A Small interaction with a 67 year old Zhang: A migrant worker in Beijing who migrated from a small village near Chengde, Hebei province.
Q1.When did you first come to Beijing? Why did you decide to become a beggar?
A.Many men from my village moved to bigger cities for better jobs and pay. They moved all over the country. The men went to the cities as laborers, while the women went to work in factories. I decided to pursue the trend, though I was too old & frail to continue doing manual labor. I decided to go to Beijing and become a beggar. That was 5 years ago. I feel this is the only job I can do at this point in my life.
Q2.Tell me about your early life?
A.I am a farmer & I’ve a son & 2 grand children.We have a three room own house now. Due to ill health my wife passed away few years ago.
Q3. Did you attend school?
A. I attended 1 year of elementary school, but then dropped out to work on the farm. I can’t read & write.
Q4. Can you describe a regular day in your life? Where do you “live”?
A. I sleep on the ground under the bridge near Liangmaqiao. I wake up at 5 or 6 am and then begin wandering throughout the city. I make it back in the late evening and sleep.
Q5. How much money do you usually make per day?
A. On average, I make 1,500 RMB ($220) per month in total.
Q6. What do you do with your money?
A. I spend very little, no more than 5 to 10 RMB per day on meals. I actually go home each month to visit my family.
Q7. How do you go back home?
A. I sneak onto a train and sleep between the railway cars. It’s a 7 hour train ride.
Q8. Have you ever been caught?
A.Yes, I’ve been caught several times, but the train staff pitied me. Only once have I been required to pay for a ticket, after being caught.
Q9. Do you ever dream at night?
A. My best dream is that a blowing wind carrying tons of money towards me.
Q10. If you won 100,000RMB what will you do with that money?
A. I will go back to my village & start a small business & also solve my health problems.
Q11. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would u go?
A. I would go to America. Heard that It is beautiful.
Q12. Do you have any plans for the future?
A. I will work here for 2 or 3 more years, then will retire for good.
That day when you resigned your job from a good position in an MNC and decided to give up all your luxuries and comforts just to pursue your idea, I wasn’t very sure.. But now as I see you make your dreams come true & sign appointment letters for others it feels great.
But making it to the coverstories in few of the biggest news dailies of the country is one big thing! The feeling is just beyond words to express.. Proud to be your brother!! Long way to go..!! PRM360 has already brought a new revolution!! Congratulations Nitesh Reddy!!
A tale of Two Seas !As you probably recall, the Dead Sea is really a Lake, not a sea.It’s so high in salt content that the human body can float easily. You can almost lie down and read a book! The salt in the Dead Sea is as high as 35% – almost 10 times the normal ocean water. And all that saltiness has meant that there is no life at all in the Dead Sea. No fish. No vegetation. No sea animals. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea.
And hence the name: Dead Sea.
While the Dead Sea has remained etched in my memory, I don’t seem to recall learning about the Sea of Galilee in my school Geography lesson. So when I heard about the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea and the tale of the two seas – I was intrigued.
Turns out that the Sea of Galilee is just north of the Dead Sea. Both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea receive their water from river Jordan. And yet, they are very, very different.
Unlike the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee is pretty, resplendent with rich, colorful marine life. There are lots of plants. And lots of fish too. In fact, the Sea of Galilee is home to over twenty different types of fishes.
Same region, same source of water, and yet while one sea is full of life, the other is dead. How come?
Here’s apparently why. The River Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee and then flows out. The water simply passes through the Sea of Galilee in and then out – and that keeps the sea healthy and vibrant, teeming with marine life.
But the Dead Sea is so far below the mean sea level, that it has no outlet. The water flows in from the river Jordan, but does not flow out. There are no outlet streams. It is estimated that over 7 million tons of water evaporate from the Dead Sea every day. Leaving it salty. Too full of minerals. And unfit for any marine life.
The Dead Sea takes water from the River Jordan, and holds it. It does not give.
Result? No life at all.
Think about it.
Life is not just about getting. Its about giving. We all need to be a bit like the Sea of Galilee.
We are fortunate to get wealth, knowledge, love and respect. But if we don’t learn to give, we could all end up like the Dead Sea. The love and the respect, the wealth and the knowledge could all evaporate. Like the water in the Dead Sea.
If we get the Dead Sea mentality of merely taking in more water, more money, more everything the results can be disastrous.
Good idea to make sure that in the sea of your own life, you have outlets. Many outlets. For love and wealth – and everything else that you get in your life. Make sure you don’t just get, you give too.
Open the taps. And you’ll open the floodgates to happiness. Make that a habit. To share, to give and experience life. Experience the magic!
Paro Taktsang (also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest) is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan.
Why Tigers Nest..?
One of the main reasons for my travel to Bhutan was to trek the Tigernest monastery. It is the most iconic Buddhist temple in Bhutan. It is set on an almost vertical cliff about 900 meters above the Paro Valley with fabulous views.
Change of Plan..
Our initial plan was to visit the monastery first in early hours. I always believe the finest exploration always lies with the individual instincts. That’s why I spend considerable time with locals to understand the dynamics of the places planned and local cuisines. Through them got to know that Chelela pass was quite an amazing place and it is one of the must see places in Bhutan. Most importantly it is a 3 hour journey from Monastery. So we added it to our list just the day before we visited this place. When any last minute inclusions ends up to be the best part of our trip then nothing beats it.
Our First stop, the famous Paro museum. As the Museum gets closed at 11AM on Saturdays, we had to rush with a quick stop at the viewpoint post Museum tour where Paro airport is visible.
Got ready to head towards Tigers Nest…
It all started this way….
Exploration of Tigers nest started with a trek for about 7 KM’s at 12:30pm. With a hiking stick in hand and a backpack on my back we decided to trek anyway. In my backpack, I had water bottles, a hand towel, Medical kit, a camera with 18-55 lens, 50mm & 55-250lens, Iphone, and other accessories.
The “Trek of our Lifetime”
We hiked at our own pace. The hike is 14kms to and fro not including nearly 1400 steps which take you to this wonderful monastery. A big waterfall on the way, serene temples, Buddha statues and wonderful views are unforgettable.
As it got steeper breathing became more challenging. The thinness of the air was a challenge. This is the reason why you MUST DO THIS TRIP AT THE END OF YOUR HOLIDAY. Good that we went there after 3 days, we acclimatized during our journey around Bhutan and we managed this better as a result. What’s awesome is seeing the monastery getting larger and larger from being a distant icon to looming up and being within reach. From a distance it is meant to resemble the guru Padmasanghava AKA guru Rinpoche (who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century) riding a tigress.
Waterfalls, Caves and Temples..
On our way we had to pass by the beautiful waterfalls, bridge and then reached the Monastery. There you have to lock up your belongings – no bags or cameras allowed in there. There’s a safe box system. Don’t even think of sneaking a camera in ;). Inside you are directed through this labrynthine building containing various caves and temples and a yak butter candlelight room. There is a tranquil and special atmosphere here.
This is most unique experience of our Bhutan trip, although I kept saying that to a lot other places in this lovely country. But the experience of walking up the fairly tough path up the mountain, while seeing a breathtaking view of the mountains, valleys, and the monastery peeping up from the fog is sheer magic.
My descend was quicker than expected; but had to be careful at the muddy slippery stretches, but equally dramatic. You feel calm and relaxed from inside after this spiritual journey.
Tips from my perspective:
- Timings: 8 AM to 1 PM and 2-5 PM daily, October – March Until 6 PM, April – September.
- Start your trek in the morning
- Carry enough water bottles, hiking sticks,medical kit etc.,
- There’s a cafeteria, One can have a quick bite.