Darjeeling # Improve Vocabulary

Source – NAT GEO TRAVELER

Toy trains, excellent tea, and impressive views of four of the world’s highest peaks. Darjeeling’s trademark charms are surpassed only by the niceness of its people, found wildlife photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee and Bollywood composer Shantanu Moitra on the West Bengal leg of their #100DaysInHimalayas project. Between February and December 2016, the duo will make a series of trips in the Himalayas covering reaches running from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, and into the neighbouring foothills of Nepal and Bhutan—and they’re taking National Geographic Traveller India along for the ride. Their latest dispatch is from Darjeeling. For centuries, the cool hill station at the foothills of the Himalayas, has been favoured as a health resort for its brisk weather, first by the British, and then by tourists across India and the world. It’s predictably lovely and laid-back, except on some days as this twosome found out.

Ice, Ice, Baby

 

When Moitra and Mukherjee visited, Darjeeling was reeling from an unexpected hailstorm that caused an hours-long traffic jam. “It was white, covered in 3-inch ice,” said Moitra. As soon as they checked into the hotel, Moitra recalled, “Dhritiman said it’s time to take photos now.” The hail had dented cars and smashed holes in roofs and windows. “That’s the difference between us,” Moitra says. “I say, ‘There’s chaos outside, let’s stay in.’”

Outside, they found a town making the most of the bizarre weather. Life was at a standstill and people were playing with the ice in the streets. It was lovely but Dhritiman was surprised with the number of international food-chain outlets. “The Mall Road now has CCD and KFC,” he said. At the very least, they should “blend with local culture; use Lepcha- or Gurkha-style design for the interiors.”

Hitting The Right Note

For Moitra, each place they visited came alive with the locals they encountered, and the stories they had to tell. At their colonial-era stay Cochrane Place in Kurseong—famous for birding and tea estates such as Makaibari—Moitra discovered that the hotel’s singer honed his craft on the road. A taxi driver by day with dreams of being a musician, the singer picked up playing the guitar from his church group, bought his instrument at a pawnshop, and expanded his repertoire by asking the Indian and international tourists he ferried daily to play their songs off the car speaker. “I suddenly remembered my college days, when I was not trained in music but I just enjoyed singing,” said Moitra. He was so impressed that he made a recording of the musician before leaving.

A World Without Pandas

En route to Sandakphu, West Bengal’s highest point, they met a tea-stall owner in his early 30s, who was involved in conservation efforts for the endangered red panda, native to the Himalayan forests of this region. The high school graduate had moved to Dubai to fund his kid’s education but returned two years later when he “realised that family is more important than money,” Moitra said. Deciding that he could just as easily put in the taxing 16-hour work days to develop his village, he started conservation work and joined in community initiatives such as coaxing locals to keep off alcohol and save up for solar panels to help their kids study at night.

Mountain Lessons

On their return from Sandakphu, Moitra and Mukherjee shared their jeep with a father and his sick child whose smiles and conversation showed no sign of the gruelling ride and the desperation at the remote access to a hospital. “The Himalayas have a really surprising happiness quotient,” Moitra said, who puts it down to the local philosophy: not to fight the elements but accept life as it comes. “The Himalayas teach me to stop complaining, and life will be better.”

Keep posted for updates from Mukherjee and Moitra, as this mountain bromance yields stunning photos of the Himalayas’ stark beauty, and stories of its charming people.

Sr.No.WORDMEANINGSYNONYM
1ExcellentExtremely good; outstandingAccomplished, admirable, attractive, distinguished, exceptional, exemplary, exquisite, fine, finest, first-rate, good, great, magnificent, outstanding, skillful, sterling, superb, superlative
2ImpressiveEvoking admiration through size, quality or skill; grand, imposing or awesome.Dramatic, exciting, extraordinary, important, imposing, intense, massive, monumental, notable, profound, remarkable, splendid, superb, thrilling
3SurpassedExceed; be greater thanBeat, eclipse, exceed, outpace, outperform, outstrip, outweigh, pass, rank, top, best, better, cap, excel, outdistance, outgo, outmatch, outrank, outrival, outrun, outshine, override, overshadow, overstep, surmount, tower, transcend, trump
4dispatchSend off to a destination or for a purposeAlacrity, celerity, expedition, expeditiousness, haste, hurry, hustle, precipitateness, promptitude, promptness, quickness, rapidity, rustle, speediness, swiftness
5briskActive and energeticEnergetic, lively, quick, speedy, spry, vigorous, alert, animated, bustling, busy, adroit, agile, nimble, sprightly, vivacious, zippy
6predictablyAnything that you can see or know before it happensCertain, anticipated, calculable, expected, foreseeable, foreseen, likely, prepared, sure, sure-fire
7reelingWind something on to a reel by turning the reel.Addled, befuddled, bemused, bewildered, blind, blinded, dazed, dazzled, distracted, disturbed, dumbfounded, faint, light, muddled, puzzled, staggered, swimming, upset, whirling
8hailstormA storm of heavy hailBarrage, bombardment, rain, salvo, shower, storm, volley, broadside, cannonade, pelting
9bizarreVery strange or unusualComical, curious, extraordinary, fantastic, freakish, grotesque, ludicrous, odd, offbeat, outlandish, peculiar, ridiculous, unusual, weird
10outletsA pipe or hole through which water or gas may escape. OR A point from which goods are sold or distributed.Channel, aperture, avenue, break, crack, duct, egress, escape, exit, hole, nozzle, opening, orifice, porthole, release, spout, tear, vent, safety valve, way out
11encounteredUnexpectedly be faced with or experience; meet someone unexpectedlyBear, bump into, come across, come upon, confront, detect, experience, face, find, meet, run into, suffer, turn up, close, descry, espy, front, sustain, undergo
12estatesAn area or amount of land or property, in particularArea, farm, parcel, plantation, ranch, residence, acreage, demesne, domain, dominion, freehold, grounds, holdings, territory, villa
13repertoireA stock of plays, dances, or items that a company or a performer knows or is prepared to performRepertory, range, repository, reserve, stock, stockpile, store, supply
14ferriedConvey in a ferry or other ship or boat, especially across a short stretch of waterCarry, chauffeur, lug, send, ship, shuttle, tote, transport, bear, buck ,convey, pack, run, move across, schlepp
15musicianA person who plays a musical instrument, especially as a profession, or is musically talented.Artist, composer, conductor, entertainer, instrumentalist, performer, player, soloist, virtuoso, vocalist, artiste, diva, session player
16enrouteDuring the course of a journey; on the wayAdvancing, along the way, bound, driving, en voyage, entrained, flying, heading toward, in passage, in transit, making headway, midway, on the road, pressing on, progressing, traveling
17conservationThe act of conserving something, in particularCare, conservancy, control, maintenance, management, protection, supervision, attention, custody, economy, governing, guardianship, keeping, safe keeping, salvation, saving, stewardship, storage, supervising, sustentation, upkeep
18endangeredSeriously at a risk of extinctionThreatened, at risk, facing extinction, in danger
19nativeA person born in a specified place or associated with a place by birth, whether subsequently resident there or not.Endemic, indigenous, natural, constitutional, essential, fundamental, natal, original, real, wild
20graduateA person who has successfully completed a course of study or training, especially a person who has been awarded and undergraduate or first academic degreeAlum, alumnus, doctor, grad, recipient, baccalaureate, bachelor, collegian, diplomat, holder, licentiate, master, Ph.D, product, former student
21initiativesThe ability to assess and initiate things independently ; The power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do.Action, drive, leadership, push, ambition, dynamism, energy, enterprise, enthusiasm, get-up-and-go, gumption, inventiveness, moxie, originality, punch, resource, spunk, steam, vigor
22coaxingPersuade gradually or gently to do somethingCajole, entice, induce, tease, tempt, wheedle, allure, barter, beguile, blandish, blarney, con, decoy, flatter, get, hook, importune, influence, inveigle, jawbone, lure, pester, plague, press, soft-soap, soothe, sweet-talk, urge, wangle, worm
23gruelingExtremely tiring and demandingArduous, backbreaking, brutal, demanding, excruciating, exhausting, fierce, laborious, punishing, strenuous, tiring, torturous, trying
24desperationA state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behaviorAgony, anguish, anxiety, desolation, despair, discomfort, fear, gloom, grief, heartache, melancholy, misery, pain, sorrow, unhappiness
25philosophyThe study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence, especially when considered as an academic disciplineAttitude, doctrine, idea, ideology, logic, outlook, reasoning, system, tenet, theory, thinking, thought, truth, view, viewpoint, wisdom, aesthetics, axiom, beliefs, conception, convictions, metaphysics, ontology, rationalism, reason, values
26complainingExpress dissatisfaction or annoyance about somethingGrumbling, protesting, whining, accusing, bellyaching, bewailing, charging, deploring, disapproving, discontented, dissenting, fretting, lamenting, moaning, mourning, murmuring, regretting, repining, weeping
27bromanceA close but non-sexual relationship between two men
28charmingVery pleasant or attractiveAbsorbing, alluring, amiable, appealing, attractive, charismatic, cute, delightful, elegant, engaging, engrossing, fascinating, glamorous, graceful, inviting, likable lovable, lovely ,pleasant, provocative, sweet, bewitching, electrifying, enamoring, enthralling, entrancing, fetching, infatuating, magnetizing, pleasing, ravishing, seducing, tantalizing, tempting, titillating, winning

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