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“Happy New Year, Mr. Lama”

January 18, 2009
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I bumped into a group of friends in a British-style bar down at 50th street downtown. Since the second week of January was actually the first work week after a long holiday season, the conversation around the stammtisch went about “how was your new year”.

The first lady and her friends decided that the idea of boarding on a 12 hours train trip to northern India on new year’s eve would be fun. They brought serious drinks and a designer cake along, with the excitement of celebrating the change of year on board the train. When the clock struck midnight–full of joy these travelers were–they greeted a family of eight; the only pack of passengers who were fully awake. They offered to share the designer cake and drinks to celebrate the change of year.

“But we have our own cake,” said the Mother, showing their own cake. However, being a Good Samaritan, the foreign travelers opened the designer’s cake box and started distributing paper plates.

Having seen the beautiful designer’s cake, the Mother interjected, “Oh, we all have brushed our teeth. It’s midnight. Why don’t we exchange our cakes?”

The foreign travelers just stood and stared blankly at each other, while the designer cake made its way to the other side. The next second, they found themselves slowly walked back to their seats with a non-designer cake in their hands.

“Uh, what happened just now? What cake is this? Where’s our pretty cake?” They both stared in disgust at the shapeless cake in their hands.

So much for new year’s eve celebration on the train!

The story continues as Dharamsala was their destination. They got themselves ready to meet a very special person with the hope of a blessed and good year ahead in 2009. The preparation was pretty exhaustive and involved a stuck comb in the hair of one foreign traveler, which made her traveling company cut the stuck hair to release the comb.

When they actually were face to face with the very special person, our first foreign traveler was so touched by the presence of the special person. She was sobbing so hard she couldn’t speak a word. The second traveler was so caught up in the situation of “bad hair day” and forgot all the important questions she was going to ask. The only word that came out from her mouth was,

“Happy New Year, Mr. Lama.”

Yes, they met THE Dalai Lama!

As of my new year, I got a sore throat and decided to sleep through the change of year. I hope you all have a wonderful year, Readers!

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