Happy Losar

Today marks the start of Tibetan New Year. This is going to be the year of the dog. And today also marks my first ever Losar celebration. My morning started on a rather gloomy note though. There was a power-cut since last night and my room was freezing cold when I woke up. I couldn't take shower or have breakfast properly. Getting ready was also a huge pain as I couldn't turn on the heater. I left home in a rather murderous mood, and also one of my favourite Tibetan necklaces broke. And yet somehow the tone of the day rapidly changed afterwards. The journey down Bhutia Busty is never an easy task especially when you are wearing a 5kg dress along with heels. Today I was invited to Mr. B’s house to celebrate Losar with his entire family. His extended family also live in the same neighbourhood and as per custom, we visited every house for the rest of the day.

Every Buddhist house has an entire room dedicated to the gods that pretty much looks like the prayer room of a monastery. Tibetan Buddhists take their religion and customs seriously and they are perhaps the most generous and kind people on earth. I was welcomed in every household with open arms, big smile and lots of food. As per the norms, the head of the household would call the guest to the prayer room and give their blessings with a pinch of gram flour on the head. The guest would then offer three pinches of the flour to the gods and eat the fourth pinch. After that the host would wrap a khada around the neck of the guest and chant prayers wishing for the guest’s health and happiness. The ritual would end with some money as token if the guest is a younger person. Not only did I get 600 bucks in total at the end of the day, I was also asked to pick photo of a deity from a bag. Result of my random selection? Well, I got myself the goddess of knowledge and wisdom. Apparently, she is now my protector deity. The goddess of knowledge. Well, I feel at times that the gods are almost as if watching over me. I took the photo and kept it in my purse. I’m pretty sure a few drops of tears fell when I was doing so.

Many types of traditional food are made on this occasion. A deep fried cookie called khabsey, fried bhaley, butter tea, and of course chhang – the homemade millet beer. People drink a lot of chhang on this occasion. I had four bowls of chhang myself, along with a bottle of breezer and a glass of wine. On my way back home I was literally dragging myself with all that food and drink in my system. I wore my first ever bakhu that I had got made in December and ever since I had been waiting for the perfect occasion to wear it.

Chhang. It was creamy with a hint of kick and utterly delicious.

The whole time I couldn’t help but think what good I could have possibly done to deserve all this. I was smiling and talking all day, with everyone. Sometimes they were taking my pictures and I was happily posing. Every single prayer room I visited I felt the same surge of peace and calm. And they over-fed me to such extent that even till now I am feeling full. While standing before the gods flashes of recent past came back to me. The amount of hatred, disgust and disbelief I faced and I fought that nasty battle all alone and on the verge of a breakdown I was accused of having mental disorder and what not. I used to sit back and feel ashamed of my choices. That how every time I end up choosing the fucked up to the core, nastiest lot. Today I realized all these people around me, laughing, talking, asking me to eat another piece of chicken; these people are my choices as well. And I guess my choice is fine, more than fine in fact. Just like me.

Wish you all a very happy Losar.

That white spot on my head is where they put the gram flour.

It's the year of the dog and the god came to me disguised as Shelly the doggo