A takeaway from the East : The Tribune India

A takeaway from the East

Rajiv Sharma

I was reluctant to visit the far-off cities of Siliguri and Darjeeling to attend a medical conference because of the distance. But my friend, an eye specialist, prevailed upon me to accompany him as I had never been to these places.

An hour’s flight from Amritsar to Delhi and another two hours from Delhi to Bagdogra and two hours of journey by road brought us to the outskirts of Siliguri, the gateway to the Northeast. We were welcomed by cloudy weather and a continuous drizzle all through our stay in the city famous for tea, timber and tourism.

The Lions Club of Siliguri, which runs a modern charitable institution for the prevention of blindness, had invited experts from all over the country for their inputs so that it could further enhance the quality of services being provided to the poorest of the poor.

A day and a half was dedicated to the polishing of clinical skills and on emphasising the importance of a humane approach and following the code of medical ethics while treating patients. The experiences of senior doctors provided us with an insight into improving and reflecting upon ourselves. Watching my peers working in an area where they are needed the most was an enriching experience.

The last day of our stay was reserved for recreation and what could have been a better way than to go to Darjeeling. Dark clouds and a pleasant drizzle followed us all day long. Lush green hills, verdant tree estates and gushing streams make this place a paradise on earth. The steam engines of the toy trains were mesmerising. Established in 1880, chugging in and out of the town merrily, one can’t help but admire the resilience and dedication of the workers and engineers involved in creating this marvel.

The four days spent there helped me refresh my mind and evolve a vision. Every time one ventures out, one learns a thing or two. This time, apart from a few interesting words of Bengali, I have learnt that whenever one has to hand over something to someone, one must do it with both hands. During our stay, we noticed that from the humble porter to the driver, from the host to the receptionist, whenever we were given something, they did it with both hands. A small gesture it may seem, but it goes a long way in promoting cordiality, a quality that is depleting fast.

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