What would life be like if there were no templates to go by, no ‘society’ guidelines to follow, no peers to join the band wagon?
For most city-bred communities of today’s world this would be near unthinkable, I would think.
Yet that is exactly what the book ‘Deki’ has for a backdrop!
It is the story of a nomadic, living in the Tibetan plateau-with his family-whose soul and sole companion is a dog, a Tibetan mastiff-Deki.
Considering that George Schaller is a field biologist, the tale must be as close to the reality as it can possibly be.
A dog, true to its character, befriends a human and seems to make the search for him- when they inadvertently separate-the backdrop of his existence. And all this not without making another human being, Karma, his comrade. There are no ego battles, no differences of opinion that either cannot live with.
Karma’s life as one following the call of his heart is as compelling as is the underlying search for Deki’s soul mate-Tashi.
Through the Tibetan plateau the author takes us through the terrain, harsh, windswept, severe as it is, with an ease that is at the heart of the narrative.
As is true of most severe experiences, the mind goes beyond the needs of existence and explores far beyond visible realities, unfolding both depth and vastness that it is capable of.
The Tibetan idiom offers so many opportunities of such explorations that the book is a companion till you have finished it. It leaves you ticking in those experiences to explore and savour.
Karma walks away from home and leads life with different monasteries as his scaffold. And what a canvas unfolds, as intense and complex as a Thangka!!!!
The story presents leopards, chiru’s, wolves, rodents’ a variety of birds and of course dogs. It presents mythical beings, so much part of the heritage that Tibet is bestowed with. It brings into the narrative heretics, monks, Lamas and many a spiritual guide who manifests at the right moment, provided you speak the language of truth from the heart. And it presents mans avarice and stealth that forms the undertone of the narrative.
Tibet is a struggling land, with its rich heritage little known to the rest of the world. Read the book to walk parallel to the reality of the life of the people inhabiting the land that is the roof of the world!!!
The illustrations add richness to the 135 odd pages that cover the stories therein. The poems interlacing the narrative compacts wisdom, besides being polestars to the human mind. The goodness of the heart, the wealth in the search for ones callings and the possibility of life at it's own pace with not chartered tracks to follow!!! Ah to be in Shambhala!
I enjoyed the style, and the depth of the book.
I highly recommend it to young and old alike.