Walking down has always been easy, be it on the memory lane or the hilly road. In no time we reached the Mall. This time, many shops were open, but we hardly had anything to shop. It just felt good that life was back at its normal pace.
Witness to the rolling times- Clock Tower
We soon crossed the famous Clock Tower which was made even more famous in the Anurag Basu movie Barfi! Nothing can beat the effect of the wonders that Bollywood can do. I wondered as my husband who showed me the clock tower like a guide referring about the movie, how many of us would have noticed this ancient clock tower, had it not been for Barfi! There was no means to find out that.
Known for the lip-smacking bakes-Glenary's
We soon walked past the famous bakery Glenary's, which was filled with green uniforms, the students from the hostels. The fragrance of the bakery invited us, but we let it pass. I had a different place in my mind. We walked past the many cafes and restaurants and at last reached a point where two roads diverged and that is where my destination was, Keventer's.
And the iconic Keventer's of Darjeeling
I came across the name of this legendary restaurant as Satyajit Ray's famous detective Pradosh C Mitter and his brother cum assistant and friend, Topshe and Jatayu dropped into this place to have sandwiches and hot chocolate as they discussed a matter of great importance in Darjeeling Jomjomat. Keventers has remained closed for years and then one fine day, the news of this legendary restaurant reopening reached my ears, and ever since then, I have been dying to visit this place.
Who can say no to this?
We stepped in and climbed the stairs to witness the terrace dining area. Unfortunately for us, the terrace was full and it was the bright sun that forced us to sit indoors. We ordered the breakfast platter with toasts, sunny side up double egg poach, sausages and bacon fried, a ham sandwich and a milkshake to satiate our souls and stomach.
As we waited for the late Breakfast at Keventer's
After a sumptuous lunch at Keventer's, it was time to say goodbye to the Queen of Hills. We had our train from Siliguri at 8pm and it was already 2pm. We still had a long way to go.
As we reached the Choumatha, something splendid caught our attention. The students from different schools of Darjeeling were out in a procession, singing Christmas carols with beautiful beats of the drums as the beautiful procession of singers and band members mesmerized the onlookers. It was November end, and they were rehearsing for the Christmas. The carols were being sung in English, Hindi and Nepalese and they sounded wonderful. We could not move, stood there and soaked ourselves in the beautiful Christmas spirit.
As we walked towards the shuttle stand, we came across multiple bakery shops boasting amazing biscuits, cookies, cakes and cream rolls and for a foodie duo like us, it was hard to resist the urge of buying all the delicacies. After loading our bags with the goodies from Darjeeling, we started our journey downhill.
I had a colleague who was in love with Darjeeling and every year her travel plans were solely made for this hill station. With my faint memory of this place, I could never relate to the fact that why was she so in love with the place. My first impression of Darjeeling, when I got down from the Scorpio this time was, this place is dingy, crowded and dirty.
Some warmth amidst the cold hillsBeautiful houses that paint the skylineHymns and prayersLife on the hillsFriends who never change no matter where you areSightings....as we were ready to bid adieuLeaving the beautiful queen...hoping to meet againThe Mall and the livelihood
The crowd and the busy market place reminded me of Kolkata itself, but then the mighty mountains, the green paths and the Kanchenjunga assured me, Darjeeling was home away from home. You will get the shops, the crowd, and the food just like your home, yet there was something that sets this place apart. It was the pristine greenery, the light in the eyes of the people when they meet you, the snow-capped Kanchenjunga, the fleeting clouds and the twinkling lights on the valley as sun sets and darkness envelopes the hill station.
This is how I will remember the hill station until I meet her again
The lights might remind you of the fireflies, but trust me, there are people all around, people with hope, dream and happiness, inspite of the hardships they face every day. Darjeeling might have lost its old glory, but the spirit and soul of this place, remains the same, beautiful and true, just like the nature that shelters them.