Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stimulating Sikkim (Part 4)

Razen Manandhar

November 20, Wednesday. Despite of my fatigue, I could not remain in the room. News of election was like piercing in my ears. I jumped out of my bed and suddenly went out of the room and strolled along the streets. It was quiet but untidy. Why one city is clean and other is so dirty? The same Nepali-origin people in Gangtok are tidy and here why is this Darjeeling is left so filthy by the same community people? I climbed down the hill up to the bus station. Stood by the roadside and bought a cup of tea. Mud, dirt and shops along the open drain - I found myself amid these things when I tried to climb up. Management come along development and mismanagement also follow. Darjeeling is now at this stage.

Some posters of freedom are stuck on the wall. This place has may fortunes and destinations - some want independent Gorkhaland, some want to be annexed to Sikkim. But those Nepalis-speakers in West Bengal have not been able to call themselves independent. And who knows, who is how much free in India.

We returned through Sonada - vehicles squeezed in crowd, people with Nepali faces scattered in the warm sun. And many more were those who looked like Bengalis. Roads are all same - full of bumps and pools.

Watched much-talked Keorsang through the vehicle window. I was too tired to get up and to take some pictures. Then we left for a land of green carpets - a beautiful piece of heaven. Coming down to serpentine road - Rohani Marg - is it taken there as an example of commitment to development in the most harsh topography.

The more we were done, the more hot we felt around us. The air became hot and also irritatingly unwelcome. I don't know when I fell asleep in the vehicle. We were at Ranigunj, all plains, the customs office at the Nepal-India border. Leaving India was not that difficult for foreign friends. We all entered Nepal. A sigh of relief for us, even though, at least this time, I did not have to face any problem.

Without delaying we grabbed one micro-bus. Dealt price and hired it till Chitwan. It was like galloping horse. We had most of our luggage on the roof, still we were sandwiched with our uneasy luggage. We were just like helpless chicks trapped under a basket.

Nepal's roads. The same old with series of potholes, chopped. Those who have taken to the destination of Constituent Assembly by showing similarly chopped road - who would they take care of our roads? Nepal's road and road to Constituent Assembly are similar. Our vehicle was heading toward the Constituent Assembly. 

It was midnight when we finally reached Sauraha of Chitwan, all were so tired that we could not even stand properly. God knows what w ate and if we really slept.

Translated by the author from the original travelogue in Nepalbhasha, Published in Naali bi-monthly in 1134 Thinla 9/2 (68) "Refreshing Sikkim" in 20140114

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