Home brings visitors
Near and distant
Weekend means visiting places nearby to unwind for the days ahead until the next weekend came again but not much with us this time. We were kept indoors most of the time with the baby taking much of our attention, love and care as well naturally. Whatever little spare time came to our hands was utilized in visiting some shopping malls if not places of interest nearby like Chester Springs Creamery that gave much needed glimpse of farm life for the people here who were not acquainted with such rural life. Children had access to and fun time playing with animals like cow, goat, sheep, poultry, etc. but could also see the fruits and vegetables grown there. Thereafter you could have the taste of yummy ice-creams made from milk obtained and named after each of the cow there. You could also buy some fresh organic eggs, fruits and green vegetables as well.
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In one such weekend was the visit of our relatives from Gangtok who had come to meet their son in New York City. Apart from visiting his cousin Sundari spending her days with daughter Urwashi and son-in-law Bikash near Philadelphia, they thought it worthwhile to drop in to our place also as a part of their itinerary. It was Urwashi who had earlier invited Rachna-Vimal home for dinner one weekend and to their utter surprise that turned out to be the first baby shower with friends like Dr. Manjari Moktan from Mirik, Christine P. Bhutia from Kalimpong, Lhakpa Lhamu from Gangtok besides others there. Sundari and Urwashi-Bikash were later with us when Bindiya, Priya and friends had another surprise function of baby shower for Rachna soon after we arrived here. Soon thereafter Sundari with Urwashi-Bikash came to our place and had informed that Shanti Daju and Sabitri Bhauju with elder son Gyanendra were coming to the US to see their younger son Dr. Anup. They would be visiting them and interested to meet us all here. Thus it was a great family get-together away from our homeland. Since they had a plan to see Washington D.C. next day, early dinner was in mind but stayed on to reach back home late night. Long summer day with sunset around 8.30 p.m. we could not believe that they were here all that long and our meeting was full of fun and joy to share together its memories to treasure lifelong!
Shanti Daju and Sabitri Bahuju had recently been enjoying life much visiting places back home nearby Kalimpong-Darjeeling as well as Guwahati-Shillong . They stopped at New Delhi for a couple of days en-route to the US and in return journey at Dubai. Anup was surprised of not having met at all before in Gangtok and asked his father since how long we knew each other. Right from our school days was the answer. Shanti Daju from Underground Villa and me from Happy Cottage and Development Area/Gangtok used to be sparsely populated those days. Going to the same school and playing on the same playground in front of our residence in 1950s we had many reminiscences from our student life to share about. Later on in pursuing our own life and career, we used to meet sometimes but more often in social gatherings. He was the person to be seen attending most of the social functions and familiar with many of our relatives in both side of the Teesta. He seemed to be the connecting link between the Newar families there in Sikkim as well as outside in Darjeeling Hills. When I mentioned this to him and enquired whether he still continued the same way like in good old days, he said that age and health did not permit it any more. I best remember Chandra Jyoti Daju* (more popularly known as CJ) of Melli-Kerabari from the other side who similarly used to be seen attending in such social functions often.He left us soon after his trip to Nepal attending one of his social obligations as he had not been keeping well of late that took him to New Delhi where he breathe his last. He was an amiable and charming personality. We met him last at Namthang Kothi attending the wedding of Dharma Pratap's son - the scion of Rai Saheb Bal Krishna Pradhan better known for his fabled "Baburamko baja". CJ was known since our school days when he worked for sometime with the Sikkim Mining Corporation at Rangpo in 1960s. He used to invite us to his place whenever we met and could make it once when returning together after attending our sister Chanda's daughter Alka at Melli Danra. During my posting as the District Collector (South) in Namchi, I had the rare opportunity to visit and pay respect to Bhuwan Prasad Pradhan* at Shumbhuk Kothi and to CJ Daju at Kerabari first time with my parents. My Muma remembers Bhuwan Daju to be similarly a person in days of yore as the connecting link between the family of Taksari Chandrabir Pradhan at Rhenock and that of Taksari Lakshmi Das Pradhan on the other side of the Teesta since he used to visit Rai Saheb Ratna Bahadur Pradhan* quite often to seek his valued advice on personal matters as well. Their outstanding contributions immense together in making what Sikkim is today might have gone into oblivion but their name and fame had spread out far and wide like the fragrance from the flowers of the fabled Chandra Nursery the world over. I would not be fair without a line in tribute remembering the contribution also of Moti Chand Pradhan* and Rai Saheb Hari Prasad Pradhan* on land both sides of the Teesta while that of the latter beyond to the neighbouring kingdom of Nepal in 1950s. He is much remembered even today for his landmark contributions laying foundation of the judiciary system during King Tribhuvan's tenure being invited on recommendation of the prime minister Bisheshwar Prasad Koirala* and later appointed as the first Chief Justice by King Mahendra.
It would be interesting to share here an anecdote when Bikash posted a picture of Urwashi carrying the baby as his Facebook status next day. His friends started congratulating them for being blessed with a baby. Matter settled down only after he clarified whose baby she was with. Such misunderstanding also happened with another family visiting us who posted similarly on his Facebook page. That too needed a clarification to stop the flood of congratulatory remarks. While posting on Facebook a word or two in description could have helped avoid/save from such an awkward situation and to know the place visited as well!
Disclaimer: This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life. Some names (*asterisk for those no more), quotes, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest "The Newars World~Wide Connecting the Dots : Sikkim" is available at Rachna Books.