2 poems- Tenzin Tsundue

 

SOMEWHERE I LOST MY LOSAR

 

Somewhere along the path, I

lost it, don’t know where or when.

 

It wasn’t a one-fine-day incident.

As I grew up it just got left behind,

very slowly, and I didn’t go back for it.

It was there when as a kid I used to wait

for the annual momo dinner,

when we lined up for gifts that came

wrapped in newspapers in our

refugee school, it was there when

we all gained a year together, before

birthdays were cakes and candles.

 

Somewhere along the path, I

lost it, don’t know where or when.

 

When new clothes started to feel

stiff and firecrackers frightening, when

our jailed heroes ate in pigsties there,

or were dead, heads smashed

against the wall as we danced

to Bollywood numbers here,

when the boarding school and uniforms

took care of our daily needs, when

family meant just good friends,

sometime when Losar started to mean

just a new year, few sacred routines,

somehow, I lost my Losar.

 

Somewhere along the path, I

lost it, don’t know where or when.

 

Colleged in seaside city, when it was

still Bombay, sister’s family on pilgrimage,

uncle in Varanasi, mother grazing cows

in South India, still need to report

to Dharamsala police, couldn’t get train tickets,

too risky to try waiting list, and it’s

three days, including return journey

it’s one week. Even if I go,

other siblings may not find the time. Adjusting

timings, it’s been 20 years without a Losar.

Somewhere along the path, I

lost it, don’t know where or when.

Losar is when we the juveniles and bastards

call home, across the Himalayas and cry

into the wire. Losar is some plastic flowers

and a momo party. And then in 2008

when our people rode horses, shouting ‘Freedom’

against rattling machine guns, when they

died like flies in the Olympics’ spectacle,

we shaved our heads bald and threatened

to die by fasting, but failed.

 

Somewhere along the path, I

lost it, don’t know where or when.

Somewhere, I lost my Losar.

~

 

LOSAR GREETING

 

Tashi Delek!

 

Though in a borrowed garden

you grow, grow well my sister.

 

This Losar

when you attend your Morning Mass,

say an extra prayer

that the next Losar

we can celebrate back in Lhasa.

When you attend your convent classes,

learn an extra lesson

that you can teach children back in Tibet.

Last year

on our Happy Losar,

Ihad an idli-sambhar breakfast

and wrote my BA final exams.

My idlis wouldn’t stand

on my toothed steely fork,

but I wrote my exams well.

 

Though in a borrowed garden

you grow, grow well my sister.

Send your roots

through the bricks,

stones, tiles and sand.

Spread your branches wide

and rise

above the hedges high.

 

Tashi Delek!

 

~

Republishing rights granted by author himself.

 

Tashi Delek – Tibetan greeting said especially at the New Year

Losar – Tibetan New Year usually falling in February or March

Idli-sambar – A South Indian rice cake dish

 

TSUNDUE

Tenzin Tsundue is a poet, writer and Tibetan activist. He won the first-ever Outlook-Picador Award for Non-Fiction in 2001. He has published three books to date which have been translated into several languages. For more- Click here