“Here miss, buy a Chinese cat. Bring good luck, money,” M.G Marg calls.
Tap-tap-tappitty-tap on the Google bar. Search Chinese cat with raised arm.
—Kameki Miko, origin Japan, popular among Chinese merchants, golden-coloured cats supposed to lure customers in a business house, especially ones that operate at night-time— bars, restaurants, geisha houses.
—Let’s take Miko home. Not for good luck. Only ’cause he’s a strange fur-ball with an angry surprise on his face. Now have I seen a cat without a grin!
—All cats are lucky. Why, they’ve all got nine lives.
—Let’s also get wind chimes and porcelain bowls to drink ramen from. Those blue-lotus ones with fire-breathing dragons!
Next morning local sight-seeing. Tight schedule. Fixed rate. Places bargained for money. A wave of rare orchids hangs over human heads. CLICK-CLICK-CLICK, said the phone-cameras. Two hundred to adopt a bulb.
Now let me tell you the true story behind the story of Tsan dan jo bo, called out Old Man Guide in the Museum of Tibetology.
“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there lived a king in the kingdom of India, whose name was Udayana. Once it is said that the Buddha Shakyamuni or Shakya Nyorai born on the eighth day of the fourth month of the year of the Wood Tiger,traveled to Trayastrima Heaven, the Paradise of the Thirty-three Gods, to convert his mother Maha Maya to Buddhism.
Pining for Shakya Nyorai’s presence in his absence, the king asked Mou gal bu to make an image of the Nyorai in ‘purple gold’. Mou gal bu gathered thirty-two miraculous artists along with the goshirsha, a precious dark-red variety of sandalwood from South India, known to lure snakes with its scent, and had them brought to the paradise; there they completed the statue and brought it back to the world of the humans, complete with thirty-two distinctive marks, as the Tsan dan jo bo.
In the year of the Iron Hare, having completed his three-month summer retreat, Nyorai returned to the world of humans which had only experienced the meager passage of eleven years. It is then that the statue lifted itself in mid-air and saluted the Nyorai as he appeared in front of it, whereupon the Buddha prophesied that Buddhism would spread to China one thousand years after his Parinirvana.
Later Kasyapa Matanga took the sandalwood statue to China and presented it to Emperor Mingti upon joining his mission, nearly a hundred years after the birth of Christ. Some Tibetan legends say that, like Rin chen bzang po’s flying mask, it just flew across the sky from India to the plateau in China!”
Quick trip to Rumtek. Tired of consuming bucketfuls of our.national.food.maggi in hotels where the drivers suggest we take-a-break. Commission-eating parasites hang over us to sell beef-flavoured Chinese cup noodles. Time to be off. Road leads back to Civilization.
Good bye, gooh-bye goobye… looming spectre-of-a-mountain.