There is something strangely
gorgeous about the hills of Gorkhaland.
You may call her Darjeeling too
like how I love Calcutta over Kolkata
or Bombay over Mumbai.

In the mountains here, you can scream
your heart out and see it evaporating
to form clouds that will sweep an entire
valley of its tiredness, and call an aurora of fireflies
to lull the skulls of houses into restful dreaming
That sight, with a warm cup of tea,
will tattoo on your lungs a whole forest
of pines and the shamelessly happy moon

It was my first break in the monsoon.
I sat still at my camp while fellow trekkers
scaled the blissful night in deep slumber.
I sought bliss in this act of sound, like tinkles
emerging from nowhere, going downhill
along the edge. I noticed an old shepherdess;
her eyes weren’t visible to me but yet I could
see them soaked in the road guided by brambles
vagabond yaks, and wild strawberries …

The young lepcha in charge of our trek,
He joined me and shared stories of the mountains
I saw the Japanese artists paint on large scrolls
He asked if I ever missed my way to the forest
inside, within me, and spent a few brief hours
talking to the kindness of birds that migrated
over lakes and oceans in search of me.
I didn’t have an answer, I felt he was too clever
and losing to a stranger is never a safe thing.

Across stories, laughs, and giggles,
across phantom melodies of the grassland
I sat and watched how the brave sun
made its way through the womb of night;
I witnessed the labour of night to birth
a dawn that the mountains have been so
eagerly waiting for. This said how waiting
is so important; it makes every journey
a listening of the kindered spirits.

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Poet: ©Linda Ashok, Sep 25, 2018

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