At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals.
A bit of context on this next series of photos: Dharamshala, India is where the exiled government of Tibet resides. Led by the Dalai Lama, nearly 100,000 Tibetan refugees live in this northern Indian city, where they seek to maintain their traditions and culture in exile. The long journey from Tibet to India includes a grueling 28 day walk through the Himalayan mountains. Many of the refugees make this trek as children, sent by their parents in hopes of studying their language and religion in freedom. In conclusion, here’s a young Tibetan monk playing with a kitten.
I walked into a classroom where some young Tibetan students were practicing their chants, and all the kids suddenly grew very focused and well-behaved on account of the visitor. Except for this guy, who started laughing at me. Then he started laughing at himself laughing. Then he started laughing that he couldn’t stop laughing at himself laughing.