I remember as a child how much I enjoyed my trip to Darjeeling. I guess during those days, one had to travel on his own. Internet was still unborn and holiday planners were mostly unheard of. Even though I was barely 11, I do remember the hassle which my parents had to bear as they made a goof-up with the hotels. Finally, we had to live at a different accommodation but in the end things sorted out. It is good that now tourists can avail Darjeeling package or any of the other India honeymoon packages and thus leave everything to the professionals.
There is a minor regret that I have from that trip. I couldn’t enjoy the toy train ride. It is rather unfortunate since years later, I would look with longing desires at the smoke-belching chugging train shown in films like Parineeta. If my memory is not failing me, I am certain that for some reason the toy train wasn’t plying that time when I visited. Either there was some technical fault or some rules had been imposed to temporary stall the services.
Nevertheless, the next time I go to Darjeeling, I am sure to have a go at those toy trains. Perhaps, if I go again to this Queen of the Hills, it is precisely for this reason. Deep down, I do not wish to go to this place ever again. I am very fond of my memories from my trip to Darjeeling and I feel it would be unjust to these reminiscences if I visit the town again. That would lead to creation of fresh memories and would definitely distort the old ones to an extent. Besides, I am scared to let go of the images and postcards which have formed in my mind of this beautiful town. I am afraid that I may not find Darjeeling as beautiful or as endearing anymore. I know it is a silly thought, but then as people say, nostalgia has got no substitute.
A Darjeeling package today may give me ample scope for easy sightseeing and luxurious stay in resorts of my choice, but will it be able to give me memories as warm as the ones I had during my formative years? May be no, may be yes! Who knows, I may come back with pleasanter memories. I just wish I hadn’t visited Darjeeling before. That way I could have gone there without having to trouble my conscience.
But then, I have promised myself a toy train ride. At 42, I do deserve this shot. Hopefully, another trip awaits me soon.