I open my eyes only to see a dream; I did not know if I was sleeping or
awake. As the sun gradually spread its rays around, unfolding the endless beauty, as the mysterious clouds descend, as the unfamiliar chirping of
birds caress my eardrum… I continue to live my dream.

I did not travel much in my childhood; mountains were only a rare imagination for me. Until one day when my brother in law Saikat da planned a vacation for us. Saikat da had spent his

growing years inthe beautiful hill station of Kurseong in North Bengal. He had an eye for hill

stations.


Our train was from Howrah station, Ma, Didi (Rimi), Saikat da, my niece Tiyash, Saikat da’s

parents and me set out for a vacation in the not so popular hill stations of North Bengal. These beautiful creations of God are well known to the people of West Bengal, but they are not much known to the rest of India.


Train took around 10 hours to reach New Jalpaiguri station; it was early in the morning when

we set out for our first destination “LAVA”. We had hired a car for our exotic travel; it’s

readily available from the station.


As the car drove past the moderately crowed city of Siliguri, I kept wondering what was in

store for me. The weather at that point of time was comfortably warm. But to my utter

surprise, as soon as we started going up the winding roads on the steep mountains, the October sun lost its warmth. We all had to struggle pulling out jackets from our bags.


We drove past an army camp; we were going up and up. My sister suddenly started feeling

nauseatic and we decided to halt. Little did I notice before stepping out of the car, how

beautiful the place was! The mountain range had just begun to show its scenic excellence. Lush green vegetation and thefragrance of wild flowers filled the place, I soon realized that we were on a bridge. I could hear the water gushing and almost feel the chill. After having a cup of Darjeeling tea, we again set forth for our journey.


As we moved up and up, with the picturesque valley on one side and mountains on the other,

nature kept exhibiting its excellence continuously. We had started our climb with Tista River

as our companion. But as we moved up, the lively river and its ripples was not seen too long.

Slowly what we saw was dense clouds; the weather was turning from cold to chilling. What we

saw was beyond description, there was mist all around and astonishingly the chilled air was

enjoyable. There were mountainsall round me, lined by fir trees. The wind had started its

fiendish dance. We could hear the monastery bells ringing at a distance.


It was around 4.00 in the afternoon when we reached Lava; the sun had lost its strength by

then. The mysterious clouds had grown dense. Saikat da had booked West Bengal tourism

cottages. They were cute and comfortable wooden cottages apt for the ambiance. We decided to go inside as it was too cold. After having an early dinner we were done for the day.


Morning was full of pleasant surprises, the view from the cottage garden was exotic, the rising sun was spreading its colour riot on the majestic Kanchenjunga range. The snowcapped

mountains turned from red to yellowish. What a view!!!! Lava was God’s magnum opus, crafted to perfection, even the fir trees were lined in such orderly manner.


The hill stations of West Bengal have a flavor of its own, the population is majorly Nepali

hence you can eat a lot of momos. These places are not too commercialized except Darjeeling

which is a popular holiday destination for many. Hence the places have retained their natural

charm. Most of the mountains are accompanied by dense forests.


That morning we also saw one monastery and checked out the local market. We collected few

souvenirs too. There was a famous water fall near Lava, but the road leading to it was risky. So we could not get there.


As the sun began to set and Lava embraced its dusk attire, we sat in the garden enjoying the

magical colours. At a distance a group of Nepali guys were seated around a bonfire and singing songs. The atmosphere was intoxicating, the chill in the air, tea cups in hands and accompanying music. It was one of the most memorable evenings of my life.


The hill stations of North Bengal are worth exploring. The raw untouched greenery, the uneven stony roads, the misty atmosphere and the majestic Kanchenjunga can create enough memories to be cherished later. Besides Lava, hill stations like Lolegaon, Rishop, Ravangla, Kalimpong ,

Kurseong and many more are worth visiting. Private hotels and West Bengal tourism cottages

are avaiilable in most of these places. However booking should be done 3-4 months pior to the planned visit. Communication is possible both by Air and Trains.


And as Gurudev say "Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm,

but to add color to my sunset sky" you can actually feel his words as you set foot on the small

hamlet.

All rights reserved by Tales to Tell

Created by: Aritra


I was in college that time, doing my graduation in Chemistry from Calcutta University. I loved going to college, mostly because I had great friends there. But who wants to leave the warmth of a quilt and set forth with a bag, when it rains that too in winter? Not me at least!


It was December and chill had slowly cropped into the breeze, sleeping under the soft and warm quilt had an added attraction. The inherent laze attached to the cold months has no power to interrupt regular activities but yet the response to stimuli does slow down a bit.


I got up from bed feeling very cold and numb, but as soon as I looked outside through the window, I heaved a sigh of relief. It’s too early and I have many hours to sleep, I thought, the sun has still not shown its crimson warm rays. But suddenly my mom’s voice brought me back to senses. Sometimes deep sleep has an intoxicating effect. It was raining heavily outside and the sun in fact had no choice but to silently sit behind the enormous grey clouds, and watch the morning unfold to chill and darkness.


“The weather is not good, it’s raining outside and chilling cold,” said Ma, “I suggest drop the idea of going to college and sleep a little more.”


The idea seemed lucrative and with slight visible reluctance, I decided to allow the quilt to lovingly embrace me for a little longer.


My sleep this time broke to the smell of fried Hilsa (a fish very famous in Bengal). The heavy downpour had stopped. I stretched for a few minutes, a little longer than usual to brush off my extra laze and jumped out of bed. As I gradually made my way to the balcony to witness the rainy winter morning, my feet froze to the touch of the cold marvel floor. With my pink furred sleepers on,I stood aghast holding the balcony bars. It was beautiful outside, my city looked different and fresh. The sky was partially clouded and the sun sometimes fought its way out to gaze at us. It was foggy and the road near my house was clean with the recent downpour. Many people had taken an unplanned leave and were sipping tea from clay cups at the street side tea stall, while some were smoking. The atmosphere was laid back and complete treat to the eyes and being.

In no time my mom had appeared with a steaming cup of coffee in her hand, how does she know before I speak, well….I guess that’s what mothers are like. As I sat down on the bed with my coffee mug, I inquired of lunch menu as I was too late for breakfast.


On me asking mom proudly declared “Khichdi and Hilsa Fry”.


As soon as it had stopped raining, Papa had rushed to get some fresh Hilsa from the nearby fish market and mom did what she has mastered, converted the raw materials to a super yum lunch spread!

In a rainy day Bongs can think no better than a mouth watering lunch out of Khichdi and Hilsa. I will always remember that day, due to the laze attached, the pampering from parents and the beauty of my city and loads of nostalgia attached.


All rights reserved by Tales to Tell

Created by: Aritra



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