Old and New Memories of Gangtok #WanderfulWednesday

When my Dad joined Ministry of Home Affairs, his first posting was in Gangtok. It was the late 1960s and Sikkim was then not a part of India. The day my Dad set foot in Gangtok, he fell in love with the beauty of the place. In those days he was on deputation and had no fixed office. He was allotted a desk and chair inside the Royal Palace from where he used to carry out his official work. At night he used to stay with a Lepcha family. It was some kind of a rudimentary home-stay. Sikkimese people are great hosts and since ages, they have the custom to allow outsiders to come and stay in their house. Later, when Pawan Kumar Chamling became the chief minister of Sikkim he capitalised this custom and turned it into an industry. Today Sikkim is well known for its home-stays.

He was posted in Sikkim again in 1974-75 for the second time when Sikkim became a Union territory of India after abolishing the monarchy. This time he was not alone and my mother was with him. My father loved Sikkim whereas my mother hated the place. She admired the scenic beauty but the loneliness got the better of her. Being an extrovert my mom loved to talk and socialise but Sikkim in those days was nothing more than a jungle. She used to sit and cry on our veranda most of the evenings. Unlike Ma, I loved Sikkim as it was the place I grew up and till date consider it my home.

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Going back to Sikkim after 14 years was awesome. This time it was even better as I took my son along to show him the place where his mother grew up. The trip was both nostalgic and simultaneously we were creating new memories. My son being brought up in Mumbai had no idea how life in the hills could be. He was surprised to find that his mom used to cross small waterfalls on her way to school. He was also amazed that the house where his mom stayed as a small girl had an amazing view of the Kanchenjunga.

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Nowadays Gangtok has become a tourist hub. It is now a crowded city. I personally missed the previous beauty of Gangtok where everything used to be so serene and pristine almost untouched and virginal. I located the only Bengali sweet shop that we used to frequent back then on our weekly trip to the market. I also located the snack store where I used to love to eat samosa and amurti as a kid. Visiting a place where you have lived once always leaves you with renewed memories.

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The only Bengali Sweet Shop in 1980s

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Every Sunday we used to eat snacks here after finishing our weekly grocery shopping

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The Samosa and Matar taste still the same

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M.G.Road

The only religious place that I love to visit again and again is Rumtek Monastery. It was wonderful to take my son to Rumtek. Whenever I feel depressed I think of the Buddha statue inside the monastery and immediately I feel rejuvenated. I feel a strong connection to this shrine that cannot be described in words.

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 Lucy At Home

46 thoughts on “Old and New Memories of Gangtok #WanderfulWednesday

  1. the bespectacled mother says:

    I came to know more about Sikkim from reading your post. Until now I had only known it as a state in the north of West Bengal with Gangtok as its capital and Gangtok is a hill station. Your father’s experience in Sikkim in the 1960s makes me want to research about history of Sikkim. I am a sucker of information about history and geography of places. Having spent my childhood in Guwahati, I simply love the hills and north east. I love the quiet of the hills while husband calls it sunsaniyat wali khamoshi. It is another matter that if the heat of the beaches can be removed then I also love the sea beaches and watching and hearing the waves rising and falling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      My mom would have agreed with your husband. She hated Sikkim for its isolation. My dad loved Sikkim and had amazing tales to narrate.
      Great to know that you are from Guwahati. I love the beaches..infact I am more a beach person than a hill person..but the one place I simply love is market..

      Like

  2. Todd says:

    Beautiful photos and stories. What a lovely place to grow up. Though your mom might not agree, I think this must have been a great first assignment for your dad. Imagine just starting a brand new job and someone sends you somewhere like this. I would feel like I won the lottery!

    So nice to be able to take your son back where you grew up and find many of the same places. I was able to take my own son back to where I grew up a few years ago and we had an excellent time. I don’t often make it back there so it was interesting to see just how much had changed and what was the same after almost thirty years.

    Thanks for sharing your photos and stories. I enjoyed them a lot and hope someday to see Sikkim first hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      You are absolutely right my Dad always said that Gangtok was a prize posting for him. He saw Gangtok when it was uncorrupted and ethereal. My mom however hated the place and always longed to get back to the plain land. I always wanted to take my son and I am grateful that this time I could take him.
      Thanks for this lovely comment. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Obsessivemom says:

    Sikkim sounds beautiful. I always associate it with tall mountains and peaceful surroundings. Going back to a place where you’ve once lived is always wonderful and showing your kids around is so much fun. So much nostalgia! That said, I can quite get why your mum would have felt the way she did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Thanks Tulika . Sikkim is indeed beautiful but it used to be better when I was a kid. It is always a pleasure to take your kids to places where you grew…they help you see through a different lens.

      Like

  4. mammaspeaks says:

    I have been to Gangtok 2-3 times. I absolutely love this place. I love the quietness though I could see more tourists on my last trip than in my previous ones. My mother’s aunt has been staying in Gangtok for more than 65 years near M.G Road. I seriously envy her. I am sure you must have had some lovely memories too of this beautiful place, Balaka!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Parul Thakur says:

    I loved reading this post. Your son’s Mum is lucky to have called Sikkim her home. 😉
    I was brought up in the plains but I have strong love for the mountains. How I wish I could spend my life in the hills. 🙂
    Sikkim is on my travel bucket list and maybe next year, we will hit the road. I loved Arunachal, Assam and Meghalaya so I have no doubt that Sikkim is my kind of place.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS) says:

    It sounds like such an interesting place but so sorry your mum was sad there. We moved a lot when I was growing up and it’s interesting how many places my mum said she hated living when we kids thought they were great. I also love bringing my children to places I lived as a child, it’s funny how as children we seem to enjoy those places more. Thanks for sharing such ovely pictures and memories with us on #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Millie says:

    It sounds lovely. I am so glad you were able to reconnect, taking your son with you. I’ve not been to Sikkim, but I’ll add it to my bucket list if I go back to India on my travels with my daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Melissa Baxter says:

    It sounds lovely. I am so glad you were able to reconnect, taking your son with you. I’ve not been to Sikkim, but I’ll add it to my bucket list if I go back to India on my travels with my daughter. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lucy At Home says:

    Oh it must have been lovely to revisit all these places that you hold so dear, and to introduce your son to them. It looks like a beautiful place! Congratulations on being this week’s featured post on #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dave - Dad's Turn says:

    Really nice history and personal story of the place. Looks lovely. I haven’t been to India yet but I’d love to go and see places like this one. Really nice story! #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

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