This chant is the sound I wake up to every morning! It is the prayer monks bring to my next door neighbor, who’s a devoted Buddhist. They always keep something for the next morning to give to the monk in exchange for his prayers and blessings.
Although I did spend some months in a Bhutanese monastery in my childhood, monks here are bit different. Seeing the monks walking about on their bare feet always sparks my curiosity as to why and how they do this. My own memories to walking barefoot barefoot are mostly ones of wonder and enjoyment of the textures of mother earth. I recommend it to everyone.
Besides the positive memories and my personal wishes to someday feel ice and snow underneath my feet, there are also more painful memories. A very strong memory I have is one I will share with you now.
It happened when I was getting back from the countryside by train. It was a local train so it was naturally overcrowded and stopping in every single station.
So, during one of those stops I was having a slow cup of tea and waiting for the last whistle to blow. The idea was to jump in at the last moment to secure a space by the train doorsteps. Travelling on the roof of a train is another excitement but that can wait for some another time.
So when the last whistle sounded, people started rushing towards the slow moving train. Oh there were a few other smart heads like me, who wanted to sit by the door. Trust me it’s great fun! I watched the train start to roll and with a sharp calculation I marked my door. As I jumped for the entrance, I felt a woman grabbing me to hold her balance as she jumped in after me. As the train picked up speed she couldn’t hold on to me and fell off!!
I screamed and asked people to pull the chain but nobody listened! As the train was overcrowded I couldn’t get inside to pull the chain myself. Some people even advised me to keep it quiet to stay out of the trouble. Can you imagine how self centered we are?!!
In all honesty, I wrote the following part differently at first. I wanted to hide the truth even from myself! Here’s the honest version, anyhow.
The train didn’t stop; it continued ruthlessly! Everyone acted as if nothing happened. And speaking for myself; I was horrified and lost my senses. What if the crowd point me out as the guilty one in this accident!? There wasn’t another station for hours regrettably, and I knew the train would stop!
I did not hear her screams or sound of broken bones, so I just held on and hoped she was OK…
I don’t really have anything else to say about it. I froze up and and carried on hanging by the train door until the next station, despite the shock. I heard the Ticket checker talking about that a woman been taken to hospital but not sure of her condition.
This collateral inconsolable event still haunts me until this day! After reaching my final destination, I was so devastated that I failed to notice that I had lost my shoes along the way. Therefore, I walked home completely lost in thoughts and on bare foot, just like I had come into this world.
I walked barefoot, like the monk did, but was in no shape to give out blessings or prayers. I was the one who needed comfort and release from my conscience.
Footprints in the sand
heading that way as it
leads away it leaves a