TODAY -

A hot test in a Darjeeling lodge

S Balakrishnan *



Oh, don't jump to naughty conclusions by the words hot and lodge. I was on a trip to Darjeeling after a week-long tour in Sikkim nearly 30 years later.

My first trip to this hill station was during the Dashain (Durga Puja) holidays of 1986. Those days I was eking out a living in Gangtok and was on shore-string budget tours, frequently.

Darjeeling then was comparatively a peaceful hill station compared to the much commercialised tourist spot of 2014.

Well, you can't be living in the past for ever, no? But the traffic jams both in Gangtok and more acute in Darjeeling made me think again and again of the nostalgic past.

I was head over heels visiting old places, comparing 'now' and 'then', the present and the past.

Another reason was that I could refresh my Nepali language which I had picked up during my days in Gangtok, a solid 5 1/2 years between 1983 and 1988. This bragging of my Nepali language was not to my daughter's liking. 'You are boringly bragging and braggingly boring', she complained and said 'I can't stand it anymore.

'Why not sit then ?' I joked. It was a damp squib, I think, because she did not even smile. 'You are repeating the same story everywhere, every time and to everyone ...that you lived in Sikkim some quarter century ago, as if eons ago, and that you had picked up Nepali language then and blah, blah, blah...'

Surprisingly my wife came to my rescue. 'Let him enjoy, let him have his quota of fun. It doesn't cost anything'; she was so gracious because it did not cost anything! Merci! ('Thanks in French. How would I miss an opportunity to show off my single word French knowledge?)

So it was natural that I mercilessly tortured the lodge people as well with my half-baked and half forgotten Nepali language skill. Small and simple sentences like 'coffee pauncho ke? (is coffee available?), 'yaha aaunos tho (please, come here),' 'kothi dhoor ho? (how far?),' etc.

I could sense that my Nepali brought smiles to everyone. Or was it smirk? Well, I really did not care as long as it brought unqualified satisfaction to me.

But I did not realise then that it would ultimately land me in hot waters, sorry, in hot milk.

With coffee dear to get in these parts but my wife addicted to that beverage, we always carried Instant coffee powder that too a particular brand only - to help us out in such situations. That night, after our dinner at a restaurant, we all felt like having hot coffee.

You see, coffee eases the heavy feeling after oily food. So I ordered for milk through room service. The young bearer, a naughty one, I must admit, who brought the flask of milk put me in a piquant situation. After placing it on the teapot, the naughty bearer casually remarked thus "doodh thatho cho". For a second I was taken aback, flabbergasted.

"Thatho?" What the hell does it mean? I wondered; I was confused. Testing my Nepali skill?

Then I suddenly remembered the tourist spot "thatho pani" in West Sikkim, the hot water spring! So I managed to say a merciful "thank you, la" with a local touch of 'la'.

My interest in tourism helped me escape the really hot situation. But it is a pity that I could never make

it to the 'thatho pani' hot spring. From the roof top of Hotel Apsara, we enjoyed the thatho coffee along with a glittering night view of Darjeeling. But it is a shame that we drank coffee in Darjeeling which is famous for the aromatic tea !

The smart bearer of Apsara Lodge, who wanted to put me to a "hot" test, understood that I wasn't a mediocre Nepali expert. He mischievously smiled and left wishing us good night. I narrowly escaped from this hot situation because I had done my Nepali language homework studiously.

Though I left Sikkim in 1988, I still think in Nepali language and talk to self in Nepali; sometimes I wonder if I am mad but I do not want to lose touch of a language that I picked up the hard way in the cold Himalayan State of Sikkim.

This language skill helped me during my trip to Nepal also. I was even writing my Gangtok days' diary in Nepali. With my Devanagiri (Hindi) typing skill, I even cut stencils of Nepali press releases issued by our office (PIB). This was much appreciated by Shri Sarma, News Editor, All India Radio, Gangtok, who was doing part time Nepali translation for our office.

As they say, it was like getting Brahma Rishi title from saint Vishwamitra himself ! Oh, I think now is the time for a thatho coffee break or at least thatho paani break !


* S Balakrishnan wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at krishnanbala2004(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on September 24 2020.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Tarao Laimanai in Chandel #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • Emergency Meeting on COVID-19 : Gallery
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #4
  • 'No need to hold Hornbill festival 2020'
  • Food for beauty :: Shahnaz Husain
  • Condemns officials of Assam govt
  • Points for new SOP
  • Beautiful : An Anal music video : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • The price of compassion :: Poem
  • 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' amidst COVID-19
  • Tea in Assam
  • Politics of peace talk
  • Yubi Lakpi Manipur indigenous game: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Khundrakpam Babuchand : Sanagi Medal
  • Hringningam, Thangkhonieng: eMing
  • Myanmar's 2020 Election: The Way Forward
  • On the brink of irrelevance ?
  • Breeding & Culture Unit at Gauhati Univ
  • Ahead of high level meeting
  • Langban Lam-Haiba at Andro #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • The aftermath of Unlock - 2
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Foundation Stone - Manipur Intl Univ Campus
  • Aesthetics of nature :: Poem
  • Let's talk about career
  • 'Signs of community spread'
  • Recommendation to Manipur Govt on COVID
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Bhagyachandra Death Anniversary: Gallery
  • Samananda Yumnam : NEET 2020 topper
  • Resilience to minimise humanitarian crises
  • Shyam, Your Life, Is Sundarful
  • Manipur gi Ahanba Assembly Meepham
  • Partners in coalition Govt
  • Imphal valley from Tuikhang Aimol : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Peace Talks : Discussion Report
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #3
  • 'Engage through dialogue, Refrain Violence'
  • Luminous :: Poem
  • Maya Rani Singh : NE Women Success Stories
  • Tough talk from Th Muivah
  • Nambul : The River that cries as it dies
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga Peace parleys reach deadlock
  • Harassment of Women in Digital Space
  • Discussion : Indo-Naga Peace Talks
  • Women :: Poem
  • Kitchen ingredients to revive your hair
  • Prevalence of Domestic Violence in North East
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Toll free tele-counselling for children
  • Protect our job seekers or prevent them
  • International Day of Rural Women 2020
  • Corona also kills English !
  • Webinar 'How to crack NEET [Medical]'
  • Rising number of deaths & infections
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Chemistry Nobel Prize 2020
  • Prisoner Database Management Portal
  • Webinars: A step forward in Digital Revolution
  • My trusted friend :: Poem
  • On political acountability: Pandemic issues
  • Consultative meet sans NNPG, NSCN (IM)
  • Global Handwashing Day 2020
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Looking at COVID-19 in Tamenglong
  • Groundwater TubeWell @Sinamkom : Gallery
  • 1st E/online mediation organised
  • Intl Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Political Affairs Committee of NPCC
  • Projected figure of 25,000 by mid November
  • The Barefoot Legend Of India
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Come by-election, COVID-19 lurking around
  • 'How to crack NEET [Medical entrance'
  • Discussion : Kuki Nationalism & Aspiration
  • To whom does it belong ? :: Poem
  • What is Plant Variety Right (PVR)?
  • High profile entry of two to BJP
  • The promised & present political scenario
  • Thang Ta @ JNMDA #2 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • For Pettigrew College in Ukhrul : An appeal
  • Tough Times Never Last But .. :: Review
  • MoU between IBSD, Imphal & Manipur Univ
  • Working with elderly as career
  • Channel wars heating up in glare of TV news
  • 100 pc : Absurdly high cut off
  • Wuyawon - flower @ Wuya Kachui : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #2
  • Is GoM serious in building a peaceful state?
  • Fear :: Poem
  • Ice cubes for beauty
  • Training on mushroom cultivation
  • Don't deliver outside India quip
  • Evolving digital film culture in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Is NSU Conflict Sensitive ?
  • Mount Koubru: Lifeline of Saitu-Gamphazol
  • Devt & community aspiration : Chadong Case
  • The Short Stranger At Relationship :: Poem
  • Impact of Covid on Manipuri women
  • World Mental Health Day 2020
  • Thasi-Thanou, My Bipolar Mother
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Raining jobs in Wangoi !
  • Admin/ Business Support @ R-Square Design
  • Father ? :: Poem
  • Agrarian reforms: Will they help farmers
  • Congratulates WFP on Nobel Peace Prize
  • Climbing death toll and infection
  • Imphal-Moreh Road & Landscape : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #1
  • 'Jan Andolan' campaign : CM pledged [8 Oct]
  • 20 hrs refresher course on mediation
  • A memoir of good old days :: Poem
  • From bush war to politics of talks
  • Wildlife week: Raising awareness to children
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • International Day for Older Persons, 2020
  • Protection of Natural Resources at Molnoi
  • As I see the Invisibility :: Poem
  • Go-to-Village Mission and Job Plans
  • 'Dont levy fees from private school student'
  • Ugly stand off over NSU site
  • Ending the great Indian political farce
  • Dhol Chollom #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Network marketing: good or bad ?
  • 9th AGM / Cultural Program of AMAND, Pune
  • Webinar on National Education Policy 2020
  • World Teachers' Day 2020
  • Whistle blown for five ACs
  • Banana Fest 2019, Longmai #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • 'May you be the mother of many sons...'
  • Dead leaves of December :: Poem
  • Assam Don Bosco Univ- 9th Convocation
  • Lecture : India-ASEAN Relations at NEHU
  • Monsoon nail trends
  • Ukhrul brutality
  • Desperate measures
  • A new look at Ta Khousaba
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Trees planted - Licypriya birthday : Gallery
  • Elections during Pandemic
  • Journey that made me a School Master
  • Umeswari Barman: Success Stories from NE
  • Lakhs of trees for Licypriya birthday
  • September deadline has expired
  • Food items at Waithou Keithel #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Anaemia Free Manipur Campaign : Gallery
  • Ode to Barak :: Poem
  • Myanmar visit by Foreign Secy & Army Chief
  • Why I do not support the BJP
  • 9th Convocation of Assam Don Bosco Univ
  • Covid: Heed local experts, not central politician
  • I.T Road - GoM neglected region ?
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • Gandhi Jayanti / Cleanliness Day : Gallery
  • What made China intrude in Eastern Ladakh
  • Please induct me as Minister
  • Is it my mind ? :: Poem
  • COVID Care Centre at Khuman Lampak
  • Unlock 2 on in Manipur
  • An apology to the event of Sept 21
  • Paddy field of Longa Koireng : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Oct : Govt of Manipur
  • International Day of Non-Violence
  • Online refresher course on mediation
  • Tips for a healthy heart during COVID-19
  • Coffee cultivation in North-East
  • Irabot remembered on his 125th birthday
  • Unlock 5.0 : Unlocking the economy
  • Every day should be Hijam Irabot day
  • 124th Birth Anniv of Lamyanba Irabot : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Tracing how human & algae see light & colour
  • Opening of classes, desperate call of student
  • Training on mushroom at Salam Mayai Leikai
  • Dying while we live: Cry of our dying soul
  • The Future of Higher Education : Discussion
  • Wangjing Tentha, Lilong : Whistle blown
  • Uncertain future of ex-MLAs as ministers
  • How Irawat became a Marxist revolutionary
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • October Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Licypriya urges everyone to plant a tree
  • A roadblock to NEP 2020: Rote learning
  • Second online Lok Adalat of Manipur held
  • What lesson has Covid-19 taught us ?
  • Being the junior partner in Govt
  • Attracting tourists: few pointers..
  • Manipur Art Fest 2019 #3 : Gallery
  • Mushroom cultivation @Singjamei : Gallery
  • Ownership of mineral rights : A case study
  • My idea of justice
  • NPF Legislature meets with NEDA Convener
  • How to use glycerine on the face
  • Mantra of trace, test and treat
  • Criminalization of politics
  • Irrelevance of 66 MW Loktak Downstream HEP
  • Thangol adu maya thangu thouna hey lao-uba
  • Inauguration of Destination NE 2020 : Gallery
  • Programme on Irabot's Death Anniversary
  • RIST Popular Talk -45 : Quantum chaos
  • Salad days :: Poem
  • Last Day : Sangai Festival 2019 #2: Gallery
  • Irabot, one & only leader of oppressed mass
  • World Tourism Day 2020
  • COVID Care Centre @UNACCO #2: Gallery
  • Hijam Irawat : Irawat the Legend #3
  • We do not stop playing because we grow old
  • Swearing in @ Rajbhavan [24 Sep] : Gallery
  • Licypriya - Parliament to pass Climate Law
  • Hijam Irawat : Irawat the Legend #2
  • Petition to PM by farmers of Ningombam
  • Low ease of doing business in Manipur
  • My idea of justice
  • Offensive against party hopping
  • Politics is more than a game of numbers
  • RK Bikramjit (Flutist & Composer) : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #4: Gallery
  • Hijam Irawat : Irawat the Legend #1
  • Nurturing young minds amidst lockdown
  • Training on mushroom cultivation
  • A hot test in a Darjeeling lodge
  • Number games before reshuffle
  • Preserving biodiversity amidst uncertainty
  • Barak: Our economic & ecological security
  • Loan Distribution- Street Vendors : Gallery
  • Shirui Village, Shirui Hill, Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Tongjei Maril 1942: Bridle Path to Motor Road
  • Brahmacharimayum Roji: Actress #2 : eRang
  • COVID Care Centre @UNACCO #1: Gallery
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit #3 : Gallery
  • Akhunba Takhellei #2 : Film scene :: eRang
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS