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I think the word “Foreign” starts controlling the freedom of my mind once I get out of the main door of just my own house. I can’t just make a mess and forget where I kept my personal belongings just to shout over my family members to help me find it back. I can’t enter a room without a knock and my bed does not remain as my own bed at home. So I start feeling like foreign just after stepping out of my house. My work and my formal education always kept me away from own hometown, so precisely I never had a chance to build a different perspective of my own hometown.
Darjeeling is a name that is needless to describe because of its famous tea production that is one of the top quality tea producers in the whole world. Apart from that the place is also renowned for its natural beauty for which even the British developed it into their summer capital during their rule in India. Unlike other hill stations of India, I see a charm of happiness in its beauty that is well depicted by its crowd. I can’t just describe it in words so I prefer giving examples of my different experiences I found in Darjeeling compared to all other towns and cities of India I have visited and stayed.
Once in a big city I saw a thief being beaten brutally by a huge crowd. People, mostly strangers, seemed like they needed an excuse to pour their inner feelings of frustration, anger and agony upon that poor thief whose crime was not even measured or confirmed. The incident remained in my mind for years as an expression I found in every faces I saw in Railway platforms, airports and crowded streets of Indian cities. Recently this experience was rewind when the similar incident happened at Darjeeling. The scenario was nearly the same. The same number of crowd, strange looking faces, but the only big difference was that here the crowd was truly protecting the thief from getting brutally beaten up by only one person who claimed the person to be a thief. My perception about this foreign world immediately changed after that.
I see my cab drivers waving their hands from the window and wishing happiness to nearly every person they meet on the street. Does everyone know everyone here? Unlike those hostile stares, stressed wrinkles, attacking pushes, ugly expressions and angered eyebrows I encountered in almost all other cities, I see inviting smiles, submissive wrinkles, apologetic pushes and beautiful expression in the crowd of Darjeeling. The beautiful girls smiling at me at every corner makes me feel admired, the loud sounds of laughter surrounding me makes me oblivious of all the stress I hold in my mind, above all now I truly feel at home, my own home – Darjeeling.