My remote recollection of Siliguri has a lot to do with imaginary build ups, the aura of the town, some self fabricated hypothesis and the smell of tea leaves. I am not the right person to even tell you the monuments/heritage in the town to add to how peaceful the town is. The piece is a mere recollection of small aspects and traits of the town that provoke freshness and peace in my conscience. Siliguri is a small town in the footsteps of Himalayas in northeast India siting at the upper outskirt of West Bengal. I was one year old when dad had to move away from Dalhousie. The new city that I had to move into was somewhat remote, was not even scenic paradise like Dalhousie was, but was toned like an unheard yoga maestro. Perfect is the word. Healthy air, clean water, moist soil, not very well off people, happiness, Chinese toys and a few more various randomly stacked look-backs are a part of my super short Siliguri tales. I can recollect that the street culture of the city was a mix of Sikkim, Bengal and Assam with a Chinese topping. The land of one of the best Momos you with ever come across, the constant battle of hide and seek with the clouds is a constant but not a monotony. Walking down a Siliguri street you will end up on a roller coaster ride as far as the footwear is concerned, from stylish, colorful and pirated Nike, Addidas, Reebok, Umbro to plane black leather middleclass Bata office chappals worn by Lean lanky proper spectacled Bengali uncle. Siliguri was a lot like a multicultural, lower middle class, integrated society and whenever I try recalling my 4 years of my early childhood there, what flashes across the memory is a picture of any random episode of Malgudi Days. Bounded by stretches of teagardens on almost all sides of the town, the main occupation of a common man primarily comes from collecting tea leaves and the further treatment of the same for commercial use. I recall that the most colorful days at Siliguri use to be the festive season of Durga Puja when big wooden structures called Pandals were made to establish the Goddess Durga statue and for the days it lasted, Bengal’s love for art could be seen loud and bold in various Pandals across different parts of the town. Dance performances, drawing completion and different artistry were constants at each Padal venue. The city housed large number of artisans, owners and workers of numerous cottage industry. Just the smell of the place when I try to recollect, sends a feeling of freshness, peace and simplicity down my spine. For a cultural freak like I am, it is a must visit place for to admire cultural beauty.
– Sachin Sengar (Chief Editor, Backroom Defiance)
– Image Courtesy – Google