Some said that Buddhua learned English just by looking at the movie posters; others believed Buddhua to be a genius who had God-given knack for the language. Some argued that Buddhua was an Englishman in his previous life and had remembered the language from back then. Another and the far more interesting version was that Buddhua was a bastard of Mr. Ramsey. And this version of the story was interesting because Mr. Ramsey used to provide financial support to Buddhua during his life and Mrs. Ramsey had instructed Thampa to give all the money from house rent to Buddhua. Yet it was a controversial matter. The debate about the origin of English as the primary language of Buddhua and his parenthood was never settled among the residents of the town. I have seen hundreds of hours and innumerable tea and cigarettes go in vain during the debate as the result was always inconclusive.
But personally, I have had some very different experience with Buddhua. He was kind of an introvert. It seemed that he had all this flood of emotions locked tightly in his heart to keep it away from the rest the world. Buddhua spoke very precisely and very poetic. He sat in the corner of the tea shop, with the air packed with overwhelming emotions, yet he managed to keep himself away from their influence. He always wore the same face, in bliss and in tragedy, a plane, emotionless face. Even his face didn’t give away what he was thinking. I had some very interesting conversations with Buddhua. He used to tell me a wide range of stories from the hills and beyond, the stories of life, of death and adventure. The most fascinating ones were of the ghosts and spirits. He was not a religious man and never had anyone seen him visiting any temple or Church or Mosque for that matter. Neither did he worship any deity that I know of. Yet he believed in angels and hell and heaven or reincarnation. He was very kind to animals and children. He used to say that people didn’t get him. No one knew where he spent all his days except for the time that he was in the tea shop and in the streets showing magic tricks to children or telling them stories of adventure. After a few sips of the heavenly drink of his, he used to be transformed into a philosophical preacher. And I dare say, he had some wonderful ideas in his head, however, non-conventional and bizarre were they. He used to say some very hard-hitting one-liners of great quality. Some of them too genius to be understood by the simple people of the hills. I once asked him if he had read philosophy. He said that he needn’t read a book to understand the complications and the mystery of human life. The hill and its people have taught him all he knew. Most of the time the people of hill ignored what Buddhua said as drunken talk. Yet he was loved by all and hated by none. He had an aura of familiarity and love and acceptance. He had in time become a member of the family for all the people of the town.
Then one evening a kid came running down to the tea shop and said that Buddhua has died. The town came to a standstill. Everyone rushed to the spot where he was lying. We saw Buddhua lying in the soft green grass as it was embracing him in her lap. The long and majestic trees of the forest stood above his head to provide shelter. His face was calm. His body was sound and still. It seemed that he had released all the darkness and bliss that was inside him in the hills as his soul departed his body. The surrounding was sad but not depressing. Finally, Buddhua was summoned to a place more fit for him.
There was again a furious discussion about his last rites. Those who believed him to be a bastard of Mr. Ramsey insisted on catholic burial whereas others favored traditional cremation. After much shouting and debating the elders of the town intervened, it was decided that his body will be cremated and the ashes will be buried.
The following day’s people made bizarre claims. Some claimed to see him in their dreams; others saw him in the streets. A shepherd claimed to see him walking up the mountain along the lake with angles guarding him. The man in his torn suit and calm exposure was gone forever. But the identity, the emotion, and the memories had clung on to the people of the hill.
Once I asked Buddhua if his Ideas were not too impractical for the real world and he said, “I am a dreamer, I need not be right but I could not be wrong”.
Buddhua departed from the materialistic world set free in the sky like a bird with no boundaries and limitations like he always was meant to be. But he left behind a piece of him in every person of the hill. He was the eternal bliss and the devastating tragedy. He was the hill and its life.
For Part 1 visit The Man in the Hills. (Part 1/2)