Saturday, August 16, 2014


In reminiscence of late uncle Lhagyal’s visit to Tibet and our home in Topa
Fishing with Sonam Tsering:
I don’t know the date and time, of the uncle Lhagyal’s visit, which can be verified through other people. But it was sometime in the summer. Because I recall going to the Gyalmo Ngochu river to fish with brother Sonam Tsering who came with uncle Lhagyal. Sonam Tsering made a crude fish hook, and when we reach the river, he made me hold the end of the fish hook bracelet, while he threw the bait into the river. But as he threw it, and I couldn’t hold it strong enough, and the bracelet went off with the bait into the river. Sonam Tsering attempted to wade into the river to retrieve it, and the river was too deep for that. So we had no luck of ever playing with it, leaving along to catch fish. It was at the time when uncle Lhagyal was staying in our home, and I remember, how secretly we went off to fishing, for fear of uncle Lhagyal’s reprimand for such a pastime. As hunting and fishing is considered a sin and one hunter in our village is an outcaste. 

The Snake incident
As a child, some of my memories of uncle Lhagyal visit are so fresh and vivid. In preparing for uncle’s invitation, our families have put up with the best appearance we manage, by rolling out few new carpets, arranging the well decorated tables and then preparing the best dishes my mother can think of . The entire house is buzzing with excitements and in a festive mood.  Uncle Lhagyal’s bed is arranged in the family shrine in the upper floor, which is usually reserved for only monks and Lamas. As it is a little hot at the time, a makeshift tent has erected to get some shade up on the upper terras of the house. Uncle Lhagyal sits out under that, and I recollect, after washing his feet, some kind of medication is done to his leg, by hot sponging something like that.  As a child I was awed with such a precarious treatment and yet find it bewildering. Around that time, we all have also seen some where under the beam or the ceiling of our house (probably it is in the shrine), a large python is crawling. It is said to be harmless, but just the name and sight of it, terrifies the kids and adult alike.  On that evening of our sighting the pantheon, everyone went to sleep. Around somewhere in the middle of the night, uncle Lhagyal while was sound asleep in the shrine, felt something is moving on his blankets. He was sleeping still and didn’t move, even it awakes him. He was thinking that his movement could scare away the things and even harms it. In his mind, he was thinking, it must be the snake that we have seen in the ceiling in day time. Not wishing to disturb the entire family by making a commotion, he went back to sleep, and nor he disturbs the things that moves on his quilt and on the bed. Next morning, when he wakes up, he saw two small kittens sleeping soundly by his bedside on the quilt. So it turns out that what he suspected as the snake actually turns out to be the cats.  
As a child I heard him recounting his nightmarish dilemma to the elders in the next day. And I don’t know why, I never forget that incident.  I was dumbstruck, and wondered at the time how he could be so composed and remained calm, even slept through the night, while thinking a snake is crawling on his bed.
Maybe this shows, he is a fearless person no matter whatever he encounters in life, a brave soul, a man with a lion’s heart. And at the same time, he is considerate and does not disturb other’s peace, even at a time of seemingly crisis situation.
Uncle’s visit was for us children the happiest moment, I recall when they are leaving for India  from Shangritsang family, sister Tseten Wangmo while riding on a horse wept uncontrollably   and so the family members who see them off at Shangri Gan, reciprocated with emotional farewell.  Their departure was a  sad moment for me as child. And I recall that day so vividly.
Proud nephews of Shangri Lhagyal:
We as children are filled with pride for being the descendents of Shangritsang. At the time, Shangritsang family is respected, has status and fairly well-to –do by local standard. But being the descendents of Shangritsang family has also high expectation on us children, in terms of courage and bravery and integrity. Some years back, my sister in law had a car accident in Chamdo. She was knocked down while crossing the road by a passing truck, and had to be hospitalized. My brother who was in Lhoro at the time on business immediately rushed to Chamdo. The driver of the truck was a Tibetan and very cooperative and taking full responsibilities of the incident. He assured to give all medical expenses for the treatment and also negotiate to reach a settlement for compensation. My brother Tenzin Nyima is a not a very aggressive fellow, and quit timid and humble guy, and rarely engage in a fist fight with other. The family members of my sister in law are urging my brother to demand a huge compensation, or should threat the truck driver in retaliation. My sister in law’s injuries was not life threatening, but was visible injuries on the forehead. And later on she has fully recovered albeit a little scars on from the injuries.   As for the settlement with the truck driver, he was willing to compensate with considerable cash Yuan 30000 on top of the all the medical bills he was willing to cover. The driver requested for such a settlement, and if brother doesn’t accept, then the only other recourse for them is to go to court for settlement.  My brother after weighing all the pros and cons agreed to the settlement, but the family members of my sister in law was fuming; they are demanding an eye for an eye for the truck driver. And scorned on my brother for not being more aggressive and demanding, the elder of the family said to my mother “who would believe that he is the nephew of Shangri Lhagyal”.
As this incident clearly illustrate that uncle Lhagyal’s fame is well known in the entire village and we the descendants are expected to be as courageous as the uncle in their [people’s]sense of what a really man is.