Monday, March 05, 2007

a tiger tale

darjeeling is an old crossroad. for centuries its dark dank staircases have echoed with the footfalls of myriad people going up the mountains, running away from occupied tibet, coming down from the mountains and the odd nutjob just passing through. and if you ever sift through the primordial sea that flows in and out of darjeeling with every tourist season, you'll agree there is no lower more despicable form of life than the bong tourist.

bongs ask each other, bedecked in garish woolens - gloves, mufflers, sweaters and the ubiquitous monkey cap, "chowmein kaabe?" the locals scoff at the sheer crassness of the hordes, refering to them in a cheeky take as 'the tuurists'. bongs either don't care or they're too obtuse to care. so they plunder on, in their tour bus upwards to tiger hill, while the rest of the world chooses to take the picturesque walk.

every dawn atop tiger hill bongs live the maxim that they are generally obnoxious. while everybody else looks westwards in hushed wispers at dawn, waiting for the kanchenjunga to set itself ablaze in the first rays of the sun refracting through the earth's atmosphere much before the sun itself makes an appearance, the bong twats look eastward over stoves of boiling tea and to the accompaniment of raunchy bollywood hits belted out on the over bassed system of their tour bus. and even as on the western edge of tiger hill, seasoned travelers with their weather beaten faces watch awestruck as an entire mountain seemingly in midair turns an azure gold, the bongs choose to dance and whistle when the sun makes another routine appearance much later on in the east. it's a chasm that all bong pretensions to being cultured will never bridge.

fresh air among other things messes your noodles up. while the odd mountaineer is pushed to try and assail the unassailable, common tourists who've been breathing the air for a bit, show certain unmistakable signs of pleasant eccentricity too. one german took to climbing tiger hill day after day in a seemingly pointless routine. and when he tired of that, he took off to bangladesh. to catch the general elections and the ensuing chaos. the local folk smile wide toothy unaffected grins into cameras. the sun plays hide & seek all day plunging darjeeling into alternating cycles of pristine chill and sunny optimism.

everytime i've traveled, i'm met with the certainity that there is a simpler truth to life that still needs discovering. that afternoon in the one room eatery enroute to tiger hill, as i watched pearly stuff herself with another vegetable momo and browne make a finer point on ducks, swans and annoying birds in general, i knew i was one step closer.


Hari Potter said...

It just gets simpler, with every step on this earth and in our minds.

And bugger the bongs. Even they can't take away the magic of the mountains.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for leaving an off the the topic comment here.
Do you think mercilessly culling of stary dogs in Bangalore is not a solution? If you believe there has to be a way out pls help save the dogs.
People interested in offering suggestions and deciding on next plan of action pls drop ur contact email ids/number so that we can fix a time and place and meet the pfa head in bangalore.
Please spread the word.

Ganesh said...

kill them strays

pearls said...

me heading back me thinks. met another austrian soul treader in the gharwals who had a note more on the bongs...they're everywhere. apparantly they love the massifs. but as his aphoristic words went, "its all theek he".

duende said...

have you swallowed a dictionary?
hmm. but i'll say amen!