Missing in Action
I keep saying Selim hill is very different from Calcutta and life at Second Chance House is absolutely not what I was used to. Living here for two years I have realised there are some things that are completely missing.
Over these years, I have seen and recorded at least 60 different kinds of bird species. From the large birds like the hornbill and peacock to the small chat birds; from the colourful, playful minivets to the shy, brown owl. They often distract me from my work as I watch a treepie peck at a ear of corn or a scarlet headed woodpecker flying from tree to tree with its family. There are birds of prey such as the serpent eagle and vulture that look out keenly for their prey as they glide gracefully in the air. However, there are NO CROWS. There are birds of the crow family but I have not seen a single crow as we know it.
This is the perfect place for dogs and dog lovers. When we go on a walk, we meet many dogs. Some quietly join as for a bit and then go their own way. There is a small black pomerarian that loves making a noise and jumps up and down excitedly. The huge dog that watches us suspiciously looks like a wolf and kind of scares us. All these dogs and many more come to visit us at Second Chance House. They have a look around, sometimes have a biscuit or two and then leave. Each dog at Selim Hill belongs to someone. They are free to roam around the village and nearby areas throughout the day and go home during meal-times and at night. All of them are well loved and taken care of. There are NO STRAY DOGS at Selim Hill. In a sense, Selim Hill belongs to them and they belong to Selim Hill.
Second Chance House has no window and door grills. Our cupboards do have locks but I have never used them. The bar is full of alcohol and the library is full of books. Yet, we have never felt the need to distrust anyone. The local people of Selim Hill tell us that they never use locks themselves and thievery or stealing is unheard of. It is a good feeling to proclaim that we DO NOT LOCK anything at Second Chance House. The only thieves are the monkeys that love the squash and pumpkin we grow. They are not stealthy and secretive, they come in broad daylight and take what is naturally theirs.
Selim Hill Tea Estate follows the pattern of the sun, the moon and the stars. Once the sun sets, people return to their houses and it becomes dark outside. You can see the twinkling lights inside people’s houses but there are NO STREET LIGHTS to light up the common path. The message is very clear – Early to bed and early to rise…..
The tea that is made at Selim Hill uses NO FERTILISERS and NO PESTICIDES. It is organic and chemical free. As I drink my cup of Second Flush Dorje Tea with NO MILK and NO SUGAR, my belief is re-affirmed that true wealth is good health!
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