After an overnight back in Delhi we flew eastwards to Bagdogra, the airport in West Bengal which gives access to the northern part of the state and Sikkim. The day was very clear, giving a stunning view of the Himalayas from the left side of the plane for most of the 2 ½ hour flight. Near the airport is the strategic town of Siliguri. Although not far from the Himalayan foothills, it is extremely hot. The sub-tropical forest of the Siliguri corridor is home to the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary which is famous for its elephants.
We landed at midday on 7 October and were met not only by our jeep and driver Sunam, but also by Miksim and Nimphuti. Miksim had flown in from Bangalore the day before, and Nimphuti works as a nurse in Siliguri. The original plan was for both of them to make their way to Gangtok, which was now not possible because of the flood damage.
Nimphuti qualified in GNM (General Nursing and Midwifery) from Karnataka College of Nursing, Bangalore whilst Miksim has just finished her studies at the same college and was due to sit her final exams in September/October this year. However they have been postponed and she has not been given a date at the time of writing.
So we found a restaurant on the edge of Siliguri to catch up, and talk to Miksim about what comes next, as she is at an important point in her education. We have paid a small enrolment fee for her to take the 2 year BSc conversion course, also at Karnataka College. This will greatly improve her job prospects. Nimphuti advised that a one year internship is also a requirement, and that Miksim should think about doing that before entering the BSc course. So we will see what she decides after her exams.
After we left the girls we drove a long way round to Kalimpong, a wearisome 5 ½ hour drive winding up to 1500 metres altitude, past many landslides to stay overnight in the Ahava Guest House at Dr Graham’s Homes (see map).
Return to first post Post 2 Post 4