Pull your ceiling half way down and you can create a mezanine for me

Your walls open into cupboards

Is there an empty shelf for me?

Let me grow in your garden,

With your roses and prickly pears

I will sleep under your bed and watch tv in the mirror

Do you have an ear on your balcony, I am singing from your window

Open your door,

Let me in.

I am resting on your door step.

Call me when you are awake.

A proposal by Tenzin Tsundue

Tsundue is relatively privileged among Tibetans in being able to exchange a few words with the Dalai Lama. It seems easier for a minor Western celebrity than a well-known Tibetan like Tsundue to achieve a private audience with the Dalai Lama. And it is not clear what the Tibetan leadership makes of Tsundue. The Dalai Lama did not respond to my request for an interview, and I wondered if this was because it had been forwarded to his secretary by Tsundue. (Later that same month, Tsundue seemed dismayed when I told him that a German teenager had managed to interview the Dalai Lama.) Tsundue told me that he appreciates the popular support for the Tibetan cause that the Dalai Lama has generated in the West, but that that support does not amount to much if Western governments continue to pursue business deals with the Chinese and sell them weapons. For Tsundue, it is more important to build up a sympathetic constituency within India, the country with which Tibet has long had cultural and political links; his writings in the Indian press reflect this view.

He is always busy. Last spring, he helped organize a meeting in the town’s central square to commemorate the victims of the massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He recently finished work on a joint translation of a long poem by a Tibetan writer facing official disapproval in China. Unlike most activists, he doesn’t offer a solution for every problem. Instead, he seems engaged in a long and uncertain quest — and this reflective manner is part of his charisma, what makes him attractive to young Indians and Tibetans. “The biggest question for us,” he told me, “is what can we do? How do we find a solution to our dilemma? It is so easy to give up and invest all your faith in the Dalai Lama. We have to do something else. But what is it?”

Pankaj Mishra, The Restless Children of the Dalai Lama, The New York Times Magazine, December 18 2005