You can’t relax with it, i can’t relax without it.
Where do we fit without fear? Inhale – Exhale – Exhale Inhale.
Nothing everything. Internal external. Dread panic nothing.
Mogal Shari station was hell; only because of the amount of time we spent there due to miss information from our previous hoast. Sitting moving sitting moving. Watching rats trot around our feet and a woman of maybe twenty-six trying to look after her four children, who obviously need the platform as their home. Sharing a pice of bread and a plastic sheet as a bed. Truly truly heartbreaking. A man of around thirty-six with a figure to die for and an out of control Indian salsa aesthetic about him, wandering around and eating out of bins, quietly doing his thing, not asking for anything, just being the only way he could.
In many ways i empathise with the indian prime minister but jesus fucking christ, something needs to change to help these people. India is so light but so dark. The more i learn the harder it gets, however i feel i will visit forever.
The train finally arrived several hours late and waiting for us in the carriage was a lovely indian lady. I will call her Auntyji as her name escapes me. Originally from a Hindu family in the Andaman Islands. She was so keen to find out if i was Christian and discuss her transition from what she called a mystic religion to Jesus Christ her lord – a god who came down to earth to save sinners. Auntyji studied as a doctor, with the intention of opening a nursing home and making her fortune, however Jesus lead her to Leprosy. She said Jesus took her to people who needed her. People who are just left to suffer. We discuss corruption within indian society before sleeping and saying goodnight. Her religion lead her to this life and changed it for the better. A life of compassion and kindness.
So Siliguri was our mid-destination point after twelve hours on the train and a good nights sleep. Easy. A four-hour jeep ride into the lower Himalaya and we arrive in Darjeeling. Finding a room wich feels like a 1970’s london bed sit, not updated since the 30’s, bar a lick of paint and, actually that’s it! The view from the window is mountains, clouds, an ageing colonial get away with Nepal forty miles away. Rosin Murphy is playing through our kindly donated speaker system and i am high high high. Bliss. Peace, space and retro calm.
Wondering and wondering, sleep and wandering the streets of and old, clean town that does not feel like India. One moment hot sun, the next lashing cool rain, enveloped by cloud. I keep thinking i should be doing something more spiritual than eating veg burgers and roller skating around dilapidated colonial gymkhana buildings, but when i am ready India’s spirit will catch me. Is roller skating a meditation?
So we have acquired a fifteen day permit to visit Sikkim, high in the Himalaya. We leave Sunday morning as there is something so lovely about starting a new week in a new city. So much better than the boring walk to work.
This morning we took a cab up into the tea estates. Two surprising things happened….
1. Upon looking over the clear sky, over the clouds the snow-capped peak of the worlds third highest mountain was just sitting there. Milles away but right in front of our faces. So beautiful almost unreal.
2. The second was a rather drunk local who was perched amongst the tea bushes with a bag of fancy dress. Sixty five english pence and we were there. Clad in traditional tea picking outfits we required no encouragement to place ourselves amongst the tea and work the camera. The most ridiculous thing to happen so far. Glorious silly fun.
Darjeeling is a great place to chill out and i fully recommend it, especially if your British! Its clean, old, new, modern. Poor and extremely rich. Tomorrow we leave and i always remember in passing its beautiful quite charm.
Post Earthquake……( See previous blog )
The flight to Calcutta is booked. I know i am not ready to leave India but post earthquake it feels like the right thing to do. I hate to desert her when the days are hard, but i will be back. Another quake could effectively strike anywhere in Asia and leaving India with the idea of being safe is stupid. At some point what i have experienced over the last few days will hit me, or i will just carry on as normal, breathing and being grateful of that breath just a little bit more than i have done previously. So glad we made it. Next stop ( post Kolkata ) – Bangkok!