I have known Nisho and her family for pretty long time now. Nisho’s grandparents had moved from Dharamsala in India and settled down in Ladakh for generations. They visited Bhutan at least once in a year. While they were here, they always made a point to visit Taktsang and Chime Lhakhang. Nisho’s mother, who was very kind to me passed away very recently. Her last wishes were that her three daughters do some moenlam for her at Taktsang and Chime Lhakhang after she passed away. Because of these wishes, Nisho and her elder siblings’ visit this time was more of a mission than a pilgrimage.
Given the purpose, Nisho and her sisters got busy making arrangement for the prayer session. I was only able to spend some moment of my off-hours with them in the evenings. On the last day of the prayer session which happened in Chime Lhakhang, I was able to take my son with me there. On the way back, we were able to hang long stretches of prayer flags from one end of the road to another. Just as we completed hanging the last ones, my son asked us why were hanging the prayer flags. I tried to explain to him that we were sending prayers to the God(s) so that he could protect everyone of us from sickness and evil things. I was also trying to explain to him that the prayers written on the white clothes faded over time and the white horse (lungta) carried it towards heaven. He looked impressed. He found himself a pen from the car dashboard and wrote many names on the fluttering prayer flags. When I asked him to explain, he said he had written the names of all the people he knew. Spellings didn't matter to him. Some names had only one letter. He wanted to wish that people didn't drink and quarrel at home infront of children. He also wished that his ailing friend recovered from his sickness and come to school soon.
We had many moments to ponder on his name-writing exercise on the way back. I guess his prayers were more complete than mine.