Showing posts with label Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blog. Show all posts

AM I FROM NEPAL ?

8:20 PM
AM I FROM NEPAL ?
मैले तीनपल्ट सोधें गोवामा...

“POET SUBASH RAI SOTANG FROM NEPAL”  भनेर मलाई दुइपल्ट भनिएपछि मैले “AM I FROM NEPAL? “ भनेर तीनपल्ट सोधें गोवामा | साहित्य अकादमीद्वारा पणजीको कला अकादमी सम्मेलन कक्षमा सम्पन्न भएको ‘Symposium On Contemporary North-East Indian Literature and Poet Meet’ कार्यक्रममा म पनि Indian Nepali Poet को रुपमा उपस्थित थिएँ | तर जब कार्यक्रम शुरु भयो तब उपस्थित कविहरूलाई मंचमा बोलाउने क्रममा कार्यक्रमकी उद्घोषिकाले मलाई “Poet  Subash Rai Sotang  from Nepal” भनेर बोलाइन् | त्यतिमात्र होइन फेरि पछि कविता वाचनको निम्ति बोलाउँदा पनि त्यही ठेगाना दोहोराइन् |

आयोजकवर्गले भनेअनुरूपनै आफ्नो सम्पूर्ण ठेगाना लेखिएको बायोडाटा अघिबाटै उपलब्ध गराउँदा – गराउँदै पनि आफुलाई ‘नेपालबाट आएको कवि” भनिँदा चुप लागेर नूनको सोझो बन्नु मलाई मेरो मनले दिएन र नै हामी भारतीय नेपाली कविहरू धरीलाई लाग्ने ‘मेड इन् नेपाल’-को छाप हटाउन तथा आफ्नो असली परिचयबारे उनीहरूलाई अवगत गराउन मैले आफ्नो बोल्ने पालो आएपछि आफू नेपालबाट आएको लेखक नभएर भारतीय नेपाली लेखक भएको कुरा स्पष्ट पार्ने सक्दो कोशिश गरेको थिएँ | जुन कुरा त्यहाँ उपस्थित ‘Times of India’ (TOI)-की रिपोर्टरले गोवा पेजमा अलिक अधमरो रुपमा प्रकाशित गरिछिन् अनि त्यही खबर यता ‘Darjeeling Times’-ले पनि आफ्नो वालमार्फत प्रचारमा ल्याएपछि आफ्नो-आफ्नो बुझाइअनुसार विभिन्न प्रतिक्रियाहरू पनि हुँदैरहेछन् | आफ्नो मोबाइलमा भने आफ्नो स्टाटस मात्र हेर्न सकिने सुविधा हुँदा बाहिर के हुँदैछ समयमा थाहै भएन | आज घर आइपुगेपछि त्यो अपुष्ट खबर र त्यसमाथि भएको बुझाइको बाझोलाई ध्यानमा राख्दै त्यहाँ मैले आपत्ति जनाएको सत्यताबारे स्पष्ट पार्न बसें |

जानेर हो कि अन्जानमा हो उद्घोषिकाले मेरो ठेगाना स्पष्टरुपले ‘नेपाल’ बताए पछि प्रतिक्रियास्वरुप मैले मेरो कुरा मंचबाट यसरी राखेको थिएँ –
“Seeking your prior permission, First of all I would like to clarify regarding my address. (यतिबेलै मसितै मंचमा आसीनहरूमा कसैले ‘Yes Yes address was wrong’ पनि भन्दै थिए, म बोलिरहें)-  It was announced from here that I m from Nepal. Am I from Nepal  ? Am I from Nepal ? Am I from Nepal ?  (यसरी मैले तीनपल्ट सोधें, यसबेला मंचमा आसीनहरूमध्ये केहीले भन्दै थिए – “No, No, No”)

Is  Nepal a part of India ?
Is Nepal a part of India ?

(मैले दोस्रो प्रश्न यसरी दुइपल्ट गरें अनि आवाज पनि सुन्दै थिएँ –“No, No, No.” म बोलिरहें)- Here we are talking about ‘Contemporary North-East Indian Literature’ (दोहोर्याउंदै फेरि भनें)- ‘Indian Literature’ And I have been invited here as an Indian Nepali writer. Then how could you say that I am from Nepal? Of course, I speak Nepali, My own language Is Nepali. But I am a Nepali speaking Indian Citizen, and my country is India. Please don’t make me a Nepali foreigner. (यसबेला मुखैमा आयो हिन्दी, भन्दिएँ हिन्दीमा पनि) – हमे विदेशी मत बनाइए | I am from Darjeeling, which falls in India under West Bengal State. (फेरि हिन्दीमा भनिदिएँ)  “ कृपा करके इंडिया का हिस्ट्री, जोग्राफी, राजनीति मत बिगारिएगा, प्लिज |”

त्यसपछि ती उद्घोषिकाले धेरैचोटि मंचबाटै माफी मागिन् अनि आफ्नो उद्देश्य तेस्तो नभएको बताइन् | वास्तवमा प्रोग्राम लिस्टमा नामको पछि ब्रेकेटमा ‘नेपाली’ लेखिएकोले गर्दा तेसो हुनगएको भन्ने आलटाले जवाब दिनथालिन् | मैले प्रतिक्रियामा भनें – “What people think and speak about us in the market because of their misconception, We don’t care but this is an official programme, So this type of error should not  happen.”

कार्यक्रमपछि पनि तिनले व्यक्तिगत रुपमा भेटेर मलाई स्पष्टिकरण दिने कोशिश गरिन्, क्षमा मागिन् | असम, मणिपुर, बोडो साथीहरूले पनि राम्रो जवाब दिएकोमा धाप मार्दै बधाई दिए | उत्तर-पूर्वी राज्यवासीहरूलाई देशले हेर्ने दृष्टिकोण अझ पनि सही नभएको कुरा गरे तिनीहरूले | त्यसरी नै कविगोष्ठी सत्रका अध्यक्ष तथा सुप्रसिद्ध कोंकोणी लेखक पुंडलिक नायकले त मेरो भनाइलाई आधार गर्दै यो देशमा कतिपय जातिलाई घरी घरी आफूहरू राष्ट्रवादी भएको प्रमाण दिइरहनु पर्ने बिडम्बना रहेको प्रसंगको उल्लेख गरे | उनले देशलाई टेरिटोरी मात्र चाहिएको तर त्यहाँको मानिस नचाहिएको झैँ लाग्छ पनि भने | यस्तो कुरा लिएर पनि उत्तर-पूर्वी क्षेत्रका कलमकारहरूले कलम चलाउनु पर्ने उनले बताए |
“समकालीन नेपाली साहित्य”- माथि वार्ता दिन आएका असम तेजपूरका लेखक ज्ञानबहादुर छेत्रीले पनि खुसी हुँदै मलाई भने –“ फलाम तातिएकै बेलामा प्रहार गर्नुपर्छ, अरुबेला गनगन गरेर हुँदैन | तपाईंले ठिक ठाउँमा ठिक्क बोल्नुभो |” उनले अझै भने –“ त्यो उद्घोषिकालाई त रिसाउनु होइन धन्यवाद पो दिनुपर्छ होला अब, कारण उसैको कारणले त तपाईंले हाम्रो कुरा स्पष्ट संगले राख्ने मौका पाउनुभयो |”
मैले पनि कता कता सम्झिएँ – ‘हो त’|

कुरा यसो भाको थियो | त्यसपछि ती टाइम्स अफ इन्डियाकी रिपोर्टर मलाई खोज्दै आइन् र इन्टरव्यु लिन थालिन् | उनी पनि मलाई सोध्छिन् “तपाईं कहाँ जन्मेको भनेर |” मैले म त के मेरो बाजे-बराजु जम्मै दार्जीलिंगमा नै जन्मेका हुन्” भनेर बताइदिएँ | भनिदिएँ- We are the architect of modern India. But people have misconception regarding us because of Indo-Nepal reciprocal treaty and open border.

(अरु थुप्रै कुरा भनें  क्रमश: लेखुँला |)

Note - This is what Poet Subash has posted on  Facebook 

Via POET SUBASH RAI SOTANG

Why I Am Not Bothering to Buy Stuffs From Racist Flipkart Anymore

8:52 PM
Writes: Jashoda Chettri

I am not much of a couch potato. So it was only natural that I missed the Flipkart advertisement on the telly few days back. The advertisement was racist claimed a friend who sounded upset and hurt. The Flipkart advertisement featured a kid depicted as achowkidar, wearing thebhadgaule topi with thekhukuri insignia, speaking Hindi in a funny way. But I could not jump the gun without verifying the facts. I looked up online for the ad presuming that the advertisement might have been pulled down after all the furore it created. But lo! It’s still there! The ad shows a boy dressed as a security guard (Gorkha). He asks “ Zootein ley rahe ho Shabzi’ The ad even has subs in English for reasons best known to Flipkart! When I tried to mimic the line, I had great difficulty in getting "zhootein" and "Shabzi:" right. Hats off to the man who did the voice-over. He pronounces those words in such a weird fashion that no Nepali will ever be able to pronounce it that way! And how come I have never come across a Nepali who says Shabzi.

Why is it is kind of taken for granted that Nepalis speak Hindi in a funny way and we look ‘different’. I have grown up watching scenes in our movies where a Nepali man comes running to the gate and says ‘shalaam shaab’. We do not; I repeat we do not speak like that.

I also dislike the way Bollywood projects the khukri like a play thing. For Nepalis, the khukuri is a symbol of our valour and courage. And of course our pride!
Why I Am Not Bothering to Buy Stuffs From Racist Flipkart Anymore
India's 1st field Marshall Gen. Sam "Bahadur" Manekshaw poudly wearing our Bhadgaule topi with Khukuri insignia

"The khukuri is the national as well as the religious weapon of the Gurkhas. It is incumbent on a Gurkha to carry it while awake and to place it under pillow when retiring."
- Maharaja Padma Shamser Jangbahadur Rana
(Prime Minister and Supreme Commander).

But our pride has been hurt over and over again thanks to stereotyping and ignorance. Why do we Nepalis have to be projected only as chowkidars and maids when we have made our presence felt in almost all spheres? From martyrs to fashion designers who dress up powerful people to internationally acclaimed writers to sportspersons who bring laurels for the country, Nepalis have gone beyond guarding your gates. I dare companies to make an advertisement which has faces of successful Nepalis.

And as far as the funny accent is concerned, when I speak in Hindi people can’t tell if I am a Nepali. I am proud that I can speak the national language with ease. We grew up hearing and learning that ours is a country of diversity. Most of us wrote at least one essay on ‘Unity in Diversity’ in school. It is time we embraced the diversity instead of making divisive comments for commercial gains. Irresponsible companies should be answerable for divisive actions, be it Nepali or Bengali or Punjabi. It divides the country subtly but surely and creates hatred and jealousy where none existed.

And trust me; we have some very good lawyers in the Nepali fraternity. So think hard and think twice before you do something irresponsible.

By the way I wanted to place an order for a mouthwash but I am looking for something stronger, something that would wash down this offending taste.

Any idea when will it be available on Flipkart?

Don't bother, I found it on Amazon.com! Amazing!
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*Jashoda Chettri, is a Gangtok based writer, poet, photographer and a social worker, she can be contacted at: chettrijashoda@gmail.com

Via TheDC


The Sishnu Chronicles – An Ode to 90s Parents and Teachers

10:05 PM
Writes: Bal Krishna

Growing up in Darjeeling today is very different than how we grew up. Today parents believe in raising their children in an environment so protected that even when they are wrong, they take a stand to protect them, and instead shift the blame on others. We didn’t have that luxury. Our parents believed in the hearts of their heart that only an anvil and a hammer can make a crooked iron straight. For them we were crooked iron that needed hammering every once in a while.

Among the very dreaded tools used to straighten us up, perhaps the “Bata ko Chapli –flip flops from Bata” was the most common, every mother would always have it “handy or feety” for they would be wearing them and whenever they felt the need, in a blinding movement, the chapli would be out of their feet and onto our head, before we even realized what happened.
Sishnu
Sishnu  
“Pani le ta chora… go fetch some water son” mom would say

And being the lazy kind, I would respond, “aaachhhh ek chin ma lyaunchu – in a bit”…

All I would see was a moment of flash, and Bata ko Chapli ko chaap on my gala.

That would sort me out immediately, my vigour recharged… I would call out truce

“Khai jarkin… khai jarkin?”

I am sure many must have lived these moments.

God forbid if anyone had family in the army, they would bring back Kohlapuri Chappal and that was more painful, cuz they were made of pure untreated leather... more painful and much more effective than Bata ko Chapli :)

But even before the Bata ko chapli, some of the most classic tools used to straighten us didn’t need any external devices. I don’t know anyone from Darjeeling who hasn’t lived through the phases of Toksing, Thappar, Ghussi, Kaan Tannu, Khatana (hair on your temple) Tannu and Laat… I am certain; my mom could have easily taught Bruce Lee a shot or two from these wide array of handy means to subdue a wayward opponent.

I remember to this day my 1st ever Mukh Chyateko – the one where Mom would put her two index fingers into our mouth and pull them in opposite directions, till our mouth was on the verge of tearing apart and we’d cry for mercy. What an ingenious way to make a mukhale chora/chori learn some manners.

I was very young, must have been 5 or 6 years old, and we had a function in our house. One Gaon ko Badi called me and I must have pretended not to hear… so she called me two or three times and finally when I looked up she was annoyed, so she said, “eta munti bhaneko suninas? bring your butt here”

I was a little dumb to begin with when it came to manners, and my mouth would shoot off stuffs, without my brain registering it till about 5 seconds later. So habitually, without realizing what I was saying, I said, “Tapai nai muntinos na eta…why don't your bring yours here...” on top of my voice.

I could hear the whole room go silent. Literally, there was a hushhhhhh in the room.

I knew, I was in trouble.

Then Mom came rushing towards me, “K hare? Badi lai K hare?” and then she Mukh Chyatus mine… I have never forgotten that incident, cuz that aligned my mouth to my brain connection and I started to think before speaking out.

What a cure that was.

Ekkai khep ma jati bhaye mo.

Today, they say “corporal punishment” is illegal. During our times, our parents would make sure to tell our teachers, “Ghar ma tyaakai terdaina, Sir alik tapai le thik pari dinu hos ta…. He doesn’t listen to us at home, please teach him some manners,” and they would say that in front of us. Imagine a parent giving carte blance – blank cheque to the teachers to “Thik Parus” us.

“Kaath ko Feet – wooden ruler” was perhaps the most common tool to straighten a crooked student in school. From anyone making noise in the class, to not completing home work, to not wearing proper uniform – three to five hits from the “Kaath ko Feet” would be the standard cure. Next day, all homework completed, proper uniform worn, no noise making in the class.

At times they would put pencil or pen between the fingers and push the fingers together, oh the horror of it. I still shiver at the sheer ingenuity of that trick.

I honestly feel our elders were geniuses in Psychological treatment of a wayward child.

Then there was this one time, I was still a kid, on a Sunday, walking towards Chowrasta with two of my friends, and as we started to walk up from Club Side (right below Keventers), someone from the road above dropped a lit cigarette butt. I picked it up, and my friends dared me. So I took a drag. The moment I did that, they said they would tell my Mom, I had smoked a cigarette, and they did (they are no more my friends).

Once we arrived at home, my Chema found a piece of Kalo Polythene ko Pipe, and the beating I got that day with it. I haven’t smoked till today, and that incident has helped me turn into an environmentalist, for I hate everything plastic. No plastic bags, no plastic buckets, and more importantly - no plastic ko pipes around.

As I grew older, my nature and extent of naughtiness spiked. One time a few of my friends, my elder brother and I ran away from school (school bhagera) to go swimming. None of us knew how to swim, but we all went to a khola nearby. When we got back to school, it had been around 5 PM. Baba was freaking out as he had come to look for us raicha, school got off at 3:30.

Man the agony of knowing you are gonna get a nice licking and waiting for that to happen.

Baba was in the Artillery and he had this ceremonial belt, which he would polish and keep “tillikkaaiiii talkeko – shiming” everyday, and being a military man he was a gentleman. So once we arrived home, he told mom to serve us food and mom gave us “dui dui ota roti – two rotis” and sabjee.

If there was a world record for taking longest time to finish two rotis, my brother and I must have broken it that day. We took over 3 hours to finish the two rotis, but Baba didn’t rush us. All he would say every once in a while was “ajjhai dhilo kha timaru… tara aju huncha toh haru ko Puja – take all the time you need, but you can’t deny the inevitable”… and he was right.

Man!! What happened that night, I cannot describe, suffice it to say, I still don’t know how to swim, and I think its overrated anyway. Let me put it this way, the shinny Artillery belt cured me of my dreams of becoming Michael Phelps forever. I am naturally allergic to water now.

Paani dekhda pani tarsine scene :)

But the mother of all tools was Sisnu (Nettle) Paani treatment… especially if the sisnu was Bhangre sisnu.

Does anyone remember using Sigaan (snot) as a handy cure to preventing Sisnu le poleko rash? To be honest, the relationship between Shisnu and Sigaan is what makes God infallible for me... So Sisnu polus you, and you cry your heart out and become siganai-sigan, and use that very sigan to ease the Sisnu le poleko pain... God is a perfectionist...

But, if I have to count the number of times I fell on Sisnu, or mom used Sisnu paani treatment on me, I would probably need a barrel full of Sigaan to subside the pain hola.

Naughty as I was, in my teenage years, I came home drunk once, and mom found out. That day she experimented for real, starting from Bata ko Chapli to Jhadu to Kuccho to Dadu Kucchin jel, she eventually landed with Bhangre Sisnu picked up from our bari.

Amamamama 15 seconds into Sisnu Pani treatment I became fresh, and a minute into it, my long dead ancestors must have become fresh too.

I didn’t touch alcohol for the next 10 years, and even now I can’t drink more than a half-bottle of beer. That Sisnu Pani treatment comes flashing back, and I would love to avoid it at any cost.

Recently, I was surfing the net and was shocked to find out that Sisnu is actually a medicinal plant raicha and it is used to cure painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, anemia, urinary issues, baldness, as well as allergies and joint pain, promote lactation, stimulate hair growth, help control blood sugar in patients with diabetes, reduce bleeding connected to gingivitis, treat disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract. Sisnu is even used to slow the spread of Prostate cancer raicha. All you got to do is, dry the plant and then boil it and drink it as tea for a month.

Imagine, weren’t our parent’s geniuses? Giving us medicine, without us even becoming aware of it?

Indeed, times have changed, and today people are more “sophisticated”, but thanks to our parents and teachers and their earthy sense of right and wrong, that has helped shape us into becoming who we are today.

Having said that, my Mom still tries to impart her “Bata ko Chapli” discipline on me, and I love it.... At times I just provoke her to see how she reacts, and every time her instincts guide her hand towards her feet, but now I can duck faster, while she swings slow.

What about Sisnu? You may ask…

Well as I was writing this, “Aju ta Sisnu ko Daal Khaun la Chora….” says Ama… I smile, with relief, of course, and say feebly “pakako hola ni?” unsure still :)

…and thus continues the Sisnu Chronicles…

[Dedicated to my brother Mohammed Asif whose pic, shared here, ensured that I wrote this article]
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Via The DC

SOME STRAY THOUGHTS ON – BIPUL'S SKETCHES OF DARJEELING

4:17 PM
Writes: Prabin Moktan

Back in 1998 I had accompanied a talented group of Higher Secondary boys from St. Augustine’s to Mount Hermon for the ISC Fest.

Representing SAS in the solo song category of the Western Music Competition was Bipul Chettri, then a slightly intense, almost brooding musician, respected immensely by his cohorts for his virtuosity with the guitar. Bipul’s eclectic listening tastes was reflected in his choice of the song that he was covering- Hook by Blues Traveller. Bipul belted out the song like a rock star. As a performance it was rough, patchily brilliant.

Later when the results were declared the breathless announcer got carried away and breaching MC norms went well beyond the third position to declare that Bipul Chettri of SAS had been declared… last. Perhaps the judges (names available upon request) were looking at something else - a hill diva belting out something from the Titanic or a hymn.
Bipul Chettri
Bipul Chettri
Whatever the case the disappointment amongst the SAS contingent was palpable but no one so much as raised a single decibel of protest at Bipul for marring what had been a perfect outing so far.
Then about a decade or more later I heard Dadhelo. The link to the song on soundcloud was posted by Evan Manandhar another Sasonian who had made a perceptive comment about the Nepali accent of the singer.

This song was like no other Nepali song that I had ever heard. Musically taut, with evocative lyrics and a voice devoid of the million cliches that encumber pop singers.

It was as if a powerful energy of extraordinary benevolence and freshness was being unleashed upon the Nepali music firmament. Bipul sang of the wild fires. Back in an innocent time when nights were not consumed by the TV or internet one could see nocturnal hills necklaced by rings of forest fires. It is perhaps a rare hill child whose memory doesn’t flicker with the leaping tongues of these orange offerings . Bipul gave a music and a voice to that memory.

The empathy clicked and the song became a phenomenon.

Then others followed. Asar with its simple jhaurey beat that mimed the stacatto monsoon on tin roofs. A song embedded with a subtle yet ominous hint of that another hill memory- the hissing of the jhora as it bounded downhill with the gurgling bounty of the monsoon waters. There was life and death in that churning.

If Dadhelo was a visual song about the memory of light, asar unpacked a sound.
The other songs that were released one after the other did not disappoint. Deorali Dadha was tactile. It caressed your face with the cool whiff of the mountain breeze. The song was a vivacious dance of hill vapours scented with the artemesia and the pine.

My personal favourite Mountain High, of Sketches of Darjeeling reminds me of Sun Ra’s Yucatan in terms of the organic vision of the composition. While the idiosyncratic minimalism of Ra evokes of mountain animals swaying as they ascend a Mayan mountain, Mountain High recreates in its sonics, the piety of monks as they blow on their horns and ascend heights that are both real and metaphorical.
Later when I heard Syndicate, I told myself this was a song screaming to be included in Sketches of Darjeeling.

Syndicate is a word that has been appropriated by us. It is seldom heard without the prefix Darjeeling or Kalimpong or Siliguri and refers to a place from where you catch a vehicle.
It is noisy and chaotic. But sometimes above the fumes of exhaust, the squabble over tickets, or the dread of having to ride on the chameray (rear) seat, soars a hope that a transient infatuation may lead on to something more meaningful.

Till one realizes sadly that the syndicate is a crossroad. It is not a point of termination but an intersection from where lives and journeys diverge.

This song has a horn interlude and a passage that speaks of ‘darkey pani,’ a sudden downpour that settles the dust and if its evening creates a luminous freshness.

It is perhaps Bipul’s genius that in these brief melodious minutes he recreates a universe that will be teeming with Darjeelingays who carry in the recesses of their minds their own episodes of Syndicate memories.

Memories that Bipul’s music has a given a fresh new color, sound and lease of life.
If Darjeeling life has a musical locus then perhaps it will follow the trajectory of a Bipul Chettri song.

P.S: What I have heard of the latest album has been promising. But this one is Bipul turning inwards…but more on this at another time.

Via TheDC

Of Roti, Matar, Alu Dum, Kofta, Bun, Puri, Pakora and More

12:44 PM
Writes: Bal Krishna
Nostalgia can hit in many different forms, at times it’s a song, at times a smell, may be a restaurant, or a even a bar… this pic brought back flood of memories from my childhood days, and I am sure many here must have shared similar experiences as me.

Back in the day when Darjeeling was still a not so globalized town, with no Pizza Hut or KFC to boot, every school going students would swear by three characters – Bari who was the primary source of food, Didi/Bhola who was the primary source of Alu dum and other goodies, and then there were these awesome people who walked around from school to school carrying a tin full of various food and goodies.

This may surprise some, but I knew the father of the man seen in the picture below. In St. Robert’s school circle the man whose picture is shared below is known as “Katley” raicha, sorry this is not a name I gave him, for I don’t know him… but I knew his father. We used to call him MIXEY (मिक्से) UNCLE – as in the one who mixed stuffs. He was a delightful character.
Darjeeling then and now
Darjeeling then and now
In almost every school we have had our shares of Badi the primary matriarch figure who was more of a parent then a mere food vendor for every student. In our school, Badi was revered even by our Principal, as he had himself been a student once at our school, and Badi was there seeing him grow up from a student, to a teacher to being posted as the Principal. Everyone respected Bari, and her alu dum and matar were to die for. She refused to sell in “baanki – credit,” but she couldn’t see anyone go hungry as well. If someone couldn’t pay, she would give the food for free that day. I don’t know how she made her profit, but every day of my schooling life she was as constant as the school bell. Come rain or blazing sun, at 12 when we rushed out after the school bell rang, there was Bari with her small little shop spread out in a chatai – mat, which was earlier made of straw, and later made of plastic. Such an Icon was she that once we got a Principal who was out of Darjeeling and he banned any food vendors from selling stuff outside the school gates, undeterred majority of the students headed to her home – which was thankfully nearby – for lunch. Bari sold her goodies from her tiny little kitchen everyday for almost 6 months, and eventually the Principal had to give in. Such was the clout of Bari, she would not stop from even scolding the teachers as and when she felt the need to. Most of the teachers had once been a student too, so they knew when Bari scolded someone it was for a good reason.

Then there would be didi – who was a bit more modern, and wouldn’t just sell food, but also offer tea and cigarettes to whoever bought it. Didi’s were more like a small rebellion happening right in front of our eyes. An upstart trying to undo the clout of Bari. I am sure our school ko Bari must have resented Didi, not for the competition but for the fact that she was selling cigarettes, which some of the students would buy.

Then there was “Mixey Uncle”… he would carry a tin full of goodies that Bari didn’t sell, he would have Bun and Kofta and Dal Puri and Nan Khatta and what not. It was a riot of food on display.

However, imagine around 500 hungry kids, descending upon these three food vendors during lunch time.

No one messed with Bari as we all loved her and we were partially scared of her, Didi was by reputation “chucchi – strict” too so no one messed with her too, then remained “Mixey Uncle” who was our favourite punching bag of sorts.

While he dealt with one, two others would have stolen the bun or the pakoras… day in and day out, “Mixey Uncle” would literally get robbed, but I never saw him complain. Like a valiant knight, undefeated, he would be present with his tin the next day.

Years later, I would visit my school again, only to find that Bari was no more, and in fact who we used to refer to as Didi had now become Bari and she has perhaps acquired the qualities of Bari for she no longer sold Cigarettes, but Roti, Alu Dum and Matar and other such goodies. There was another Didi giving her competition, hopeful perhaps she would one day become Bari too.

I never got an opportunity to meet “Mixey Uncle” after my school life, but his son bears his exact look, so when I saw this picture today, I felt I did owe him, and Bari and Didi an ode of sorts…. a THANK YOU note for being awesomely tolerant towards us, and for taking care of us even when they didn’t have to.

I am sure all the schools have their combo of Bari, Didi and “Mixey Uncles”… hope our younger generation refer them to as such, instead of naming them “Katley” which is not just derogatory, but also a poor reflection on the youngsters.

Via TheDC

"Endangered Species: The Darjeelingay Spirit"- A Confused man's perspective

9:39 AM
Writes: Diwas Chettri

For the past few years we have come across articles in Newspapers and Social Media as to wether we are a Gorkha or a Nepali, people giving controversial statements as well. Being a confused citizen I too often wonder wether I am a Gorkha or a Nepali, and What about the other Non Gorkhas/Nepali residing in the entire region? Do I want Gorkhaland? Do I want a District/ Subdivision or a Tribal Status. All this bombardments have made me to introspect what I want, what I am? to sum it all, what species I really am or belong to?

Then I come across Articles by people like ‪‎Bicky‬ Sharma, ‪‎NN‬ Ojha, ‪‎Dipendra‬ Dipzo ‪‎Faiyaz‬ Shafique Ansari and others and not to mention the team at ‪‎Darjeeling‬ Chronicle and Darjeeling Times.Com.

These individuals, forums and their articles remind me that I am a Species called the "Darjeelingay Spirit". This species is rare and unique and truly is a feeling forged by our forefathers our parents, irrespective of the fact that they were Nepali, Lepcha, Bhutia, Bengali,Bihari, Marwari,Punjabi Muslim and others. The spirit of oneness, togetherness, jolly, kindhearted, unselfish and in totality- unified, this is what I am I believe a "Darjeelingay Spirit".
"Endangered Species: The Darjeelingay Spirit"- A Confused man's perspective.
The Darjeelingay Spirit
When I was a kid I believed Nepali, Lepcha, Bhutia were the same and still I do, this feeling is still there because I was brought up or "hurkiyako" in the "Darjeelingay" way.

I still remember visiting my friend Biswajit Singh's house during my childhood, his parents were from Bihar but he was born in Kurseong- Darjeeling. The family never conversed in their native language but spoke the Darjeeling lingo, celebrated Dasain and Tihar equally alongside Chhat Puja. Same was the environment all over Darjeeling, the species called "Darjeelingay Spirit" used to play "Deusae" and "Bhailo" in Diwali irrespective of which community or religion they belonged originally, sing Carols during Christmas, have a feast during Eid, hop around the few puja pandals during Durga puja, enjoy Khapsey during Lohsar and savour the Thekua during Chhaat Puja.
Moreover these species prayed by making a cross with their fingers first in the forehead then the chest followed by the right and left shoulders and kissed his/her finger whenever it passed St. Andrews Church, the Groto at St.Marys Hill or the Statue of "Yatri haru ko Rakchak" near Whistle khola Kurseong and all over Darjeeling.

This species was not even a Christian, yet it did so, Why?
I recently came to read Article in the Darjeeling Chronicle and was pleasantly surprised that the Gorkha Library at Kurseong was founded by a Lepcha along with others and now we are saying we are different! Ahem...!!!.

I believe they were the true founders of the "Darjeelingay Spirit"

The concept of Gorkhaland is fading now and has become a hen giving golden eggs. The Teesta- Rangit Divide or simply Teesta Divide is gaining momentum now. To be more precise I recently read an article in a Nepali daily where one Mr. Politician quoted "highway villages near the Teesta should come under a different district and not Darjeeling because the income generated from the hydel projects would go to Darjeeling and they are trying to usurp these places." What on Earth! and all this time I thought Darjeeling was a feeling and not a district including Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Siliguri.

This unique and rare species, as I call it the "Darjeelingay Spirit" can now be listed in the category of "endangered species" and will have to be given a "World Heritage" tag to save it. Still it could go the Toy Train way, where the general population doesn't care.

How are we going to bring this species alive once more, which is going into oblivion.
The decline and decaying which started with the advent of the 80's agitation till today's formation of so called development boards, divisions, area bifurcation and others.

Personally I am not against the formation of these boards or divisions, but what I am against is the death of our species- "The Darjeelingay Spirit".

Save it, invoke it.

*This is An Ode to guys like Dipendra, Bicky, Darjeeling Together, The Darjeeling Chronicle, The Darjeeling Times.Com. 
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*Diwas Chettri is originally from Kurseong and works in Balurghat as Capacity Building & Urban Infrastructure Development Specialist
[In Pics: Darjeeling Together and Darjeeling With Nepal volunteers, along with our generous donors have displayed true "Darjeeling Spirit" during earthquake and landslides...]

Via TheDC

Darjeeling Zoo to receive snow leopard from Britain

8:36 PM
The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) in Darjeeling  West Bengal will receive a two year old snow leopard as a part of an international breeding programme. Makalu born at the Black Country zoo in Britain will arrive from DZG on Friday at Kolkata airport and then will be taken to the Darjeeling zoo for conservation breeding programme. The big cat species is on the list of endangered animals. It's believed there are between 4,000 and 6,500 left in the world.

'Makalu', named after the world's fifth highest peak rising to 27,765 feet (8,463 metres), southeast of the Everest, left Dudley Zoo on Wednesday for Darjeeling zoo, almost 8,000 km away, in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas.

Darjeeling is the native region of the snow leopard and the zoo is internationally recognised for its 33-year-old conservation breeding programme for the species, with 56 births to date.


Representational Image

"The breeding programme could "potentially see Makalu's descendants released into the wild," DZG curator Richard Brown said.
"We are hugely proud to be involved in this transfer, which is an incredibly exciting move for Makalu and the snow leopard species in general," Brown said.

"The international studbook coordinator in Finland has identified Makalu as a genetically important snow leopard and recommended him for the move, so we are proud to play our part in helping secure the future of the endangered species and we're thrilled with where he is going," Brown added.
The DZG will financially support Makalu for the next five years.


Sushila Sonar's low cost electric Wheelchair

12:18 PM
Writes Sanjog Chamling

23rd June 2016 Arunachal Pradesh: Sushila Sonar, an Indian Gorkha, who recently won Gold for India in the International Taekwondo Championship held at Bhutan (Read here - Gorkhas Daughter wins Gold and Bronze in International Taekwondo Championship) has given us yet another reason  to be proud. Sushila, a student of BSc Interior Design from  Arunachal Pradesh has designed low cost electric wheelchair which is the hope for the physically challenged and elderly.They will no longer have to be at the mercy of someone to move from one place to another.And they will have no reason to compromise their dignity. she said.

She did her graduation from JD Institute of Fashion Technology Guwahaty. She believes that, her low cost electric wheel chair will be of great help who cannot afford expensive wheelchairs in the market.
Sushila Sonar an Indian Gorkha with her wheelchair
Sushila Sonar an Indian Gorkha with her wheelchair
She was inspired to make such a wheelchair when she saw her friend's mother who is partially paralyzed."I call it a 'magic wheels' since it gives mobility to those who are otherwise dependent on others. I recon it gives more confidence to people." she added.

Sushila Sonar's interview
Ms. Sushila Sonar, a Gorkha resident of Arunachal from Naharlagun came up with a brilliant initiative of making low cost electric wheel chair out of  waste products for the Physically Handicapped people. The 'migic wheels' costs Rs 20,000 which is the cheapest so far available in the market.The avarage cost of the powered wheelchair in the market cost from Rs 60,000 to Rs10,00,000 Sonar said.
Sushila Sonar's low cost electric Wheelchair
Sushila Sonar's low cost electric Wheelchair
" Architecture is not an inspirational business, it's a rational procedure to do sensible and hopefully beautiful things in Life "


 
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