Standing on the balcony with a cup of hot tea, I was thinking “Did I ever think of taking out my new winter jacket and wear it in the month of May? Neither did I think of walking down a street through dense clouds? Probably I would have been sitting in my office cubicle in front of my desktop doing some daily task”. But when you come close to nature, you forget all these daily hurdles. When you are in Sikkim, you feel the same. The mesmerising beauty of the mighty Himalaya makes you forget all the sadness, sorrow, hurdles of your everyday life.
The plan for a Sikkim trip happened suddenly. I needed a break from my daily life. I asked Esha di and Anirban da whether they were interested. As they agreed, Rimbik and Anumita were also roped in. Our train was scheduled to depart on 19th May,2016. As soon as we boarded the train, I felt the joy of the journey, a trip I wanted for so long. Next morning we reached NJP station at 7:30 AM. We took a shared cab and went to Gangtok. Very soon the landscapes got changed from plain lands to hills. As our car went up the winding hill roads, we could feel the decrease in the temperature. We reached Gangtok at around 1 PM. It was all cloudy. Our hotel was little uphill from the market area, near a helipad.
As I stepped on the balcony of my room, a cold breeze welcomed me along with clouds. It was wonderful to see the moving clouds, how quickly they were covering the entire hills, leaving no trace but a white veil of clouds. After having our lunch which included beautifully cooked chicken, Roti and Rice we went to see the city. We ditched the idea of taking a cab, instead we chose to walk down the hills to the market area. It was a cloudy afternoon. The school children were returning home disappearing into the misty winding roads. The wild beautiful flowers on the roadside were looking so pretty. There was a little monastery which is locally known as “Gurung Monastery”. We went in as they were preparing for “Saga Dawa” which was to take place next day. “Saga Dawa” is a Buddhist event where the primary monks comes to the different monastery and recites sacred mantras from holy books. They pray for longer lives. They celebrate it by wearing new clothes.
After coming out of monastery we headed towards the main market area. The roads were getting inclined, making us difficult to walk fast. When we reached there most of us were panting desperately. MG Marg is one of the most popular places in Gangtok as well as most happening places. By the time we reached there the sun had set already behind the mighty hills, the lights from different shops made the place magical. A wonderful place to spend your evening. Whether you are a food lover or not, don’t forget to taste the famous Momos here. You will love them. Also we tried a local drink “Tsongba”. They serve it inside a thick bamboo mug and also give you a wooden pipe to drink it. Out of curiosity I took 2-3 sips. It tastes like red wine. I did not like it much as I am not a alcohol lover. But yeah its not bad either. We had our dinner in another restaurant. We did not take risk of going back to our hotel by walking as it was already very late and our legs were tired also. The hotel caretaker was very generous to open the door for us almost at midnight. We almost crashed into our bed as we freshened up.
It was a tiring day. I jumped into my bed and soon fell asleep. In my dream I was still standing in that balcony watching the clouds as they were passing by, the almost full moon was up there in the sky, illuminating the hills and the valley far away and somewhere from the far away village in the valley I could hear a beautiful song. A song I have heard so many times, a song I loved from the very first time I heard it. I enjoyed a very peaceful sleep.
“Na jane kyun dil yeh sataye, beetein hai raat, par neend na aye…”
All photographs are copyrighted to © Koustav Ghosh.