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Hand in hand for eternity

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dad's Diary 12 - Himalayan Caprice


Darjeeling is one of those inscrutably inimitable Himalayan resorts that defies satisfactory description in its totality. Fond memories of these daunting hills of abundant greenery blossom like a hundred-petaled marigold of multi-color hues.

Old bungalows mostly in picturesque remote areas that were built by the colonial British rulers occupy a place of pride in its history. Electricity was not available for these bungalows then, and for many decades later  many such bungalows remained out of bounds for power companies to maintain the old ambiance.

One such bungalow is Lepcha Jagat.  A wooden bungalow with sloping corrugated iron roof right in the midst of a dense forest of oak, rhododendron, pines and other Himalayan flora, and no electricity.

Often obstinate rain accompanied by strong wind collecting sighs, whistles and drum beats from the hill slopes embrace the bungalow, wind swept foliage paste shifting shadows on every conceivable medium. Stand out in the veranda for a couple of minutes; with a cold chill running down the spine you may even regret that once you were chary about believing in the woes of a tap dancing ghost. But this one's not a ghost story.

In 1940s, a senior British official visited the Lepcha Jagat bungalow with his pregnant wife. They could not return home without experiencing a rare Himalayan view that the bungalow was famous for.

pic from - www.jkindiatrip.blogspot.com
On a clear day one could have a bird's eye-view of the then three Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim lying side by side on a huge idyllic expanse with the snow-capped Kanchendzonga, the highest mountain in India, and third highest in the world at 8,586 meters, dwarfing everything else. At night twinkling electricity bulbs in the kingdoms gave the appearance of the sky having come down on them. This was reason enough for the British couple to reserve the bungalow for three days.

It drizzled lightly when they arrived. By night fall fog invaded the bungalow and the surrounding forest, and then soared high and kissed the low hanging black canopy of cloud. One could not distinguish where the fog bank ended and cloud bank began. Hail storm reigned the next day. Open spaces went under a carpet of white stones. The third day was no better.

Tired and disappointed, the visitors decided to give up. The official asked for the voluminous guest book, and recorded his experience. With a heavy heart and a sigh he mentioned, “It's raining even as I am leaving.”

Pic from - http://www.mobwiki.com
The capricious Himalayan weather continued to bless some and curse others. Some bantered that the bungalow actually existed in a cloud castle, and there was nothing but rain - right, left and center. Many doubted whether it was the opposite of the fictional utopia called Shangril-La.

Much water had flown down the river Tista, two decades after India gained independence from the colonial rulers in 1947, a young foreigner went almost mad laughing in one of the worst spells of rain and hailstorm for several days at Lepcha Jagat. On his day of departure, he asked for the guest book. He marked out an earlier page by its number, and wrote, “Father, it's still raining.”   


BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE

42 comments:

  1. Gorgeous and as always, so well written as to draw you in.

    Thanks to you both

    A

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  2. How intriguing and exciting. it just adds to my journey... Thank you !

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  3. @A - thanks to you for visiting us.
    @ Savira - it doesn't it... Have fun!

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  4. Making me feel so nostalgic..Darjeeling,and the hills,my first love,my best days...very well written.

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  5. sound like a weathering place, weather or not. lol a good post God Bless

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  6. Enjoyed this piece - felt I was there in the rain! Some trips are indeed a total washout. I've never been to Darjeeling - hope to catch it in better weather.

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  7. Lovely as always. Brought back memories of Darjeeling and its rains and the winds!

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  8. @ Sonia - thanks a ton! You have been so encouraging with our posts
    @ Alpana - thanks a ton darling!
    @ Roy - yes "weathering" place - very fickle weather there.
    @ Lavina - absolute must visit
    @ Rimly - thanks a ton hon!

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  9. that was beautiful!

    BTW, found you on the blog hop! i'm your newest follower ;)) shari
    http://www.spearmintbaby.com/

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  10. Shari - thanks a ton - will check you out and follow back too. Glad you liked the story : )

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  11. What a delightful ending!!! A wonderful story - I can picture everything in my mind :D

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  12. Thanks a ton Mari - you are wonderful!

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  13. Kriti and Tapas,
    First off let me say I love, love you "New Badge" hats off to AJ for getting this done for you. I am so happy because it looks perfect on your site my friends.
    Second: Tapas you are so talented I am in awe every time I read your short stories.
    Third: Your are a beautiful family and it warms my heart the love you have for each other.
    xoxox
    Jessica

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  14. Jessica you are the best - a part of our family even if you do not want to be - thanks a ton to you and AG for giving life to this blog. You are the best.

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  15. Okay, I actually envision myself writing that way for my travel blog because you just did an great job.....Thanks for sharing...;) Loved it!

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  16. Kriti, anytime something is written so well that it takes you to that time and place in the mind, it is a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing:)

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  17. A great posting, I was drawn into the story and felt like I had been there. Always a good read.
    Thank YOu
    http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/04/one-of-reasons-i-love-living-in-florida.html

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  18. gr8 post Kirti...loved it...I wish to go to this place..

    check out my new post and I hope u like it
    http://thingsblacknwhite.blogspot.com/2011/04/pets-on-facebook.html

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  19. @Jorie - thanks a ton for your compliment. Do share your link with us when your blog is up. WOuld love to check it out.
    @ Mary - thanks a ton for your kind words.
    @ Jim - thank you very much
    @ Sneha - You definitely should. Will definitely check your post out. Thanks!

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  20. You could describe a cave and make someone want to visit it. Love your writing! :-)

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  21. Great post ..n i m happy to see an indian blogger .followed your blog :)

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  22. @Tameka - coming from you that is a great honor!
    @ Sheril - thank you for the follow - we are quite a number actually - glad to have found you as well : )

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  23. Absolutely lovely adventure. Was compelled to take out my umbrella and binoculars. You are a delight! -Tammy

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  24. Thanks a ton for the visit Tammy! Dad has tons of stories to tell about Darj and all of them are gems :)

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  25. :) It is funny actually, the famous rains....I still do miss it though...another wonderful story!!

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  26. @ Swati - that's the only thing I don't miss - LOL
    @ Ann - thank you!

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  27. Beautiful writing as always. Despite the unpredictable weather, I'd love to visit.

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  28. Thanks Sweepy for visiting - Darjeeling is a must visit - you should so go one day.

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  29. Sigh! Good. Another place to visit in India, lol.

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  30. @ Sonia - yes definitely! A must place to visit : )

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  31. Nice descriptive writing.
    enjoyed it.

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  32. Kriti and Tapas,

    I love being apart of your family:)
    The badge look great on the site it give your site that little extra pop of colour
    xoxo
    Jess

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  33. @ DkLevick - thank you for visiting - glad you liked it!
    @Jess - we love having you as a part of us even more. We should have a get together sometime. Please do come to India and stay with us. Thanks a ton for the badge - I absolutely love it!

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  34. silky threads of emotions and thoughts making it a readers delight. It was really a nice experience to read few of your posts.

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  35. never been there, wish one day i could have a glimpse of it...nicely written.

    I am here from Alpana's blog and found a nice space maintained by you here.

    Best wishes,
    irfan.

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  36. Faye - thanks a ton hon - hope to live up to your expectations with the more : )
    @ Rachit - thank you very much for your kind words. Hope you come back again : )
    @ Irfanuddin - thank you for your visit and your comment. Much appreciate it.

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  37. nice blog.I am following ur blog.plz do the same.


    http://apcmysr.blogspot.com/

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  38. Beautiful Himalayas, I can't wait to go trekking and discovering those overwhelming landscapes :)

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