Tendar Tsering

    Two more years: Tibetan memoir in the making

    by , August, 2017
    Caption: Tendar Tsering sets up his video camera at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamshala, India, to hear the Tibetan spiritual leader’s teachings.

    When Ten­dar Tser­ing was 12 years old, he left his fam­ily in Tibet. He trav­eled over a thou­sand miles and crossed the Himalayas to study in India. He has not seen his fam­ily since 1997

    I could call my fam­ily in Tibet two times a year, but they couldn’t call me. There is no inter­na­tional out­go­ing call ser­vice in most of Tibet. It is a for­bid­den region.

    Some­times I could reach them. It took hours of try­ing over and over again. But most of the time, I heard: “Duibuqi, ni de dian­hua buzai choe.” Your call is not reachable

    When­ever we spoke on the phone, I sensed that both of my par­ents were liv­ing in agony and regret. My mother would often apol­o­gize to me for send­ing me away to an unknown coun­try. She would always sob. Her tears reminded me that the pain in her heart was still an open wound. Know­ing my tears would be like rub­bing salt into her wound, I held them back. But often I cried in silence, lying on my bed, drown­ing myself with tears.

    Since 2010, things have become dif­fer­ent. In all those years when I couldn’t reach my par­ents on the phone, I never dreamed of the day we could do a video chat. Once we had free, cross-​platform instant mes­sag­ing appli­ca­tions, we were able to talk reg­u­larly. I told my fam­ily to seek train­ing on how to go online. Then they could video chat with their long-​lost son.

    For days, I was glued to my bed. Soon my fam­ily and I would meet face-​to-​face via video chat. I combed my hair with my fin­gers. I washed my face. With my best clothes on, my lap­top on my lap, I waited for my par­ents to come online.

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