Wednesday, 4 February 2015


It is dark outside. Inside, a lone kerosene fed lamp flickers to light up the sooty dark room. Embers are still glowing red in the wood fed oven but, cuddling under the warmth of blankets is always more enticing than getting warmed up by fire in front while flanks and the back cools uncomfortably by frosty air seeping through the crevices of walls.

Before the sleep takes better, I stare at the flickering light and the red embers, raising my head from the pillow from time to time. There is nothing in particular to think of but, wait for the sleep to overtake. It was a childish curiosity. Soon I would be in deep sleep.

Sometimes I would wake up to the sound of a melodious flute. The flautist to me was virtuoso as his melody is carried by the night breeze to the ears of those who are not yet asleep.  No one, I think, can deny that his rendition is always a masterpiece. Had it been day time, I would have always loved to follow him wherever he went playing melody, like children following the pied piper. But, he played his flute always in the dark when the night is cold at its extreme. I think, it is the silence of the night that makes the melody even more mesmerizing. How I wish, he would sit down somewhere nearby and keep playing the melody and lull me to sleep. But, he always walks on.

I wondered why he should be playing his flute at the odd hours. I was told he is a monk and they have to live by strict code of conduct while at the monastery. And every time he walked the cobbled path in the dark, he plays his flute beautifully. I always wonder where he is headed to at the late hour. Is he walking back to the monastery, located right at the other end of the village after spiritual errand or walking away from it to his nocturnal duty? I just did not know.

There were many monks in the temple, from small novices to learned teachers; I was told bald monks with sizeable girths were the learned teachers. The monks are respected by our village elders and small children inherited this value to hold monks in high esteem. I still do that to the sangha community.

I can visualize the majestic temple with its boundaries secured by bamboo fences. Majestic willow trees are used as live post to tie fences. All day long monks in maroon robes and elderly people keep circumbulating the temple round and round. Somewhere nearby is a huge cylindrical prayer wheel. And elderly man rotates it permanently. At the completion of each round, a small protruding wood hits the small hanging bell giving the intermittent tring…tring sound. On the eves of the temple are small bells that chime when the breeze gathers momentum towards the afternoon. The decorative peripherals hanging alongside dance in the wind and children our age used to watch at it amazement.

Although, I and my friends want to enter the temple gate, the sight of intimidating Tibetan mastiffs with ferocity of wild carnivores is always too intimidating. So we sneak a peek through the gaps of the fence to see and guess who the flautist was. We all wanted to learn how to play so melodious a flute like the monk. Sometimes, an elderly walks from outside towards the temple and some of us follow but not beyond the temple gate. The prospect of losing a chunk of our calf muscle to those giant canines was always a formidable risk. So we play with water spouting out of a phallus shaped spout that rotates a water prayer wheel fed by a long wooden channel that sends water gushing to the blades of the prayer wheel before returning back to our homes.

And again by the nightfall, the melody starts coming back; first a faint one from the distance which then begins to gather momentum as the flautist nears our home and then slowly fades away as he walks farther away until the winds can no more bring them to our ears.

That was a memory of my childhood, many years back in time when life was so beautiful. We had nothing but realize we had everything.

Happy Reading!!!

Gyembo Namgyal
February 4, 2014 11:50 PM


  1. Wow! A wonderful writing, sir. Liked the narration and its flow. Childhood memories are sweet yet they always make us sentimental and nostalgic. Keep posting. :)

    1. Thank you Langa Tenzin for you beautiful comment.Have a good day.