In Search Of Bhaichung Bhutia

“We cannot risk your life and hence cannot issue permit” said the lady inspector on the other side of the telephone. This was probably fifth call from our side in last three hours and eleventh in last three days requesting permit for Nathu La (pass). The officer in Gangtok, Sikkim did not issue permit for Nathu La on day 1 because of heavy snowfall the previous day and subsequent road closure. Day2 the Sun was bright and so were our hopes but it did not clear the roads yet…so we eagerly waited for the Sun to rise again in its full valor. Day3 Sun was shining, the temperature soared a bit, weather looked perfect! happy and cheerful we came out on the road to catch the vehicle to Nathu La and this is what we saw….

gangtok-sliguriThis was the first time in many years that Gangtok was hit by a storm and we were just 52Km short of Nathu La!!

nathulaAs we saw some vehicles on the way with high hopes we called up Tamang Uncle if we can get the permit. While Tamang Uncle was checking with the authorities we went into to see the beautiful Gangtok Flower show …with Nishtha’s fingers crossed!

DSCN9709And this was the time when the lady inspector said “We cannot risk your life and hence cannot issue permit.” Disappointed, disheartened, we were as we were not going to get another chance to see the first ‘must see’ thing in our list.

The glum continued for some time when Nupur asked what is the second must see in Gangtok and I spontaneously and sarcastically replied “Bhaichung Bhutia”, the ace footballer of India…and so the awesome foursome Nishtha, Kavita, Nupur and myself went across Gangtok in search of Bhaichung Bhutia!!

We hopped in a cab and asked bhaiya to take us to the footballer’s house. Puzzled..he looked at us and dropped us at the main taxi stand saying he does not know where Bhutia stays.
We were teasing Nishtha about how people over here do not know his place? Come to Mumbai and we can show house of the Bachchans, the Khans, the Tendulkars…the next thing we did was searching on the Google maps. While it was downloading we caught a little footballer and went up to him for the address, he smiled and signed don’t know and went ahead!

Copy of DSCN9515The otherwise useful Google map was of no help this time. People around must be amused at what we were searching so eagerly and asking whosoever we met on the road. This time we went up to an ON DUTY Traffic police stationed at a traffic island.

???????????????????????????????We approached her with a smile and terrified at spotting some civilians on the island, she hurriedly sent us back and once we were away from the island, smiled back! The last resort was to check at the Paljor stadium and off we went.

???????????????????????????????God helps those, those who help themselves! Finally at the stadium..though we didn’t spot him..Nishtha recollected that she had seen him in an Audi!! That clue was good enough for us to find his house. So now our mission was to find a road in the city … broad enough to  accommodate an Audi. Going downhill to downtown Sichey, we met two police officer who mentioned ” we usually provide security at big events where he comes …but otherwise we have’nt seen him.”

Just before we were going to cancel this wild card entry in our ‘must see’ list in Gangtok, the officer said he lives somewhere near St. Mary’s school.” Yippee…now we were searching for a school ..much to the relief of local people who must have had a good laugh at our crazy search.

“Straight down then left”….”third left second right”….”little up” and there were we…at St Mary’s school. Looked around asked a laundry man..he was miffed..soon we went to the next shop the brother sister duo had a hearty laugh and as we tried to move…they asked us to wait for a while.

He came back in a while with seven other people…. “they will take you to his place.” We smiled and started to walk without knowing what next! On the way we were just calculating if an Audi can fit on this road?? two left…then right ..a little up we were back on the loop where we came from…we followed the ladies and kept inquiring about Gangtok, football and the footballer ..guessing which must be the house…the road was narrowing and so were the chances of an Audi fitting in.

“Here it is” the ladies smiled and we were standing right in front of Bhaichung Bhutia’s house..happy, surprised and waiting to see him.

IMAG2033And with all this exploration, adventure and ‘city trotting’ we could manage a picture with Bhaichung Bhutia! (and of course some content for a new blog)


P.S. : Though we started with a stupid idea ‘searching Bhaichung Bhutia’, it gave us an opportunity to interact with people of the city… know them… and it all enriched us with a unique exploration experience of the city, its people, the terrain, remote settlements (which we would have not seen otherwise). More importantly it was all about having lots of fun without the usual site seeing and on a positive note it gives us chance to come back to Sikkim and Gangtok just to visit Nathu La and of course meeting Bhaichung Bhutia 😉 …may be this time in a helicopter!!

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4 Responses to In Search Of Bhaichung Bhutia

  1. piyush mulay says:

    nice blog kalyani but feeling bad that after taking so much efforts you were not able to meet him.
    some days ago i met one of my college friends who works in pharma industry, he worked in Sikkim for two years told me lot of fun things,once he visited a very posh restaurant in Gangtok with his friends and when he saw the menu he was shocked that it contained names of almost all the animals he had seen in his life, he being a vegetarian left and could not eat properly that day,i think there is some problem for the vegetarian people in that part of the country thats why i avoid going there,but my friend also said that the people there are very nice and helpful and there is lot of cleanliness in that part.

  2. @Piyush, glad you liked the blog. Well we enjoyed the whole process so not meeting him was not all that a disappointment plus that is going to make us plan another trip to Sikkim!
    Regarding difficulty to find vegetarian food, a particular restaurant may be one of case but we did not experience such a problem in fact we had some of the best organic veggies during our tour. I would recommend you to definitely go there or for that matter in any part of India and trust the same you will not have any problem for vegetarian food.

  3. piyush mulay says:

    well after your recommendation i would definately like to visit sikkim so next time you plan a trip please make me a part of your group. also few days back i was in mumbai at my sisters place i saw a article in times of india that ranbir kapoor has bought a yike bike to commute on sets of his film and it came to my mind that you had designed a similar type of bike have you seen yike bikes if not visit there website i think there is a market for such types of bikes in india lets discuss that.

  4. Sure Piyush, will let you know regarding next trip!
    Thank you for information on Yike, was aware of Yike but did not know that Ranbir Kapoor is using it. As you rightly said these bikes have great potential yesterday’s newspaper featured Amithab Bachchan with an e bike. Yes lets discuss about the ebike we developed.

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