Monday, June 25, 2007


My friend Munna, whom I met in Dharamsala, only to meet up with him again in Manali. Munna came to Manali in search of his girl and found her... We shared "Aumazing" conversations in Manali.

Getting fitted for a new fleece. Custom made for $5 USD.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Dalai Lama is back home!!!

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, arrived back in McLeod Ganj this morning sharply at 9am after spending a week in Australia teaching and speaking regarding the current situation in Tibet.

I had just finished breakfast with some friends of mine who were leaving for Amritsar for a few days, when I decided to visit His Holiness' temple for the first time. (I have been sick since arriving in Dharamsala, so I haven't had too much energy.)

As I entered the gate to the Tibetan Complex in McLeod Ganj (a five minute walk from the center of town), a man dressed in a nice brown robe, who I later determined was makeshift security, asked me and everyone walking down the street to move to the left or the right of the pavement.

I thought this was little odd, especially since many Tibetans had already lined the side of the street... Something big was about to happen, I thought to myself.

I had heard two days ago that His Holiness was going to coming back home on Saturday, June 23rd, but then just yesterday, I heard from a friend that he was actually coming back today (June 20).

It took only a second for me to know exactly what was going on and was in the process of happening... His Holiness was on his way home!

Just then, a fellow American, Paul from Boston, sat down next to me along the wall lining the street to the Tibetan Complex, and we began to talk. He has been in India visiting his parents, who have been living here for the past four years, and, interestingly enough, like Carolyn and I, he had also hiked the Langtang trek in Nepal and also had mistakingly took the high road on the way back from Kyajin Gompa and stayed at the SAME yak herder's house!!! Unbelievable!

In any case, he informed me that he had heard that the Dalai Lama had landed last night in Delhi and was driving to McLeod Ganj, rather than flying to the nearby airport. He had heard that His Holiness was scheduled to arrive between eight and nine o'clock. It was currently 8:45am.

A few minutes passed... Then a loud horn started to sound. His Holiness was here!

I got out my camera and turned on. Just as I was about to settle in my ready position, a guard came up to me and told me no photos. He stood in front of me to make sure I wouldn't take a photo as well. (Post 9/11 security is now planet-wide.)

I started to put my camera away when I saw a jeep pull into the drive. I stopped what I was doing and watched around the guard. Negative.

The next vehicle was a gold Toyota Camry. A strange car to be seen in McLeod, I thought to myself.

Indeed. It was his Holiness' personal vehicle, and I was standing on the left-hand side of the street (the passenger-side), with a clear view of him as he rolled by all of his greeters, blessing them as he passed.

His Holiness looked to be in good form after a long journey. I took a photograph in my mind as he passed less than a meter in front of me-- one that will never disappear-- of His Holiness raising his left hand toward the crowd with a smile on his face, looking straight ahead as he passed.

A convey of jeeps rolled by following His Holiness' car and, moments later, everyone was leaving the street and going back to their daily lives.

It was as if nothing had happened a mere few minutes later. I couldn't help but think that nothing that simple would ever have happened for a Pope or the President back home...

My new friend, Paul, couldn't believe it either. In fact, I think he was still in shock as to just how quickly everything transpired when I said my goodbyes to him and his Mom.

I had seen the Dalai Lama and could not have been happier!

As I set off for the temple, I saw a monk in his garnet and gold robe running down the street with a huge smile on his face, muttering something about the Dalai Lama. I was certain, like all of the monks and fellow Tibetans, that he was happy to have His Holiness back home.

I was too.

A special aura is now residing over McLeod Ganj, and it comes simply by knowing that His Holiness is safely at home.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


(tamar schechtman)