Soon Virgin Galactic will make sub-orbital travel into space possible for paying customers. As I read about it, I feel compelled to share with you my foray into space at no cost at all. Travel is nothing if it does not take you to the centre of your being where the hot golden lava of ‘Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram’ echoes paradoxically the beauty of the silent and holy night.
The last part of our fourteen, odd hours of car journey from Calcutta (I still can’t relate to Kolkata) to Selim Hill Tea Garden in Darjeeling is definitely the most thought provoking. We climb up the Hill Cart Road (old road to Darjeeling) which has retained its quaint nature even as the fast and furious choose to go up the Rohini Road (new road to Darjeeling).
Night descends early on the hills of Darjeeling; the day ends when the sun decides. The trees loom large and their shadows larger as they direct you onwards on your course. The winding road, as it climbs upwards takes you “Far from the Madding Crowd” and into a world of Solitude. At that point, in arrogance, you tend to feel like you own the world or the Darjeeling Hill Cart road at the very least.
As we climb up, our battered and much travelled Innova starts taking on the characteristics of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car. It can fly!!! As it takes on anti-gravity qualities and we fly over the clouds, our car is now a part of the Transformers and has stealthily turned into a space ship.
The multi-layered blackness is enhanced by the lights of inter galactic lands faraway as you gaze towards the heavens. On the other hand, the heart and hearth warming bulbs of houses on nearby hills complete this firefly effect. The road ceases to exist, time stops and you feel like you are hanging in mid-air. I am convinced this is what outer space must feel like. If I was more acrobatic and could stretch out a little more, I am sure I could have touched the moon. Is this Time travel, where the past, present and future merge into one?
The vast expanse of nothingness way up on the hills, brings to surface self-doubt and apprehension. However, Captain Kirk (from yester-years Star Trek) saves the day and whispers into my ear - “You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown — only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”
I am reminded of Elon Musk’s cherry red sports car (in space, orbiting the earth). Mine is not a scientific journey either, it is a quest for something beyond facts and figures. I often wonder whether Selim Hill Tea Estate in Darjeeling is my Pandora ( From the movie Avatar) and can its wisdom and beauty be protected?
My space ship has landed and so do I from my reverie as I enter the gates of Second Chance House, stretch my cramped body and drink some, out of the world Teas - Dorje Teas - Connecting the past, present and future.
Write to me at Editor@Dorjeteas.com
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