A Tibetan stranger in Zurich city on Lhakar
Okay, so I decided for today to wear a chupa. No, today is not Trunkar ( His Holiness‘ birthday) or Sumchu Tütren (10th March) and no, my mother didn‘t force me to. The reason why I would wear a chupa today is Lhakar. Today I would also meet my best friend Elena, a Swiss girl, in Zurich city to hang out together because tomorrow she‘s going on holiday for one week. We planned to have momo for dinner at a restaurant called „SuMo“ (Sushi and Momo) in Zurich.
I called her and gave her a warning like: „Hey, listen I‘ll come in a chupa because today‘s Lhakar, you know..“ and I started to explain quickly what Lhakar is to her. Her reaction was: „Bring one for me also. I‘ll also wear one.“. But unfortunately I only have ONE chupa and even the one I got is the one a good friend and the vice president of the TYAE (Tibetan Youth Association in Europe) gave to me as a present when she found out on our general body meeting that I only have one (that actually was rented by a tibetan woman who‘s a friend of my mother). So anyway let‘s leave my chupa problem.
So we met at the main station and she looked at me as if I weared a fancy Dolce Gabbana dress and screamed: “Wow! You look gorgeous!.” This was a nice and motivating salutation regarding the fact that I almost missed the train and therefore had to ride my bicycle in a chupa. But to all tibetan ladies: It‘s not impossible, you just have to be able to ride a bicycle by one hand. I don‘t know if I am since it was Karma that I didn‘t have an accident. We were so hungry and walked to the restaurant. Her mouth already watered. She‘s seriously addicted to momos. We stood in front of the door and we couldn‘t believe our eyes. It was going to open in 2 hours! We looked at each other knowing that we couldn‘t make it until then.
So we went to Mc Donald‘s. On our way to Mc Donald‘s some tibetans passed me by, whom I didn‘t know. But they said “Tashi Delek!” and gave me a “Why-do-you-wear-a-chupa-on-an-ordinary-day-smile.” After having a menu we went to Starbucks to have our coffee and cake. There she said to me “You know without you I would know nothing about Tibet. Thanks to you all my life I’ve known about Tibet (we know each other since we are three years old) because you always talk about the Tibetan issue. I still wear the “Free Tibet” shirt when I go to the gym class.” Later we talked about the return of His Holiness to Tibet and if it would happen or not. So she added “You have to give me a book about Tibet. I want to know more and the next time the TYAE (Tibetan Youth Association in Europe) organizes a political event you should call me and I’ll attend definitely.” First you have to know that she’s incredibly lazy in reading books. That’s why I was extremely happy about her deep interest and motivation to learn more about Tibet.
Do you know this feeling when you put on a chupa and it is as if you are putting on another identity? Sometimes it’s even as if we enter another world. I remember – as a child – when my parents forced me into a chupa for the Trunkar thutcheng (His Holiness birthday celbration) and I never wanted to wear it because it was so tight and uncomfortable to play, run and fight with other Tibetan kids in chupa. But nowadays I feel good wearing a chupa because it makes me aware and conscious about my Tibetan identity. You feel like a little stranger because everyone stares at you and gives you these certain glances that tell you that it is not normal to wear a chupa and it makes you attract attention. This shows us clearly that although we were born in Switzerland or every other part in exile, we still belong to Tibet. While going home in the train I thought over and over again that the day is not far where we can return. Return to our home. Return to the place where it is normal to eat Tibetan food, speak Tibetan and wear chupa.
P.S: Today I pledge to myself to wear my chupa as often as possible (and also to buy 10 different chupas when I go to India in december to attend Kalachakra.)