|Title||Lakure Bhanjyang Picnic at Deerwalk, A Memoir|
|Duration (hrs)||10 hrs|
|Captions by||Sushanta Pokharel|
|Report by||Sushanta Pokharel|
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
For an urbanite like me who immediately reaches for his phone after hearing a tweet, 27 November 2010 was a welcome change. This day, we at Deerwalk went picnicking near Lakure Bhanjyang. And there, when we heard tweets we looked towards the trees. We were a wild bunch with only one thing on our minds, "to have fun", and we got more than what we had expected.
For some, the journey started at the Deerwalk Office, in the office van A.K.A "Deerwalk Yatayat", around 8:00. Others had been provisioned other vehicles. We were all excited and looking forward to rendezvous with everybody else at Kaushaltar. We had tea while waiting for the others. Not surprisingly many of us arrived late. The surprise was that the "Deerwalk Yatayat" had gone by another route.
We need to make compromises in every aspect of our lives and specially for those who had been dwelling on naïveté, the ride was quite bumpy, literally. It started at Kaushaltar towards Luvu. We now know that we could have avoided the wear and tear had we taken the route from Gwarko. The unavoidable ascent continued at Dhungen with coarsely graveled road, sharp turns and steep slopes. It remained the same till the end. Some four wheeled drives had it easy but for the small cars, like the one I was driving, it was a struggle. Manoj dai had informed us about a narrow diversion at 2.7 K.M. but due to a rounding error of about a K.M some guys missed it and nearly reached the top of the hill. Luckily for us the "Deerwalk Yatayat" was leading the way. As we reached the picnic spot we stretched our backs, looked downhill at the road and reflected on the arduous journey.
The place was serene. Down below we could see the valley, growing like a huge slum, chaos and black smog all over it. Up above and far at a distance we could see white peaks, beckoning us to a meditative trans with their stillness, simplicity and grandiosity. The picnic spot was about 10 minutes of perspiration from where we had parked. Each of us had to carry things to the spot. There were local villagers willing to help us carry the heavy loads like gas cylinders which would have been impossible for us to carry on the hills. We stopped complaining about the trail when we saw that the villagers were scurrying with a 30kg gas cylinder on their back as if it was a rose petal.
All of us were famished, so we took charge of chores, laying out the matresses and preparing bread. The actual picnic started immediately after we had an almost sumptuous bread and jam breakfast. Most memorable were the team building/party games. One of them was aptly named "musical stones", an improvised version of the "musical chairs". The other was "pinata" or "pinyata". The objectives of each were different. The former demanded physical strength to go around a circle until the music stopped when we had to quickly step on stones to keep us in. The next was to guide a blindfolded teammate to a pot full of toffies and break it. It was more tactical for we had to invent argots to give directions while the other team tried to mislead the blinded-folded guy. At the bottom however, both of the games were meant to have fun. Then in the evening we distributed the poll results for "thinnest employee in deerwalk", "hitler of deerwalk". All the winners got some very "useful" prizes like a fake radish, birthday caps etc. It was pretty hilarious.
Our office chef prepared bountiful lunch after which we scattered in groups to play cards and have some drink. Some of us intrepid, even undertook the challenge to walk to the top of the hill. Admist the howling melange of cheers, jeers and moans of the gamblers a bunch of us had already walked about a kilometer towards the top. We could see the valley below, the mountains and the spot itself like miniature models. It was nice to have people gathered all around playing cards, making conversation and telling others about the predicaments faced when they were students.
We had become kids once again. We had forgotten our projects and the humdrum affairs. Trivialities like winning the musical stone or making friends was once again on our priority. To say that we had fun there would be to disparage our experience. It was almost unsurpassed in enjoyment. As with all good things in life it was to end at around 5 pm. We danced after having some soup and the we came down that nostalgically bumpy road and traced our way back to the dusty city. I think we were all just silent the whole way, just reflecting on how the day had gone.