Plight of being born as an artist in Kalimpong


Representative picture.  

I look at Kalimpong; I look at the people here. Is it small place with small mentality? Who respects the work of an artist here? And if an artist is young, damn! You’ll end up finding yourself in the porch of anxiety-disorder soon.

I know few awesome musicians like the guys from the band-Doodles, they speak about change- a positive change in this society. They want to transform Kalimpong in a better way, but change here is just political…. How sad!

Did anyone encourage them to repaint this town till now? (I mean the ones who warm their chairs in their offices)


Did anyone support them?


Because the ones who can support are busy giving press conferences- promising things that are never going to happen here even in years to come.

I’m not speaking about politics or politicians, I don’t really care who wins the election. I didn’t even cast my vote!

Few months back I was called to edit a book, I did. I don’t know what happened after that.

Many months ago, I was called to write a script. There too I was exploited ergonomically.

Dude! What about My time, my effort and my energy?  Who is going to appreciate and acknowledge that?

We artists too have things to look after, we might need another lens for mastering the art of photography, we might need to add some more guitars and guitar-accessories, and we do have bills to pay. But the scene here is more like, ‘Bhai we have a small function, please ai dinu hos na, photo-soto pani khichi dinu hos’ (please come to our function, and take some pictures as well.)

Are photographers that jobless here? Who will pay them for your pictures?

Or to the musicians, ‘bhai bholi ko program ma ayera eso ek-dui wata geet sunai dinu hos na, audience lai alik entertainment huncha ni ani tapaiharu ko pani publicity huncha’ (please come and perform in tomorrow’s program so that the audiences are entertained, you will also be publicizing yourself at the same time.)

Dear musicians, if anyone tells you this hereafter, don’t forget to get-up and shove their brainless head with the same guitar that you are carrying (make sure it’s an electric guitar.)

And to all the amazing poets, if anyone invites you to recite a poem in any function for free, please, rather make an anthology and sell it, it’s worth more than their cold Dhanyabaad!

Common! We have to eat and survive here as well.

We are the ones who really don’t rely on the funds coming from the government; we do things that we are passionate about. We want to change the system here. But other than a handful of youths, who all are interested to be the change here? No one!

I have slowly understood that Kalimpong is not the place for artists and this is the reason why the excellent ones are in other cities.

I’m afraid that K-town, one day will be left with no youthful artists, then the same chair warmers will be giving press conferences about the same thing because they just preach and not practice and the condition of this little town will be worst than ever before.

I used to wonder why eminent personalities like Tulsi Ghimeray and Binod Pradhan who hails from Kalimpong does nothing for their birthplace, only to realize that people here paid no heed to such talents which gradually drifted them away to other places. I’m glad that they chose to leave Kalimpong else it would be like the story of our lives— Lots of creativity in mind and not able to execute because we are not given that place or a platform, forget about place or platform, least people can support, but No.

What Divyas Bardewa from Doodles said got in my pipedream, ‘Aray khada (alternative of a garland) ra dhanyabaad ta katti thupri sakyo, (We have ample of khadas and thankyou’s) but we as an artist, never got that respect from the inhabitants of Kalimpong.’

This is the sad reality of the place we love so much, we want to do so much for this sleepy little town but our efforts are considered void and our age are disregarded or overlooked by the senior civilians.

Has time really come for the artists of Kalimpong to pack their bags and migrate to new cities where their talents are appreciated? Or will the people change their mindset and welcome the artists here?

It’s now upto them!


Support artists and share this post-Thank you!

Varinka Turquoise.

Life of a woman in a nutshell.

IMG_2889 (2)


Alarm 7:30 am.
Alarm 7:35 am.
Alarm 7:40 am.


Alarm 8:00 am.

Shit! She would utter and grab her brush, brew a cup of tea for her and prepares breakfast.

She takes a quick shower and gets ready to work.

She reaches office and starts working till she opens her Tiffin-box in her lunch break and enjoys her food which she cooked along with her breakfast.

She would work again till her evening tea arrives and leaves office after punching her last thumb impression.

She’d take a cab home, after reaching she’s get ready to attend a funeral of a neighborhood.

She’d come back home and start cleaning the rooms, cook, do the dishes, laundries, fix the gas, call the plumber, sweep the floor, mop, garden, painting and ultimately sleeping.

*She also has to keep that ‘Namastay-uncle’ relationship with all of her neighbors, socialize, attend weeding/funeral, birthdays and festivals every single time while you sit by the couch and play fifa.

The next day she would start snoozing her alarm and repeat the entire schedule every day.

Well that’s the power to be a woman.

Cheers to all the amazing powers
Happy Women’s day
Love- Varinka Turquoise.


Autumn passed really quick.

blog it

Before meeting the fictional Varun 😉

Chapter 6

Autumn passed really quick. (I am still thinking for an appropriate name of the chapter)

Varun was wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans, his abs was visible from his white thin t-shirt and his physique was too admirable that any girl could drool for.

We spent most of the time together for we both were associated to English dailies where 15-20 other reporters belonged to Nepali or Hindi newspapers.

“Months already passed making today some first week of January” said Varun while I was unfolding The Telegraph’s Metro section in the park that morning.

“Huh? So? 2014 is gone, did I complain? I answered.

“Try being soft and calm sometimes, being straightforward is good… but not always” said Varun as he sounded little serious, he looked stranded too.

“Did you eat something Vaun?” I asked maintaining a cool tone of my voice.

‘Challo we’ll eat some donut in 3C’s’ I urged.

He slowly stood up and followed me through the bustling street of Dambar chowk, half of the road was filled with SUMI boys where Main-Road seemed congested as always. There’s a state bank’s ATM opposite to 3C’s, where people are always queued. There are many cash withdrawing machines in the town but people prefer ‘that’ particular money extracting booth. Varun looking at the length of the queue asked me if things were okay. I told him that it was just a line where people are waiting to withdraw some cash.

I pushed the transparent door of 3C’s inside and quickly glanced myself to the mirror in the right hand side, I was looking okay. We took the table next to the window and asked the same Chinese faced girl, (who wore the same red t-shirt and check apron,) two cups of hand-made coffee, a sandwich and a donut. I ate half of his sandwich and he took a large bite from my ring shaped fried cake with a chocolate topping. He was hungry.

He spoke very less and listened more, I always feel like a chatterbox when with him.

Hey, what’s wrong with you today? I asked when I observed the furrow in his eyebrow which had a noticeable expression of disapproval.

Nothing Varinka, you know my tenure as an intern in TT is getting over next week, don’t you? He questioned.

Yes, I’m so happy for you. So what have you decided? I’m sure the editors of TT are really impressed with your work, I asked.

“It’s not that Vari, it’s not about work all the time, it’s about me, it’s about you; it’s about us, this time” said Varun in a firmer voice.

I still didn’t know what did he mean, did he like me? Why was I never aware?  I started talking to myself in my mind.

“My training is over and now I’m placed in Khaleej times of Dubai” added Varun after taking another careless sip of coffee.

I didn’t know how to react; I showed him my happiness and congratulated him. I didn’t want him to know that I was choked from within. I didn’t want him to know that I liked him.

Phone beep*

I ignored.

Message from a senior colleague* Inferno smoldering in Pedong, half of the town turned to ashes, answer my call, we are waiting for you and Varun in the cab, where are you?

Shit! I uttered and stood up grabbing my bag, Varun was astound to witness my haste.

‘What happened?’ He asked.

I held his hand and dragged him out from the chair, ‘We need to go to Pedong now’ I said while I left a hundred rupee note on the counter and left through the transparent door.

‘Its 120 madam’ shouted the counter boy.

I quickly returned and paid 20 more bucks.

‘Sorry’ I said and ran out.

Varun was still confused, when I made him run towards the 8-10 seated cab which was waiting for us next to David-Gas.

We ran from main-road to david-gas, while running I perceived myself as Roshni running a marathon. I was a bad athlete since school. I was probably the last to hear the starting gun in the sports-day audition in St. Josephs Convent. ‘It’s okay Varinka, you can go back to your class’ used to be the prominent sentence in every annual audition. In other words, I never used to get selected in anything, not even in the clumsiest spoon-marble race.

It was a red colored ecco car. We had 16 eyes gaping at us; I didn’t know what impression they had in those 8 thick minds, me sticking to Varun or vice versa.

We were driven quickly and we saw Pedong turning into ashes. The victims reported that a fire broke at midnight due to short-circuit in a sweet shop.

The circuit in a shop slowly spread to the neighboring shops and flamed everything into ashes, nothing could be saved besides lives, everyone is safe but all of their hard earned wealth along with their houses have been burnt, said a victim who was still sulking, everyone jotted down the incident in the slip pad and I started taking few pictures.

The politicians arrived and declared huge amount of cashes that night, I don’t know if the victims actually got to lay a hand on the physical money or it was just an announcement.

‘Same shit! Fuckers! Vicky whispered. Vicky and I were together in high school, he was known for his hazel pair of eyes. And now he was settled in Pedong, luckily his house was 4-5 yards away from the fire. He was supposed to get wedded in another one month.

He was angry. You know, these fuckers will do nothing, it happened 12 years ago too. What did they do? They didn’t even provide one damned fire-brigade shit here. Now they talk about giving money. Fuckers. Spewed Vicky

‘12 years ago?’ I asked.

I was a kid when a huge fire broke out in St. George Hostel in 2002, I vividly remember that night. But tell me, how hard is it to provide a fire-station here? He was still angry.

They estimated the total loss of 7 crores which turned into ashes that night. Books, computers, laptops, mobile phones, cloths, shoes, blankets everything was burnt in those closed shops.

‘What people could save was just their life’ Vicky murmured while he was still shaken up.

All the reporters started their own investigation in the spot; Varun was totally out of sight. We later packed up and assured the victims that things will be all right with time. I bade Vicky goodbye and left saying that I would ring him up soon.

We decided to stop in Algarah for lunch; Algarah is a small place, smaller than Pedong where we couldn’t even get momos. So we ended up with bowl full of hot steamy waiwai soup.

The roads from Algarah to 14th Mile was very bad, everyone got jerks that day. Varun still looked intense, dwelling in a deep thought. All reporters seemed tired and nobody talked, the car was suddenly like a meditation centre and just to kill the silence driver-daju played some songs from his pen drive, till then Varun was asleep on my shoulder.

The song was an old Tulsi Ghimeray’s hit, while Varun was asleep the song went on like. ‘Jhajhalko leyara ayecha sawaan, feri akha ma’

That was when I realized how Tulsi wrote the lyrics or the entire screenplay of that movie; he once narrated his story of struggle when I went to interview him. He told me that he had no one to write a lyric for his first movie ‘Bansuri’ and he couldn’t pay everyone, moreover the one whom he expected, couldn’t write up to the mark.

I remembered him saying “bansuri was really difficult, I dint have money to hire a screenplay writer or lyricist and no one would do it for free, I struggled. I was forced to write myself, it was similar with the lyrics, no one could write the type of lyric I wanted, I constantly thought about the last sawan (monsoon) and its reflection replicated my mind, that’s when the type of lyrics I wanted was formed, ‘jhajhalko liyera ayecha sawan feri akha ma’ See, everything is possible when you try, isn’t it?”

Everything is fucking possible when we try, people don’t try and that’s how we have only a handful of influential people here. People give up easily; I too give up easily at times.

Evening without an internet connection

Varinka Turquoise
March 2013

Life’s too much bonded with technologies; one cannot survive a day without internet-the advantage of gaining knowledge without going nowhere but a huge disadvantage of making oneself a dull, isolated person. 

Similarly no single day or night was I without internet, ‘like’ people’s post on Facebook, have nothing important to do, still share something unnecessary (as if it’s a compulsion) stupidly act gleeful to see many likes rather than comments, check who’s online, a flash of some morons message sets off our finger to offline ourself or log it off. Check lyrics after that, go through recent happenings, get drenched in thoughts after reading the scams and scandals. How corrupted people can be! (After all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely) read old mails and smile as if every message contained a brief joke. Feel lethargic, and give a glance to Skype, if no regards- upload a new attention and onset it feeling curious about the likes and comments of the last share in facebook makes us switch back to it again, have a long look of the latest feed, sneak through someone’s wall, poke a crush etc., are the activities which we get involved everyday making our self move a step behind, knowing more about people but understanding them less personally.

It was some years ago…. my internet connection was lost and I had no genuine thing to do, I couldn’t go through the marketplace from my phone, neither fb, I was home alone or stranded. But surprisingly it felt blissful to grab some fresh gentle breeze, butter-flying my face and tangling my hair fro, in the mean time I had a respectful talk to people walking aloof, watched the stars turn brighter, and heard mosquitoes hovering around, it was for the first time I dint get mad at mosquitoes 🙂

After the magnificent encounters I walked back to my cozy room and texted people whom I often whatsapp-ed. It’d been such a long forgotten time that I last received texts, besides Airtel, I don’t.

I in fact missed my phone beep, notifying a message. I gave a call to my friends and spoke to them for a couple of minutes, listening to their voice eased me off a big time. Dusted my old album after the phonic conversation, flipping the pages without slides is somewhat interesting, of course multitasking is uneasy when we’ve to manipulate things, still it was worth to retrospect the days gone by. People hardly have photo albums these days; it is perhaps replaced with folders in the P.C, flash drives, memory cards, etc. Re-flipping the pages of the photographic content made me realize that I’d an assignment pending, killing my laziness my hand reached to an old tattered, cello taped book given by my senior.

Unexpected happens! Up to my surprise the index was missing, I had to turn the never ending pages to search ‘the pros and cons of small newspapers.’ After I jotted down the entire chapter I understood what hard work exactly means. The introduction of technologies made life a copy-paste business. The checklist was cleared; I still had time for the connection to accept as promised by the customer care executive, that’s when I started writing….

The connection blinked as a sign of internet availability after I wrote a paragraph, I couldn’t restrain.

I was online- in multiple accounts 🙂
Here, I post my past-time activity as a note too.

Kalimpong’s Haat


You know you are in Kalimpong when you reach town after getting badly caught in traffic for more than 15 minutes, that’s when you will realize that it’s Wednesday or Saturday-Haat day to be precise.


Now,take a walk down with the crowd to haat bazaar from C.K Chowk, you won’t hesitate to grab a handful of fresh leafy vegetables just arrived from the outskirts of this town with sparkling dews still lingering in it….


Take me home, cook me and eat me! :p

From fruits to every type of vegetables, and from crockery’s to foot wears of all sizes, haat bazaar comes with every flavor.






Junks? I bet you love them, are you thinking about fresh steamy momos to spicy alu-thukpas? Oh! This is the right place to see this winter. When people are busy shopping groceries, excuse yourself to munch the fresh street food from here.


You get fumbees too!

What else do you expect for? Do you wanna see the exquisite doko? (handmade huge basket to carry firewood) that’s in the left hand side from the center of Haat, that is if you enter from C.K Chowk, the ethnic craft of the local people won’t fail to surprise you.


Let’s buy and support them. 🙂

And did you say that you are embarrassed to shop vegetables from Haat?  Common, you need to grow up, everybody needs to eat to survive and you are lucky for there’s a famous fish market by the entrance.


Macha Bazar!

What mutton? That you get everywhere! 😀  Oh! chickens? yeah! they are waiting for your rescue.


But for every bit of fresh local fruits, you need to shop here, oh! Wait! Oranges are here already.


Local Oranges

While you are busy choosing clothes for yourself in another edge of haat, the tattered blue tarpaulin above your head gives you the feel of ‘patches of sunlight’ in the sheltered afternoon, like, oh! What a pleasant day!











Mushrooms, bamboo shoots, or green peas, everything would lie fresh in haat ghar in their respectful seasons. The first selling of squash-root will see hassle there in winters (for iskus ko Jara ra raya ko saag makes the best combination and fortunately both are found in the same season.)


Two most loved things in one picture!

And before leaving haat, don’t forget to drop a coin or two to this guy here.


Lastly, talk about the bee-haat days of haat bazaar, trust me, you’ll find children playing crickets and hopscotch’ everywhere and the edges of this interesting place would be covered with just washed and hung-to-dry sarees.



A young lad, a father of 13-

When I first heard about Kunal, my eyebrows were curled in disbelief, after I visited him (a year ago) I became a different person.



before they planted trees, picture with the author 🙂


Kunal Ghatani did make many headlines in the regional newspapers but the headlines didn’t give his children food to eat and cloths to wear. He astonishingly adopted 13 children when what he actually wanted to do was, buy a bike!

He has unspoken story of struggle on how he sustained for two years with minimum support from people and his eyes speak the unquestioning love which he selflessly gives it to the children whom he has adopted on November 2013.

Thirteen children go to different schools and all are good at studies, they are well mannered and well nurtured where in the other hand, Kunal playing many  roles is evident in the children’s eyes.


the smallest kid, he is so adorable 🙂

Speaking to this author, the young Samaritan said that he sometimes have to think about the next morsel of food to feed the children. He added the conversation saying that he was brought up in poverty and he wore a thumb protruding shoe with torn socks when he was a school going kid.

The young father (of 13 children) who is now twenty something seems younger enough to believe that he has sacrificed his dream bike to get the roadside children home.

‘‘Now what? Shall I leave the children home, back to their condition? I always questioned myself but my conscience was against my thought, I somehow felt that I could uphold my decision of raising them” said the young man.
Sadly, people who watched him in regional channels couldn’t do much than showing sympathy.

Kunal in the other hand is working to register his ‘children home’ and is still having predicaments, financially.  But what are we waiting for? We just have an opportunity to grab, in-order to prove that humanity still exist, so let’s do it.

We can make the children’s future bright, we can sponsor them, we can buy bats and balls or some coloring books. We can donate them old clothes or even buy them new. 🙂

Today the children stepped their third year in Kunal’s home and they seem very happy but it’s only the father who knows the sacrifices behind the brood’s happiness.

So, good people, let’s work on making humanity a charitable practice rather than just leaving it as a useless word in a closed dictionary.



Let’s join hands and help them grow!
Author: Varinka Turquoise.


The city of yellow Auto-rickshaw: Bangalore-an ode.

Representative picture.

           Representative picture.

Varinka Turquoise
17th July 2015

The summer night’s sweat disappears like a drop of morning dew
Today is a new day, a new opportunity.
July’s sun is not scorching here,
Who knew that I’d wake up to this place?

A place filled with yellow rickshaws.
It’s Bangalore, a city that never sleeps,
A city with juvenile merchants-
Who sell stickers and books in the traffic signals-
MG Road or Commercial Street, the innocent faces surround the shoppers.
Those faces have sufficient stories to tell.
But they are shooed away by the ignorant hippies.

Today, I hired an auto and the driver was a Muslim.
He had a famous surname which is easily recognized in Bollywood~
He was Khan. Yousif Khan.
He spoke pure Islam, The unadulterated one.
He ecstatically, blissfully said that Nepalese were the best people he’s ever seen.

The unrehearsed conversations and inquisitions carried on.
Meanwhile a red traffic signal gleamed and we were stuck
That’s when a girl of 7-8 years stepped and insisted me to buy her stickers
Like the one you see in infamous movies, exactly like that,
Asking the mid-aged man to buy a rose to his annoyed girlfriend
But here, she was not a flower girl; she just sold the illustrated labels of some animated hero’s
Neither there was a heroine or a hero- it was just a poet!

I gave her a ten rupees note and she gave me one label which had yellow smileys
One tiny lad was searching for another cab like a prey,
where he can go and convince the passengers to buy his adorned pen.
Trivial things they sell don’t cost more than ten rupees.

They walk without slippers and we proudly stand in Steve Maidens
But live in the same earth, where is the equality?
Is it their Karma?

The vision of Commercial Street is prominent.
People drag their family carrying branded take-away bags.
Here a preteen nags a family to buy the dusty wrinkled stickers but they strictly discourage her.

Another signal of the traffic, red!
That’s when the city seems yellow-the ardent citizen’s familiar color.
Encountering twilight’s beauty and the glimmering light,
I see, it’s a beauty with a pleasing sight.
Like a feast to ones eye.
Bangalore’s Eid is as flamboyant as Ganesh Chaturthi or Christmas.
This city loathes racism, I assume!
But that (Eid’s) night was really bright and busy.
In some corner people were intoxicated and few, tipsy.

The service roads still covered by the rickshaws,
Where every rider of this motor vehicle experiences a new pleasant ’emotional response’
A thought, unaffordable than a cigarette-when you want to smoke but you are penny less.
An engineer or tech-freaks, everybody becomes a scribe after an auto ride.
That’s the power of this yellow rickshaw which plies in this beautiful city-Bangalore!

Never ending feast in dadabhai inn.


                                   tea 🙂

Had we been working in other states, we’d probably be eating a cheap McDonald item but we are fortunately in Kalimpong and that is few detachments away from obesity but affording for a generous feast everyday in a good restaurant would definitely make a hole in Journalist’ pockets who are associated with regional newspapers (in this case, even channels.)

That’s why dadabhai hotel exists adjacent to Kalimpong police station. When I first joined Himalayan Mirror as a staff reporter, my urge to enter this very restaurant was literally restrained.

My fellow reporters from other newspapers and news channels decided to have a tea break and while I was introducing myself as a fresher, we reached the aforementioned hotel. It was summer and as I entered the bistro, I found it cozy, dirty and stinky. I resisted speaking, but my mind was loud and clear enough to spit ‘EWWWW.’

The name itself signifies that it’s a Bengali hotel, polices, guards, fruit sellers, tin collectors, and all Bengali stereotypes were randomly enjoying the fish rice there.

All four tables were engaged and my frown eased seeing the packed tables, I almost insisted everyone to go to some other ‘good’ place for tea but before I spoke a word, a fruit seller just sprinkled his hand which was stuck with rice grains and fish gravies, he reluctantly stretched for his glass of water and washed his hand on his recently emptied plate.

I was clearing my throat when I saw that but I had no best-friends to understand my mind there. The fruit seller stood and left. I thought he would wash his hand in hand basin or bucket fixed with tap in a scullery after that, but I was wrong.

The mid-teen guy came with a moist piece of cloth to clean the table; he first took away the plate filled with water which just turned pale yellow by combining in the remaining fish gravies in the plate, he then came back to wipe the table.

He vigorously rubbed the dirt and the sprinkled rice particles were crushed flat on the table charitably leaving feasts for the house flies that would cover the furniture in no seconds.

I involuntarily sat with my field coworkers, careful enough not to touch the desk with my elbow.

‘Dada, please get us six glasses of milk tea’ said one of the senior reporters. There I was almost like, ‘exclude me and make it five’ but again a negative impression could be carved and I just smiled.

The steamy curls of the tea were spiraling up when a dark looking mid-teen, wearing a white or ‘just-turned -off-white’ sleeveless brief, placed it on the table uttering ‘chya ayo’ (your tea has come.)

I took a careless sip, it tasted okay and with prolonged conversations we asked the same mid-teen to repeat the tea order for us.

We started visiting that place every once in a while for they prepared good tea. Now it’s almost two years with the same newspaper and now do I realize that we (Journalists) are being overworked and underpaid and when it comes to meals, one can release themselves to consume just a plate of ‘aluthukpa’ (spicy potatoes with boiled noodles) for lunch.

And about dadabhai inn, we often drop there for tea-break these days, the place may seem unclean but the conversations we have there is just priceless, we (reporters) generate ideas there that may have a possibility to hit the lead or land above the fold in our newspapers. 🙂

Lets us be responsive- a tribute to Aylan Kurdi a Syrian toddler.

drowned toddler

drowned toddler

Varinka Turquoise

The world certainly mourned the death of a Syrian toddler
but that’s what the world does,
people are selfish here, people are indifferent,
and we are unresponsive.

A toddler die facing on the sand,
we responsively cry and express sympathy in words
but that’s what the world does.
People are selfish here, people are indifferent.

We have many unfortunate children around us
we unresponsively let them die,
or have we done anything?
But when they die, we cry and express sympathy in words.

But again, that’s what the world does,

happy child.

happy child.

why can’t we be different and save a child.
Let’s consider every child like Aylan
and do something before we write a rueful sympathy in words.

Let’s feed them, lets educate them, and lets love them
when we have time,
else like the world, we’ll wait till an infant’s death
so that we can utter about the services we could do. 

You and I can be We and help children grow,
let’s not wait for the world, let’s not do what the world does,
people are selfish there, people are indifferent.
Lets us be responsive from this moment, just responsive and help children grow.