Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homecoming 25 Years, St. Joseph's, North Point, Darjeeling

By Manuwant Choudhary

Darjeeling: I really never expected to meet up with so many old school friends and I did feel like meeting my old teachers and Rectors of the school and even just a glimpse of our school St. Joseph's, North Point, Darjeeling, in the backdrop of a majestic Kunchenjunga would give me happiness thats hard to describe.

I spent more time here than anywhere else in the world, not even home.

So when I got an invite to attend `Homecoming 25 years' I thought I must take the time anyhow.

So Ranvir Choudhary (now a doctor) and myself found ourselves on a train Capital Express to New Jalpaiguri - a journey we did many times before but it felt so different now.

We were men now, busy with work & responsibilities, having our own agendas, our own minds and doing so much we could never ever think of doing.

Yet, as a country I am still not sure whether we are going forward or backward?

In the eighties when there was just a single Indian Airlines we flew from Patna to Bagdogra and then took the taxi to Darjeeling, now with so many private airlines there is not a single flight from Patna to Bagdogra.

But the train ride this time was light, no trunks and no beddings and no books.

And as children going to school always gave you that `Homesick' feeling.

As adults we were `Schoolsick'!

Our school chorus went something like this `Hurrah for our Home In the Mountains...Hurrah for the monarch's of snow..."

At New Jalpaiguri we took a taxi - a Maruti Wagon R - for Rs.1600. (In school we paid only Rs.300 for the full taxi)

And the taxi driver informed us that the Siliguri-Kurseong Highway is still blocked due to the we would be taking the longer Mungphu road.

After driving on the Gangtok highway begins the climb to Ghoom.

And as `We Toil Up from the Valley Below...." we could see the beautiful flower-lined cottages and orange orchards.

Smiling children.

The air felt lighter and everything so clear - like truth.

(to be continued)....

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