Explain why the article has been titled ‘Silk Road’.
In ancient times, Silk Road used to be a trade route that linked China with the West. While travelling from Lhasa to Darchen, the author had followed almost the same route. That is why he has titled his article ‘Silk Road’.
Why were Tibetan mastiffs popular in China’s imperial courts ?
Tibetan mastiffs are ferocious dogs. They know no fear at all. They attack with the speed of a bullet from a gun. That was why they became popular in China’s imperial courts. Their masters kept them to guard their palaces.
How was the author’s experience at Hor in stark contrast to earlier accounts of the place ?
Hor is situated on the shore of Lake Manasarovar. This lake is considered Tibet’s most sacred stretch of water. It is said that a Chinese monk was so moved by its sanctity that he burst into tears. But what the author found there was in sharp contrast. There was no vegetation at all. There were big heaps of rubbish everywhere. There was only one cafe there and that too was in a poor shape. It was badly painted and all the three windows were broken. The table on which he was served tea was all greasy. Thus the author’s experience at Hor was very disappointing.
Why was the author disappointed with Darchen ?
The author had heard that Darchen bustled with visitors during the season of the Kailash Kora. Many of them came with their own tents. The author had come at the beginning of the season, but he could find no pilgrims there. It was this fact that disappointed him most. He knew nothing of the pilgrimage trail. There could be snow on the way. So he could do nothing but wait.
Why did the author think that his positive thinking strategy worked well after all ?
Positive thinking means a determined mental attitude. The author had gone to Darchen for Kailash Kora. But he found no other pilgrim there. He was disappointed, but he decided to wait. At last, he found a very good companion in Norbu. Thus his positive thinking strategy worked well after all.
What was the purpose of the author’s journey to Mount Kailash ?
The purpose of the author’s journey was to do the Kailash Kora. It was a pilgrimage that he was doing for the first time. But his chief interest was academic rather than religious.
What was the author’s physical condition in Darchen ?
When the author reached Darchen, he was feeling tired and hungry. He had caught cold and could breathe only through the mouth. When he lay down to sleep, he found it impossible to breathe. Sitting up made him feel better. He could breathe freely. But as soon as he would lie down, breathing became impossible. He had to stay awake all night. A Tibetan doctor gave him some medicine in the morning. The next night he slept very soundly.
Write a note on the author’s meeting with Norbu.
One afternoon, the author was sitting in Darchen’s only cafe. He was thinking how he could do the Kailash Kora. There were no other pilgrims, and there was no one who could speak English and tell him about the pilgrimage trail. Just then a man came in, ordered tea and sat down at the table opposite the author. He saw the author with an English novel and understood that he was an Englishman. A conversation started between the two. He said he was Norbu and was a Tibetan. But he worked at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in the Institute of Ethnic Literature at Beijing. For many years, he had been writing academic papers about the Kailash Kora and its importance in Buddhist literature. He had never done it himself, but this time he was going to do it. The author was delighted to find a good companion in Norbu. Both of them had come for the Kora for academic purpose rather than as pilgrims.
Write a note on Tsetan’s support to the author during the journey.
It was Tsetan who had driven the author all the way from Lhasa to Darchen. He had tried to make the journey as safe and comfortable as possible. At Darchen, he saw that the author was not well. He had not been able to sleep all night. Tsetan took him to a Tibetan doctor and got him some medicine. The next night, the author had a very sound sleep. Tsetan could see that the author had become perfectly well. Only then did he leave him and go back to Lhasa.
“As a Buddhist, he told me, he knew that it didn’t really matter if I passed away, but he thought it would be bad for business.” Comment.
It is a humorous remark made by Tsetan, the taxi driver. The author felt terribly sick on reaching Darchen. Tsetan took him to a Tibetan doctor and got him some medicine. The author took the medicine and became perfectly well again. Then Tsetan made a humorous remark. He said that as a Buddhist, he believed it would not really matter if the author died at the Kailash. But it would be bad for his business because he would lose one of his customers. Tsetan had said this just in good humour.