The struggle

I came home to find that I did leave some books behind here at that I didn’t take with me. Amongst the pile that got left behind, there was a thin black book that I didn’t quite remember. I, by the way, know where each one of my books were bought, which were bought in a particular batch, who was with me that day, the order in which I read them et al. So I picked this one up and found that it was autographed. Tenzin Tsundue, Chennai, 16th August it said.

It all came back to me in a flash. When I was in college, we once had a signature campaign for free Tibet. Mr. Tsundue’s latest book of poems was on sale and I was so impressed with the way that man spoke, I bought a copy. I’m not a particularly huge fan of poetry. But his poetry was so simple and sincere.

My Tibetanness

Thirty-Nine years in exile.
Yet no nation supports us.
Not a single bloody nation!

We are refugees here.
People of a lost country.
Citizen to no nation.

Tibetans: the world’s sympathy stock.
Serene monks and bubbly traditionalists;
One lakh and several thousand odd,
nicely mixed, steeped
in various assimilating cultural hegemonies.

At every check-post and office
I am an ‘Indian-Tibetan’.
My Registration Certificate,
I renew every year, with a salam
A foreigner born in India.

I am more of an India.
Except for my chinky Tibetan face.
‘Nepali?’ ‘Thai?’ ‘Japanese?’
‘Chinese?’ ‘Naga?’ ‘Manipuri?’
but never the question-‘Tibetan?’

I am a Tibetan.
But I am not from Tibet.
Never been there.
Yet I dream
of dying there.

I’m tired

I am tired,

I am tired doing that 10th March ritual,
screaming from the hills of Dharamsala.

I am tired,
I am tired selling sweaters on the roadside,
40 years of sitting, waiting in dust and spit.

I am tired,
eating rice ‘n’ dal
and grazing cows in the jungles of Karnataka.

I am tired,
I am tired dragging my dhoti
in the dirt of Manju Tila.

I am tired,
I am tired fighting for the country
I have never seen.

I’m in awe of their strength. How deep rooted that faith must be I wonder. To fight for a cause, a cause that bigger than one’s life and everything that engulfs one’s being. The passion has got to be infectious. But when the passion and the strength wear off, the faith, that still drives all of this must still be quite strong.

I remember standing in the temple, my eyes closed, brows knit in concentration, fervently praying. The unquestioned faith that I was convinced about. I believed that I would get that new tricycle if I prayed hard enough. Years later, my wants grew, and there I was standing in the same temple. My eyes are closed, I want to pray. I want to believe that my faith is strong. But somewhere, a ray of doubt creeps in. This time I’m not so sure. The faith is not enough.

To the people who’s faith has remained steadfast after all the draining struggle, I salute you!