I was sketching the gate at Shechen Monastery while Pedro was chasing warblers in the nearby trees, when a group of young monks heaving cases of soda paused to watch me draw. Most peeked, smiled bashfully, and carried on with lugging the soda, but I was eventually left with two boys who decided to sit with me.
After some silence and more smiles, the boys began to whisper at each other fiercely. Suddenly, one of them cheekily blurted out: "He wants you to draw him!"
This earned him a little punch in the arm from his blushing friend. I abandoned my lousy sketch for a fresh white page, selected a suitable pencil and told the blusher to sit real still. His name was Jamyang Tashi, and he was from Mustang.
Jamyang sat with such dignity for a young lad, though there was mischief in his sideways glance as he peered at the lines that were adding up to become his face. An older monk passed by and gave his approval— a grin, and a "same same". The boys were pleased with this, and Jamyang lit up when I showed him his finished portrait. I told him I would photocopy the drawing and bring it back to him, but I wasn't sure if he fully understood what I meant. The next day I returned with the copy and tracked him down to the classrooms at the back of the monastery. He appeared in the window of a very dark room— I could barely see him, except for a set of gleaming white teeth behind the window grate. I passed him the photocopy, which he received with both hands, thanked me, and skipped off.