Later, on our way back to Gangtok, we stopped for tea in the evening near Pankaj’s village. The young girl who served us the tea was a stunning beauty, and not in the rural sense. She was young, pretty, dressed in jeans and a shirt and knew how to use good makeup. Someone you are more likely to meet in a mall rather in a remote town of Sikkim but many people in Sikkim have wonderful dress sense, even in the remotest corners. We also had lunch at the same place on our way to the Yumthang Valley.
So, on the way back, I started showing her the pictures on my camera. Suddenly she shouted, “Pankaj, come here and see, there is a picture of the jeep in snow.” Pankaj came running (and who will not at the bidding of such a beautiful girl), he anyway had been talking non-stop about the jeep skidding incident. Soon, Pankaj called others in the kitchen and everyone else wanted to have a look too.
When we reached Gangtok, Pankaj and a friend of his helped us find a hotel room. The favor in return? I showed Pankaj’s friend the same picture on the digital camera again. I said to Pankaj that if he wished, I can send him the picture. He thought for a while and then “Jane dijeye” (Let it be).
I will also remember Pankaj because he was the coolest driver I have ever met. He must have been in his mid-twenties but he was never in a rush to reach anywhere. Anyone who wanted to overtake him, he would move aside and let them go.