Buddhapad (Buddha’s footsteps)

Tibet is a unique place. The serenity of the monasteries reflects throughout the entire land. The cement walls of the monastery are ornate with wooden carvings. The doors and windows are wooden and carved as well. All of the parts were surrounded by prayer wheels. Yesterday, I was at the school run within monastery grounds. The little boys and girls were excited to see me and could not stop asking questions about anything and everything. I had gotten them presents, lots of them. There were lots of hugs and it felt as if I had always known them as in memories coming alive from past lifetimes.

It was very hard to leave it all behind but I had to get back to India. A week after I got back, there was another major attack on Tibet. They struck exactly the same place I was at a week ago. I shuddered at the visuals that were cropping up in my mind. I had to go back. I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened to the school and the children. My children. Our children. It was harder to get into Tibet now. They had cordoned off the entire world to its brutalities in Tibet. But I had to go back. After a struggle, I finally managed to enter. There was no foreign or domestic press. It’s funny how we tend to care about people who help our materialistic lives and ignore the ones who help our souls.

I was in Tibet now and that’s what mattered. The visuals that met my eyes were absolutely horrifying. The monastery was in ruins. The doors were broken. The statues were destroyed. The prayer flags were burnt. The prayer wheels. Yes, the prayer wheels were also broken and scattered all around the place. Shattered. Torn. Just then, I remembered: the school. The children. With shaky legs, I trudged towards the school area. The door was half ajar, supported only by the lower hinge. I was shivering as I pushed the door completely open and then I heard a gut-wrenching scream. It was mine.

There was blood on the chalkboard and empty bullet rounds on the floor. I saw something shining amidst the empty bullets. I moved those away to uncover the shining object. It was the one of the pink sandals that I had gotten for the girls. I rummaged around, dug for more and I found another sandal, a brown one. Suddenly, I felt something warm trickling down my cheeks. I thought it was blood, but they were just tears. It may as well have been blood. I cried and cried. I cannot remember for how long. What had they done? How could they have done this to my children? Our children!

The door, suddenly, broke and fell. Startled, I figured its telling me its time to go. Heavy winds had started blowing as if reflecting my state of mind. Serenity was lost. As I headed out of what used to be a school, something hit my arm and fell to the floor. I picked it up and realized it was a prayer wheel with Buddha’s feet imprinted on it. I took it with me and walked out of the monastery grounds turning around only once to look at the monastery as the sun set on it, may be forever.

“May Buddha’s footsteps guide and protect children of violence.”

Buddham saranam gacchami [to the Buddha I go for refuge]

I had to visit an art gallery and write something on a piece that made most impact on me by describing it. There were a lot of good ones but this sculpture by Gloria Pritschet was very moving. I pretty much choked when I saw this piece. And the above writing, all fictional, is my take on the piece of art.

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” ~ Buddha

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