The sheer joy of walking down the road when the drizzle drops descend, floating down often carried away by the strong winds, is still the same. Darjeeling is a place of my many firsts – my first understanding of love, of life and the first puff of a cigarette. When I was discovering a newer me in college, Darjeeling was my first travel destination after having saved every little bit of my pocket money for over months.
The roads, the people and the feel refuse to be any different. The Queen of the hills is as mighty, warm and welcoming as ever. When I went back this time, I had put up in the same hotel and I made sure, I live the two days to the fullest. I am no more the person who I used to be. I am more objective and result driven these days, often not finding time to do anything personal. To blog post regularly is a challenge now and I had picked up my camera after ages. Darjeeling is definitely special.
I’ve always been a lover of the rains. The hills make it even more special. Somewhere deep down -the hill and valley, the mist and the thick grey cloud behind, the slight drizzle, the people and their smile, the whistle of the steam engined toy train, is heavenly peaceful. This is some experience, I can keep going back to Darjeeling for.
Enough of words, here are some of the photographs I’ve shot this time. Most of the photographs are shot by Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 lens. They’d been extremely kind in approaching me to review their lens, and I write this with all my heart: I am not really a photographer. For travel photography, I would prefer a lens that is light, gives me sharp images, focusses fast and helps me create the memory. I might want to replace my 18-55 with a Tamron 17-50 because not only does it satisfy my primary requirements, the low f stop allures me much.
The Darjeeling toy trains are iconic. How many of you remember “Kasto maza he relaima” from the film “Parineeta”? (If you don’t, watch it here.). It is one of the best memories you might have in Darjeeling. It is now called the “Joy Ride” under Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. There are two kinds of engines – the diesel and the steam engine. The round trip (Darjeeling – Ghum – Darjeeling, via Batashia loop) is slightly more than Rs 1000 per person for the steam engine. Tickets are generally available from the Darjeeling station. It is a 2-hour journey where the toy train would pass through the streets, along with the cars on the road all the way to the highest station in India, Ghoom. There is a Railways museum, which you might want to visit. While coming back, you travel through the Batasia loop.
There are a few food preparations you should not miss if you are in Darjeeling!
Firstly, the momo at the Fiesta near the Mall. And then there is the iconic Keventer’s, try out their cheese omelette, ham and hot chocolate. Diagonally right up is a Tibetan food outlet, the Kunga. In their menu, they have not listed “Cheese Chicken Momo” which might be the best thing you’d ever have! Then there are chocolates from Glenarys, the mint and the liquor ones! If you could suggest more, just drop a comment!
Thank you Poorna di (food blogger) for all the guidance!
A lot has changed in the last 6 years.
Six years back, I had just the hope. Today, I have conviction. Over the years, I’ve learnt that feelings, soft corners, love, emotions and related insecurities are not weaknesses. They are strengths. When I say, love, I’ve learnt to be angry, to scold and neither governed by ego. I’ve grown weaker and have learnt to forgive the person understands what went wrong.
In more tangible terms, from being the BCET Blogger and going out with Souvick, to developing “Kolkata Bloggers” and taking Arjyak along, the journey hasn’t been sudden. There was a person in me, who often feared being misjudged and today, I’m totally content with myself striving to do better.
From brainstorming other startups, being the chief of our college’s entrepreneurship cell to now starting a new life as a product manager in a startup, life is slightly more complex and one needs to think even more. I’ve always been blessed with good people to mix with and derive inspiration from.
I’ve learnt to accept life the way God offers to me, something new every day.
There are complexities in one hand and then in the other, the Almighty has given me friends, a few who are younger to me.. who light my life up, every single time. Over the months, the wall between my work and personal life has graduated to become one thin line.
The finest example of this has been Arjyak. He is responsible and pro-active, and now manages Kolkata Bloggers along with me. But never before did we talk anything except for work. It was exciting to see Arjyak enjoy, laugh his heart out, become the child again, restless ignorant yet brave.
I’ll be ending the post here, with a few random photographs I’ve shot of Arjyak and the attempt to light trailing, we tried at near midnight in the heart of Darjeeling. Do ask me questions and leave for me an honest comment.