Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cactus Plantation!

Pineview Nursery, Kalimpong
At Pineview Nursery, they have this exotic collection of Cactus.
To me it felt like I have landed up in a place with extensive Cactus plantation!

If you love Cactus, Pineview nursery in Kalimpong is a must visit for you.

Cactus, Kalimpong
Cactus at Pineview, Kalimpong

Cactus flowers
Cactus flowers, Kalimpong

Pineview nursery

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A note to my father

Dearest Daddy,

The relationship that we have shared over the years has matured into something that is difficult to define, a relationship that is like no other, nothing, and nobody can quite replace it ever.

As far as I can recollect, as a toddler, I was quite scared of you, because you were one disciplined person! The Army perhaps does that you, and it was implemented very well in our house.

If you said something that was the ultimate, it had to happen. Running to Ma for help was very comforting, 'cause she is such a soft and loving person that I don't recollect her ever raising her voice. But the truth was if you said something, it had to happen. So if any of us did not have our food or were stubborn about anything, we did not stand a chance with you. Though now I know yours was just a tough exterior, after all bringing up four of us must have been tough for you and Ma. In spite of your tough attitude, you indulged us quite a lot! Going to the market with you was fun. You would treat us to whatever we wanted!

As we grew up, you started helping us out with the homework, especially maths. Whenever the time came to sit with you, I would invariably start yawning and feel hungry. I realized very early on that the word "hungry" was taken very seriously. If I said I was hungry, Ma would immediately start making arrangements to give me dinner. But you saw through me. You would  calmly tell me to splash water on my face and come right back to study. Gosh! There was no running away from you.

I remember, if we were invited for any occasions, we would be the first ones to arrive, because the invitation card said 7pm, we had to be there at 7pm! We had to somehow get ready,  I still remember running towards the car with my shoes and watch still in my hand, because it was getting late, and you would be very furious if we got late!

Not just us, if any of my friends were invited over, and they got late, they would also get a frowned look from you. I guess you could not understand why young people do not appreciate the value of time!

After graduating, I thought I have had enough of this, I will have to protest. I think I mentioned something like- "Now that I am so much older, I really do not need your help or advice, I know it all. If I need to go out somewhere, I do not need your permission; after all I am an adult.

It used to annoy me a lot that every time I would go out anywhere, you would want to know the exact time that I would be coming back home, If I was going to be late, I was supposed to let you know. We did not have mobiles then, it would mean stopping at a public booth and calling you. All this felt like a huge imposition then. I just wanted to complete my education, get a job, and go to another city. I would be so independent!

Now that I am much older, and married, I miss you daddy. After all your affectionate yet stern ways shaped our characters, and it is because of your upbringing that we are who we are. I have realized how precious you and Ma are to me.

Over the years you have changed too.You have mellowed down with age or perhaps you no longer want to put up a tough exterior. In fact these days if I have a disagreement with you, I get away by scolding you, and you just listen to me calmly without losing your cool!

Sometimes I get irritated if I have to repeat something I said to you.I am like... Daddy you are not following my conversation, you are not listening, I just told you that! But I forget that you are getting older and I need to slow down. That's the level of patience I have daddy! You must forgive my behaviour. Believe me, every time I lose patience with you, I feel guilty and I yell at myself for not having a little bit of patience.

Now I wonder how you could be so patient with us when we were learning. After all you had to repeat so many things, so many times before we learned it right. Right?

You were always indulgent and you still are. You still make it a point to buy my favourite sweets whenever I am visiting. And I feel so indulged. I can live on these gestures forever!

Even now, you want to accompany me, and see me off safely, if I am going out on my own. And the rules are still the same. I still have to let you know that I have reached home safely. The only difference from then, and now is, I do this willingly. I don't mind it at all; it is so precious to know that someone cares for you so much! What used to feel like an imposition, feels so wonderful now.

Every time I visit you, I realize how lucky I am to have such wonderful parents. Every visit is precious. I get unconditional support, love, and advice from you. For you and Ma, we are the highest priority, but how much do I prioritize you?

I am so caught up with my profession, with my household chores...when I do get time, I just feel like lazing around and I end up making silly excuses about not finding time to visit you . My schedule does not have the entry "visit my parents today", because I know you will never complain, and always be happy to see me whenever. I know I have taken you and Ma for granted. I feel bad about not visiting you often or doing anything for you and Ma. But my busy and chaotic lifestyle overpowers me, and I push back my guilty feelings, and get back to the daily routine.

All said and done, I feel the need for you and Ma even more these days. In a world that is so chaotic, you are pillars of strength, and peace. Every time anything good happens, I wish to share it with you, 'cause the happiness that you will feel for me will double my happiness.

What never ceases to amaze me, is the amount of patience you have, no matter how many mistakes I make, you are ever forgiving, and I know that you are always there for me. Isn't that the best blessing ever?

I probably cannot thank you enough for what you and Ma have done, are doing, and will do for me, because that will take more than a lifetime. But all I can say is, because of you and Ma, living is easy, and life is so wonderful, I can take all the risks, and make all the mistakes, and run to you for cover.

There is no one like you.

Love you, Daddy. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Handmade natural paper in Kalimpong

A writing pad made out of
handmade paper
While in Kalimpong, we heard of a handmade paper factory. I was really keen on visiting this place, I am quite hooked on to natural products.

I am  happy we visited this place, worth the effort. I was fascinated with the entire process of manufacturing paper manually!
What I gathered from my conversation with the person who was supervising the work was that the paper comes from a shrub, the local name of which is Argaylee.

This shrub is indigenous to this region, usually found at altitudes between 2000-3000 metres in the Himalayan region. The bark from the shrubs is used to make paper. The technique I believe is Japanese, and quite ancient.

Dried bark of the shrub
Paper sheets

The bark is cleaned and boiled. The pulp that is obtained from boiling the bark is then processed. It is processed with wooden receptacle, wooden frames, and bamboo screens that is used for handsifting the pulp. The wet sheets that are obtained from this process are dried under the sun. It is a time taking and laborious process, but quite interesting. The papers are then dyed with natural dyes to arrive at the final product. 

A carry bag made out of  handmade paper

Saturday, July 7, 2012

In love with dove

My love with dove still continues... the last time I wrote about dove, I was in the early stages of falling in love; dreamy, enamored, yearning for more and more of the tender, love and care that dove was pouring into my hair.

Since then, the relationship has changed. The bonding has grown stronger; I am in a secure relationship now. What started as a loving manifestation has now manifested itself into a committed relationship.
And what's more, I have not strayed even once since I got into this relationship!

Actually, it is easy to be in love with dove. All I have to do is use it and there you go, get soft and manageable hair in no time!  I hope that did not sound like a tag line! But really, my hair is the least of my worries these days, I can wear it just the way I want. I wish we  could wash away all our other problems just like that:(

I must admit that I was not really sure about Dove before using it, after all in a country like India, if a product is endorsed by a popular star; it would results in millions of sales anyway! Since Dove's ads were different; I was a little less skeptical. But skeptical I was!

After using Dove, I changed my opinion, there was no reason for the skepticism anymore; it really works for me. I do not have to find time to go to beauty parlours for hair spas. I don't think I need it anymore. After using the dove hair conditioner and masque everything unruly hair got tamed, and that was the end of my hair problems!

My husband who hardly ever notices any change in me, now notices and murmurs something like, your hair looks nice!
Coming from him it is a huge compliment!

Here is a link to dove that you may want to visit:

Kalimpong, a must visit hill station

I am posting a video from my Kalimpong trip.
Wanted to capture the dreamy, and misty beauty of this beautiful hill station.

This video is a bit shaky :( I was balancing the umbrella and my camera!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Misty, and magical Kalimpong

Kalimpong, view from the Golf course

We went for a short trip to Kalimpong, it is in North Bengal. We took an overnight train, Darjeeling mail to NJP from Sealdah.It starts at around 10pm and we reached at 8am in the morning the next day.

We rented a car from NJP. It took us around 3 hours to reach Kalimpong. Since it was June (not the best time to visit the hills), rains had started. But the rain drenched beauty is something else!

The surroundings were so green and refreshing; with Kolkata burning, it was indeed nice to get away to a cooler place. The drive from NJP (New Jalpaiguri) to Kalimpong was lovely.
The misty hills, rains, and green forests were a balm to my senses.

We stayed in Holumba Haven, a home stay, which is more like a resort, with very beautifully done cottages, and lots and lots of green all around. We felt like we were in the lap of nature. There was stream very close to our cottage, the sound of the stream was so de-stressing and tranquil, that I wish I could stay there forever. We loved our stay there. This place is a bit away from the heart of Kalimpong, and is very quiet and peaceful. It made for an ideal getaway. The rooms did not have television; I could catch up on reading, and resting. It was just nice to be there; listening to the pitter patter raindrops, napping, eating, listening to music...

I am sharing some pictures from that trip.
In the next few posts I will share some more pictures from Kalimpong, the monastries and other beautiful and interesting stuff.

Haven dining area (entrance)
The cottage in Holumba Haven

Inside Holumba Haven
Fusion of colours in Holumba

The St Teresa's church in Kalimpong dates back to 1929. What is interesting about it is the architecture. It looks like a pagoda, and the inside is equally interesting.

St Teresa's church, Kalimpong
Inside the church

beutifully crafted windows
The church door

Teesta river, on the way to Kalimpong