Religion, the opium of the masses has been used and misused both intentionally and unintentionally by Kings and leaders until “the world has been fragmented by narrow domestic walls”. Rabindranath Tagore must have cajoled nature to support his point of view as the full moon blossomed on 16th April. The Heavenly Luminary took us from darkness to light as we celebrated Good Friday, Hanuman Jayanti, Poila Boishakh, Ramzan and the Jewish Passover - all on the same day! From somewhere faraway, I could hear Harivansh Rai Bacchan - All the different paths ultimately lead to the same ‘Madhushala’.
We knew, as the moon reigned the skies today, she would rain honey on the Darjeeling mountains and tea bushes. It was with nervous excitement and anticipation, that we prepared to be a part of the primal dance that would make us one with the hills.
The locally made bamboo torches or mashaals were lit; the local womenfolk, including me (courtesans of the moon), bedecked in our finery; the moths and men flitted around enraptured by the fire of the mashaals and the mystique of the women..........we all waited for the moon.
She is a diva and does not abide by the time given on the internet. We cajoled with gentle drumbeats and murmured chants, until she suddenly appeared in all her glory, fashionably late, outshining all of us mere mortals. Conch shells resounded, temple bells clanged, the murmured chants became clear and audible. The dance had begun! As we traversed between the layers of the conscious and the sub-conscious, idealism and pragmatism, so the moon moved between mists and flashes of light.
With great reverence, the silver needles of the tea bushes at Selim Hill Tea Garden were plucked in that moment of crescendo and completeness.
The night’s deed was done, the moon beams had been collected. We walked out of the tea bushes - tired and content. The waves of moonlight had purged all emotion from my being. I had been emptied of all honour and dishonour; there was a feeling of fulfilled numbness. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata had just been performed!
The moon has mood swings, so does the ocean and so do we. All of creation has been carved out of the same five elements and when our day’s work on earth is over, we will become one with the moon, the ocean, the sun and the the mountains....... peacefully drinking tea with the old woman who resides on the moon as she spins the silver beams. Do take some time off and build a relationship with the future.
Neither the moon, nor the tea garden belongs to anyone on this earth. As a sentinal of Selim Hill Tea Garden, it is my pleasure to enjoy it all, dance with it, drink deeply into the cup of life, protect it and leave it pristine for generations to come.
Morning came with a freshly brewed cup of Dorje Teas and for sure I could feel on my palate, ‘the misty taste of moonshine’.
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