Whenever I think of the 15th August, my mind recollects something and I shan’t forget to congratulate and thank India for making me realize who I am. It was exactly 11 years ago, I had felt an electric power kind of wave passing through my nerves and bones. And I found myself in the pool of tears which couldn’t be wiped off permanently. I can still sense the wetness all over my eyes. I am certain that it will remain until my unseen country Tibet’s issue is resolved.
I still have a vivid memory of the day and the place where I had cried aloud for country for the first time in my life . It was on the 15th of August 2006 near my college hostel gate. (Stella Matituna College for Education located on Ashok Nagar Road in Chennai) I was clad in my finest Tibetan traditional attires accompanied by a group of south Indian friends who were draped in their best Saris (Indian traditional dresses) and exchanged smiles before they presided the Indian National Anthem. I was standing behind one of my hunch backed friends. Noticed that the abnormality was gone, it got flattened by stretching her shoulders and standing unusually straight with the pride of being an Independent citizen. It revealed her confidence and the kind of absolute freedom she enjoys in her daily life. The National Anthem was sung in unison followed by hoisting the tri-colored flag up in the sky in commemoration of the independence day. I had expressed my greetings in their dialect (Vannakam in my thick Tibetan accent) and congratulatory messages to my friends. They were all in their festive mood. Of course they should. ( I admitted) I enjoyed catching a glance of buntings and mini plastic made tri-colored flags flapping everywhere.
But a part of my mind was feeling amiss. The sense of emptiness that filled my heart and lungs with sorrows. I had really tried hard to control my emotions but failed. It was me who had cried aloud with a strong realization of being someone who yearns to see the unseen country I belong to. When can there be a day to celebrate my country’s Independence Day? When can I hear the much awaited echoes of Tibetan National Flags fluttering in the breeze blowing from the Potala palace? When can I find myself accompanied by people in the same traditional dresses and cherish the joyous moments altogether? I remained inquisitive and puzzled.
To be optimistic, I consider that day as a turning point of my life. Because I understood the word self-realization and the day actually gave me the will power to do something for Tibet and our cause. I recorded it as the turning point of my life. I repeated smugly.
Thank you India for everything and making me a stronger will powered person to the least. I owe you in many ways. Wish you and your people the happiest Independence Day. May you all have a sustainable socio-economic and political growth at the highest rate.
Jai Hind, Jai Tibet…
Opinion by Sonam Wangmo, a Tibetan refugee born in India