– Jeewan Dahal
A Bihari guy, who seemed old fashioned, aged between 35-39, had visited Gangtok in 2018, his first trip to the Himalayas. He had visited only MG Marg and he had no idea where to go with his 12-year-old daughter. He appeared in a taxi stand and it was peak season during that time.
“1000 rupya main Baba Mandir ke liye Gaadi milega kiya?”, I heard these words. These words were repeated and were met with laughter by the taxi drivers since the season was at the peak and per vehicle would cost a minimum of around 6500-7000.
And, that Bihari Guy with his daughter stood there innocently, he had no idea why people were laughing. Meanwhile, we all moved to the permit office to get our Guest’s permit.
When we came back after 2 hours, he was still sitting in the same place, unable to fathom the situation, maybe lost all hope in humanity or just feeling alone in a strange place.
I went to him and tried to make him understand, it’s peak season so nothing can be done. On the same day, I was making a permit for my friend who’s from Banglore and is a software techie. Somehow, I explained to him about this Bihari guy’s situation, who came from a rural place to see Baba Mandir and has a small daughter with not enough money for travel. My friend seeing him, who was now almost about to cry, agreed to help him. He offered him a seat in his vehicle and assured him of all help.
In the evening, he even shared food with the Bihari guy and also offered to drop at Siliguri by the next morning.
Again in 2018 Oct, I went to Bihar with our family to offer Pinda Daan to our ancestors in Phalgu River, Gaya. I, wearing red dhoti got exhausted searching a pandit for 3 hours (I don’t want to give 15000-20000 INR to some fake pandit). I remembered that incident, and hence I dialed him. The same Bihari Guy who I had met that time, responded instantly asked me where I was. He informed us he was just 15 km away from Phalgu river and he is doing volunteering work in the Bihar govt nearby.
Within 40 minutes, he came to our spot near Vishnu Mandir with something called “Thekua” and his friend who’s carrying Kush, who was also a Pandit in his town. He refused to take money from us after doing Pinda Daan. Still, we gave him 4000 INR as a good gesture during that difficult time. Then he took us to his home and offered us lunch and later we found out that his salary is just 4000/- per month. And that time he had come all along just 3500/- INR to Gangtok j to see the Himalayas and visit Baba Mandir. I was glad we could help him. And gladder at his help and hospitality here.
He had cooked “Thekua” and something called “Doodh malai” the next morning and packed for us before we were leaving Patna from Gaya.
This is where I learned a thing called “Thekua”. It’s lovely, sweet! And lovelier was the hospitality of that guy from Bihar.
Happy Chaath Puja!