A particular river, sea, lake, mountain, or land never identifies someone’s house, village, town, or where he or she belongs. The way we feel about the place, is what matters, and ah, the sense of belonging, and the burst of time, and the memories we make.
Lately, I have come to believe it strongly.
As I studied and spent a whale of time in Pondicherry, it feels like my second home. I was heck convinced that I can’t heart any other place like I do Pondicherry. Because that is where I fell in love. With the seas.
As a traveler, or at least as a wannabe one, for me the sea is the best getaway. Planned or unplanned, I always would land up feeling the sand under my feet, or philosophizing the waves.
That sea of impression has come under a mountain of change.
When I came to stay in Gangtok, again a place nothing like the coastal town Pondicherry, but nested in the mazes of mountains, I thought it would be like just ticking off a part from my North East-bucket list.
Once I’m here, I have a home in the mountains like they have in the movies, postcards, and wallpapers. It sounds as cool as it is. Though, I had lived by the sea, or mountain, I hadn’t really lived by any. Because all of them were hostel or hotel stays, so having a home set in the mountain was still something like a tale, not that now I have sufficiently come to terms with it. I remember the first morning in here, I was opting for the customary reality check, before I could pinch my cheek or something, and my cheeks are just whipped by a gush of strong ice-cold breeze. The mountains echoed: ‘You are welcome.’
When the rains around late morning dried up, in the bone warming sun, I was crawling out on the streets around. Gazing into the panorama made me feel I am falling into a wonderland. The clouds were wandering into slices, sometimes around the top corners of the mountains, sometimes just over the head, much like a bursting pillow. Talking about the serpentine roads which glide up and down as if at their own will, gives way for residential buildings, offices, hotels, shops, and more — in an amazingly chaotic and ordered manner too. The each window of every household is a little lovely flower show. That is just an edge of the beauty of the town, and my personal favorite. I saw people taking on the road for the day ahead, I was swallowed by the fact that how hard it must be for people to resist this lots of natural beauty, and face the daily reality chores (weird though, that’s my heart aching with pleasure).
I would say no place in India is more politically-correct than this hilly hub — no traffic as such, as compared to the lack of parking lots, not a piece of bin on road, willful usage of organic carry bags, and most importantly, rules are made, and people seem to be really responsible. I would also highlight the fact that I love about the womanhood here — one young group of women is very cute, smart, educated and another older group is extremely industrious and visibly independent as well. Speaking of people in general from my past experience with a North Eastern roommate, but with the people in Sikkim, it is a higher heap of goodness, sweetness, friendliness.
Sightseeing in Gangtok and roundup Sikkim is plane-load of excitement, and can give one an unsurpassable experience for life, and perfect pictures for the timeline. I too have been having my travel moments, um, full of wows. I was going gaga over the green stretches of the Temi Tea Estate on the way to Chardham, Namchi. Quite buddhaliciou emerging out of Ravangala, Rumtek Monastery, and others too. Himalayan Zoological Park and my constant interest to witness a real proper black-and-white panda. Cable Car riding with a french friend made-in-the-process-of-waiting-and-talking (queue friend), was dramatic as life and death. I can’t seem to overcome the highs from the driveway to Nathu La up 1400 ft above the sea-level – while one’s heart jump into one’s mouth, yet the spectacular side scenery frees one from fear, hesitation, and stagnation. Not to forget, oh God, the chill and thrill I felt under my thermal shields, at the border. I even go to Mahatma Gandhi Marg every second day, which is such as cozy and cool rescue from evening boredom. Unsaid curse to miss out North Sikkim, which is flanked with snow-capped hills, gnarling greenery, flower valleys, the sound of streams cutting through – and everything else that was best for my character.
Still now I come out on the road, and I don’t know which hurts more — my neck looking up above down right left center for a phobia of missing out on anything, or my knees hurt from walking, and still not wanting to stop.
“There you eye on, there is view worthwhile.”
When I turn my camera on, trying to capture, every corner seems too large, too vast. I want to hug everything at the same time, but my poor camera could frame only teeny tiny pieces of it, that never seems adequate.
Not living by mountains in one’s lifetime is how one can miss its mystery, allure, lift-off feel, and importantly, one’s own backstory, if one has any. Living closely by the mountains I have come to know a thing and two, and burst some personal myths too.
“Mountains are equally emotive as the sea.’’