People often ask why I chose to go to India for five months and not anywhere else in the world. And as I say here — and tell people often — it’s because of my parents. As long as I can remember, my Dad’s had a cabinet of items he’s collected in the last thirty years. They’re all Buddhist and mostly from Nepal and Tibet rather than India.
Even looking at the cabinet, now beside my Dad’s dining table, makes me feel nervous about how precious it is. When I was young enough to be picked up to look inside, I constantly worried that it would fall off the wall, or touching anything would make it fall apart.
Dad has two leaves from a banyan tree in Sri Lanka which is a ‘descendent’ of the tree in Bodhgaya under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment. When we were younger, one of my brothers scrunched one of them up and threw it away. The reaction was … seismic.
In the last decade my Dad’s stopped collecting things. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still amazing. And when I went home for Easter, I got my Dad to take out some of his favourite items and let me photograph them for this blog. This is only about a fifth of everything he has in that cabinet.
A special story if you’ve read this far down. This is a prayer bowl that my Dad bought at Taer monastery from some locals.
And a few hours later, my Dad found and photographed the same people he’d bought it from. They had used the money he’d given them to buy an enormous offering for the monastery’s temple.