How to sneak into see the Dalai Lama

Get there early. Go with an accomplice. Plead your case. Explain that no, you don’t have passes, though you tried your damndest to get them but they were already sold out by the time your rickshaw driver found the right temple, nabbed by tourist companies to re-sell anyway so pretty please it’s like we practically have one.

Accept defeat graciously and meander around taking photos. Let your partner in crime try various other methods you know will not work like trying to sneak past security check. Stand at a fair distance while he makes these embarrassingly entertaining attempts.

Beg for mercy from a different security guard. Understand that the only way in will be the covert way. Inquire plainly, is there any way we can sneak in? Put down your chai and listen to answer spoken softly in a warbly Hindi-English hybrid dialect unique to this particular guard. ‘Go around the back. It’s your only chance. That way.’

Debate with your friend about whether it’s a red herring, an attempt to keep us mangy foreigners occupied. Meditate on your years past of sneaking into concerts, weaseling your way to the good seats some way, any way. Go forth. Whether the morsel of hope we’ve been granted is fraudulent or true will be seen soon enough.

Go around back. Further. Past the men washing themselves. Past other security guards. Be cool. Stealth, preferably. Walk through the mud and further ’til you think you’ve definitely been had and, worse, are missing the Lama himself, the one chance you had for a photo-op with the big guy. Aw shucks. Open your eyes a little wider. Notice the large kitchen to your right, the temple’s culinary hub. Huh, there’s also a set of stairs. Jackpot.

C’mon, this way. Up the stairs, up, up, finally greeted by another security check. Smile politely, let humility seep out ever pore of your body, smile with your eyes, teeth, soul; walk through the security metal detector with ease. We’re in!

Check it out: The nose-bleed section for the Dalai Lama. The only people between us two Canadians and his holiness are about eighty Indians, twenty lucky and/or timely foreigners and a slew of pro-photogs setting up their flashbulbs, waiting in anticipation for the DL to arrive.

Phew!

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