Home is where your heart is, and my heart is in Darjeeling. Though I am from Kalimpong, but every time when I visit Darjeeling, I feel like not returning back. I like the smell of Darjeeling, the dry cold Kanchenjunga winds that swirls around and makes the flags to flutter, begins its day by picking up the aroma of tea bushes. The freezing cold air as one sniffs in, chills the nostrils, leaving vapours of hot breathe while patting and mounting the steep uphill, this is what home smells like. It’s so cozy there I never understood why I am so infatuated with Darjeeling until I fell into love with the mesmerizing scenic beauty of the land.
The landscape is as beautiful as the girls in town, their hair smells amazing, their red cheeks remind me of my mother’s cheek which turns red every time she screams at me, their innocence always attracted me towards them. It’s like a dream for all of us to have a clenched fist with ones beloved and go around the Mall road, disappearing sometimes in the fog and then being visible only to find another couple in front you. The fog is so dense, you would utter a quick hi and pass by.
Sipping tea and watching the mighty Kanchenjunga stand with all its pride is another zest of the town. I always felt like sitting forever on the frozen benches gazing at the magnificent heavenly bliss which satisfies souls unconditionally.
Darjeeling no doubt taught me the values of simplicity, people are so simple warm and giving. They forget their necessities behind and want to do something for you, whether it be helping you in trouble or uplifting you with their Darjeelingay spirit. No one can really make out behind the rough and tough look, they are always ready to forgive and forget .
Darjeeling has a fragrance in the air, the morning comes with sweet smell of breads from the bakery. Children tucking 10 rupees in their woolen trouser hurry for the warm toast and seeing the slice melting into aluminum cups like a butter is a treat in itself.
The aroma of the afternoon comes from noodles and buffs, the delights of food fare in taxi stand alone is something one could swear by. I used to stand on the first floor railing and witnessed the men, they seemed like trees, they grew at the same pace, the child whom I took to school every day for one and half month, started complaining his shoes had become tight during my last few days stay in Darjeeling, blame it on the delicious food.
The evening usually spreads scent of incense stick. The moment you come across a building or a shop, one could hear them singing bhajjans or litting oil lamps all in praise of the God, where all its people are patrons of life .
Darjeelingays Darjeeling winter absorbs more puff, the Sun even smells here. One could see people stretching out their brittle limbs in the Sun during morning and soaking their back at full tilt. While the night spreads the redolence of charcoal stoves.
While I stand today in the balcony dipping biscuits into tea, I could see the opposite hill, the hill where I belong – Kalimpong. I smiled to myself, content having spent the happiest half hour of the town I am so infatuated with.
[Writes: Chandan Pariyar]