Friday, November 25, 2011
Homecoming 25 Years, St. Joseph's, North Point, Darjeeling 4
By Manuwant Choudhary
Darjeeling: A walk to Monkey Rock is full of memories...25 years ago we would walk here for a wash in a spring when Darjeeling was faced with acute water scarcity.
It was also here that I was unjustly caned.
Ranvir was singing this song `Night Flight to venus'' when he dropped his mug on the khudside and seeing the commotion the school prefect appeared and when he asked who did it, Ranvir immediately pointed towards me..and I was caned...the last one hit my little finger and a mark remains till today.
But it was a lesson..never accept an unjust punishment.
Life comes a full circle as I took a photo with Ranvir here.
But Monkey Rock is now called Tenzing Rock and on the opposite side is Phantom Rock now renamed Gombu Rock.
And a Hanuman temple has occupied the place.
Monkey Rock now has a permanent rope and you can climb it for Rs.30/- and the other side there are a dozen tea stalls.
25 years ago it was natural.
And yes the Haunted House !
But Darjeeling is become too crowded now literally the hills are for sale or up for grabs.
Just write Gorkhaland and its yours.
And its better to walk than take a taxi....the roads see traffic snarls and surprisingly no one honks...they seem used to it all.
We could not spot a single ambassador.
And this was the only Land Rover we saw.
25 years ago Darjeeling was full of Amby's and Land Rovers as Land Rovers were the only vehicles you could take to Tiger Hill.
We would look forward to our monthly outings and in Rs.10 we would like buy the town.
Keventers, New Dish, Glenery's and a dozen others....
Penang is still there and refurbished in all blue...the waiters wear dresses to match the flower-pot !
In Rs.350 four of us had our momo lunch.
A Big Bazaar has replaced the Link Cinema...
And the Capitol Cinema (with the clock Tower) now houses the Darjeeling Municipality.
I wonder what the municipality does.
Even the Capital Cinema seemed occupied.
The lower bazaar is still a shanty.
Darjeeling doesn't need Gorkhaland..it needs a car park.
Maybe the lower bazaar should be completely demolished to house a multi storeyed car park and a large mall to house all the dislocated shops in one place with a square in the centre.
The Chowrasta is still beautiful....Oxford book store and the Tin Tin Comics are still around in perfect shape.
In fact the upper mall is still beautiful. The Brits definitely did something right.
Planters Club....the Shangrila Restaurant....its a walk down memory lane...
Glenyry's now has three levels...upper a restaurant, the second a pastry shop and a third now which is a pub.
The tastiest pastry's anywhere and now you can sit in there and enjoy the view as well.
And yes..the Churpee (made from Yak Milk).....