The Adventure of Strike Vacation in North Bengal


Living in a country, where most of the times, the headlines unanimously cover the images of jammed wheels and widely opened mouths that depict the slogans of demands and grievances, traveling can never be an optional choice. However, does that cease the spirit of an explorer, seeking to measure the depth of the circumstances and true aspirations of people that together construct the existence of life in a preferred destination? Well, there may be evaluated choices and shriveled decisions, where the travelers seldom confirm the bookings and reservations. 


The exaggerated common notions or perceptions revealing the bitter caught in the strike travel experiences then turn into one of the pre-cautions for the travelers planning to spend their hard-earned vacation in such destinations. Despite of all such conclusions, variations in the common perspectives to view things more optimistically always do exist in few travelers.




It was raining heavily, when a couple, swollen with their heavy rucksacks and wet clothes, stopped near the barricade and waved their hands to the activists, who had found their shelter under a shed, beside the road. The activists answered them with a sign to walk to their shelter. Their wide smiles wore enchanting impressions that somehow convinced the activists to praise their guts after knowing that the strike was confirmed a month back. In their pure British accent they said, “We were in Delhi, we knew there would be strikes in the hills of North Bengal.” The activists had no reason to stop them as the strike can never barricade the hearts and the exploring eyes of the wanderers, who love nature along with everything in nature. They know no boundaries of political and social conflicts that can never stop the blossoming of Rhododendron, the revelation of golden brightness of Kanchanjenga peak, the flashy glimpse of sailor and sergeant butterflies or the fluffy tail of Krishna peacock, the tempting aroma of steamed Momos and soupy thukpas flying out through the ventilators of kitchen, and above all the dreamy image of Darjeeling in North Bengal, India.

I was quiet enthusiastic to peep in their conscience that  wore so many concealed perceptions about the word, “ Traveler”, so I took an excuse to escort them to a nearby hotel. I had an hour’s time in my hand to spill the beans of their traveling experience that perhaps had some unknown definition of the word “Traveler”. “Aren't you afraid of some unforeseen circumstances that may get you caught in a trap while there is strike on hills?”  The beautiful couple shared their glances and replied, “It’s an adventure for us, where we enjoy negotiating with people, strolling freely on curved roads without any traffic, and enjoy the silence of hills while there is strike”.  “Do you always reach your destination?” I asked, feeling the mercury of my curiosity rising. “Yeah! most of the times, Changing cabs, people, paths, meeting the leaders for permission, knowing the reasons of strikes and different perceptions of different people, their reasons of happiness and annoyance, the things they want us to share with the whole world. We are lucky; we always get heralding people showing their warm hospitality perhaps because this their idol time to truly reveal themselves. There was an incident, where a cab driver was charging us excessively. It was easier to complain, as people act faster than your cops. The cab driver was nearly blown out, when the group of youths complained. We have seen places where we could have never reached otherwise, Stayed in warm and cozy family homes, traveled in flagged vehicles, sat with activists and heard their dreams of economic and social development. So altogether we have experienced both the brighter and the darker sides of your place. We have learned how to convince people, what to say that makes them happy and many things. What do you expect a traveler to explore more than these about the nature, culture and tradition of a place? It is more than an adventure tour. It is an experience that can be written as a story in a book. We have not come to find luxury, but to understand the true way of life, in a different place, with a different experience, where the days are not planned and every day is a non-planned experience”

It was still raining. I left the hotel room and went back to the place, where the barricade still blocked the way. I wondered if the strike was only for machines, political wind, complains and grievances, unfulfilled demands and not for the true heart of wanderers or travelers. However, I should have mentioned it before, that I am talking about Strikes of North Bengal specifically if the article happens to be inspirational for few travelers. 
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