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Covid-19, Beyond Gladness and Sadness

He's a struggling writer. He aims to write only what he's experienced in his life.

Lock-Down Has locked His Joints Between the Hips and Legs

I walk through the Boudhanath Stupa in the morning after 7 seven months.

I see the ticket counter empty. No tourists to buy tickets.

As I stroll further up, a young guard smiles at me with namaskar. I wish him back.

Then I proceed further. I get a glimpse of street vendors with their beads around necks and wrists gossiping with each other. For they find not a single new tourist to push their sales.

After a while, as I circle around, my eye fall on a shopkeeper's face. He casts a wry smile at me. No customer has stepped in for months.

Then I pop into a thanka shop, I receive a cold welcome. He does not ask me if I wanted have a cup of tea. I wish him well and walk away.

Further up, I get into a shop where clothes are stockpiled for the monks and nuns.

I greet the shop keeper, but he doesn't respond. I look at his pale face as if a vampire has sucked his blood. He says he hasn't made a single sale.

"You can get out of my house" he had overheard from a house owner, "if you can't pay the rent for six months in advance" shouting at another shop keeper nearby.

While returning, I give a quick glance at the shop keepers. I see them mostly basking in the wintry warm sun on the courtyard.

I had visited a house, after hearing the news the old man had fallen sick in the second month of lock-down.

As I entered his room, he could recognize me. His problem was only that he couln't walk as before. He had to lie down on his bed for day and night. No other ailment!

How could he? He had walked to Pashupatinath temple at 3 o'clock and return back with chandan tika. He then would circled around the stupa and share tika with the shop keepers and put on their forehead.

This ritual he had been performing for more than sixty years. He had to stop it right from day one of lock-down.

Result, He couldn't leave his bed.

I wished him to get soon and took leave.

His daughter-in-law offered me tea in the sitting room downstairs.

While sipping tea, I wanted to share with her about the spices and herbs which might help the old man back to normal life.

Before I open my mouth, she started blabbering, "I've arranged physio therapist. He comes here for the old man every day."

Another woman who was fiddling with her mobile she added with her chatting.

I sensed they had no worry for the old man.

My intuition told me, the situation had locked his joints between the hip and the legs, but TV screen and mobile phone had blocked these women's brains.

I sipped tea and walked away. However, It pained me for the old man.

Beyond Gladness and Sadness

Ekai Kawaguchi said Kashyapa Tower in his classic book: Three Years in Tibet.

Ekai Kawaguchi was a Japanese monk who visited Boudanath on 1st of February 1899. He was the first Japanese visitor to Nepal.

In the first week of March, he set off for Tibet on a white pony. Two men and an old dame carried his carriages.

Lama Buddha Vajra, his host, the head of Boudha had made these arrangements.

The trail began from Boudha, he passed by British Residency in Lainchour. Finally, reached Balaju and climbed Nagarjun hill.

Kashyapa Buddha was a Brahman priest who in his grey days took the path to Buddhahood.

He came to Nepal from south and spent the rest of his life in a hill to the west of the Kathmandu Valley. That was 5000 years ago.

It is believed that his relics were placed in the present day stupa.

However, in those days, it was just a mound.

For centuries, mendicants, monks and pilgrims have played their parts in the past and present to evolve this sacred site up to the figure you see now.

In recent decades, the land around the stupa have thrived as a tourist hub. Restaurants and guest houses have appeared to cater the tourists along with the monasteries.

Souvenirs shops showcase their products to the tourists and other shops on main road serve the natives with trendy clothes and shoes made in China.

You can see neon boards of the banks on the houses along the main road every hundred meters. The place has grown towards material prosperity in recent years.

Unexpectedly, it has taken u-turn in 2020. The money circulation has come to a stand still.

However, I see the walkway vendors with doko and four-wheel cart pushers who sell vegetables with cheers as ever.

In the past the metro-police would drive in with a truck to stop them selling on the wayside. They were happy then. Now also they look happy.

"How's tomorrow?" I ask a Lama in Nepali.

"Look up there, Buddha's eyes watch each passing event as chaff blowing in the wind.

For Buddha was beyond the eternal vicious cycle of gladness and sadness.

One should strive beyond the horizon of goodness and sadness" Saying this, Lama walked away.

© 2020 gyanendra mocktan

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