As any other winter day, sun was out but was cold and my routine day started. I was looking at the normal life down below, vehicles plying with over flowing passengers, kids busy with their marbles, some people too occupied in their own thoughts and some, just hanging out with friends and enjoying morning sun and discussing about many issues, one of them of course being political situation in Darjeeling. And I heard that there was a clash between the Force and the Morcha yesterday. I feel sad for people and the place. Whatever is happening should not have happened, yes ! it is going from bad to worst. But above all, I think life should be valued and problems should be solved without any delay. How long can it go on like this? Killings, troubles and destructions seem endless here.
Although the agenda gets highlighted by incidences like these but who is winning ultimately? It is only our people who are suffering at the end. Sudden strike for couple of hours “Chakka jam” without any prior notification, shut downs for longer periods and many more issues only in the hills are making life worst only for the people in the hills. So whom are we fighting with? Amongst ourselves? Do we want only “our people” to suffer? Do we want to see “our people” go hungry? What will we gain by causing trouble to only “our people”? We address Darjeeling as our “mother” and the quest is on to get our mother back, but I know, at least my mother would not be happy if I get her back by causing so much trouble to my innocent brothers and sisters rather than fighting against those who took her away from us.
Yes ! this is what I do every day, only sit and think, immobile and the oldest one alive here. I have seen this place very closely and for a really long period of time, I even do not remember when and where was I born, all I remember from my childhood days is I was here, in this very beautiful Darjeeling. I started working at a very early age, my job was to serve everyone and I did it very efficiently and religiously. My friends used to say once in a while “we have played a major role in making Darjeeling what it is today, serene and beautiful,” may be! but I still feel that this is the least one can do for this place and I was doing it whole heartedly and will keep on doing it with the same zeal till I live.
People from all over the world come here to find a shelter from their chaotic life. Few days that they spend here makes them all set to go back and struggle again, gives them a reason to live again. So this is what I consider as a reward of all my hard work. Even when I was young I never thought of what others are doing or not doing but I made sure that I was serving everyone without any bias, no insider and outsider, no Bengali and Nepali, because that never mattered to me and will never do. What matters the most is Darjeeling. Of course immobile as I already mentioned but still a dedicated lover and worker of this place.
It was already so late; I think I was too much lost in my own thoughts today. I looked down again to know there was some problem again, heard something happened in the Doors, some clash and innocent people were killed and wounded, I do not know much in detail. There was chaos everywhere. Suddenly some people stopped vehicles and within few minutes everything came to a halt. People looked clueless and I was sitting at the same place and looking at them. Some of them were worried as they had to reach to some place urgently, someone was sick and had just been discharged from hospital and was on her way home, newlywed couple were also stuck, confused not knowing what to do next. I was feeling sad for all of them and suddenly some agitated people came running towards me, I was scared and so were my youngsters. Before I could realise, I was badly hurt by sharp weapons from all the sides and within few minutes I was pushed by them to the roadside to die.
I still wonder who those people were who killed me? and what they gained by killing me here? Before I took my last breath I heard one of them saying the clash in the Doors started because of forest. It is not at all logical or justifiable for me but to them I was just a tree. I came to know that I was not the only one that day to go through this, it happened all over the hills. But we are proud that we lived and died for Darjeeling without asking anything in return from her. We all wanted peace and we loved Darjeeling as any other living creature in Darjeeling. It is already too late to make them realise this and all we can do now is hope that our youngsters do not have to go through this again, not in a place where they are born and brought up and the only love of their life, Darjeeling.
Note: This write up was sent to us on the 9th of February, 2011 the day after the Sibchu firing incidence… we did not publish it then as the hurt was too raw. However, it has been 3 years since and the three innocent people who were killed that day Nita Khawas, Vicky Lama and Bimala Lama are yet to get due justice. We are posting this today in the hopes of waking up those who have conveniently chosen to forget.
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