I have been a bit lazy with the blog for the past one month. Work’s been hectic and it has really keeping me on my toes, quite literally. Well better late than ever!
I am still reeling, spellbound, under the magic that Sikkim was! Those beautiful road journeys, snow caped peaks, colourful valleys, warm people and the thunderous Teesta to keep company all day long. Our trip to Sikkim is going to one of most favourite travel gems for a long time to come and the reasons are many. Few of my pearl-like moments of Sikkim include aimlessly wandering through treacherous, muddy and broken roads, the tune of ‘Om mani padme hum’ humming throughout the valley and the sparkling red-cheeked kids playing football. But one that stands by far the most is living with a Tibetan family.
Our one-day brush with this Tibetan family was sheer luck, as if a divine plan was at work. I still remember the moments @Srinistuff and I debated about how to spend one day in Gangtok doing nothing. Our co-travelers and newly found friends Chitra and Raj had then suggested a home-stay experience to spend our day. And then, we landed up at Tashi Tagey– a hotel style home stay run by Nyima aunty and Dorji uncle. True to its tagline, the stay offered us comfortable stay and delicious Tibetian food.
I couldn’t contain my excitement of running into a Tibetan family. We just spent one night there and I felt as if I had known them for ages. May be in some other world. But yes, our lives did collide and it was one magical moment of my life. @Srinistuff is an avid Himalayan traveller and therefore has met a lot of similar people. But it was my true brush with the Tibetan food, culture and lifestyle. After a little look around at the place, @Srinistuff exclaimed- “This is a true backpacker kind of a place.” Everywhere through the stay, little souvenirs of Tibet peaked through. Little works of art, created by Nyima aunty herself decorated the place. There were posters and frames everywhere quoting the Dalai Lama on life, religion, spirituality and humanity. Small little idols of monks, flower vases and colourful prayer flags dotted the place. The star kid of our stay was however, indeed the small terrace garden that aunty and uncle maintained all these years. Ah, still can’t forget the mist laden morning we spent exploring the bonzai trees and an enticing Himalayan bird.
The terrace garden of Tashi Tagey is celebrated by the presence of many such beautiful Bonsai trees
Beautiful wares adorning the dining space
In the evening, we just checked out the little neighbourhood of Tadong, bustling with small little markets of vegetables, fruits and youngsters making a bee in front of the Baker’s Cafe. Post that, we returned to our homestay, where Nyima aunty then served us nice yummy hot Tibetan Thupka and Momos for dinner. It was quite an endearing moment and a realization of how warm and friendly Tibetan people are. It really came as no surprise for me to understand why the original Himalayan people are hailed as such an inherent part of the Indian topography and culture.
Hungry yet? 😉
Post a scrumptious dinner, we again decided to take a final tour of the place and we bumped into a ‘corner of letters.’ Till date, I had only seen movies with quirky little hostels, stays, B&Bs, homestays, where the travellers leave a small part of themselves the forever and wondered by myself, if such nice gestures do make up our lives. However, as I started going through the letters, I uncovered a secret for myself- “Art does imitate life!” There were hundreds of letters, some handwritten, some freshly inked, some typed out with wonderful stories of stays at Tashi Tagey. Some couldn’t thank the owners enough for the delicious food tasted and some about the beautiful artworks watched for. But one that stood out the most was a letter by a German couple (I think so!) of how they named their daughter after Nyima aunty. The letter almost got me in tears (as it did to Aunty, years before when the letter arrived). Alas, all was not lost and my faith in “the human touch” and sensitivities were heightened.
Today, as I write this blog, news from Sydney siege and Peshwar school attacks are pouring in. Remembering my time at Tashi Tagey, I can only pray and hope that the world is not ending. Not yet, while the good things continue to rise and shine through such little moments of humanity. 🙂
The place exudes spirituality from every nook and corner
The mysterious visitor we had on the terrace
My inspiration- Nyima aunty and Dorji uncle. Nyima aunty recalled as she took us around the place. She was born in Tibet. She was just 3 months old, when her family moved to Bhutan. It was Bhutan, where she met Dorji uncle and got married. Today, they are in India, running Tashi Tagey for over 2 decades. Her love for India and faith in humanity unwavering, she teaches local women, her knitting work 🙂