The summer vacation in Delhi begins on May I every year. Much before it began we started planning as to how to spend it. My sister wanted to go to Jammu and Kashmir, but my parents did not agree. I suggested that we should go to Shillong. But my sister proposed that we must see Darjeeling. My father suggested that we would go to both the places, with one month’s stay at each place. So, it was decided that we would be going first to Shillong and then to Darjeeling.

My father reserved four births in Assam Mail which left the New Delhi Railway Station on May 5. It was a very long and tedious journey. The train passed through three states-Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal-before it crossed over to Guwahati in Assam. We were travelling in a first class compartment. Our mother had prepared meals for the first day’s lunch which we took in the morning. In the evening we reached Kanpur and took our meals at the station. On its way, the train passes through Patna. We had changed to meter-gauge train at Barauni. The train reached Guwahati in the evening. Before reaching Guwahati we crossed the Brahmaputra River over which the Indian Army engineers had successfully built a wonderful bridge. It is a model of top-class skill and feat. Next day, early in the morning we left for Shillong by car. We stayed there for nearly fifteen days in the state rest house. The climate was no doubt cool and pleasant, but there were very few places of interest.

We left Shillong for Guwahati on June 4 on our way to Darjeeling. Again, we travelled by train and reached Siliguri. At Siliguri we changed to narrow gauge train and reached Darjeeling in the evening. We had a wonderful experience of the short journey. The train moved in a zigzag track while ascending the hilly area. On the way, we saw dense forests, deep gorges and beautiful tea gardens. We reached Darjeeling at about noon. We took a taxi and went to a hotel where reservations had been earlier arranged by my father. The hotel was situated on the mall road. We used to have long walk in the morning and evening. One day we went to the Tiger Hills by taxi at 4 A.M. to enjoy the famous sunrise. It was a wonderful scene which we had never seen before. The mighty sun-rise flooded the sky with wonderful colours.

After a stay of nearly a month and a half, we returned, to New Delhi with a heavy heart.