Kyabchen Dedrol is one of the best young writers in Tibet, and a leading figure of the “third generation”, a generation defined both by their age and their thoughts and views which were distinct from the older generation. His writings are published in many literary magazines inside Tibet and have also been translated into other languages. Kyabchen Dedrol is also one of the writers who introduced magical realism into Tibetan literary in the early 1990s with stories like “The Grave Yard at the Snowy Mountain Base and the Eagle of Shampa La.” This piece was published on the popular website Chodmey—of which Dedrol used to be editor.
Can a Flower Fall from the Sky?
The beginning of the semester is so hectic that there isn’t even any time to eat good food and rest. And I am the kind of person who isn’t hard working but has a big appetite, someone who from a young age always noticed what was being cooked for dinner in my family. The small town where I grew up had very unpredictable and changeable weather, so unless we stayed inside, it was very hard to pass the day.
Inside the house, apart from office work, I would eat some food, flip through the TV channels, surf the internet and then flip through some books. When the day’s work was done and night has fallen, and the light turned off and both my eyes closed, then I entered the dream world. But these days, when I wake up, I lose all my dreams, maybe because of too much work during the day.
Sometimes I feel a pain in my heart. The grassland where I spent my childhood, the tattered yak hair tent, father’s chanting and mother’s handiwork, the creatures and the princes of the children’s stories have permanently left our lives, and the “click, click, click” of electronic devices have replaced them.
So when I turn on the computer to write a poem, what comes to my mind is not the relaxed vocabulary of green grass and white clouds, but an uneasy vocabulary consisting of insects, jokes, beer and liquor.
When I walk around squeezing some textbooks under my arms, the small students bow to me. But who should I bow down to? Should I bow to the sun or the ocean, or the mysterious mountain ranges, or to the people laughing with their big bellies? People, no matter how high they raise themselves with arrogance, eventually bow down. Birds lay down in their nests and people lay down in their warm beds.
Even though you and I are making two or three year plans and seeing a vision of a beautiful future for ourselves, is there any guarantee that a big flood or a big storm will not displace our future to far far away?
The news says that there is war, but we feel that they are happening far away in distant countries. They say that historical facts can seek the truth but like kings’ crowns and queens’ necklaces they have already sunk into the soil. They say that literature can make people cry, but these people, whose tears are flowing like water, are very quiet.
I gaze at myself in the mirror and I imagine my face disappearing when the mirror breaks, but my two hands belong to me. My two hands move on the computer keyboard like two female dancers, and I pay these two sisters.
Suddenly, all of a sudden, the door opens. Even after the door was closed, a person enters. Another person enters. The first person is speaking, and the second person is singing. There is a third person who has not entered but the sound of his footsteps is disturbing these two people’s speech and melody.
This year is different from previous years. When summer ends, what comes next is not autumn but winter. I hate winter. Winter has dust in the snow and illness in the wind. After freezing my milk tea and burying my love in the snow, winter makes my swan fly far away. There are no flowers to be seen in the winter. I have asked winter a question. Can a flower fall from the sky?
They say that many years ago, Panchen Rinpoche visited this school. When he saw the condition of education at that time, he said to the governor, “Glutton, useless” and scolded him. If he visited again, he may scold again but then he might say, “It is not your fault. These people are each one worse than the other.”
This morning I taught the students Dhondup Gyal’s “The Narrow Footpath.” At the end of the essay, Dhondup Gyal suggests that we should switch from the narrow path to the wide street, but not long after this, he took his own life.
I don’t know if this road that I am on is a footpath or a street, and so I can’t take my own life. I am someone who drinks hot water nonstop in the office. Although I work as a teacher, it is hard to say whether I impart education to the children or not. I have to stay hopelessly, so to whom should I say that I have become a small nail, or a match or a nearly extinguished candle?
The city people far away like to say, “Lhasa, Lhasa. Tibet, Tibet” and the distant beings in hell like to say, “Atsa, atsa. Ana, ana.” The people coming in cars have a lot of stuff in their bags. Besides themselves, they carry their neighbors’ puppies. They take a lot of medicine while resting. After taking the medicine, they eat a lot. After they return home, they never send me any letters.
Can a flower fall from the sky? Can a flower, momentarily beautiful, fall from the sky?
The original link:http://www.tibetcm.com/html/degrol/d4cea19ed8c31f211edcfbed28952b00/
Translated by Rebsa.