Tuesday, April 14, 2009
We were staying in a village called Naddi, which is at the dead end of a winding, steep and poorly paved mountain road. The village itself had no other foreigners and just a few dozen or so buildings around which ran scores of children and goats. As soon as the clouds cleared and the sun hit the ground, the air filled with tens of thousands of white butterflies. I have never seen anything like it. It looked like a snow flurry, white specks flying and floating in every direction. It was hypnotic.
“What is going on here?” she asked, using her best interrogation voice that suggested I might be waterboarded if I didn’t supply an acceptable answer.
“I think the Dalai Lama is on his way.”
“That’s not possible. He can’t just come here!”
I wasn’t really sure what to say and didn’t feel the residence of His Holiness was the best place to get into a heated argument.
“But he can’t just come here! He’s the Dalai Lama. It is not possible. How can he just come here?” she not so much asked, as accused.
“He does live here” I said, stretching out the word “live” for impact and effect.
“But it just isn’t possible! Where is the security? And what about all these people? And where is the security?” she demanded to know.
“There are two security guys over there.”
“This is ridiculous. Only in India is this possible. He can’t just come here!” And with that she walked off quite indignant.