As the world fights against Coronavirus, two words have dominated conversations in our Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills – Hydroxychloroquine and Cinchona. There is excitement among certain sections of the people that finally our Cinchona plantations will be given their long-awaited look by the Government. This article sheds light on our Cinchona plantations and presents to you the grim situation facing this sector and the opportunities therein.
I grew up in a small community village in Darjeeling, where we were strewn together with the rest in an unbreakable bond – with similar values, language, likes and dislikes and almost similar surnames – and yet we were all different. I remember in 1986, my father was in a hurry to get us a television set. We would be the first one in our village, but that wasn’t his motivation, of course. The World Cup football was afoot and he wanted to make sure our village gets to watch it at our place.
The word “quarantine”, takes me back to 1986 when I was a little girl during the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling. A 40-day strike was declared, which meant a lockdown with no movement of vehicles, no movement of people, rationing of essentials and no schools – a dream come true for us, children and the worse nightmare for parents. While it wasn’t exactly like being caught in a health pandemic, but it has its similarities – working from home, no schools, restriction on transport and the worst one – stocking up on essentials.
The corona outbreak has landed us in a chaotic situation along a lot of fronts. But we wish that the fear of getting infected by…
Being thin my whole life, I had taken my hilly physique for granted. I could eat together with the boys and still would be the last-woman standing – happy, on the weighing scale. It was only once that I had gone overboard with my weight. I was in college in Kolkata and had a can of cola and ‘kheer-kadam’ every single day for six months. First time in my life I had gained a whole lot of five kilos and suddenly found myself lethargic and fatigued by the end of the day. I checked my eating habits and found the two culprits and was easy peasy for me to get back to being energetic after I quit having these.
While there are guidelines and policies for usage of professional social media – external (Linkedin especially) or intranet, there is always a profile/ name/ organisation related information about the person who is connecting or commenting. Naturally, as a communications person, I assume that this is a good enough reason for people to be more wary about their own personal branding and reputation. However, every so often, I receive a connect request or a direct message on professional social media, I am always surprised at those (especially from the senior professionals) that seem downright ‘unprofessional’ online. Perhaps it is ignorance, but once you are out there, there are certain things we must get right.
As the news of a settlement between the government of India and various factions of Bodo groups started to trickle in, there was much curiosity in Darjeeling hills – home to another demand for the separate state — Gorkhaland. Even though parallels can be drawn between the two, the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland supersedes that of Bodoland by decades, and the unique geographical positioning of Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars, makes it one of the most cosmopolitan and at the same time one of the most vulnerable regions in India.
Not many are aware that today – Jan 25th – is Celebrated as the National Tourism Day in our country, and this very fact that people are unaware of it being National Tourism Day today perhaps shows why we still have a long way to go, in terms of making India the most desired tourist destinations in the world.
Usually, when the year is passing by to make way for the new one, I sit down, deliberately, in a reading corner, to look back. Usually, what comes to my mind are the big topics at work that made an impact or were close to being damp squibs. Or family holidays which either relaxed me or made me want to take another one right after. This year was different because I took the leap and tried different things.
Keeping all arguments, pros and cons aside, I believe in the merits of the ‘sharing economy’. It paves the way for sustainable living and helps not only people but the planet as well. Which is why when the four-letter, app-based ride-sharing cabs were introduced, I immediately took to it. It makes me feel independent especially when travelling out of town, and free when visiting local places. I have been using it daily for about two years now. But of all the benefits, it was heartwarming to see how the ‘sharing economy’ has liberated people on the supply side as well.