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June 24th 2013
Published: June 24th 2013
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cut to the year 2006 October, i am now ensconsed in one of the largest multinational companies in the country in a managerial position and am generally feeling more comfortable about myself. the financial situation looks good too and I'm able to return loans to dad and pay for my own holidays and also take my family on one. more about that later.

it's Durga pujas and as usual we decide not to stay but leave for a trip to north Bengal to Kalimpong and Sikkim . we leave from Sealdah and arrive at new Jalpaiguri station. i have to mention the sight of the Himalayas right from the station can uplift the weary soul instantly. today i sit in my home in Bangalore and from the 18th floor of the apartment i can see the hills all around and it's pretty on a clear day with the sun setting on it but it's just not like the Himalayas.

we drive off for Gangtok and after an arduous journey we reach our hotel. i have to make do with an extra bed in my parents room and we do get to see the Himalayan range right from our room. the meals are included in our package and my mum and me don't want to cut corners and manage to get reprimanded by dad for it. i remember the mg road and walking down to it in the evening. every city in India has a mg road which stands for Mahatma Gandhi Road. we found a cafe and had some coffee and cake in it and for that one moment finding a lovely cafe in the Himalayas and being there with my parents after bagging a job with one the best companies to work for in the country gave me so much solace. i was on a buying spree and now when i travel i don't like to buy anything. i bought a mask and some bags for my juniors, laughing Buddhas for my staff and mugs for my brothers. i also added to my collection miniature blue bowls which i cherish very much. for my aunt i bought similar larger blue bowls and mugs. mum loves crockery, so do I, so does my maternal grandmother, clearly a genetic trait. So she shopped for various bowls and other gifts and we returned to the hotel. the next morning we drove to the Rumtek monastery and a couple of other points. the climb to the monastery was strenuous but we managed and as far as I can remember we visited the Tibetan settlement market and also the main commercial market in the heart of Gangtok. i think we visited the botanical gardens too because there are some happy snaps with my parents of a plump me.

we visited the Nor-khill hotel for lunch, one could still see the remnants of their glory days maybe from the days of the British Raj right in their dining room. I also took in the photographs on the wall of the Cho-gul and his foreign wife, a marriage that wouldn't work out. a lovely imperial hotel to visit or stay in Gangtok. dad said he'd lived here when he used to come here on work. once he would initiate a tobacco factory in this state and the cho-gul would present him a carpet and a silver tea set, he talks about this not so proudly for he feels belittled by the bribe. On one of his trips he purchased this amazing furniture set carved in wood which still stands in our drawing room.

there are several places to visit at a short distance away from Gangtok, at higher altitudes, tourist destinations, honeymoon destinations all with a majestic view of the ever so majestic Himalayas. i have to mention the view of the river flowing past us all the way down from Gangtok on our way to Kalimpong. the Manipal University at a bend of the river is also very picturesque. in all i still cherish in my heart that one moment when success seemed imminent and my past failures didn't matter, one moment with my parents in a Himalayan cafe.

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