I had never witnessed the Himalayas right in front of my eyes earlier. I needed a break from life badly. I was forced to join Calcutta University for a Masters degree program in Journalism and Mass Communication since I had a surgery prior to that. I got through IIMC (Indian Institute of Mass Communication) but right after that, I got diagnosed with Gallstone problems which I had to get surgically operated soon. My parents decided to get their one and only child operated in the best hospital in Kolkata and I got trapped. I lost out on the best opportunity and kept suffering in a hospital bed that dictated nurses to push one syringe after another whilst I suffered in pain whenever the pain struck the right chords. Eventually, I lived.
Right after I managed to get through all the pain and suffering, my brother who stayed with me in the same room came and told me that they were about to leave for a trip to Sikkim. Sounded exciting, but I was sure my parents wouldn’t agree to it since I had my surgery a few days back and the wounds were still fresh. I left home without informing anybody on a Friday night.
We could not arrange tickets for the Darjeeling Mail which would take us to NJP (New Jalpaiguri) from where we would eventually travel to the Himalayas. We traveled in general since we did not have a lot of funds to spare. I witnessed people sleeping on the floor comfortably while I sat on a general seat thinking I would sleep better but could not since the seats were extremely uncomfortable. We reached NJP in the morning and set out for Sikkim in the afternoon in a Tata Sumo Vista which had been booked earlier for us by a localite. The scenery turned magnificent the moment we left Siliguri and I have pictures to show how it looked once we departed. I have been to Nandhi Hills, Madikeri, Chikmagalur, Wayanad but if you have not witnessed the Himalayas, you are joking about having visited ‘The Hills’.
The hills looked calm, peaceful yet rude, angry at times wherever the slopes had razor-sharp edges. The roadways promised to lead you to heaven and they eventually did.
We reached Gangtok at around 6 in the evening.
Have you ever witnessed an Audi or a BMW showroom at 5,000 feet?Have you ever been to a place where smoking a cigarette openly could lead you to jail? Have you ever been to a place where an 180ml bottle of 100 Pipers costs 150 bucks?
Seems like you haven’t traveled much! 😉
We stayed in a local hotel for a mere 400 rupees and dinner was surprisingly delicious. I tried taking a bath that night but the water wouldn’t stop freezing. I had 3 bottles of ‘HIT’ beer but they couldn’t hit me at all.
The next morning, after having bread and omelet for breakfast, we left for Lachung from where we would travel to Yumthang and eventually to Zero Point. We reached Lachung after 14 hours amidst hilly and scary roadways and the first sight that I caught once I reached there was the silvery white peak of the Kanchenjunga lit up by the silvery full moon at 8 in the evening. The water from the geyser in the washroom was snow. The temperature was freezing. I could not breathe yet I managed to sneak out of the hotel and reach a small wooden house where the family served alcohol for a living. The only wish that I have till date is to buy a wooden house someday in the middle of the Himalayas, burn wood to comfort travelers, serve them cheap beer, and make them delicious Wai Wai for dinner.
The next morning we were asked to wear as many clothes as possible since were about to visit, Yumthang and Zero point.
“Situated at an altitude of 15,300 ft. above Mean Sea Level, Yumesamdong or Zero point is nature personified. It is a place very close to the Indo-Chinese border. This place is generally not part of the standard itinerary but is often merged with the itinerary of Yumthang Valley as an add-on”, is what Google said about the place we were about to visit. How would the world look from such an altitude? I asked myself, pictured the scene a bit and then I left.
I have witnessed heaven. I wouldn’t lie. And I have seen myself cherishing every bit of what I saw. The snow-covered hills, the clouds moving past me, everything looked so tiny and minute. I could not breathe since I smoke a lot but everything seemed so just and fair from up above. I knew instantly that if I have survived this long and traveled so far, I will live to see more. Life isn’t all about cheques and money transfer, there are things you have to witness to believe and things you have to believe in if you have to see something beautiful because Nature doesn’t ever lie – It reveals who we are and what part we all belong to.
Before long, the driver came up to me and said, “Bhaiya bohut dekh liya ab chalo”, to which I replied, “Aap to yahan daily aate ho, aapko wapas jaane ka mann karta hai?”
And then I decided if my Master’s degree in Mass Communication doesn’t pay off well in the future, I shall drive a Sumo Vista to the Himalayas for the rest of my life without any regret.