The Hideaway
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“I am clueless about why they call me Selim Hill. There are several theories though. Some say that the name has come from the beautiful 'Sailing Hills' that surround me. Sailing Hills...Selim Hills...its possible! The second theory states that after Mr Henry, a new Planter took charge of this tea estate. People here affectionately called him, “Selim Sahab” and I got my name from there. I am really not much bothered about the antecedents of my name. I like it. It leaves a permanent mark in everybody's heart. My history has proved this point so many times in the past.”

“Welcome to my home!”

 “I house four comfortable double bedded rooms with attached baths and modern amenities. From the windows if you look straight, your eyes will end up watching the Himalayan ranges and deep gorges. Look down and you will see a riot of orange, red, purple and white flowers that only bloom 3500 ft above sea level. The garden is planned to accommodate two gazebos. Both are located on the edge of the hill where I have been standing for over a century. While the gazebo at the front offers an amazing birds' eye view of Siliguri plains, the one at the back showcases the 'sailing hills'.”

“Just outside the rooms there is common drawing room tastefully decorated with wood and wrought-iron furniture. While relaxing in the chairs you can see the blue sky amazingly designed with patches of white clouds. The kitchen and the dining room are downstairs. The food is typically planter's choice and I am sure I'll be able to introduce to you some of the delicacies that you have never tasted in your life. The ingredients are farm fresh so to say as it comes from the backyard organic garden. Just outside the dining room there is a long verandah with comfortable seating arrangements. Adjacent to this verandah is the main garden whose silence and colour collage tempt countless rare birds to fly around freely.”

“My next door neighbours!”

“My neighbours include postcard pretty views of river Mahananda and Balasun River Valleys, snow capped mountains in the north, Mother Teresa's 'Santa Bhawan', an orphanage, Gayabari Railway station which comes under DHR (Darjeeling Himalayan Railways), a UNESCO world heritage site. Minutes away there is the famous Agony Point of 20 th Mile Loop, locally called 'Smritivan Park'. The naturally rich Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary is not far from my precincts.”

“The Selim Hill Tea Estate is a bio-dynamic tea garden and is famous for orthodox Darjeeling tea. To manage the estate efficiently, it has been divided into the upper and the lower segment with four worker villages. The tea estate is a paradise for those who are interested in the science of tea processing. Treks and pony rides to the highest peak of Selim Hill is an unforgettable experience altogether.”

“A couple of suggestions
from a 150 year old friend!”

“There is a lot to do in and around me. But make sure you first sample things that are just seconds away. Say for example, the gazebos! If you do not laze out here with or without flipping your favourite author, you will miss half of the show. In the evenings if you do not sip your favourite drink in the gazebo and look at the star studded sky, you are refusing your memory to record some of the best visual entertainments it has ever come across. Wandering in the garden at night, if you do stare at me from a distance, you will never realize why in the very beginning of this monologue, I said, I have an enigmatic character. When you visit me, keep sometime exclusively for you. My experience says you'll be able to rediscover yourself. After quite a long time.