibetan village schools outside. She usually remained reticent in the office, the police said.

The body was sent for a post-mortem, to be performed tomorrow.
next to the church:
Briton stoned to death in Dharamshala[Thursday, December 07, 2006 15:39]
A young British aid worker whose body was found in Dharamshala November 28 may have been stoned to death 'by a crazed mob,' newspaper reports say.

The body of Michael Blakey, 23, was discovered partly concealed beneath a pile of stones in a ditch near a small church on the outskirts of Dharamsala. He was last seen three days earlier leaving the St John of the Wilderness Church, a Victorian stone church where Lord Elgin, the British Viceroy of India, was buried in 1863.

Blakey, a keen musician, had arrived in Dharamsala in June to work for the Edinburgh-based Tong Len Charitable Trust, which works with displaced Tibetan children and families, the Independent, London, said.

"The police have said that he may have died as a result of injuries inflicted by the stones. They do not have a motive. It is a peaceful area without any obvious threat. We have been told by the police that it is most likely that Michael was killed by someone unknown to him and possibly by more than one person," the newspaper quoted Anna Owen, the charity's director, as saying.

'Mr Blakey, who graduated from Swansea University and was due to start a PhD in London next year, had rented a room in the Kirti monastery in Mcleodganj, close to the headquarters of the Dalai Lama,' it said.

According to the Times, London, 'Indian police said that there was no obvious motive for the attack although his mobile phone and wallet were missing. They said that they had not made any arrests and were investigating several leads into the murder, which happened on November 25 or the day after, just before Mr Blakey was due to fly home for Christmas.'

More than 700 people from Christian, Buddhist and Hindu backgrounds took part in a ceremony in Dharamsala to mourn Blakey's death. The messages included one from the Dalai Lama. The body was flown out to the UK for the last rites.

'Every mother is proud of her son but I was extremely proud of Michael,' his mother, Mary Whitford, 52, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was quoted as saying.

'It's amazing how many lives he's touched everywhere. The messages of support we've had from all round the world are unbelievable. We've had messages from China, Uganda, Kenya, the Philippines and India. Even the Dalai Lama has said prayers for Michael. They are having 12 days of mourning in the area where Michael worked,' she said.

'There were 750 people in the village and when they were bringing Michael's body back to Delhi, every single one of them came out to say goodbye.'

'If it was an accident it will be a bit more easy to live with. If he was attacked and murdered that would be such a sad, sad loss and very difficult to understand,' Blakey's father Paul was quoted as saying.

yakyakyak said...

Re: Charity Worker Murder Michael Blakey -- Are all
these separate and isolated cases in Upper
Foreigner’s body yet to be identified
Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, March 2006
No breakthrough has been achieved in identification of the 25-year-old female foreigner whose body was found in the forest area in Dharamkot on March 5.

District police chief S.P. Singh told The Tribune that registration of foreigners with the Foreigners’ Registration Office was mandatory only if they planned to stay in the district for more than six months.

Her identity could have been established from the guest house where she was staying but either she had checked out or the guesthouse could be unregistered and did not furnish the details.

“We had conducted a campaign to check functioning of such unregistered guest houses and hotels last year and 25 of them, most of them running in remote places, were challaned,” he said.

Police sources added that although there was no external injury on the body, the post-mortem report said that it appeared that the deceased had consumed more than 30 tablets of spasmo proxivon before her death. The highly decomposed body indicated that she must have died 25 to 30 days back.
from blog:
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Murder in the Ganj
There have been two murders and some rapes in the pass two weeks. Some of my female friends have been harassed by Tibetan and Indian men on the street a lot more than usual. One teenage western girl was found dead, totally naked by Dal Lake, which near the Tibetan Children’s Village. An Indian guy from Kerala that I knew was found naked in a gutter on Bhagsu Rd, in front of Nick's Italian Restaurant last Tuesday morning with his face bashed in. Someone or a group of someone had smashed his face in with a brick several times over. So bad that the police could not recognized his face, his dreadlocks provided clues towards his identity. I have spoken to this person in the pass. He is a rather obnoxious fellow. An instigator to say the least. I suspected him of being a cocaine addict by the way he acts. He could have pissed off the wrong dudes, or it could have been a drug deal gone wrong. I saw this man the day before he died, and he looked that he had just snorted a fat line of coke. I feel sad for what happened to him, but also with his attitude and lifestyle one can not expect to live too long. There are many rumors going around as to who might have killed him. It could have been some Israelis. It could have been some Indians, and it could have been some Tibetans. I think that this person could have easily pissed someone off from any one of these groups to have had his face smashed in so. But there will be no investigation. WHY? Because there is simply no interest by the police or the community to find out what had happened or who did it.

Shrinked Immaculate said...

Dear Yakayakayak, could u identify yourself. Thanks for your comments. I hope we can do something about it.

yakyakyak said...
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yakyakyak said...
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