Saturday, November 8, 2008

Of Tinchulay....Marcelo...and...



" Strangers on the roads of life…makes your journey worthwhile”

It was a winding road that circled around the green valleys with the snowy mountains at a
distance...The small wooden huts were their homes.... homes to the Gurungs, Lepchas and so many of them ...The kids came out and waved at us..Their cheeks were reddish grey and their moist noises added more glitter to their smile.... The monastery was still far away....Its white tomb and the colorful prayer flags waved against the blue sky which was dotted with pristine clouds…
I had taken a break from my monotonous city life...Away from my cubicled existence I tried to breathe in the fresh air... But I was still carrying the baggage... The baggage of my deliverables... Work was over, stress was still there… I kept on thinking…What about the review comments? What do they think about me? Will it be a tab or a button? …Ahhhhhhh the list was endless!

It was a trip to Tinchulay… The white vehicle sweeped through the hilly roads with the Kanchendzonga at its backdrop… It sudenly screeched in front of a dwarfed wooden cottage surrounded by a small garden….This was the house of the Gurungs in Tinchulay….

Tinchulay is one of the little hamlets near Darjeeling. This virgin piece of land nestled amidst the Himalayas is the home of the Gurungs. A dilapidated cemetery, a small health care center and a monastery is all Tinchulay can boast about. Far away the snow capped mountains kept a strange vigil on the innocent lifestyle of the people out here. The life here seemed to be straight out of a wallpaper…simple and beautiful bordered by the vastness of the mountains

The wooden décor, a quaint smell and soft spoken people--- the Gurungs of Tinchulay are noted for their hospitality services.


Gurung’s cottage was situated on the side of a road. On the other side there were terraced acres of cardamom plantations and far away the waving line of prayer flags that lead to the small monastery. Each little cottage in Tinchulay had decorated their homes with colorful season flowers. There was a cemetery of the Gurungs. The date and the name of family members showed that they were very early residents of this part of the world.

It was time for sunset, and the reddish golden hues of the setting sun kissed the forehead of the Kanchendzona. It was then I saw Marcelo, from a distance.

Marcelo Sanchez was from Argentina. A tall bearded man wearing a navy blue faded jcket seemed like any other traveler. But soon I saw him interacting with the kids in their language.


Away from home, from his family, Marcelo was looking for peace in the comfort of the Himalayas. He had become a part of them...the Tinchulay lifestyle. His daughter had settled in Spain and his family was in Argentina. But he never even wished to get back. He had fallen in love with the Himalayas and was interested in Buddhism. Marcelo traveled to India lured just like any other westerner for a taste of the east. But it was the Himalayas that finally scored over the Andes in his life…

Marcelo’s daily routine was going to the monastery and exploring the village lifestyle. Every morning when I went to the monastery, I found Marcelo engrossed in the Buddhist scriptures.

Marcelo was somewhere close to 60. He smiled and asked me about my profession the first time we met(…it was difficult to explain content writing to him!!) He hardly discussed about Argentina. His little room was filled with books, books about India, Buddhism and the Himalayas. His Tinchulay trip was not mainly for his traveling experience but also to gain some knowledge about Buddhism.

Marcelo once mentioned about his daughter. Just like every father , Marcelo had a strange twinkle in his eye as he talked about her. He gave me her visiting card with the hope that if I ever go to Argentina, I might be able to meet her sometime. And may be talk about Marcelo.

My Tinchulay trip was just for two days. It was over soon. Marcelo, the Gurungs, waved their hand as the car whizzed past the cottages… But my mind was filled with so many thoughts….. Can we really let go? Can we?…

Its been sometime...Marcelo often sends emails… He teaches in a Tibetan school or may be in a monastery now…. He’s happy with his life and I’m back to my deliverables…Back into the cocoon of my city life, I have found my answers… I cant really let go…I can never let go…

1 comment:

Priya said...

I really couldn't figure out whether it was purely an imaginative story telling or adding excerpts from experience and then letting it flow down so seamlessly.

I really appreciate your story telling capability. u do it in a way as if you have the responsibility of carrying away the reader to such a place where one do not have to think of the "Deliverables" and u do it so finely..kudos....

a barista brownie due.....promise..:):D