In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Make It Anywhere.”
Back on 2012, we had an educational excursion trip from our college. The place was a small village named Polok in the state Sikkim in India. It is situated near Mt Kangchenjunga. We started from our college premises early in the morning. The weather was chilly as it was the month of January. It took around 5 hours through the hilly roads to reach the destination. We were exhausted totally by the time we reached there. All of my friends including me wanted to have some rest inside a comfortable room. We had no idea that the type of comfort we are seeking was not available in that small village.
We got down the bus and climbed down the hill to reach the small and beautiful village as no further bus road was there. Our professor and our group leader showed us the way and stopped in front of a small house made of bamboo and mud. Me with other four girls were shown a room that was meant for us. As we entered the room we were speechless. My first reaction was, “are we gonna stay here for next 10 days?!”Our group leader confirmed and left us with our frustration.
The room was 10 feet by 10 feet. It had a single cot. Two girls can adjust in that with great difficulty. Other three will have to sleep on the floor. There was a thin old carpet on the floor. There was no attached bathroom. Only one bulb and a single charging point. Soon after we entered the room, the electricity supply went out. On asking about the power cut the house owner’s daughter said that it happens daily from 5 P.M. to 10 P.M. “Marvelous!” exclaimed one of my friends. It was already evening and we went outside in search of washroom to freshen up.There were total 15 in our group and I had to wait for my turn to go to the washroom. There was only a single washroom! It was very cold outside and the tap had only cold water. My face and hands were freezing after splashing the cold water. After coming back to the room I lit up a candle and tried to warm up my cold fingers in vain. I did not know how I was going to survive the next 10 days.
Around 8 P.M. we had our dinner outside in the cold. People in the village sleep early and wake up early. So the dinner time is like that. After dinner we came back to our room and as there was nothing else to do and as we were very much tired, we decided to sleep. My mobile’s battery was dying but there was no electricity. The five of us had a discussion about the possession of single cot for sleeping. We decided that two among us will sleep on the cot and other three will sleep on the floor. It will rotate daily. We also decided that when the power will come we will charge our mobiles on a rotating way. We laughed a lot about our weird ideas. But that was the only way to solve some of our problems.
Next day we woke up early at 5. One by one we took the shower. Around 8 the breakfast was ready. We were told to eat well as there was no system of lunch there. Yes, you heard that right. We too had a similar expression after hearing that. The people in the village had food two times a day; breakfast and dinner. After having our food we started for the first day of our survey. We walked long distances, we climbed up and down the hills to reach every house of the village and collect the data for our survey. We started at 9 in the morning and returned at 4 in the afternoon. We were tired and hungry but we got no food till 8 at night. There were no shops so we could not buy anything. We were very much angry and disappointed and wanted to return back but we were not allowed to do so.
Next two days passed like that. After three days I was getting used to the environment.I was no longer unhappy or angry but I tried to blend in the environment. I thought, if these villagers can stay here for years without letting their smile fade, so can I for at least ten days. I was very much moved by the hospitality and simple way of lives of the villagers. Some of them were very poor but they always welcomed us with a wide smile. We were welcomed by one household with hot water and some boiled potatoes with salt. I found that gesture very sweet. I was sorry for complaining too much. We also made friends with two school going daughters of the house owner. We saw many beautiful places. We went to see the natural hot water spring situated at the valley of a mountain. We hiked through the rough terrain to reach there. We saw the hanging bridge among the jungles. It was fun.
After spending ten days there when I returned back I learnt so many things. Also I felt that, if I made it here, I can make it anywhere.