With prayers that the next one will be in Tibet

It’s February 13, the third day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and the dining hall of the Tibetan youth hostel in Koramangala is abuzz with activity. It’s momo time, and everyone’s involved: one group of youngsters cuts thin sheets of dough into small circles, while the other groups place minced meat, cheese and vegetables on the rounds of dough before shaping them into little purses, arranging them neatly on large trays, and hauling them off to be steamed.

English and Tibetan pop music blares on loudspeakers as the momos are being made before the large decorated table set up in the hall laden with offerings – a bowl of chang (an alcoholic beverage made from grain), stacks of fruit, khapsay (fried dough), grains of wheat and tsampa (ground roasted barley, which is the staple food in Tibet).

“This year, we are not celebrating in a grand manner,” says Samdup Choephen, a postgraduate student at St. Joseph’s College, “It wouldn’t be appropriate”.

The number of self-immolations by Tibetans has been a matter of concern.

Wednesday morning saw another self-immolation by a monk in Nepal, the 100th since 2009.

Losar celebrations have been low-key for the last two years, but there’s no denying that it’s an exciting time, with many Tibetans in the city calling home to wish their families and catch up on the latest news.

While those with families in Tibetan settlements such as Bylakuppe and Mundgod in Karnataka, and Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh go home to spend the New Year.

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