“Be so happy than when others look at you, they become happy too.”
I spent the morning with Tibetan Buddhist monks, and the afternoon with children, the perfect recipe for a great day. The village I have been staying in is a few kilometers away from one of the most iconic monasteries in the area. I got a tour of some of the inside temples, then sat down for breakfast with a few of the monks, and had tea throughout the morning with others. Since the tea culture is so prevalent here in India, and you could never say no to a glass, I must have had at least six or eight “chai” while I was there. At the end of my visit I ended up in a prayer room just as a few monks entered to pray (at least I assume that is what they were doing). They were chanting, playing different instruments, and occasionally doing odd things such as throwing rice and dripping water into a cup. Halfway through, one monk handed me a ritz cracker, and a few minutes later, another handed me five peanuts and a chocolate. Why they did this, I will never know. It was interesting to see that they weren’t the stoic monks I tend to picture. As they prayed, they checked their watch, picked their nose, and moved around quite a lot. I guess they are only human as well!
After arriving back at the house to hang out with their four year old daughter, I found myself surrounded by every four year old in the village (seven of them). I am not sure how there were so many, as there are only a dozen or two houses that make up this village, but for most of the afternoon, I had quite the gang following me around.
Unlike children nowadays in North America, these children spend all day outside, collecting plants (and seeds), making mud pies, and using their imagination. There is no parent watching them, so they are free to run around as they please, giving them a sense of independence our children in the west unfortunately lack. Guess I will just have to move to rural (mountainous) India once I have children of my own.
No need for electronics or fancy toys!
When I left the next morning, the family I had been staying with made me promise that I would come back in May (I plan to head to Ladakh again next summer), and that next time, I will stay at least two weeks. What better way to spend a few weeks, of course I’ll be back!
Maybe by the time I am back she will be tall enough to reach the pedals.