Saturday 19 November 2011
“Oh! You are still here,” said a monk, who I knew from my school days. “So good to see old Dharamshala faces who are still around.” He has come back for a short visit from the US, after twenty years. He fished out a five hundred-rupee note from his wallet, slipped it into my pocket and said, “Thi’i solja choe rog nang.”
This made realize that I am now a pukka-Dharamshala-wallah or the ‘real Dharamsala resident’. Even the garbage can knows me, I fear.
Over the years, I have noticed, this place gets busier, restless and more energetic — hotels get bigger, food more varied, more tourists come and more things happen.
Materially almost everything is available here, including relatively good wine (very expensive though!), top-quality Manchester United soccer jersey and third-class Made in China nylon socks (if you wear these socks for three consecutive days, your feet will stink worse than over-flowing public toilet!) Today, I saw a new comer from Tibet selling yaksha kampo or dried yak meat and tea bricks, which he claims came all the way from Dhartsedo, a Tibetan trading town bordering China.