Thursday, November 13

Day 77-Siliguri

I have always maintained that travel is harder than working, definitely true for my time here in Northeastern India. And so, I have determined that it is my job to find pearls amoung the heaps of plastic, peace within the pedestrian mayhem. India will not change what it is, so I must change my mind about what I perceive it to be.

It is in this spirit that I arose early the other morn to catch the shared jeeps to Tiger Hill. Walking the dark at deserted alleys at 4 am was spicy indeed, if only in my imagination. Surviving that and the 10 km drive, I was surprised to find not just handful of tourist, but a thousand locals gleefully, noisily awaiting the sunrise. The views of Kachendzonga were stunning in the early light and with a little help from the binoculars, I was able to discern the top few hundred meters of Mt Everest, and a couple of other high peaks. Later that day I tried to catch the jeep out of Darjeeling, but some politcal folly left the roads blocked for the day, ( a not rare occurance in these parts) and so I spent the day wandering the quiet and aged botanical gardens, amidst trees of types unknown since I could not read the labels written in Hindi.

I was sucessful the next day in getting out, but in my haste I choose to ride in the back of the jeep, not a good idea for one of my size, and spent a couple hours jostled from one Nepali lap to another. To celebrate my time in Gorkaland (Northeast India), I later hired a car to drive me across the Nepali border, just for the stamp in the passport and a beer. It was on this trip that I began to understand that I can find joy in this place, to look beyond the apparent suffering and disarray and into the hearts and faces of a people who are not bound by the quality of their material surroundings, who truly seem to be living a life of spirit. I must do my best to disregard my moments of discomfort and uncertainty, to continue to find the beauty that is waiting to be discovered.

1 comment:

J.P. Agrawal said...

The last few lines of day 77 is personal "enlightenment". Now India will be