Iloo Road

On the other side of Bir the same road you take to get from OT Rinpoche’s house to the centre of the colony becomes what is known as ‘Iloo Road’. When I first visited here, Pawo (Adarsha Photography) told me that ‘Iloo’ is a diminutive of ‘I love you’ and that the road had been given its name because it was where the local youngsters did their illicit courting. I’m sure it’s true, but even though I’ve wandered that way more times than I can count, I haven’t once spied canoodling couples. But then, I only go there in day light…

Yesterday my walk was a way of escaping the sound of beating drums and rather duck-like reed instruments that originated both from our Indian neighbours back garden puja and the upper reaches of the building I’m now staying in. Please don’t misunderstand me, it wasn’t a hellish techno mind-scrambler, nor a scraping-the-blackboard torture. But it was just the excuse I needed to abandon my desk for the open skies and Iloo Road.

To get there I cut through Chokling Monastery where I snapped the pair of puppies especially for Kelly because she loves all living, breathing beings, but particularly those covered with soft fur. Then onto Iloo Road, although where it actually begins is a mystery I have yet to solve. I imagine it’s somewhere past the Tibetan enclave, near the newly built Indian house where freshly harvested corn was drying in the sun. Or not. Perhaps I shouldn’t try to marry words to photos in future… that really was a little too affected, don’t you think?

Better, by far, to cut to the chase. Dinner at the Labrang. Rain yesterday afternoon played havoc with the electrics in Bir, as it so often does, plunging the entire area into four hours of darkness. So, we ate by candlelight, which gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my wonderful camera’s ISO button. Hence the slightly too dark picture of Rinpoche, that, nevertheless, does seem to conjure something of an atmosphere (to my eyes, at least). Pawo had his Nikon with him and with luck he’ll post something a little more proficient.

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