Right decisions never call for regrets. At any point of time when we look back at it and still feel the same way that we did when we first made up our minds, we know we had made the right decision. I had made my most important right decision on the 19th of August, 2007, I tell myself. That’s the day when I committed myself to marrying my husband who, today, at this morning hour as I wake up, lays wriggled under his blanket like a grown-up kid beside me. His face is calm and serene and to my sleepy eyes they seem almost innocent, signifying deep drowned slumber, much in contrast to the thousand monkey expressions that he makes at me during the day to see a smile stay put on my face. I smile at him now, even without his funny expressions. I had made a right decision! Touch wood!
The clock warns me to either be up and ready for the ITPL bus or bunk office at loss of pay. As much as I desired to yield in to the second option, I decided against it. Having just prided myself for my right decision, I wouldn’t want to make a wrong one on the spur of the moment. A quick bath under the shower, a quick sip of hot coffee and I was ready to be transported to the other corner of the city where my office and desk awaits me.
I follow a standard pattern during my morning bus ride to office. 1) Wait at the bus stop 2) Get into the bus 3) Sit 4) Sleep 5) Get down at office. Simple! Today, my pattern was disrupted at step 3. I saw a crowded bus with more than twenty people without a seat. That bus guaranteed a minimum of an hour and half of standing and there was no other ITPL bus on that route thereafter. For a split second, I was tempted to run back home and nestle myself cozily beside my sleeping hubby and join him in a dreamy duet. In what was left of the split second, I climbed into the bus and plugged my headphones inside my ears to make myself deaf to the rolling traffic. My favorite romantic melody collection from my playlist poured into my ears one by one and I was within the bus only physically. Just like the movies where our heroes and heroines play their romances under the
or the Colosseum, I remembered the romances of my honeymoon. Even for a dream sequence, our budget wouldn’t allow us to the Eiffel. So, I remembered my true trip to Kalimpong, Gangtok and Eiffel Tower . Darjeeling
Vijay and I had planned and booked our honeymoon package two months ahead of our wedding and with the conclusion of the wedding on the 2nd of Feb 2009, our anticipation started mounting. Anticipation not only for the obvious reasons of a honeymoon but also for the lovely sightseeing that the North-East India promised. The chilly weather, frosty air and snow clad peaks were romances by themselves. Off-season was winding up and season was slowly blooming. We were extremely lucky to enjoy the low tariffs of the off-season and the view of the amazing landscapes of the season, with ultimate privacy.
Our first halt at Kalimpong was the most silent and the scariest of all. I had never heard of Kalimpong as a place until I was there myself. The hotel where we stayed hosted just the two of us for the night. It was a grand antique place with deer skin decorations, wide moon-facing windows and full length mirrors that reminded us of all the horror movies that we had ever seen. Like the only lovers, amidst throngs of spirits, singing seducing symphonies!!! Kalimpong at day light was very scarcely populated which assured a pollution free scenery. There was that Tibetan touch everywhere we went, right from the Buddhist monasteries to the like-faced-people with slit eyes and flat noses. Adventure was inevitable when we adorned the life jackets for 11km river rafting. As we bumped up and down the melting waters of the glaciers with the misty mountains, carving along either sides, I couldn’t help getting glimpses of William Wordsworth’s ‘The Stolen Boat Ride’. Had it been nightfall, the ride would have exactly been as poetic as that. Loved it! Absolutely!
Our next destination was to the capital of
– Gangtok. Neither as calm as Kalimpong, nor too dazzling as Sikkim , Gangtok was the place of our choice, a place of courteous people whose humility and hospitality made us almost feel indebted. More monasteries and museums! Carpet weaving and colorful handiworks! It’s difficult to believe that Gangtok is in a country that homes trendy and buzzing cities with overflowing population. People there have in plenty what we are deficient in – peace and harmony! While Gangtok made me heave a sigh, its super spot made me envious, the super spot called Darjeeling . At an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea level, the hills were coated with ice flakes and the frozen ponds. Snow found its nest here and there over the rocks completing the picturesque. Vijay and I had fun; I mean real fun with the snows. Our shoes lost their grip on the ice floor and that was our natural ice skating there. No rest at all to the cameras which in addition to capturing the exquisite beauties, had to bear with the funky and romantic poses of tourists and honeymooners like us. Our taste buds miss those steaming hot Chowmein and spicy fried Mou-Mou (a delicacy there) eaten in a climate of -4 degree centigrade. If any place deserves a WOW, it was this. Tsomgo Lake
The final part of our honeymoon was to the queen of hills –
. Marvelous though it was, after Kalimpong and Gangtok, I should say that we were slightly disappointed. Being marked as a tourist location, it was properly commercialized and that somehow compromised its virgin beauty. Yet, with the zoos and gardens, it was awesome in its own way attracting the tourists with its foggy façade. The weather was at its extreme cold and with two layers of winter clothing, we still couldn’t feel warm. Day turned dark by 6 o’clock and an evening walk along the mall seemed like an after dinner stroll. Sweaters and shawls were for sale at simple prices and antique stalls were on every street. Asked for an adjective to describe this place, all I could say is ‘proud but a little haughty’ Darjeeling !
After one week of honeymoon that stretched across Kalimpong, Gangtok and
, our last day back home happened to be on the Valentine’s Day. All those previous mornings, we were hurrying up for another day of site seeing that only on this last day as I woke up from my bed did I pause to notice my hubby in sound slumbers beside me, wriggled in rugs, just like the way he was this morning. One might be brainy or brawny, clever or cunning but when asleep, one is just his natural self. I guess that was when I started admiring my hubby’s sleeping self. He surprised me with a bouquet at breakfast and winked at me his naughty way. Was he the same little fella curled up in the bed that morning? I couldn’t believe! Nevertheless, I loved him, love him and will always do. The bus reached ITPL and I broke away from my trance. As I walked to my office, I still hadn’t washed off that smile, a satisfied smile. I had made a right decision! Touch wood! Darjeeling