Before I start writing about the party itself, I must first apologise for the quality of the photos. I don’t know what got into me. It wasn’t as if I drank anything (not even water), but try as I might, it seems I was incapable of dealing with my camera’s settings. Why then am I posting so many? The thing is I promised Philip and Andreas that I would, so I’m afraid we’ll all have to make do with what I’ve got.
OT Rinpoche is a very generous party host. Delicious food and drinks never ceased flowing, which was just as well because the the entire Bir Tibetan colony had been invited, and quite a number of westerners gatecrashed. Nevertheless, all were made welcome and well-fed and watered.
The flies in the ointment on these occasions are always the guests. Everyone attending these kinds of do is usually so fixated on the guests of honour—the Rinpoches—that noone ever really gets down to any serious partying. People stand in queues, eat, and hunt for chairs, all of which keeps them busy as they wait for ‘something’ to happen. In the process, they forget all about enjoying themselves. By the way, the ‘something to happen’ of choice is usually that one or other of the Rinpoche’s raises a hand, or speaks a word or two, smiles, or, best of all, laughs out loud. So the focus of the evening tends to be a little one-sided.
How can I describe the entertainment? Difficult. Very difficult. Of course, OT Rinpoche had nothing whatsoever to do with the spontaneous floor show that we were treated to, but he seemed to engage a little with one or two of the earlier acts. A girl from New Zealand, for example, performed an arresting Maori dance right at the beginning, but after that things degenerated at a rate of knots. Songs were offered, but I feel uncomfortable even considering afixing the verb ‘sing’ to many of the ‘happenings’. Ditto ‘dance’ and ‘perform.’ A number of contributors certainly appeared to be attempting some version of those activities, yet the results were… well, indescribable.
At these affairs, it’s always hard to know whether the Rinpoches really enjoyed themselves or not. Last night they sat in white plastic garden chairs and maintained a fairly formal front: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche sat between Dilgo Khyentse’s Yangsi on his left and Dudjom Yangsi on his right, then a little off to his right, OT Rinpoche sat with Thartse Khen Rinpoche. Dzongsar Khyentse often beamed broadly, but for no apparent reason.
Generally, though, there was a great deal of laughter and conviviality throughout the evening, so thank you, OT Rinpoche, for your abundant hospitality. May you enjoy many, many more birthdays.