Monday, July 25, 2011

A Tribute to Bishwa Lama (Glan)

In memory of Bishwa Lama
21 November 1978 -15 July 2011

It is with great sadness that I write this tribute to my friend Bishwa Lama, who was found dead in his apartment in Queens on Tuesday, July 19th. He was last seen by his new roommate on the evening of Friday the 15th. When he was not heard from over the weekend or on Monday, the police were called to investigate on the afternoon of Tuesday the 19th, and he was found in his bedroom.

Many friends from the Tamang community came to his apartment, worried about his well-being, and waited outside on the street in front of the building. There seemed to be an endless procession of investigators and medics, none of whom were helpful with sharing any information with any of us. I'm sure that they were all doing their jobs, but by the same token, it seemed to me that they were remarkably discourteous. Many of us from the community were there for four or five hours, and none of us were given any answers, even when we asked to be told where his body would be taken or what they were going to do. All we were told was that his body would be taken to a medical examiner's office but not to which one. It was not until the following day, from Bharat Lama, President of Tamang Society of America, that we learned Bishwa Lama's body was in the coroner's office in Jamaica Queens.

The preliminary coroner’s report suggests that the cause of death was a heart attack. Our guess is that it likely occurred sometime early in the morning on Saturday July 16th.  It came as a terrible shock, especially since he always seemed to be in perfect health. According to his death certificate, he was born November 21st, 1978. He was born in Rasuwa, in Nepal, and he had been living in New York for approximately four years.

Bishwa Lama was well known in our community, where he was respected and well liked by all who knew him. He was a very kind, gentle and generous person. During my tenure as President of the Tamang Society of America, Bishwa Lama hosted the Society’s web site free of charge, and after my presidency was over, he stayed on designing and updating my personal web site.

The last time I saw him was at my home, where he came on the evening of July 6th to post for me the announcement I had prepared for Ruth Ford’s 100th birthday. He stayed past midnight so it would appear on her proper birthday, which was July 7th, and as he worked he showed my daughter Zina each step of updating my web site. He said, "You're going to become a web designer," and he told her he would come back another time and teach her more. I drove him home and it was about one o’clock in the morning when we said goodbye, and he seemed perfectly fine.

Bishwa Lama had an interesting life, and having worked as a waiter on a luxury liner, he got to see a lot of the world prior to coming to New York and enrolling in college classes. He was on the board of the US-Nepal Sports & Cultural Development, Inc, and as a sportsman, he was an excellent bowler. He worked tending bar in an uptown Manhattan bowling alley to help pay his expenses. He also worked as a web site designer, designing and maintaining web sites for a variety of people in our community, and he operated his own web site as well.

I know that he struggled and worried about not having enough money to get by, but he was a hard worker, and had a positive outlook on life.  Recently he had expressed his desire to meet someone and settle down, and it is very sad to me that his death occurred at such a vital time of his life, leaving so many of his wishes unfulfilled. I feel fortunate to have known him, and I know that he will be missed. My wife Radhika has been lighting a candle in his honor every day on our prayer altar. For my part, I wish that his soul finds comfort and solace in a beautiful resting place where there will be happiness and peace. 

25 July 2011

To see Bishwa Lama's web site, follow this link:


  1. It is indeed very sad. I didn't even meet him before leaving New York. And remember, we were planning to bring out that magazine. Would fate take a different course if we had actually worked together?

  2. This is perplexing to me. A young guy, with a sports background. Healthy. .... I have heard of several such incidents in the Nepali community. Perhaps it also happens in Nepal. But it is one of those things. It is hard to wrap your head around.