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Of Mists and Caramel Custard

Of Mists and Caramel Custard
As children, we often visited the Darjeeling Hills and tea gardens in this area. I distinctly remember what it was like after dinner. It was time for the age - old taste of the caramel custard - a legacy left behind by the British. While we savoured the sweetness of sugar and eggs, the manager of the Tea Estate enjoyed scaring us with his ghost tales - The headless horse rider, the house with the love story that ended tragically, the woman that waylays cars and trucks......the list was endless. The common element in all of these, though, was always the mist and how it accompanied each of these characters.
MIST- an integral part of Selim Hill and of course Darjeeling is nature’s own smoke screen. It is a mass of contradictions - neither liquid nor gas; neither of the earth nor the skies. There is no one way of describing or interpreting it.
Sometimes when I look down from the Second Chance Bungalow and see the winding road partially covered by mist, I am reminded of Agatha Christie's ‘Death in the Clouds’. The mist, the bungalow and the romance of Selim Hill could provide the perfect back drop for a murder mystery.
The Kanchenjunga is extremely private in nature. It reveals itself only when it wants. A little different from the social networking groups of today when we are always under scrutiny. The aura of mystery around oneself, the ability to have a public persona which is different from the private one are quite possible.
In seconds, whether night or day, the mist descends such that you cannot see even 10 feet from where you are standing. Everything vanishes, as if erased out of existence. Beware! it is very easy to get lost. Your destination may be in front of you and you may not be able to see it. It is a test of your courage, perseverance and above all faith. If you reach your destination, you can be assured of a warm welcome and the mystical delight of a caramel custard.
When enveloped on all sides, the most important thing it forces you to do is to look not from the eyes of vision, but with that of instinct. You are to use all your other senses - smell the citronella grass, hear the song of the Blue Whistling Thrush, feel the caress of the wind and stick out your tongue to taste the mist itself.
The mist is like a living dream. It takes you inside yourself and forces you to delve into the subconscious and the unconscious. You are no longer in the world of neon lights and unnatural TV Serials. Do you have the courage to be antarmukhi and start evaluating yourself?
The politics of the Darjeeling Hills is a lot like its mist - a lot of cloaks and daggers. The mist at Second Chance, Selim Hill reminds me - Don’t take reality too seriously! As I sit back to enjoy a cup of Dorje Tea with some caramel custard, I am forced to wonder - Am I in a dream or have I just woken up from one?
Sit back with a cup of Dorje Teas Roasted Flush and enjoy the mist rising up from your cup sent with love from Selim Hill.
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