More than the tourist attractions, it’s always been people that I recognise a place with. The joy of bumping into a familiar face, an old friend, the same shopkeeper and that instant smile is, perhaps, one of the biggest lures of visiting a place again. And again.
I met Tsewang Dolma more than a year back, when we chatted an evening away. Of course, over some plates of her special, home made, fried momos.
There are around five other such momo sellers in the two lanes that make McLeodganj. Yet, there’s something in her witty smile and the subtle air of generosity that I have never visited the others.
So, we met again. Right on my first morning at Mcleodganj.
She waved, I waved.
She didn’t understand English or Hindi. I didn’t understand Tibetan.
Yet, it was smooth sailing.
Much to my dismay, she hadn’t recognised me. But as I realised after some time, it really didn’t matter, for I intend to travel towards the unknown, in search of people who pass smiles, wave back, accompany you for a hike up the hills, share some moments of a life together and then leave you free.
And then, she was the same friendly, little lady that she always was.
Just for a token of our unrecognised friendship, she posed happily for my camera. Plus, she gave one momo free the next evening.
Simple, isn’t it?
The complexities of life, of relations, turned simple by a lady selling momos outside Tibet Kitchen.