I wish I were a monk. Seriously. I would not have to bother about anything, for starters. No mad race to earn a living, no bosses, no savings to think of, no driving around like crazy in traffic, no newspapers to read, no television to watch.
It would be just working in the monastery and prayer.
We looked at this Tibetan monk (top) every morning from our hotel window when we visited the hill resort hamlet of McLeod Ganj back in 2010 and every time we thought we wanted his life.
Not a worry in the world. Always smiling, just working away at chopping the grass and the shrubs and never looking tired.
It there was heaven anywhere on Earth, we thought this was it.
At other places in the town, the headquarters of the Dalai Lama and the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, it were the same sight – monks in their dozens walking around the narrow streets, talking and joking among themselves.
Five days there and we did not see a single sad face or any concern on anyone’s brow. It made one want to stay on there forever, and melt into the hills, never to go back to our version of life.
The weather was heavenly, to say the least. You walk from bright sunshine into a mist and heavy rain all within a few minutes. You are surrounded by the most awesome greenery one has ever seen and you come across the most beautiful creatures, insects, birds and animals who make the area seem extraordinary.
Even a stroll in the town’s only bazaar is an experience. Shop owners and hotel and restaurant staff are simply different and nothing like we are used to in our own lives. It all seems so surreal.
But, of course, we came back, like all of us do, but not without a pledge to some back one day, perhaps for keeps.
We made a pact as we left – we would stay in the hills – and make them our home.
And, now, we are on the right track. God bless us!