One of my school batchmates — Debabroto — is staying in Siliguri. I was going to see my son Babai at Gangtok. He’s studying there. The road is from Siliguri. We haven’t met for over 3 decades!
As it’s a rainy season and the road to Gangtok is landslide-prone, we planned to meet on our return journey. As we feared, we encountered landslides on the way up and got stuck. While on our return on July 21, we started early around 7:30 am from Gangtok anticipating some delay on the way. Our flight was at 4:20 pm. The journey normally takes four and a half hours.
As we reached Rambi Bazar, we saw some cars turning back because of road blockade. We took a detour from there towards Darjeeling.
It’s a lovely mountainous road through Mangpo.
We reached Kurseong. We had tea and some refreshment there and then started the journey.
We reached Bagdogra airport through some of the best tea gardens of the world — Makaibari, Goodricke. When we reached Bagdogra, it was 2:15 pm. Debabroto called me that he’s coming to see me at the airport. I was thrilled to meet him after almost 35 years! We couldn’t sit and talk for sometime as we had planned due to time taken for taking a long route to avoid the landslide spot. 😦 But it was very nice meeting him even for a short while at the airport gate.
My return flight to Baghdad from Delhi was at 4:00 am on August 2. I left Ranchi to reach Delhi at 5:30 pm. I checked in Radisson Blu Plaza near Delhi airport. One of my school batchmate — Niladri was there at the lobby waiting for me. He was with his lovely daughter — Ishani. They were returning from Gurgaon and just stopped at the hotel to meet me. It’s so nice of Niladri. As we had planned earlier, three of my other batchmates — Alok, Aranjit and Satyabrata joined in.
Niladri & his daughter left and then we went to my room. I met Aranjit and Satyabrata earlier, but was meeting Alok again after three decades. We had a nice time chatting and gossiping over single malt whiskey along with fish fry, and other yummy snacks — all brought by my friends.
Thanks to my friends the time passed very fast. When they left, it was time to get ready for my journey to Baghdad. Meeting school friends not only enlivens old memories, but takes us back to those carefree school days.