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To Heaven and Back

By: Krishnan NV
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History is replete with instances of rulers and the ruled, usurped of their powers and means of livelihood, struggling to find their feet, even elsewhere, to protect and preserve their traditional values and philosophy by imparting themselves the essential knowledge and education needed to function in the modern world.

Recently, I had the good fortune to personally witness and experience a part of such history, thanks to a  documentary film being made by my loved ones on the Tibetan nuns. This is how it all started.

I was struggling to cope with the hot and humid weather of Chennai, recovering from a personal bereavement, when my son called up to enquire if I wanted to join him and his wife during their forthcoming visit to Dharamshala, later that week. I came to know of the project his wife was working on and HH Dalai Lama having given time for an interview with them. I said ‘yes’ and the next thing I knew, I was landing amidst picturesque surroundings of the snow-capped mountains. The usual hustle-bustle of the airports was missing. No one was in a hurry to collect their baggage either!

Dharamshala was agog that day because it was the first day of the Test match between India and Australia – the deciding match of the series. We had an off day on Sunday, the 26th of March, and I leisurely set out to watch the game at-least for some time. We were lucky to watch some action during the couple of hours we could afford to spend there. We had to prepare for the next day’s eventful interview with the HH Dalai Lama. The time was 0915 hrs and we had to leave around 0630 hrs to reach Mcleodganj by 0715 hrs. Security was very tight but the team had no difficulty in completing the formalities and setting up the camera and sound systems for the shoot. We saw people arriving and lining up for a darshan of HH, which commenced just before 0900 hrs. From our venue we watched the orderly crowd- some even on wheelchairs – reverentially and patiently waiting. HH then majestically entered with his troupe and positioned themselves in the middle of the portico, where, devotees, singly, doubly or in groups, were received with handshakes and embraces, and photographed together. It was a long session for all, standing throughout, but everyone left happy, pleased and blessed.

All this effort naturally caused some delay in our schedule, but when HH finally entered the room where we were waiting, he was full of love and compassion, even apologized for keeping us waiting. Seeing him in his exotic monk’s costume, exuding a beatific smile and arresting personality , we were too overawed by his very presence and could only return his smile, in acknowledgement, with all humility. The interview commenced and in no time the one hour slot was over.

We were all happy and pleased at the outcome of this momentous meeting. In the photo session that followed, HH was most engaging, and, in his inimitable booming voice, made no secret of his extreme fondness for India and its people, describing them as most friendly and helpful.

For me, it was like a trip to heaven. It was in my destiny to spend a few glorious moments with the ‘Living God’ in Dharamshala, but this wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of my ‘loved ones’. My grateful thanks to them.

I can think of no better way of recording my appreciation and acknowledgement for them than signing off with a set of our photographs taken on that occasion.

 

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