Stakmo – satul oamenilor ospitalieri / Stakmo – the village with hospitable people


Rigzem Dolma

Asadar, am inceput peregrinarea prin Ladakh. Doua-trei zile in Leh pentru aclimatizare, inca vreo doua pentru recunoastere si aprovizionare, planuri si anulari de planuri…si cateva ore de asteptare a unei masini care sa ne duca in Stakmo de la strada principala. Stakmo e un satuc in care locuitorii covietuiesc intr-o comunitate de aproximativ 25 de case.

Cu bagajele in spate si multa voie-buna am pornit in cautarea unui loc de campat. Nu ne puteam hotari intre toate locurile acelea de vis. Ne-a atras insa atentia o gradina inconjurata cu un gard improvizat din pietre, cu un parau care trece prin mijlocul ei, adapostita de copaci.

In clinchetul clopotelului de la gatul lui Buzo, un pechinez inteligent si politicos, care ne saluta ridicand ambele labute la nivelul urechilor, am mers pana la casa proprietarului gradinii, pentru a cere permisiunea de a-i ocupa micul colt de rai. Proprietarul, care era si ingrijitorul gonpei din apropiere, ne-a invitat la “chai”(ceai cu lapte) si ne-a ajutat sa instalam cortul. Desi nu stiau multa engleza, batranelul, impreuna cu sotia sa, au facut tot posibilul sa ne simtim ca acasa.  Buzo ne tinea companie in timpul lui liber, ma acompania in plimbarile mele de recunoastere pe creasta muntelui din spatele casei, imparteam “chapati”(painea indiana) cu el si ne intelegeam de minune.

Cu vremea nu ne-am prea inteles. Ploua continuu de 2 zile, ni se topea soba improvizata din pietre si pamant, se stingea focul…Dar, ai stat vreodata ore in sir in cort sa asculti sunetul ploii rapaind pe panza subtire? Ai privit apa scurgandu-se de pe o frunza pe alta, inghitita de pamantul insetat? Ti-ai intins mainile in ploaie, incercand sa absorbi viata din apa?….

Rigzem Dolma

In inchipuirea mea gradina devenise un Eden personal. O exploram fara sa ma satur de descoperirile facute. O puteai parcurge in doua minute dintr-un capat in altul, dar la fiecare pas mi se descopereau minuni. Vaci si iaci rataciti isi strecurau capetele printre pietre, ne salutau, furau cateva frunze din copaci si isi continuau drumul. Catei aventurieri se furisau pana la cort si ne pandeau miscarile, atentau la mancarea noastra. Le zambeam si imparteam cu ei chapati, ne imprieteneam, le citeam din cartile mele si ei imi povesteau din viata lor. Dar nimic nu e vesnic…a trecut si ploaia.

Am iesit din lumea noastra cu planuri mari. Voiam sa urcam pe muntele din spatele gradinii…Dar surpriza…era plin de zapada. Nu puteam urca cu tot echipamentul video. Asa ca am inceput peregrinarea prin sat in cautare de imagini frumoase. Si oameni frumosi. Am cunoscut-o astfel pe Rigzem Dolma, o veche prietena a lui Stelian, pe care o cunoscuse din prima lui calatorie in Ladakh. O fata de 12 ani plina de surprize, care m-a acaparat in urmatoarele 2 zile.

Putin timorata de prezenta noastra la inceput, si-a revenit in urmatoarele 5 minute dupa ce i-am aratat poze din calatoria anterioara. I-a spus lui Stelian sa stearga unele poze cu ea care nu ii placeau (pentru ca “arata ca un terorist “). Mama ei facea fete speriate, ii era frica sa nu fim deranjati de sinceritatea fiicei ei. Dolma ne-a ordonat apoi sa dormim la ea cat mai stam in Stakmo si… asa a inceput povestea…

Nu stiu cum as putea incepe descrierea Dolmei. Cand m-a vazut m-a privit uimita si putin reticenta. Mai erau de fata mama ei, sora ei mica si obraznica si doua surori de suflet, vecinele ei, cu care avea o relatie foarte stransa. Dar personalitatea Dolmei acapara toate privirile si discutiile se invarteau in jurul ei. Era de o curiozitate cum nu am mai vazut. Nu i-a luat mult sa isi defineasca atitudinea fata de mine. M-a bombardat cu intrebari despre mine si viata mea, despre toate lucrurile mele, m-a rugat sa o invat sa faca poze, sa ii povestesc mai multe despre viata noastra in Europa. Apoi m-a “adoptat” ca sora mai mare. Era o naturalete in gesturile ei…

Dimineata ne-am grabit spre gonpa, sa filmam puja (rugaciune buddhista). Dolma ne-a spus mandra ca unui din cei trei lama care tineau puja era bunicul ei. Copiii se simteau ca acasa in gonpa, intr-o atmosfera relaxata, plina de bunavointa. Nu am reusit sa filmez prea mult. De cate ori ma asezam sa filmez, Dolma ma lua de mana si ma ducea sa imi mai arate inca o camera, sau sa ma serveasca cu ceai, sa imi mai povesteasca ceva. Mi-a aratat toate locurile ei secrete, mi-a desenat mainile cu henna, am facut schimb de poze cu noi, am spalat impreuna uniforma de scoala, m-a lasat sa asist la spalatul parului, ceva intim pentru ea, in apa rece a raului. Pe Stelian il lasase in grija mamei ei, el nu avea acces la multe din lucrurile “de fete”.

Mi-a ramas in minte fata asta atat de ciudata pentru varsta ei, atat de naturala in indrazneala ei, atat de sensibila….Inainte sa plecam mi-a smuls bratara din flori pe care mi-o daruise inainte si a fugit in casa cu lacrimi in ochi. Sora ei de suflet ne-a dat o felicitare foarte frumoasa, impodobita cu sclipici, in care ne ura o calatorie frumoasa.

Au fost putin obositoare zilele acelea. Dar cand am plecat simteam ca ma despart de o sora draga, simteam un gol pe care nu il puteam explica prin doua zile petrecute cu un copil care m-a fascinat, care promite o feminitate de basm. A vrea sa o revad peste vreo 5 ani, sa o revad domnisoara, femeie…

Cand am plecat din Stakmo simteam ca ies dintr-o lume privilegiata, ca inchid o usa in urma mea pe care nu cred ca as mai putea-o deschide  in alta parte. In 5 zile am cunoscut oameni rari, oameni pe care te poti baza, carora le poti citi sufletul in priviri. Acolo dainuiesc insusirile naturale, sinceritatea, omenia. Si e atat de liniste…se aude doar natura desfasurandu-se. Cateodata ma intreb daca de fapt nu era chiar Edenul pe care l-am cunoscut fara sa-mi dau seama. Dar calatoria trebuia sa continue…

[english version]

So we started our wandering around Ladakh. A couple of days in Leh for getting used to climate, a few more for buying supplies, getting to know the area and constantly making and canceling plans…and a few hours of waiting for a car to take us from the main street to Stakmo. With our backpacks strapped on and quite a lot of excitement we began our search for a appropriate camping site. It was quite difficult to choose from such a large variety of dreamy landscapes.

But we finally decided on a small garden surrounded by an improvised rock fence. The garden was also sheltered by trees and had a small river that was flowing through it. Accompanied by the chiming of Buzo’s (an intelligent and quite “polite” dog that used to say hello by raising both his paws over his head) bell, we walked to the owner’s house to ask him if we could spend the night in his little piece of heaven. The owner, who was caretaker of those surroundings invited us to “chai” (tea with milk) and helped us set up or tent. Even though he didn’t know English very well, the old man and his wife tried as well as they could to make us feel comfortable.

Buzo also kept us company when he had time and also joined me in my strolls on the mountain behind the house. I shared my “chapatti” (Indian bread) with him, therefore we got along great. The weather, on the other hand, was not as easy to buy off. It had been raining continuously for two days, our improvised furnace made of rocks and dirt was melting and the fire was going out… But have you even stayed in a tent for hours on end just listening to the sound of the rain? Have you ever watched water fall form one leaf to another and then be swallowed by the ground? Have you ever touched the rain, trying to absorb its essence? In my imagination the garden had been transformed into a personal paradise. I explored it without ever getting tired of my discoveries. You could walk from one side to another in two minutes, but at every step I was faced with new wonders. Wondering cows and yaks would squeeze their heads through the rocks, to say hello, “steal” a few leafs and then be on their way. Some brave dogs came all the way to our tent and stared at our food. We smiled and shared our chapatti with them.

We became friends, I read to them from my books while they told me stories from their world. But nothing last forever…not even the rain. We left our new found haven with great plans. We wanted to climb the mountain that was just behind the garded but guess what? There was snow everywhere therefore we couldn’t climb with all our video equipment. This is how we decided to start wandering through the village in search of beautiful scenery and beautiful people. This is how I’ve met Rigzem Dolma, an old friend of Stelian’s, which he became acquainted to the first time he came to Ladakh.

She was a 12 year old girl full of surprises that have constantly amazed me for the next two days Even though she was nervous around us at first, she soon became quite comfortable in our presence after I’ve showed her some pictures from our last trip. She told Stelian to delete some of photos of her that she didn’t like because she “looked like a terrorist”. Her mother was somewhat ashamed of her daughter’s sincerity. Dolma ordered us to stay with her for as long as we’ll be in Stakmo and this is how the story began… I don’t know how to begin my description of Dolma. When she first saw me she stared with amazement and skepticism. Even though there were other people present: her mother, her naughty younger sister and her two best friends, Dolma’s personality made her the constant centre of attention.

She was of an unearthly curiosity, bombarding me with questions about myself and my life. She asked me to show her how to use the camera and to tell her more about Europe, and then finally she “adopted” me as her big sister. The next morning we rushed toward the Gonpa to film the puja (Buddhist prayer). Dolma told us with pride that one of the three lamas that held the ceremony was her grandfather. The children were very happy in the relaxed and leisure atmosphere of the Gonpa. I wasn’t actually able to film very much due to Dolma’s desires to talk, show me another room, serve me tea or hold my hand. She showed me all her secret places, she painted my hands with henna, we exchanged photographs and she let me be a part of her washing her hair (a very intimate moment for her) in the cold water of the river.

Stelian was left behind with her mother, being not allowed to participate in our “girly rituals”. Before we left she torn away the flower bracelet that she had given to me before and ran in the house with tears in her eyes. One of her friends gave us a very beautiful card in which she wished us a pleasant journey. Even though those days were rather tiring, when we had to leave I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was saying goodbye to a beloved sister, I felt an emptiness that I couldn’t explain after only two days with a child that fascinated me and that will surely become a fairytale woman. I would like to see her in a couple of years as a teenager… When we left Stakmo I felt that I was leaving a blessed world, that I was shutting a door that I will undoubtedly be unable to open anywhere else. In five days I’ve some special individuals, people that you can rely on and who have gentle and profound eyes.

I’ve found there the most natural human qualities such as honesty and peace. And it so quiet there that you can actually hear nature unfold. Sometimes I wonder if that wasn’t Eden and I just didn’t notice. But our journey must continue…

Translated by Tudor Lupașcu


4 responses to “Stakmo – satul oamenilor ospitalieri / Stakmo – the village with hospitable people”

  1. Stakmo-satul oamenilor ospitalieri.

    Asadar, am inceput peregrinarea prin Ladakh. Doua-trei zile in Leh pentru aclimatizare, inca vreo doua pentru recunoastere si aprovizionare, planuri si anulari de planuri…si cateva ore de asteptare a unei masini care sa ne duca in Stakmo de la strada principala. Stakmo e un satuc in care locuitorii covietuiesc intr-o comunitate de aproximativ 25 de case….

  2. Dorin Bofan says:

    Minunat! E o placere sa va citesc aventurile si privirea imi este incantata de sensibilitatea imaginilor. Tineti-o tot asa!

  3. [english version]

    So we started our wandering around Ladakh. A couple of days in Leh for getting used to climate, a few more for buying supplies, getting to know the area and constantly making and canceling plans…and a few hours of waiting for a car to take us from the main street to Stakmo. With our backpacks strapped on and quite a lot of excitement we began our search for a appropriate camping site. It was quite difficult to choose from such a large variety of dreamy landscapes….

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