Tearful Journey Out of Tibet

At the age of three I lost my Mom, not having a proper picture of her features, she was faded away like a cloud, which had wiped out its rain. Then my world turned chilly and harsh– with no leaf upon bare trees, no flowers upon ground, the little motion in air became the only thing, which helped me to push me up. 
But the God blessed me with a great daddy, illiterate but tough as a professor. He always thinks about the mistake his parents made in his life not sending him to school, instead of keeping him in the field as a poor farmer. He thinks like that since he knew how important the education is in one’s life, and without it life became just like a bird without the right to fly even if it had wings unlike other creatures.
This experience of his own being an uneducated poor farmer, he got the strong will to send his children to school. Dad was very impatient to send me and my younger brother to a school, and he dreamed that all the time. But he was a poor man and had large family to support and could not afford the expenses of sending us to school after he got married again.
It was therefore necessary for me to think of my own way out to get an education, and I was very interested in gaining some education in my life starting from the early age of my life. It was a long wait since I dreamed many times that I was going to school like the children of richer families do. Like this, the first few solid years of the life went by in a second, and I reached at my 14th year in 2004.
Being a semi orphan I could learn many important principles very early in life, such as the hardships of being illiterate, farmer and slaves. This knowledge made up my mind to set a plan to escape from the fields on which many people ended their lives without touching even a single pen and book.
So, one such a day on a Monday of the chilly winter of 2004, my dad told me he was planning to leave for a small selling of daily necessities so that he could earn a bit for the poor family, the place where he was directing his destiny was a small town in Nepal called Solokumbo just on the backside of Mount Everest.
I never knew that my dad was planning to take us with him to send us to India by holding the chance of his selling goods. And I was planning myself to appeal to him to take me along with him so that I could have the opportunity to go to school. I was on the verge of saying that, when suddenly dad called me to him and asked me “Norbu can you come with me and fetch our donkey from the snow pass ?” Hearing these words from him, I could find no words with which to respond. On other hand, I left with tears streaming down on my face, I did not know. Dad held me and gave a very affectionate hug saying it’s ok! If you won’t come I will look for someone, then I shouted in his ear “No, I do not want to stay anymore at home, and I want to go school.” I knew this sentence would make him feel both happy and sad feelings in his mind, one he was happy was that I had the will of not leaving him, and the sad thing was that he could not send his son to school on time like other children of the village.
Then he himself also was about to drop tears down on his cheeks. But they never dropped, and said “Truly speaking, I am planning for sending you to India so that you will not become like me. See, I can do nothing without education, but till today I failed being that I was poor.” Really, those sentences made me cry more and more, but I tried very hard to control myself so that dad won’t be upset.
Days and moments flew very fast like the wild winds, a great single grateful thought raised in me that the journey along my only dad , we started our journey on the Friday of the same week that my dad got the plan to go outside. We took our journey on that day because we Tibetans believe that whatever we are doing on that day will be successful. I was confident that our journey would be a safe one, as people from 3 to 60 years old were praying for the two of us.
On those winter days, trees were wonderful, red and yellow. I did not know why I loved that season so much, might be the colors? It was always a joy all along the way till the snow pass, it was almost half a month since we left our home, of course we were very happy with our journey. We did not face any trouble till that, everything went very smoothly.
Dad told me we were about to reach the snow pass soon, from there we could have some companion too at same time we have to carry all our luggage that our donkey was carrying for us because of the donkey was incapable of crossing the pass, on other hand we did not have hired a yak for us to carry it, of course I knew my dad had to carry all of it.
Finally we got there and we met a group of people there too, they have dozens of yaks for their luggage, our joys knew no bounds after seeing them.
There daddy made all the things to one piece and made a heavy luggage to himself leaving nothing even a small stuff for me to carry, before heading up to the snow pass he made many prayers. Our journey for the snow pass was for a day, the most hard thing was that there was no specific road and foot steps to follow up as our direction. Meanwhile, the day was a foggy, windy and snowy one, then many problems started to plague us, such as loss of our way, freezing of our limbs, etc. We moved ahead very blindly and dad was bit worry about my life more than his own, because he knew many people lost their lives on that treacherous pass by facing same problem and being trapped on the snow. His hairy face was covered by the small pieces of ice formed by the drops coming from his body due to his tired body, but I know his mind still was fresh as before, full of hope and determination to cover the remaining miles despite the direction where we were pushing up our heavy foot steps.
Dad asked if we could have a rest till the fogs, winds and the snow stop. But few of our companions were agreeing, and some were suggesting to move ahead continuously so that we won’t suffer the freezing of the snow as well as the harsh strong wind. If we rest we might be covered by snow and get trapped by it and face severe problem. I was looking for a short break since my limbs were killing me because of the chilly snow on my feet, and the harsh wind accompanied by snow straight to our faces made me lots of troubles. But until my dad asked me, I never demanded for a break as I know my dad was also suffering like the way I was suffering– moreover, he was carrying all the things which we two possessed, and we moved without stopping for a rest because dad had fear of remaining only the two of us. We moved without even a short break, moved and moved with lots of pains on the lower part of the body.
Finally, thank God, we could see some tents were pitched not far from where we reached at that moment. Everybody cried, “Look there now, we are almost finished, see tents there!” shouted by all the people. Again our joys knew no bounds, then of course we wished we would get some tea there very first, as nobody got even a bread to eat as our meal on that day. We were moving with lots of tension and fears of losing our way and being trapped, nobody knew about our survival, perhaps the God knew everything about us but never believed there is a God to look after us save ourselves, whatever we may face or become is only in our own hands, since we were managing ourselves and not the God is managing us.
“We made it!” said dad. We made it up the snow pass finally, we spent our nights there on a very rocky area just below the snow pass, we pitched our own tents, and from there we made our journey differently. From there every walk was on rocks that made our legs suffer more after the freezing on the snow. I had to cry many times, but dad could do nothing save to console me, and saying “it’s okay! Be patient for few days and when we reach there we could have some medicines.” That dialogue was often repeated by him due to the severe pain on my legs, of course I knew dad was too facing same problem as I was facing. I tried very hard then so that dad won’t worry anymore about me.
We took another 15 days without sleeping at nights, we walked days and nights. Because I did not get a passport to go India, that is why we had to made our journey both days and nights. Surely our limbs were injured badly since all the way along the roads was rocky. I saw my poor dad was bleeding from his legs with wounds he got on both his legs. Again I made another cry for my helplessness to my dad, to roll out the salty tears was the only thing I could do when we faced troubles on the way. Like this we finally reached there at the small settlement in Nepal called Solkhumbo, and there we got bit of help from some of Tibetans and we could have a very relief to enjoy after finishing the journey. Years may wipe out many things, but they never wipe out all those hard days with my dad. They are still in my memory very vivid as if it happened just yesterday. After that, how I came to India from there– and life after getting here in India– is a separate story.
Whatever such troubles were not only faced by two of us. But most of the Tibetans who came from Tibet as refugees have come across this hardship, some are more than this, some people lost their dear and near ones on this pass without getting proper food and clothes. Some could make their journey along this pass but their limbs are lost due to the harsh weather they faced on the way.
I know I made many mistakes with my broken English, so pardon me.
With many TASHI DELEKS and good wishes.