Should I ‘Walk the Talk’ or ‘Talk the Walk’? The lazy me opted for ‘Couch Comfort’ and claimed it was too difficult to do either. My life in Selim Hill has completely pushed me out of this comfort zone and I, now, delight in walking. The Darjeeling Hills have many motorable roads etched into them which are picturesque and comfortable. Yet, if you really want to get intimate with the hills, you must walk to reach its secret, secluded spots. Armed with an umbrella to combat weather and other elements of nature, I learnt once again, the art of walking. The Hills seem to beckon me downwards, upwards and always onwards.
Selim Hill has spotty internet, so it is not possible to converse with someone far off. For this very reason, these walks are very special. The teach to communicate without speaking; you can hear and understand the language of silence. The most precious are my conversations with myself of what was, is, could have been, should have been......to...... building cloud castles and faith bridges. Of course, when you talk to yourself, nature participates whole heartedly. Just as you start indulging in self pity, a cackling hen laughs at you. Too ambitious... the setting sun takes your breath away. As I walk with my sons, with phones kept away, there are complaints to hear, fears to vanquish, reality and idealism to balance and oh so many arguments!
Like the railway lines, like a river, like the Darjeeling weather.......there are “no straight paths in Darjeeling. You never know what lies around the corner. It could be a rabbit in a hurry, a carpet of flowers peeping out of dried leaves, a heady perfumed smell of some faraway tree or a group of children racing while you are huffing and puffing. Beware, this is an enchanted place and there are many optical illusions. What seems faraway could be very near and vice versa. This, my friends, is not curated reality. As I walk along the twists and turns, I sometimes wonder whether I am lost or have I just found myself? Almost as if it has read my thoughts, a fern waves out and encourages me onwards.
As delicate as sigh, as simple as a dimple, as abundant as sunshine and rain, you cannot miss the beautiful ferns that grow wild on the mountainside. This gardener is an artist. Many believe ferns are the living proof of fairy folk and other enchanted beings. They say God is in the details...looks like these are details that were added after the trees, fruits, flowers and herbs. Interestingly, in the Victorian era, ferns were used as a covert way to express sexual desires.
Invigorated after my evening walk, as I drink my cup of Dorje Hibiscus Tea, I know I am ready to start typing my new blog.