This is a dedication to that one tiny spot on the map, to that minuscule town located on the north eastern Himalayas of India, where I was born and raised, where my roots lie. Historically, Kurseong has been an uneventful little town except for few schools established by the British, located in perfect spaces on the face of the biggest hill looming over the main road. A sluggish small town with a small scanty train station where the legendary Toy Train stops just for refueling. The shabby appearance of the town however is broken by rounded small undulating slopes of green tea gardens that are forever playing hide and seek with thick mists during the monsoons. But other than that, it is just a very sleepy little town where nothing much happens.

One small truth comprises of the fact that the town is devoid of any cinema theater and that, its inhabitants are but compelled to seek celluloid entertainment in their idiot boxes at home. It wasn’t always like this though, because, the plaza cinema theater was the hub of social and cultural entertainment until the 80s as my mother recalls, who during her hey days frequented the over crowded theater to watch the latest Bollywood  release that was awaited by everyone in restless anticipation.

It’s not only just the Toy train that stops for a breather here, the tourists  also land briefly to use the only public toilet standing on the station and to refuel themselves with a quick cup of hot Darjeeling tea.  However, one thing that is worth mentioning is the sunset. Kurseong is reputed for having the most beautiful sunset and is often compared to the sunrise from Tiger hill near Darjeeling town which is one of the most visited tourist spot. Kurseong is mostly inhabited by retired individuals who ironic enough, are also in the sunset of  their lives. The younger demographic usually leaves in search of greener pastures never to come back. Those who remain, struggle between the apathy of being jobless and of being stuck in really small jobs with equally small wages and then there are those who have taken the menacingly notorious path to destruction – drugs and alcoholism. The weather doesn’t make it any better  either because this quaint little town of Kurseong falls under the rain zone and is also nicknamed as Cherapunji of Bengal.

Rain-washed ugly concrete buildings line the crooked streets, illegal constructions encroach the view, electric poles bend low with heavy mesh of cables that are clustered dangerously at places, people stare when a new face arrives but they smile nevertheless. Roads are dug out by the rain and you can easily step into a puddle if you don’t look where you are going.
However, despite all that is primitive, shabby and disconcerting about this tiny town,  I am bound to it forever, I cannot function without knowing that I can pack my bags and make my way to its most familiar intricacy any time I want and that she will welcome me with the friendly smell of Shyam’s samosas (something I can not find anywhere else in the world), with weather beaten friendly faces cracking into smiles upon seeing me.  I am an inevitable part of it  for I am like the tree that although has its branches spread far and wide, the roots still connect me to that simple earth. No matter how high I climb or how far I spread, my roots still nurture my beating heart.



Far beyond the gritty plains,
filling the wide yawning expanse,
rise the tumultuous hills,
rising and falling, losing and gaining,
in an incessant ceremonial race.
and cradled within the belly,
of these towering giants, sleeps,
a quaint little hillock winding deep,
slithering into the craggy intricacy,
endlessly playing hide and seek.

Crooked wooden houses holding hands,
with bumpy concrete establishments,
stubble the length and width of her spine,
bursting in harmony with tea bushes divine,
Gleefully exploding into a vibrant life.
A looming tower perched upon the eagle’s crag,
watches silently as night blindfolds the day,
Lives pass by in silent anticipation,
of the dawning of that one single day,
when voices raised shall not fade away.

Both young and old parade the street,
stopping by an acquaintance for a hearty greet,
only too happy once again to meet.
The town bustles with an unstaggering pride,
offering a wayfarer with a welcoming respite.
As I once more climb the ruinous road,
being jolted back and forth on a ragged transport,
bones creak and teeth clatter but I am too overwhelmed,
to behold once again these familiar slopes,
bordered on both sides with trees and bushes unkempt.

The sun bids goodnight turning the sky into crimson,
and a cloak of darkness shrouds the vision,
then with a startling halt ceases the sharp ascent,
and the deafening rumble sound is abrutly dampened,
only to announce my destination lying at a close distance.
Sheltered under the daunting tower,
like a black horse wearing a diamond studded saddle,
Oh! what a sight as I watch my town glitter and dazzle,
against the darkness that starts to settle,
as if meeting a long lost lover, my heart trembles.

A disheveled and retired appearance she wears,
but mind you! There is more than what you just might expect,
cradled affectionately in the lap of great mounts,
she is indeed both ancient and modern, both old and young,
She is my root, my soul, my very own Kurseong!

Images: by Luctusa, Abalone-Da-SeaSnail

5 Responses to “Roots”

  • ANJU RAI says:

    Absolutely loved it……this poem is one of my favourites

  • Kriti says:

    Oh Yoshay – you have a way with words!!! I had a number of favorite restaurants in Kurseong – among them just loved the chicken sandwich in the Tourist Lodge … Oh yes and the misty hills – they can make even Einstein a romantic!

    Your poetry will be etched in my memory for long…. I will have to open this up every time someone asks me where I am from… Nothing can say it better (even if I want to describe Darjeeling). My hometown : )

  • pratee says:

    No matter where life takes you,ones root has an uncanny way of holding you captive – a captivity you’d never want to escape. What’s so good about this poem is the vivid imagery that you just created in our minds!! Love it!!!
    May 30, 2010 at 12:22am · Like

  • bhumika says:

    Di ,i am completly wowed by ur poetry,ur detailing is awesome n as the blog seems gothic…i wannna share this,i call kurseong-curse young…sometimes, b’coz of its glommy nature!

    I am so glad u did this!Congratulations…..

    Luv Bhumu!

  • N. Lama says:

    Your articles,poems,reviews are extremely beautiful. You have potential to become a very creative writer. Donot leave this field, consistency will pay you in the long run. I pray to God to bless you with remarkable creative talents. With love & blessings, PAPA

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Yoshay Lama

I welcome you warmly to my blog. This is the resting place of most of my creative work. This blog consists of book reviews, articles, poems, mere reflections and excerpts from my stories.

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