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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Post card from Darjeeling

I looked out of the bus window. We had arrived after five hours journey. Different shades of green glistened under sunlight. The small wooden cottages behind the lush greenery looked so cozy and inviting. I envied the people who lived so close to nature away from heat and dust of Mumbai. The air was cool and crisp. I wrapped myself with my woolen shawl and got off the bus. I needed to walk, to stretch my limbs. It’s awfully tiring to be travelling in the bus for so long. The scenery was breath-taking and we had passed many tea gardens down the winding road. I made a mental note of visiting those tea gardens later during the day. But first we had to check into a hotel and freshen up. Hotel was closer, just few minutes away but driver had decided to stop for a while.

“Hurry up” said the driver “If you want, you can take a short walk up the hill to see the war memorial, that stands as a reminiscence of the Gurkha martyrs of Darjeeling, who sacrificed their lives for their country in the wars and operations that have taken place since independence." he said, adding, "In 1976, Manish Gupta, the then Deputy Commissioner of Darjeeling, had taken the initiative to construct a War Memorial, to pay homage to the 76 brave sons of Darjeeling who had sacrificed of their life, for the cause of their nation.” explained the driver pointing towards the monument.

We started to walk up the narrow path, and had almost reached the steps leading towards the monument when we were distracted by the train whistle. The toy train came chugging and we stood to watch it roll by, excited like kids even though we saw this train many times, as it kept turning, making several u-turns and passing us from different attitudes of this park, we stood there, stationed at one position, turning our heads in the direction of the train and following it with our gaze.

Some of the other people walked up to the war memorial to get a closer look, but for me train was a novelty and I stood there, leaning against the railings till the train disappeared behind the hills and the whistle faded in the air.

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