My grandparents were amongst the first wave of Tibetans that fled Tibet after the 1959 Chinese invasion. They migrated to Nepal crossing the Mt. Everest path that linked Tibet to Nepal through Solukhumbu; seeking refuge and shelter under the Nepalese government and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Since then they have lived in various parts of India and Nepal. This object I share is called a mani (prayer wheel). A mani consists of a scroll with mantras inside and spinning the wheel brings about equal relevance as to reciting the mantra.
Growing up I have watched the shadow of my grandmother silently spinning the wheel more than a thousand times. This same mani belonged to great great great grandfather in Tibet. I never asked my grandmother what feelings or memories spinning the wheel brought in her. Perhaps, it is the resilience of the adversities she has overcome with the mani as her companion from Tibet-Nepal-India.
Now as it stands here in my father’s table I’d like to think this mani represents the life of many Tibetans like my grandparents. A life of constant motion in circles with no particular point to stop and call home.
– Yeen Lama