Darjeeling, So Far

Somehow the new place had me a lot distracted and blogging took a back seat. I guess I miss the spot on my bed back home where I have a left a deep dent, proof that it belonged to an unsocial, introverted person. Well, it still does. Here if the new bed is making me homesick then also the cold is a little crippling. I don’t feel the pressure of its sharp teeth on my arse as long as I am roaming about outside. But once I am back in my room I don’t feel like keeping my unprotected hands out of the comfort of my newly purchased made in China polyester blanket. As far as excuses go this is not bad, eh? Right now I am sitting on a little rectangular of patch sunlight pouring through the window and having tea with some delicious Nepali snack and trying to get past my silly excuse and jog my brain.

I am living with a widow Nepali lady and her seven years old son as a paying guest. I live on the first floor. No roommate. I have an open terrace just outside my room where I go onto first thing in the morning to look whether Kanchenjungha is visible or not. The same terrace makes me drink less water at night so I don’t have to use the toilet which is just outside my room on the terrace itself. My landlady L is a short, plump, cheery looking woman in her mid thirties or might be less. I am bad at guessing people’s age. I know the son’s age because I snooped at his school ID lying on the table. L is a chilled out landlady. She doesn’t put any restrictions. She loves to chat. She addresses me as Koyel. And I always respond. So far I have realized that she has a deep sorrow about her and somewhat given up on life since her husband died about four years ago. The son, L jr. is a good kid but can be a terror at times. The other day he came into my room to watch Fantastic Beasts and where to find them on my laptop and practiced boxing on me. God bless quilted jacket. I silently watch him and think, god IF I ever become a mother please bless me with a baby girl only. Raising a son is not my cup of tea.

My office here is situated in a rented house. Due to the political situation and a lack of vacant land my department never cared to get a permanent building. The landlord of my office building Mr. S is a seventy years old man who used to work as a tea taster and now owns multiple shops in Darjeeling. He lives in a century old wooden bungalow with his wife and sister in law. Mrs. S has four sisters, of whom I met two so far. The one that lives with them and one from Kalimpong. Their kids, nieces, nephews are scattered all over the world. For some unknown reason the family has taken a great fancy in me and every weekend I am roaming about here with Mr. S who is more than eager to show me around. He is apparently a big shot in Darjeeling. His late elder brother was DSP here. So every day he is introducing me to new people. Not to mention he even took me to all the shops where the shopkeepers gave me great discount. But unfortunately so far all the people I am hanging out with are all elderly and mostly senior citizens.

The one thing I am missing a lot here is dog. Although Darjeeling is full of big, fluffy hill dogs but they are not so sociable. They are not hostile but they don’t like to interact much either. Whole day they lie in the sun and sleep. I miss my Calcutta dogs. However the other day Mr. S took me to someone’s house again. Mrs. P is an elderly lady who runs a kindergarten school and lives with her two dogs – Teddy and Goldie. A golden retriever and a Labrador. She lived in Calcutta with her late husband for a long time and can speak broken Bengali. Sometimes you meet certain people and think at once that yes I am going to like this person very much. Mrs. P is one of such people. She is fat, fair, heavily made up and emanates an endearing vibe about her which will make you feel at home. She offered me to join her NGO (which I accepted instantly), took my number and asked me to drop by whenever I felt like. I acquiesced and meant it. I have got to make friends with Teddy and Goldie.