It requires more than just words to define how I feel about this place. It is a heavenly abode for me and many others. Its majestic mountains and lush greenery are certain to make you weak at the knees… This place is not merely a place, it’s my identity, it’s where I belong and it’s where I would want to go back to…. Sikkim!
Quick background- On 16th May 1975 Sikkim officially became the 22nd Indian State. It’s a North-Eastern state bordering China in its North and east, Bhutan in its east, Nepal in its west and the Indian state of West Bengal in its south. Sikkim is the least populated and the second smallest Indian state. It is widely known for its biodiversity and plays host to Kanchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth.
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim; the place where I was born, hence one can understand my love and attachment to this place. It was not always the same, though! While my growing up days until I finished my high school I kinda despised this place a lot. Always cribbing and complaining as to how small the place was, how it lacked opportunities (not that I took advantage of the opportunities when I moved to a bigger city) and how desperate I was to move out to a metropolitan city. It was only after moving to Delhi, did I discover my undying love for Sikkim and how badly I missed being there. Just look at me now, I don’t miss one single opportunity to come back home and spend more of my time here.
When I moved to Delhi I came across a lot of people and whenever someone would ask me, “Are you a Delhiite?” I would say, “No I am from Sikkim.” The reactions that I would receive were just berserk. Followed by, “Where’s that?” All I could think was, no, you just didn’t say that! For the handful of people who knew about Sikkim would say, “Oh you’re from Sikkim, but you don’t look like a Chinki (racist);”and that was my first encounter with the highly offensive word ever.
In fact, there was this another outlandish situation that I faced. It was during my admission procedure that I spoke to two friends (Delhiites) who like me were there to submit their admission forms. Few minutes into the conversation, one of the girls asks me, “You’re from SIKKIM, why don’t you apply through FOREIGN quota?” I didn’t even know how to react to that and immediately judged them basis their intellectual level (as much as I hate judging others).
Moving to Delhi taught me a lot about how people see and treat people from the North-East. It broke my heart to see how ignorant people were about other parts of the country especially the North-East. This also proved that these people really sucked at studying Geography. Jokes apart, North-Eastern states are as much a part of India like any other state. So why are we treated like outsiders in our own country? This was something that always bothered me a lot. Back then I always ended up having arguments with a lot of people regarding their ignorance about North-Eastern states in India. But eventually, I realised there’s no point arguing with thick-heads as they are just not open to new learnings.
Nothing makes me happier than coming back to Gangtok and seeing Kanchenjunga (which is clearly visible from my balcony on a clear sunny day) first thing in the morning when I wake up. Just seeing the spectacular view captivates my heart with positivity and joy. The mornings are extremely calm and peaceful. All that you can actually hear is the sound of your own breath, which to me is a treat, as the regular honking of the City gets too much for me to handle.
The town goes by the mantra – Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. The best part about the people of Sikkim are that all of them are super friendly and warm, everyone’s quite dedicated to fitness (one can rarely find men or women with protruding belly), everyone is amazingly well-dressed, every second person is a football enthusiast, their choice of music is just phenomenal, people here love their alcohol (Hit and Danesberg beer), most of them are extremely helpful, humble, polite, courteous and well-mannered. My God, the list is a never-ending one, I could probably just go on-and-on about it (one post is just not enough).
Sikkim is THEE paradise for travellers. After-all The New York Times mentioned Sikkim on their list of top 52 places that one should definitely travel to. It’s the perfect combination of luxury, adventure, and spiritualism. A little more bragging would do no harm, Sikkim has also been declared as the first fully organic state in India as well as the cleanest one (now I get my obsession with cleaning). Why wouldn’t I be proud to belong to a paradise like this!
The best is yet to come, the FOOD! It’s just AMA-ZING! Be it the local cuisine that you’re looking to indulge in or exotic international cuisines, restaurants in Sikkim have it all. Varying from Tibetan to Bhutanese to Korean to Chinese or Italian, you name it we have it! There’s always enough surprise for those taste-buds to get excited.
There’s just too much matter flooding my head and it’s impossible for me to write all of it down in just one post. Which in fact is a good thing because then I’ll get a chance to write about it again and again…. 🙂
P.S- Sikkim is one of the three states in India that has two casinos on LAND with the third one opening up soon….