Bengali parents are very proud of the smallest feat or achievements of their kids. They don’t miss any opportunity to share that in different forum. From Poila Boishakh gathering till the Bijoya Sommilani get together, at the cost of being repetitive, they would endlessly share the same story. Well, I have my fair share of childhood stories too and one being, my hassle free walk up Tiger Hill at Darjeeling for sunrise, at a tender age of 4.
When I pushed Tugga, I failed to wake him up. It was 4.30 AM and although we were up by 4 AM, we were not sure whether the sky would be perfect for a sunrise. Hence we lazed around. We were at Temple tree resort Pokhara and like any tourist, wanted to experience the sunrise from Sarangkot. The previous night was cloudy and it rained too. Like most hill stations, there were anxious moments about our luck with the visibility of the mountains and the stunning view of sunrise on the snow capped peaks that we had heard so much about.
The scheduled time for sunrise was 5.30 AM. So we left by 4.45 AM and in spite of the anxiety of being late, we realised we weren’t the only ones. It was still dark outside and the driver on much insistence, could not speed up the vehicle. On the way, the sky had started clearing slowly and it was as if there was a leakage of light or let’s say drizzle of light started falling on earth. All the while Tugga was happily asleep on his mother’s arms.
When we reached the base or the last car stop place, we had to climb the stairs. Sarangkot is situated at round 1500 mtrs from sea level, however the sunrise point is almost at 250 flight of stairs that one had to cover. Tugga was still asleep and Madhushree allowed me to literally run up the stairs with my tripod and she promised to follow with the sleeping gentleman.
It took almost 20- 25 mins to climb those stairs. Sleepy eyes trying to remain open, an anticipation of the moment where one gets to see some of the coveted peaks of Himalayas. Dhaulagiri, the Machhapuchre and the Annapurna II is supposed to be seen. What happened in the next 30 – 40 minutes was nature’s own morning show of a spectacle.
The colourless grey sky slowly changed colours. It was like there was a bowl of blue colour and someone dipped a crimson paintbrush. The bowl wouldn’t change colour to red or orange instantly but eventually, a pattern of diffusion of colour would happen. A tinge of yellow here, slight orange there, the mountain peaks getting a kiss by golden rays and a rather flat insipid sky, slowly starting to unfurl the mountain peaks and the gorgeous landscape around Pokhara Lake. It was like an artist with a paint brush and a masterstroke.
Our travel stories over the years, have always made us meet people from various corners of life across the globe who have reinstated our faith in humanity and this time, it was our driver. Apparently after climbing some 30 steps, Madhushree realised that she could not go any further and was breathless. The stairs were steep and since Tugga was asleep, she was carrying his dead-weight. The driver who was following her, picked up Tugga on his shoulders and brought him up to the Sunrise point.
As slowly the sun started popping it’s head from behind the mountains, the silence amongst the onlookers got changed to whispers and conversations. Sarangkot is being considered as one of the best places to watch a sunrise in entire Nepal and it didn’t dishearten us. Climbing down the stairs is always easier and by this time Tugga was wide awake to enioy the climb down. We had a long day ahead of us and the morning breakfast in the hotel was calling us passionately.
Wish the Sarangkot visit had ended on this note. As we were about the leave the place in our car, we met this girl. This little girl seemed to come walking far down from her village to collect water. I focussed on her through my view finder. She gave a glance and then nonchalantly, got back with her work. She had been there in my thoughts for the rest of the day, tour and even now, when I see her pictures. Has her struggle for existence reduced now? Has she started going to school?