November 19, Tuesady. I actually have not arrived here, and the time has come to depart. I can't say whether I've stayed here or not. And god knows when I will be here again. I just want to hug her tightly. I have a dream of staying here long and write some concrete about local Newar society. I don't know when it will end in dream. I feel shy even to bid farewell, she will say - don't go, stay here for some more days. Or, will she bind me with her chain of love?
In the early morning, I went to return the Sim card. It is certain, I am going to checkout the room of Dela Mare. What the hotel, I'm saying good bye to Sikkim itself. I wish I could take a handful of this cleanliness, good-governance and peace to our Nepal. I grasped a handful of air, I will spread this love in Kathmandu.
On the way back in vehicle, my mind wandered. Some people are afraid that we are introducing "ethnic" provinces in Nepal. What is this? This is a state of India, where even Indians from other states cannot easily enter. So, they don't have people who litter, spread merchandise in the street and do politics of disintegration and integrity. Their population in the whole state is around 6 lac and 10 thousands, as many as one of the constituencies of Kathmandu. That means, they enjoy all the resources, opportunities and they obviously enjoy peace, governance and development.
In Kathmandu Politicians often talk about "Sikkimization" as an example of colonization. But people here don't know what is Sikkimization; if they know it, they know it means development, employment, esability and peace. I don't know if it is what was seen by Marco Pallis or BS Dass, or seen by me. God knows, what people should be. On the other hand, how many people say that the state belongs to them? 80 percent of them are people from Nepal. We are there raging war for power, they are here in power for development. History remains, time passes; as our vehicle is passing.
At noon, we are in a new world. We felt something tasty is coming in our nostrils. Tea farms are dancing around and welcoming us with wide smiles. It was the snacks-time of Nepali-speaking tea pickers there. They were gossiping, laughing and eating by the roadside. They are taking rest and also reenergizing themselves.
Kanchenjunga came closer to us. It was 3 pm when we finally reached Batase Loop. We just came out and Chhukchhuke train of Darjeeling passed away, galloping. The Martyrs' Memorial at Hillcourt - the monument to remember brave Gurkha soldiers who sacrificed themselves for India's freedom. It is the place for Nepalis to remind that we are Nepalis and that there is wound in every war.
The wind was blowing strong. Still, the monument was standing erect. The mourning solider did not feel cold. And the three-coloured Indian flag was standing gracefully. Two and a half dozen names of Gurkha solders were sunbathing on green grass. Our brave solders, can't fight for their countries, but here, they are brave enough for others' liberation. Used and thrown, Gurkha solders. In one sense, it is rational - they fought for their country. The difference my eyes could not catch is that their country was not my country. Who where lives turns out to be his or her country. That much of loyalty they do carry.
Narrow gullies, line of vehicle and besides, raw of parked vehicles by the roadside - all these show that we were no more in Gangtok. What a change - that is where administration matters. We finally arrived at our Seven Seventeen Hotel at 4.30 pm. It is small but beautifully decorated, a small piece of Tibet, indeed. Directly I plunged into the bed and took a short nap, I was so tired with all day traveling.
The TV mounted on the wall had a Nepali channel and was giving us updates about the election of the Constituent Assembly. I could not escape. It said the election was held and people's participation was encouraging. The threats of CPN-Baidhya turned out to be meaningless. I don't know, I only feel that this election is not going to be prosperous. Then somebody might ask, what till the date has been prosperous here. The same thing will be done by all. Just a couple of day ago, I was reading "Sikkim Gatha" by BS Dass, I am afraid of elections.
Half an hour later, all said they want to go outside for strolling. After lying on the bed, I did not have mood to get up, but I dragged myself out. Chilly breeze was tickling. There was a Shakya Jewelers' opposite of our hotel. Just like lanes of Kathmandu -- it was like a dumping site. Some cables handing across the streets, narrow lanes, tall buildings. On the streets too, the passers by look quite bizarre.
We arrived at Chaurasta, the famous open square of Darjeeling. We are happy to see statue of Bhanubhakta. His still standing, just like I saw him many years ago. We entered tea-shop named Golden Tips. The have a system of giving us tea of different tastes in tiny cups. All free of cost but we are expected to buy tea later. We could buy tea of our choice. But it was damn expensive. Tea is expensive thing.
We walked along the series of shops. Some of the commodities are from Nepal and China; most were Indian. If one can buy everything here, nobody would like to travel in India or China. The market was not really good, but I had to busy some gifts for my family. They reminded me of my home and family. I suddenly reached my home. I am in my home again.
[to be continued]