Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Days at Kolakham

Enjoying throughout our way a rich variety of experiences and scenery we reached Kolakham at about  3P.M. It had stopped raining but earth was still wet and vegetation moist. Sparkling water drops adorned the purple and white flowers on the roadside. Rejuvenating wind danced on playful melodies.A calm stillness prevailed all around.Silence and serenity were refreshing.
 The only road lazily walking in between few houses was totally empty.Not even a single human being was seen and no sound was heard. Hardly eight or ten guest houses and cottages were there and all of them except the one which we had booked were locked and closed . We were the only tourist in Kolakham on that day.
It is a small village. Home of a few Nepali families.With recent tourist influx few cottages/rooms have been built on roadside in front of and above their own homes.These structures are a mix of cement, mortar, wood and tin.Have colorful exterior and are very neat, clean, comfortable. Kolakham does not have any kind of shop or any other business activity. No provision store, no vegetable shop, no tailor or barber. It's unadulterated, pristine beauty and the calm pace of life soothes the soul. 
A magnificent view of majestic Kanchanjangha Range can be enjoyed from Kolakham.  June is not the month for those mesmerizing views when peaks stand resplendent in all their white glory and the alpenglow leaves you awestruck. but during this time of year rain has it's own songs and ever changing shapes, volumes and colors of clouds enact ethereal plays.
After keeping our luggage in the room we came down in the kitchen cum dining space . The lady of the house managed all the chores without any help.Rows of sparkling utensils were arranged on the cupboard. The colorful crockery was displayed aesthetically. Everything around was neat, clean, fresh and properly placed. commendable job by the lady. She was a woman of few words but very attentive to all our needs.As we sat with our bowls of freshly prepared , steaming wai-wai on the table, the green distant hills and swirling clouds could be enjoyed from the wide open window.
Dusky shadows of evening were slowly spreading it's wings . Soon it was to be dark so we wanted to spend as much time as possible outside in the open. With our cups of tea we walked outside and sat on the logs on the roadside. Our hostess was busy inside home and outside there was no one else except us. With tea we sipped tranquility too.
The closest hills with houses nestled in the arms of emerald stretches looked happy while the farthest chain stood as if in thoughtful, brooding mood. clouds surged, swelled, rose high, flew wide. On one second the clouds tapped lightly on the broad chests of hill to pen down an eternal ode to love while on another rushed madly to squeeze them in tight embrace. For a fleeting moment a part of hills stood bathed in celestial, silken light while other sat brooding in dark. Such a stupendous show by nature, overwhelmed I felt.
After some time a cute girl aged about 10 arrived and sat smiling next to us. She was Anu.. We chatted for long about Anu's school--- Kanchenjunga school, her love for dance, her dream to be a police officer in future and many other things. She struck a chord with me and opened up easily. We talked about various flowers found in Kolakham and vibrantly colored butterflies. Putaali-- yes Putaali means butterfly. Anu taught me this Nepali word and she herself was my putaali, ever smiling and loving.


                                                                      Anu, my Putaali

Anu in front of her home

Anu got up and came to me with that red flower blooming in the small pot in front of her home. What a lovely gift! I had a colorful band on my wrist .Anu liked it and we exchanged our gifts. She will always remain in my memory.

Look at the little heroine of the village. She was the most stylish kid of the whole lot and she knew it.

He was the naughtiest one of the entire group of the kids. I asked him who had cut his hair in such a stylish way. The village don't have even a barber's shop. He smiled and said." my elder brother' .As far as the dress sense, the fashion was concerned all the inhabitants, grown ups or young ones all were well versed with the latest fashion, clothing trends etc. And they carry it with full confidence.

He is Suraj. After he returned from school we had a long chat. sitting on the platform of this cottage at the curve of the lane. He told me that every child of the village go to nearby town  to study after completing fifth standard in village school. He himself is a student of seventh standard. It takes two hours to go to school, while approximately one hour to return. .The town is situated on a higher altitude than Kolakham so more time to reach . Daily three hours on foot (8km up and 8km down) yet they are so happy and energetic, even in the evening while returning from school.

On the only lane of Kolakham with the kids.

These kids are students of class eleventh. After twelfth they will go to Kalimpong for further studies. The day we left Kolakham in the morning. Sky was heavily clouded and about to rain. These children and we by now recognized one another. So we offered to drop them upto their school as we were heading in that direction only. Thanks kiddos for those lovely moments full of laughter and joy. May all your dreams come true.

And look at this group of kids.I got down from vehicle to meet them. They were going to their school, walking on foot offcourse. Each and every child of the village go to school. Neatly dressed, all smiles, walking on foot.....like those vigorously blooming roadside bushes these children too are a sight that fills heart with inexplicable joy.

Lifting the bluish white veil of shiny clouds tender fingers of morning sun caress the tips of majestic coniferous trees to wake them up from their reveries and these girls are up, ready and walking ahead with determined steps.

The valley below was a vast ocean of green, swelling and ebbing with light and clouds. Castles of clouds, melodious songs of birds, stupendous pine trees with their heads held high, stately hills.....I just can't thank you enough God for that wonderful evening, for magnificent nature, for the limitless vastness, for that amazing feeling of liberation.

An ode to eternal love penned by early morning light in the heart of hills.your whole being shine in glorious luminosity when you bask in radiance of love.

 Like fairy's gown white clouds twirls and whirls all around green hills and hills stand smiling drenched in celestial grace.
 An orange wreath adorn the stately heads of distant hills while the white veil of nearby range is blown by frolicsome wind.
 The snowy summits of Kanchenjunga looms in the distance.Though during june, july i.e. rainy season it's very difficult to get a glimpse of peak but we were lucky to be blessed by the mesmerizing view of the range. It rained in the night and early morning in the backdrop of glittering blue sky we enjoyed the clear view of snow capped peaks and then clouds from valley started rising slowly hiding the peaks. As if the doors of sanctorum were closed after divine darshanam.

This is our home stay at Kolakham. The balcony from where we enjoyed the uninterrupted show of clouds in valley, hills and the farthest range.

This stay at Kolakham was a perfect mix of people and nature, rather for me those kids too were part of nature.

All the pictures by Sunder Iyer



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