Tibetan Night - fresh air, the stars and the breeze of Lhasa


On day two of the Tibetan Economic Forum we continued with our group discussions which were interesting exchanges as in the previous day. Li Xiaojun, Director of Tibetan Affairs requested me and few other South Asians to to express our views when the groups gathered again for open sessions. Many speeches were far too long. But, what interested me most was the one given by a Tibetan self-made farming community woman. She spoke from the heart and said how things were working well in Tibet and her success story . it was short, sweet and true to life from the heart.

I told the Forum that in Sri Lanka we knew Tibet as the land of the Lamas, Buddhism, beauty and we also knew of Tibet due to the Tibetan monk S. Mahinda who took part in the Sri Lankan freedom struggle. I thanked the Chinese government for opening up Tibet to the world and to organise more cultural, religious (Buddhism) exchanges which would help people to reach out and understand one another even more. In the short speech I requested more home stays rather than staying in luxury hotels and said that Sri Lanka always respected the One China Policy and stressed that hearts and minds mattered more than anything else. I think my short speech was well received by the Chinese and other visitors alike. China and Sri Lanka boasts of an unconditional friendship which few countries could boast of.

At the end of the Forum , we finally got to do some shopping at Lhasa’s famous Barkhor Street. It is an area of narrow streets and a public square located around Jokhang Temple in the old town area. The Barkhor street is a very busy area where many Tibetans hang out and where most visitors come to shop for traditional handicrafts, Pashmina shawls , Tibetan hats, gold and traditional jewellery, food items and even prayer wheels. It is known as a multi-functional street that combines religious, sight seeing , cultural , business and shopping area. It is where the young , old, modern and , not so modern hang out. Members of our group made use of the opportunity to shop and they did shop with passion because everyone at home wanted something from Tibet. I heard one of our friends from India , Sitram says that he will have to face the wrath of his wife in Mumbai if he didn't bring anything from Tibet. Everyone in the world wants to know about Tibet and to find out the beauty of Tibet. I was very fortunate, privileged and lucky to be in Tibet, China.

In the evening we had a farewell banquet hosted by Ms Cui Yuing , Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China to the visiting delegates and others. We were more relaxed. But, I had something more to do. I had a special invitation from Million Sunshine to show Tibet by night. It was an unforgettable experience driving with her and a colleague of hers in the night away from the herd. I felt the fresh air and the breeze of Lhasa. As she drove , playing Tibetan songs, she pointed out to places of importance in Lhasa. At times we enjoyed the silence of the Lhasa night. It was unforgettable and I still close my eyes and think of the silence of the night among the busyness of the beautiful city. It was the best day of Tibet for me in a way. We went near the Potala Palace and drove to the busy streets and a coffee shop, after having parked the car at a dusty car park. Night Lights of the Lhasa was like any other city . However, there was something more than any other city. There was Million Sunshine even in the night.

I was taken to a coffee shop and we sat to chat our cares away and to drink coffee. But, what I enjoyed most was the turning of Tibetan and Chinese eyes on me , their smiles and at times laughter. Of course they knew I was from a foreign land and I did flash the Sri Lankan smile very gleefully, bowed to them and said " I am from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka. Buddhist" Some understood. Some didn’t. Million Sunshine enjoyed all the drama with her million dollar smile.

I received a beautiful and memorable gift and Tibetan handmade incense made from natural ingredients in the Himalayas. I light them morning and night even today.

It was my last night in Beautiful Tibet in the city of Lhasa. I couldn't sleep at all- looking at the sky and the stars and even sunshine in the night

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