Well it’s almost that time again! Another year older and hopefully wiser. Not sure why, but I had to share a funny story about how I spent my 45th birthday ten years ago – let me set the scene…
Mcleodganj is a small town in Dharamsala India and this is where I spent my 45th Birthday. For the past 6 months, Loseling Monastery Guest House had been my home which as a Buddhist, studying Tibetan Buddhism & tradition seemed the perfect place. The tiny but comfortable guest house is completely maintained by Buddhist Monks who go out of their way to make you feel welcome.
In Mcleodganj, everyone knows each other – it’s also the home of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Despite it’s cramped habitats etc, the eating places are exquisite and there’s no shortage of mouthwatering Tibetan, Indian, Korean & Chinese foods to sample. In fact (and I won’t draw this out) I’ve eaten Pizza in an Italian resturant called Jimmy’s, drinking Indian beer and watching England play a major match – that’s how diverse Mcleodganj is.
Anyway, at the top of the Main Street, is a shop specialising in cakes of all descriptions – including birthday cakes. So I though how nice it would be to invite a few select people I’d met there, to my room for cake and a couple of take away Pizzas from Jimmy’s, to celebrate my 45th birthday.
Since being in this great little town, I’d met an Aussie lady Marie – bags of fun, with a voice not dissimilar to Dame Edna. A wonderful Tibetan Monk Kelsang & another – Tsewang. Also a Tibetan nun Ani Sherab.
Being at the guest house, it seemed only right I invite some of the staff as they’d made it so comfy for me over the past 6 months – and this is where it begins.
Rather than be confined to my room, a couple of monks kindly suggested I use the back room of the guest house, where I’d be most comfortable – which I did.
So 6pm came and the pizzas arrived as did the spectacular cream sculpture that was the birthday cake – plus apbottles of cola. Such a lovely evening, with beautiful gifts too.
But then something unexpected happened – as it often does in this quirky little place…….
Lots of Tibetan monks started turning up who I’d never met. Old, young and middle aged – each bearing traditional white Tibetan scarves and placing them around my neck. They’d already got their bowls ready for the cake so I started doing the honours dishing it out and trying not to laugh.
Such a spiritual thing was happening right under my nose but all I could do was try so hard to contain myself from laughing – especially as they were wolfing it down in complete silence which compelled us to do the same. After they’d left (which wasn’t long after eating the cake) I was nearly cooked alive. You see the traditional Tibetan scarves are often made of nylon, cotton or silk and I had about 40 of them round my neck in a temperature of around 28c 82.4F.
Seriously! If I could go back and relive this experience – I’d do it in a heartbeat although I have to say it’s the strangest birthday I’ve ever spent.
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