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circle of life

The circle of life

“Good moooorrniiiiinnngg Ma’am”—Ira loved the sound of that sing-song greeting five days a week. The ebullience, the innocence, and the joie de vivre of the kindergarten children transported her to an inexplicably happy place. A place far away from her lonely world of ennui and sorrow.

Every afternoon after returning home, eating her meagre lunch and dusting the photographs that donned the walls of her bedroom, Ira would slip under the bedcover, shut her eyes tight and try hard to erase the fleeting images of that fateful day. For three years now, she hadn’t succeeded in erasing the image of her cherub’s fall off the balcony. But the pain had somewhat subsided, after she severed the relationship with her parents and family and moved to a tiny town called Bylakuppe near Mysore in the South of India. Ira had heard her friends sing paeans about Bylakuppe’s Namdroling monastery, the second largest Tibetan settlement in India after Dharamshala. She had been soaking in the beauty and calmness of the place for three years now.

When she first came to Bylakuppe three years ago, Ira would sit for hours inside the monastery, silently shedding tears, trying to find answers, forgive herself, and accept the harsh reality of having lost her child. Having noticed her daily routine, one day a lama walked up to her with a beatific smile. “Tears will dry up, but life must go on. I don’t know the cause of your deep sorrow, but you must believe that there’s a reason for things to happen in this universe. And, you play a unique role in the larger scheme of things,” he said

Without much ado, Ira had readily agreed. The decision would change her life for the better.


Ira stared at him in utter disbelief, tears streaming down her cheeks uncontrollably. Finally, she gathered herself and replied, “I have lost all purpose in life, since I lost my baby in a freak accident last month. I don’t know how to go on anymore.” The lama nodded. He seemed to understand her pain.

“Come with me,” he said and led her through a passageway next to the monastery to a huge courtyard behind it. A faint sound of children chanting wafted through the air and tickled Ira’s senses. She was engulfed in a calm that had eluded her all this while. The lama calmly led her to a gigantic wooden red door, knocked gently on it, and pushed the door open.

“This is our little school. Children come here to study Buddhist tenets every day. Why don’t you teach them to speak English, to start with?” he asked. Without much ado, Ira had readily agreed. The decision would change her life for the better.

Three years hence, Ira had started her own pre-school in a picturesque cottage in the hilly town. The neighbourhood revered Ira Ma’am and saluted her spirit and resilience. Ira had found her purpose in life and peace in the cherubic smiles of the angelic kids and in their melodious daily greetings.

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