Spring came and went, a rather cold one, then the thunderstorms. Today, the monsoon moved in, fog floating in from the plains bringing with it a thick, heavy rain that descends like lead. No wind. We are now where we hoped to be since the beginning: The state closed to outsiders, but open inside. Our town has taken on a new face, the small town it was 20 years ago, absent of tourists from the plains. People play cricket in the street, and friendly shopkeepers offer all kinds of takeaways. There is a profusion of vegetable sellers, all hotel owners turned to other occupations, who talk about their Israeli guests with a tinge of nostalgia.
Dechen said she didn’t want to miss out on revisiting her childhood haunts, something impossible in normal times due to the tourist traffic, and we do a weekly excursion to a beautiful spot. Last week it was to the Baghsu Nath water fall, where the children found clear pools to bathe in while we drank chai and made friends with the goats.Last week was birthday week, Yiga turned 3 on the 18th and Losel one two days later, on the 20th. We ordered a very fancy pink cake from Moonspeak, the owner went all over town looking for the strawberries. Losel had a blue cake from Woser Bakery and a display of matching cupcakes. We had balloons and toys that they will have to share. No one is going anywhere, for the moment at least, with China still closed. We don’t know how long this state of things will last, but we all feel safe here, with time in suspension. Knowing that nothing is up to us, waiting has a certain feel of comfort to it. Hope that India was being bypassed by covit-19 has now evaporated. Beyond Himachal’s borders, five hundred kilometers south in Delhi, hospitals are overflowing, and patients being turned away. Reading a Tibetan biography, we realize how people less than a century ago lived with the reality of epidemics, while we never considered they could also be part of ours.