This will be the final post of “In India.” – I return to the States in under a week!
Five days ago a dark green hillside spilled over into an expanse of fog and cloud. My taxi driver announced Darjeeling, and my friend Travis and I stepped into a quiet hill station saturated in early spring. Known for it’s mountain views and its tea, Darjeeling assaulted our senses, but not in the ways I expected it to. Our hotel, appropriately named the Seven Seas, served as an anchor to us in a sea of clouds, rain, red pandas, bacon, and of course, tea.
Among our daily outings, we visited a zoo, a Buddhist monastery, several good breakfast places, and a tea plantation. The time was fun and somewhat comical, since we had maybe fifteen minutes of mountain views during a stay of four days.
For me, Darjeeling was a cold place – pleasant, but full of silence and solitude. For three of four mornings spent there, the windows of our hotel remained various shades of gray blue due to thick immersion in clouds. The time was somewhat surreal, and I spent much of it tucked in blankets, thinking of the future, of home, and of a year gone by. Often it seems that the episodes of our lives shift in rapid succession, so I am thankful to have had a few days to come to terms with the end of a year in India, and the beginning of several in graduate school.
I can’t articulate the process of finding the end of one journey and the beginning of another – when I wasn’t freezing my toes off on the puddled pavement of Darjeeling’s roads (I only brought sandals), I was reading online comics or Rousseau’s Emile. Darjeeling was a place to dream: of the past, and of the future. During the moments of the present, the town was quaint and the tea lived up to its reputation – but it is hard not to daydream when literally up in the clouds. I am glad I went, however. Upon returning to Delhi, I feel ready to return home.