ILLAM, Nepal


My family and I visited Illam for the new years’. For four days I was in the green lush hills, driving down beautiful roads around heavenly landscape and yet it felt like it wasn’t enough. It felt like the feeling of being on a trip was missing or more like I did not feel free enough to do things I was imagining, though I know I can be impractical sometimes. I believe these trips are memorable when you get into uncomfortable situations and scenarios and how you get out of and remember how it all happened. It needs be tenuous. But, it was a family trip, comfortable and limiting. Anyway, since my father was the pack leader which meant I wasn’t making the choices but he was. He decided when it was time to get up and go, where to stay, what to eat and what not to eat, and when we were going back and most importantly, all the conversations with the strangers. Maybe, I wasn’t involved and I was feeling sick about it. Thank god it did not come out directly on him but in a very silent nuanced pulsating revolt. It meant that I was indirectly directing my suppression by talking brashly or ignoring, and rebelling against his decisions or what not.

Anyway, there feels an empty void that nothing could fill but being alone. Being alone, on the road, that’s when I am completely on my own. Deciding all the crazy ideas I get up my head. Walking. That’s most important. When travelling I like to travel on foot. That’s my favorite conveyance. Anything else is just too fast. Meeting strangers and seeing places and eating food and just doing whatever the hell you can imagine and not needing someone else to accompany you on it.

We all to need to be doing solo trips, once in while; guess that will only prove how much we agree with our ideas. I will definitely do a hiking trip. It could just be a small stretch or something, like I would go in the morning and return by evening. No, but that is not something that would be enough or something we should go slow and build ourselves. I want to do something big. That way I would really test my ideas in a huge way. Otherwise, it would be like shaping your mind to come around your own ideas and settling yourself into them when it is all about testing your ideas with the rest of the world’s.

The famous tea gardens of Illam

Anyway there are things to talk about Illam too. The place is absolutely beautiful and the drive even better. I wish we did more walking but anyway, the tea gardens, for me, was a first. They look like grasslands, mesmerizing. Women cultivated them largely. We all know about how pretty Nepali women are, but they are also the ones running the country here, the men are outside in other countries doing all kinds of jobs, while the women irrigate the lands, cook food, bring up their children, teach them and all sorts of things. These women from the hills and villages are surprisingly very upfront like they are not shy speaking to men. I have seen or heard that girls from villages are shy talking to men and all that but they are not. I was the shy one around.

The Long range of Kanchenjunga

We drove all the way to eastern territory of Nepal, Taplejung, beyond which there were no roads. It was bordered by Bhutan on the east and China in the north. We were surrounded by the tall and snow covered peaks of the Kanchenjunga Range. Even from a distance, that we were, they looked gigantic. I couldn’t take my eyes off them until the sun had set and it was out of sight until next morning. People usually come here to make a pilgrimage to a famous Shiv mandir of Pathibhara. We didn’t go there because there were no proper roads and only habituated local drivers can take that route. We would have to hire a Scorpio which we did but eventually changed our minds because it was another 5-6 hours journey and a steep trek that my father completely signed off from. It was situated at a mighty 4000mts and really cold since it was wintertime. Well, that’s that.

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