In early September 2017, I went road tripping through North Sikkim with a group of perfect strangers. I'd signed up for it with high hopes from the whole experience. Little did I realise I would end up discovering the stairway to heaven! Why don't you see for yourself? Here is the first of my many heavenly experiences from the trip.
5th Sept: The sky above my head was an infinite blanket of the softest blue. White cotton-candy clouds hung low over grey-blue cliffs. A cow grazed nearby while its little one suckled up to it. A stream of sparkling clear water flowed in the distance, reflecting the blue of the sky. And I stood there, transfixed. I was at the centre of the most exquisite landscape I'd ever seen. To think of all those stories about the beauty of the Swiss Alps and the English countryside that pop culture has fed us for so long! I couldn't help but wonder - why did no one ever talk about THIS PLACE? Was it even real, what I stood before, or was I in a dream?
I was on top of the world. Or so I felt, until a sudden shaking under my feet jerked me back to reality and I remembered where I was really perched - atop the luggage carrier of a Tata Sumo Victa. My hands were outstretched and my eyes darted in every direction. I was awestruck. The closest I'd ever come to this kind of awe was back in 1998, when I was a little girl of 7 and had just seen an escalator for the first time. My jaw probably hung loose for a little while on both occasions.
There was pristine beauty all around us, and my fellow travellers didn't waste a single moment before whipping out their cameras and taking selfies that I knew were going on social media as soon as we had network reception, and landscape shots that would adorn their desktops for months to come. An army truck was stranded ahead of us on the bend in the road, and we had stopped behind them to stretch out our legs and take in the surroundings.