City Series – Tenzin Choedon in Dharamshala, We the Isolationists (351st Corona Diary)
Our corona diary.
[Text and photo by Tenzin Choedon]
I close my eyes in self-isolation from Corona and see myself having tea pensively infront of the famous Dalai Lama temple. Dhasa, the small town community of Tibetan refugees, is devoid of it’s usual hustle. This place unusually calm used to be a bustling epicentre of its resident refugees, local Indians and tourists alike.
The space once shared by everyone now belongs to its sole dweller – a proud family of five from Jharkhand who are now stuck. Stranded in a home away from home. Just when I was about to leave, the family comes back to their abode singing and folking together in merriment.
Their life at the margin with just bare minimum is full of joy and contentment. They imbue an easy, nonchalant free spiritedness so dissociative of our own claustrophobic existence. An airy happiness that’s calming and at once disquieting.
This same energy was once possessed by my own grandparents when they fled from Tibet and upon leading the vagaries of this uncertain exile life. I close my eyes in self-isolation and wonder about the pandemic that has gripped us all; about the pandemic that has turned into lethal disaster of displacement. I wonder and I wonder in self-isolation what it means to
• be somewhere and yet not there
• wonder in self-isolation about home, belongingness and the limbo like existence.
• to belong, to not belong fully and the life in between.
“We the Isolationists” series urges folks from any part of the world to share a brief diary starting with “I close my eyes in my self-isolation from Corona… and I see…” Not more than 100 words. With a horizontal-sized selfie, along with your city name… please mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.