Black Hill Again
Continuing the Legacy
Yet Another Year Ahead
The above passage was from the article “Continuing the Legacy - Another year ahead” left incomplete and soon thereafter the election syndrome hits Sikkim like the whole country engripped with in what one could see Modi Government back with the slogan Sabka Sath - Sabka Vishwas, while we had a new Government under P. S. Tamang (Golay) bringing in the much needed change. Rummaging through the file Thinking local 2019, I find another incomplete write-up “Election Time – Festive Time : Some Vignettes” to recapitulate the mood we were in that time of the year
Against all the odds
“First of all I would like to apologise for disappointing my friends and family for not sharing the article on The World Newah Day and Sikkim Newars last week as announced over the Facebook for the ensuing Election as it might not have been taken well by certain section of our own society. I too was disappointed but it was wise advice to drop the idea and hold on the matter till the wave subsides to set the things normal.
“Due to poor network, erratic power-supply topped by the scarcity of drinking water in the face of impending dry season inspite of some heavy showers in the past few weeks, we were literally very illiterate in the matter of the development taking place elsewhere not only in the state capital but even in our own constituency. Struggling to complete the renovation work in hand, all sorts of challenges confront our efforts which often keep us off many social obligations. My good old friend Shanti tells me not to make a Mahal/Palace but a Home out of the house we have, our father toiled out of his hard earned money of a government teacher in good old days of the pre-merger Chogyal days. Things nearly seems to turn out so as many other friends too surmise our absence from headquarters Rachna at Development Area. They do not realize how difficult is to pull on with all sorts of vagaries of life here. Another old friend DB asked me a couple of years ago if we were constructing a resort over here. What a brilliant idea! Wish we could for the excellent location with good view of the protecting Mount Kanchenjungha from here to inspire us to go ahead whatever comes our way. Often the work halts as our family ties take us to far off to another part of the globe and it has been every six months over the recent years. Taking advantage of our absence Nandkishore Agrawal demanded the house better be donated fto a Dharmashala while a cousin of mine was reported to be willing to pay Rs. 8.00 lakh flat for the house! Incidentally, last month some one called me seeing the notice 'Land for Sale contact 9434022677' that he was standing just below the house finding the number to know more about. Forest Block Officer posted here was interested as his brother working in Gangtok wanted to invest his good money for some resort purpose that he found our house to be good enough. Someone in the neighbourhood gave him wrong impression that the house itself was on sale. I tell him if really interested we could give you a good plot of land by the Reshi-Rongli Highway near GREF Mandir Turning at Reshi as it fulfills all the criteria for developing into a resort. He knows the immense potentiality of such a project once the Jelep La / Nathula Route of the Old Silk Route is opened as per much look forward demand of the Kalimpong District for reviving the historic Tibet Trade. Otherwise, he could also be shown the land adjacent to West Bengal Border town Lingse in Khamdong where recently village roads have been constructed making it easily accesible from the Rhenock-Lingse Road that leads to unexplored scenic surrounding of the neighbouring hills that take you to Labha-Loleygaon-Nok Danra-Jit Dabling on one side and to Hathichhere-Rachela on the other. Equally good plot is the one below we are just standing that does not need any excavtion or hill cutting with easy approach of the Highway with a large chunk of land that would come under the Road Reserve. Many of are non-plussed how this Road Reserve is taken 50' each side from the centre of the road while it has been broadened from what it existed. The land was acquired for the purpose decades ago following India-China War 1962 paying meagre compensation. Now we are to part away more shrinking the land besides newly constructed house encroaches the road under the same plea of road reserve. We have no time or energy to go after some litigation but cope/bear with it moving ahead with life. Let the defaulter go to the h--- likewise his litigant wife after a long ailment. “Don't take revenge. Let Karma do all the work.” as e-buddhism.com puts it.
“Coming back to the main theme of Election, we could know of the developments in the capital from Bijoy who had come a few days back and the trend taking shape slowly but gradually over the recent weeks. I do not know how the gossip-vines abuzz with all sorts of scintillating talks of the town. E-papers show all sorts of news but seems they all miss them and lack what is the talk of the town in spite of all the investigative journalism or otherwise. Either their ethics do not permit them to do so or the space constraint do not allow them as it is time to harvest rich to beat cash crunch otherwise due to restricted supply of government advertisements for one reason or the other - with full page advertisements apart from headers, fillers and tailers all through this period. Moral Code of Conduct could be the guiding factor but not for the spicy we have out of them!
“On the penultimate day, Ravi comes for using his franchise as I had collected the Voter's Slips for all the family members the previous day. Actually, I wanted to make the task of the official easy as he had been so kind reaching to our doorsteps to deliver them unlike in the past. He thereby gathers information who all would be there on the voting day so as to make the task of the officer easier and to have rough idea of the attendance as well. Earlier, he even Whatsupped some for Bijoy from mobile number he could get and me too sent via Messenger to those who were with me on Facebook. Enquiring about the arrangements for the elderly, he informed that a wheel-chair was there with some volunteers to help. I ask him what about the ramp as it would not climb up the stiff stairs. Octogenarians like Sanu Maiju had come all the way from Gangtok interested to cast her vote with Thulo Maiju already here joining but disappointed with the arrangement. The polling booth could have been located conveniently all the seniors wished as some final steps leading to the venue were over a foot high. It was a happy family reunion day for us as whole day we enjoyed feasting till late evening when Sanu Maiju and Thulo Maju were kind enough to be with us to share the joy of family get-together and bless us as always with their encouraging talk to boost our efforts renovating the house so dedicated. They even talked to Muma in Gangtok about the progress house made as they had visited us in between but she could not be here that took another precious vote. Buhari Sarvada is yet to be enlisted while Bijoy tells that even a single vote counts in election and in case a candidates loses by a margin of what total votes our family missed this time would make what a big difference – of Hell and Heaven, someone add. What about NOTA, Ravi asks if it is there this time too – it is not a good choice but mere wastage of a precious vote, again, when already in the queue to elect one, a few opine. So is the way of life, err election – so true!
April 13 Ram Navami
“Election Time was festive time but thereafter No time to rejoice but to ponder over where one faired or lapsed as the fate of all the candidates is sealed in the ballot box. When Sikkim was among the first to start the 5-Phase General Election 2019 its result would take 43 days. It is not 45 days or 49 days that usually is related with death ritual of both the Hindu and Buddhist followers that comprises the majority of the hill population. Had it been something to rejoice than the Lampokhari Tourist Festival would not have been the victim of Sikkim Election 2019 in our Chujachen constituency. Does it mean that the festival was fully government sponsored or patronized by the political representative of the region only like almost all such programmes that we in Sikkim have been accustomed to over the years since it became a constituent unit of the Republic of India. Othewise, the day is a gazetted holiday since the days of yore, i.e., Chogyal regime in Sikkim, at least. Prior to the Electoral Battle of such a magnitude, the Lampokhari Tourist Festival was celebrated for over a decade since the last was was 10th if the readers recollect correctly. The Festival had helped a lot to turn Aritar, the Gram Panchayat Unit, where the Lampokhari (Long Lake) is located, into an easily recognizable place in this part of the Tourism world though the constituency it belongs has been named after a far off another part of this world nay constituency....”
Had it not been the repeated request from the Chief Editor Pradhyumna Shrestha for the Annual Smarika of the Sikkim Newar Guthi commemorating the Silver Jubilee with 25 years of its establishment in 1979, my article 'Celebrating Silver Jubilee - Sikkim Newar Guthi : A Retrospect' would not have happened! I was happy around this time in our Sojourn USA 2019 without the unnecessary urge of writing a few lines every morning to share with the readers in the weekend, both in English and Nepali invariably like in the past so many years. Perhaps the age catching me up or me catching the age off, there was no zeal nor enthusiasm but engrossed searching joy in other good things of life rather than getting immersed deep in the memories of the good old days unmindful of what was escaping from the hands, of the present.
We were in the town last Saturday for replenishment of our medicines from the Life Line who gave me a packet of 100's each (one had a facelift with new bubblepack slightly bigger strip than usual one that took me some time coming home to figure out if correct) to help us with enough to last for the first quarter of the ensuing year since we had taken last was for our six-months Soujourn USA 2019. As we were coming out looking for a cap to save my head from the biting cold season that gripped the capital these days suddenly, a known face but looking slightly different courtesy our advancing age, waves his hand and comes back to compliment for the writings shared with my readers in the news-dailies here. Under the impression that I struggled recognizing him, he introduces himself as C. P. Dewan whom I know to be together with my brother Bijoy in the North Point Darjeeling and retired from Government service as Special Secretary. His brother John Dewan was working with me while at the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. He wanted to know if English-Nepali Dictionary like the one by Dr. Paras Mani Pradhan was available at Rachna Books. Personally, we do possess one along with a copy of Dr. Paras Mani Pradhanko Jiwankatha purchased during the Book Fair at Community Hall in 2000 from Haren Aale from Darjeeling besides some other good dictionaries including that by Babulal Pradhan in our Jai Smriti Shodh Granthalaya, I ask him which recent article of mine he enjoyed reading and he tells me it was about the Sikkim Newar Guthi celebrating the Silver Jubilee. There was another article National Health Checkup Day thereafter,though. Later, the former appeared in the local Nepali dailies like Samay Dainik Himali Bela and in Hamro Prajashakti perhaps. It was a sort of compliment not only to me as the author but also to all at the Sikkim Newar Guthi rather all the Newars in Sikkim when our friend Nareshbir Shakya of the Elohan Publications in Kathmandu Nepal asked for its copy translating into Newar / Nepal Bhasha for their popular news-fortnightly Layakoo. They bring it out in diglot, the style we first introduced with the Sikkim Herald Newar edition launched in 1996, which our own fellow Newar learned “Kalidas” friends here found it no more of use soon after my departure as the Secretary / Editor-in-Chief from the Information and Public Relations Department. My tenure also saw the first ever historic change in the masthead of the Sikkim Hearld English edition in its journey of 50 years since its inception in 1956 welcomed by one and all too had met the same fatefollowing the suit. Friends in the mainland Nepal still continue using the style in the Layakoo for the 17th year in a row now ! Uday the Nepali literary quarterly published from Varanasi since 1937 is also carrying the story in its New Year 2020 issue which suggests the message of goodwill and fraternity extended from Sikkim would be reaching far and wide – for those not yet initiated into, we have posted it both in English and Nepali there on www.karunaguthi.com as well. Personally,this article thus well compensated the efforts put to the one that could not be shared earlier due to the Election!
To help you usher in the New Year 2020 here are some ideas shared that goodhousekeeping.com listed, “41 Achievable New Year's Resolutions for Healthier and Happier Living - Boost your energy and stress less”. Yet a few ideas That Don't Suck suggested by another you might like, Lose Weight, Get in Shape, Stop Smoking, Quit Drinking Alcohol, Eat Healthier, Get Out of Debt, Get Organized. For me : a. Save Energy, Water and Resources; b. Control your Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Body Weight; and c. Enjoy what you have and Share Joy whatever you can - for me, my writings, if nothing else. Some say, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” Wish you the Best of Luck with the Resolutions you make while bidding adieu to 2019 with this writeup Wishing you all and your family A Very Happy and Prosperous New Year. May the days ahead be full of Peace and Sound Health leading to a Long Pleasant Life in the years to come.
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 email@example.com.