Once upon a time

Seated on the back seat of a green, military jeep I raised the green flap and peered outside. The lush green ranges greeted me as I moved a little ahead for a clearer view. Grassy hills and a backdrop of pure white peeks left me wide-eyed. As the jeep took another turn on the curvy road, the colors changed. There was multicolored flora everywhere I looked. The view seemed right out of a picture postcard to me. I was ten and this was Kalimpong.

Yes, I still remember it as if it were yesterday. The tiny bazaar that is described as Pandora’s box of surprises, numerous nurseries stocked with unique species of plants, mystical temples, churches, missionaries, and monks are supposed to be the highlights of Kalimpong. However, what I remember it most for is the exotic flowers. There were orchids, gladiolas, and umpteen other varieties that were alien to this ten year old. Colorful gladioli seemed like wild flowers there, I even found them on the roadsides.

Dad got me a pair of blue canvas shoes from a tiny shop in the market while mum and her friends shopped for Chinese lamps. We had put up in a spectacular cottage on a hilltop. [Wish I remembered its name] The window in our room had a fantastic view of Himalayan peeks, as almost every point in this little East Indian town does.

This calm, ultra-scenic town is not haunted by the tourists and is an apt place for a quiet holiday. I hope I can go there again and this time I will carry my own camera.


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