On the Silence of Kings

dianne sharma winter

Waiting for a train in the dim light of an early Delhi morninng on the body strewn platform of Anand Vihar Railway station, my friends and I met a charming young man from Bhutan. He was returning home to Bhutan after his first trip to India and waiting for a train and a friend. We kept company only briefly but it was one of those semi intense encounters where there is curiousity across cultures and you could talk for hours about everything. (which is what made the encounter with The Priest on my Rail Yatra so exquisite).

Don’t you love random encounters?  People  met seemingly by chance, sharing stories with no idea of whether life would ever throw you in each others way again, it’s intense!  Contained within just one chance meeting there is that “my train is going to come” urgency about the exchange, so like the purest espresso here is  the unadulturated essence of all other meetings you will never have, it’s a friendship condensed into a shared cup of coffee, fifteen minutes in transit. Trusting that life does have a random precision about who you meet and why,  I believe that you meet people because they have a story to tell you, that meeting is about exchanging stories.

(Of course there are other people who just ask the time, pass the time or otherwise skim by without connecting, this also is meant to happen. They are set on a course for someone else.)

So this was Rinzin, waiting and alone and he bought us coffee, there was a sense of a story, there felt like more to say but it’s time was yet to come, the story was yet to fruit.



We exchanged cards on parting and he contacted me recently on facebook. We chat a bit and now he calls me Mom. We talk about the world from both ends of the Universe. Recently he was telling me of a double celebration happening in Bhutan,  birthdays for the King and the King Father. After this celebration, he told me, the King-Father woud retire from all public life and go into seclusion. It was part of their spiritual journey, such as the ashrama system of the Hindu where life is said to be divided into stages (or ashrama), the least popular and rarely practised for any other than a token period these days is the Hermit Stage or Vranaprastha Ashrama.

It made me think about the silence of the wise. It is actually a sign of wisdom to have run out of the need to speak by 60.

Everything should have been said by then.

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