“Long life and goodbye!”

“Long life and goodbye!”

The titles of my two previous blog posts from Arunachal featured quotable quotes from the wonderful Border Roads Organisation.

Then my dratted laptop went on strike, thus putting paid to any more blogs while I was on the road.

Now back in Delhi (& sneezing away in the pollution :( ) I’m going to catch up on my Arunachal travelogue for you.

But FYI, the title of this post is NOT courtesy of Border Roads for once, but of a wonderful monk we met high in the misty hills, in a tiny village called Nubrang, near the little town of Dirang.

For the purposes of full disclosure, my guide and traveling companion Sanjay Thakur called it Nubrang.

The road signs called it Nubrang.

But curiously, all online references to the hamlet refer to it as Lubrang.

Anyway, I’m following the road signs and Sanjay, and so Nubrang it is.

Sanjay has a contact in the village – he’s actually the village headman – who provides ponies for trekking, but unfortunately the headman was in Dirang for work, so we didn’t get to meet him.

But…

…instead a kind lama did the honours, guiding us to the wee hill-top temple and then giving us tea afterwards.

At the top of the hill, there was a monk who opened the temple up for us, and chatted away in a bewildering mix of Hindi, English and (we later learned) Nepali, switching back and forth between the 3 languages, whilst we struggled to keep up.

According to the lama, the monk just rocked up in the village some weeks ago, and is being fed and looked after, which is reassuringly kind in the world in which we currently live.

The monk told us about how he used to meditate in Tibet, and coupled with the story of him just walking into the village one day, it all sounded like something straight out of Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim”.

Wonderful stuff.

The monk gave us sacred threads – one for me tied round my neck (“for long life”) – and one tied round Sanjay’s wrist, and, delightfully, one for Sanjay’s car.

We all trundled back down to where the car was parked at the bottom of the hill, where the monk tied the thread to the steering wheel, recited prayers and blessings in at least 3 languages (maybe Tibetan, too, who knows?!), ending with the immortal words “Long life and goodbye!”

Even though the purpose of the visit – to meet the village headman – wasn’t achieved, we nevertheless had a stunning afternoon, chatting, being blessed, and witnessing the simple kindness and hospitality of village India.

Long life and goodbye!

(And a quick reminder that if you need any tours arranging in this spectacular part of India, Sanjay is your man :) )

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