Passing through Second Chance House
Second Chance House, in many different ways, has completely pushed me out of my comfort zone. Normally, I don’t like meeting people and am happy to be alone. Sadly, I am not good at keeping in touch with people, and my few friends accommodate this, with my many other weaknesses. However, Second Chance House loves people and has forced me to interact with the myriad personalities that visit us.
You see, a guest at Second Chance House does not visit for just a few hours, they visit for a few days. It is an exchange of thoughts, ideas and stories. We have a tradition where our visitors are encouraged to cook and then leave behind the recipe. The taste of the laughter and conversations shared, lasts long after the guest has gone.
Some leave behind a memory in the form of a sketch or a photograph. Others show you a viewpoint which you had never seen. Some others just leave you laughing with their sheer ignorance of the hills. While most visitors love looking out onto the hills and can be found hugging the fence, an elderly guest could not be cajoled to sit anyway near the edge of the cliff as she was so sure the cliff would give way the next time the sky rumbled.
Most people who visit us, politely praise the efforts of my team and myself as we struggle to introduce different varieties of flowers. Imagine my predicament when a well-meaning, enthusiastic friend of a friend praised my petunias……all the while calling them roses. That was a thorn on my side for quite a while!
Travel is the best way to know the world, its places and its people. Fortunately, for us, the world visits us at Selim Hill. There were two British citizens with us the night their Queen died. They were intrigued to see how India had declared the Queen dead even before Great Britain! The dining table resembles a United Nations assembly as we have representatives from Germany, Russia, Netherlands, America, Britain, Japan, Greece, China and of course, India. The only rule is that we must all speak in English so that no one feels left out.
Deep into the night, we have guests who point out different stars, constellations and planets. As we peer through our beginner’s telescope, it is not uncommon for someone to break into song while strumming the guitar. The gentle music wafting through the night lulls me into a sense of security and peace. However, I have also had guests with reams of self-written poems which have to be endured with steely willpower. All the while, my mind is working overtime thinking of excuses to get away.
Visitors to Second Chance House know it is not a homestay or a resort. In fact, we are all outsiders and graciously need to co habit with the many insects, small and large creatures and the original people of Selim Hill Tea Estate.
The AI Version
A house becomes a home when its hearth is shared by friends and family. As I share a pot of Dorje Teas with lawyers, doctors, artists, philosophers, writers, thinkers, friends and family, I know each has been sent as “a guide from beyond”.
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