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compass

Day 6 – To Rimbik

It was the last day of the trek. 21 kms today to Rimbik and we would be taking a cab from there to the airport the next day. First, hats off to Nishanth, Lavanya and EB on finishing the entire walk, while the rest of us cut short and went shopping.

The day started with yummy aloo parathas for breakfast, the best I have ever had till date. Parathas with ketchup, homemade pickles, (and did we have curd that day?!). Nishanth, Lavi and me went for a walk to the nearby bridge at 6.30 AM to the stream. Wow! What a view of the entire village, only confirming my want to spend retirement there. We bid adieu to the foreign couple – they were going fishing that day – and started the last day of the trek.

It was me and Lavanya again on the lead, and we had “Compass” show us the way. Well, this dog started with us @ Gorkhey and was walking ahead of us all the time. And when there is a fork on the road, we would stop, wait for directions from one of our guides, but then we understood that this dog was actually showing us the route. It would go a little ahead along the right road and wait for us! And hence the name “Compass” 😛

We passed this village, almost equalling Gorkhey in charm, corn fields, and beanstalks. Then came the forest route again (just to denote absence of civilization) with streams at regular intervals. We were able to hear the water gushing ahead, and I got tired taking pictures of every creek we passed by.

We came to Ramman, another tiny village with a school! We passed the school building and we could hear the kids singing something. Sounded like some chanting to me. But guess what, they were doing this sing-song recital of math tables in their native language!! I managed to take a video of the same. We then stopped for early lunch there.

I got black tea on a Libran cup and was showing off a little with it 😛 And that amazing feeling when you talk to your dad after 5 days!!!!!!!!!!! Bliss. It truly is.

The multi – talented Pemba went into the house’s kitchen, just gathered up the ingredients and made noodles for us in say, 10 minutes. And that was the best noodles I had in the whole journey, and that is saying something. We all took second helpings, continued with the Brain – Teasers game, the hype had not died down yet.

After lunch we walked ahead, apparently people were laying roads on the way. Down a curve, we were made to stop. The road ahead was blocked with a boulder of rock , and a crane was moving it out of the way. It was a very interesting sight, and as expected, I took a video.

Then we crossed this huge hanging bridge and were on our way to Sirikhola. The plan was to take a jeep from this place to a place 20 minutes ahead – Rimbik. The reason being the shops would close early and this was the last place we could shop. Compass came with us till this place. When we reached Rimbik, it was not a very exciting market, most of the shops were groceries, people were sick already, and it had started drizzling by then.

So we went to the cottage, and got settled. Guess what, it had electricity! We got hot water to bathe! Things that had been a luxury till then. And to top it all, we had hot malasa chai and samosas for evening snack 😀 😀 And I spent most of the evening talking to family back home, telling them we were safe. Nishanth did the accounting and we all settled finances among ourselves.

Dinner was a treat, after which we got a traditional send off from Norbu and Pemba. Pemba gave us a formal speech, telling that we were a great group and apologized in case they had done something wrong. How sweet of them, I thought. Then we all were presented with this whitish scarf with writings on it. Apparently it is Buddhist tradition. “Offering a white scarf–called a kata–is an ancient Tibetan tradition. The color symbolizes purity of intention and aspiration. It is an ancient custom to bring an offering when visiting a temple, shrine, guru, or teacher. An ancient Tibetan adage says that giving and receiving go hand in hand, like breathing in and breathing out–it is an a universal karmic principle that the more you give, the more you receive, which should not necessarily be understood in material terms only.”

The next day was to be a 6 hour car ride to Bagdogra airport. So Nishanth and me did this strategic planning of staying up late at night, so that we will be so tired and sleep in the car, thus avoiding any sickness 😛 So all the kids and a couple of aunties gathered in one of the rooms and started playing pictionary (modified dumb c).

Next morning, just before starting, we had a valedictory function (I would call it thus ;)). Rohan gave a speech, then we distributed the papers that we had wrote for each one the previous day – each one of us had written down the best characteristics of all the others on the group. And set off, all set to get back to our workplaces, and get back to our routines. We carried back with us long – lasting memories of the mountains, the humility, the freshness and the simplicity.

– Until next,

Vid 🙂

P.S: Contact details of our trek organizer for those who might need.

Wangchuck

Ph:9933071548

darjeelingtrails

Day 5 – To Gorkhey

It was payback time to nature for me! 14 kms of downhill from Phalut to Gorkhey, which was going to be a picturesque, post card view of a place waiting for us at the end of the day. So there we started all geared up, though the day had not started exactly clear. This time it was Sandhya aunty, Lavi, Geetha aunty and me taking the lead. The best part of the journey was that it was total greenery and slopes downhill, forest and unseen birds – you get the general feel.

As the day became brighter, it was photography time. I went on shooting at every beautiful thing around me. There was this one specific bird. We named it the “Kuwi – Kuhu” bird. No one knows how it looks like, we were just hearing the sound it made. Lavi made a nearly good imitation of the sound / tune and it gave back an answer… and thus this “kuwi… kuwi kuwi kuwi kuhu….” conversation continued – and I got a beautiful video of this dialogue!

We walked the entire day through a jungle route – marshy and slippery due to rains, lush greenery. We all were very prepared for the rains, donning our rain gear when we started, but guess what! It never rained that day!! Lavi and me went on singing Karadi tales songs (we ran out of situation songs by then) 😛 We had sword fight… technically walking-stick-posing-for-a-photo fight. And one quick statement that would make her speed up her pace was, “I think I hear human noise nearby”.

It was Pemba in the lead and he used to walk ahead of us after marking our way. Marking here means drawing an arrow mark with the walking stick on mud indicating exactly which route to take. He would do that and vanish along a tougher shortcut. We walked all the 14 kms and came to this sign board “Gorkhey 2 mins” – Norbu was there waiting to show us the way.

From there it was around 20 mins (they should have missed a 0 on the board) of walk into the valley through beautiful corn field pathways. And there lay the village in the middle, surrounded by mountains on all sides, one side a gushing stream, a bridge on top, hens running amuk, well you can imagine. It was a typical postcard place and we were all secretly thinking if we could come back and settle there after retirement! Just one flaw, my batteries had drained out by then – I did not take a second pair, and my sister kept clicking an hour before that. And right when you needed it, my camera was not functional. However, the first view of Gorkhey is still fresh in my memory.

It was a recently built lodge and we got settled in groups of 3. The rest of the group – Nishanth, EB, Rohan, Tejasvi, Snigdha Swapna and Jyothi aunty came back an hour later. They had been playing this game on the way and we continued later that evening. We called it “Brain – Teasers”. Let me give you a hint of the game below:

1. Rich boy throws cash. He goes to a Muslim village where priest calls him “infidel”. He answers back that he is not infidel. What did he say? – Fidel Cash throw

2. There is a rat called Ann. How does her friend’s say bye to her? – Rat ann Tata

3. A mom teaches the kid how to light fire. She says “if you add more oil, there will be more fire”. What does she say? – Naraya enna More thee

4. A couple goes for hunting Condo for a long lease. They find one and go into it and find a bowl of rice. Describe the situation. – Condo lease-ah Rice

Lol, well that took us nearly all day, after which we played dumb c in mobile flashlight and candle light sitting amidst nature (and leeches), the smell of cardamom brandy overpowering. Well, as the game advanced, the couple in the next cottage came out to watch us. The girl wanted to join us, and we were anyways not equally numbered. So she joined my opponent team and played exceptionally well. She turned out to be none other than the foreigner who walked past me on day 3, in case you remember. One awesome couple we got acquainted with.

We had to cut short our game in order to go and have dinner, and the couple joined us for the meal. It was very entertaining, with us trying to introduce each other (though most of us knew the others 3 days before). We learnt that they Deborah and Adam) were teachers in Korea and got engaged recently.

The only sad thing that happened on that day was the children asking money. Well Gorkhey being a village has few families staying there. Children go around talking to the visitors, and we all love children, right? Yes, agreed. And we would not mind giving them anything like money or chocolates and the likes just because of their innocence. Agreed, again. But that does not mean they can go around asking for money from tourists. I did NOT entertain that, because it ends up in begging, and the kids would not mind doing the same even after they grow up. They need to learn that. I felt so bad to say no to them, and it took all my self control to not entertain this. All that said, please don’t let kids beg! Point made.

The last thing I remember about that day is that we had another dog out there following us. I named it “Compass” and I shall tell you in the next blog, why.

– Until next,

Vid 🙂

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