Sumana Roy

Kanchenjunga - cover

Painting : Mayank Chhaya

My memory of the Kanchenjunga is as old as my first memories of my mother. And that, of course, is saying something. Growing up in Siliguri, the Kanchenjunga was punctuation in the way I literally saw the world, both necessary and extravagant, a bit like mother’s love. It was a sibling I had to leave home when I took holidays, and when I returned to it, the reciprocity always came as a surprise – its sudden appearance in a train window, its glorious abhimaan from a plane window, and often, on Saturday afternoons, after waking up from an affectionate siesta, a call for a holiday with it. When my brother and I first learned to ride bicycles, it was to the Kanchenjunga that we wanted to go. Our parents did not stop us. I think of it now as the first lesson that the mountain peak taught us.

In this Tin Trunk on the Kanchenjunga, we have Mayank Chhaya’s cover photo, his Kanchenjunga. Sampurna Chattarji, who went to school in Darjeeling, grew up with the Kanchenjunga. Samraghni Bonnerjee grew up in Siliguri too, and having lived away from it during her university years in a tropical city, she returned to the mountains recently. Ruma Chakravarti writes about Satyajit Ray’s film, Kanchenjunga, and what the mountains do in that film. The Kanchenjunga has inspired Pooja Garg Singh and Jyothsna Phanija to write poems, Parinda Joshi and Anuraag Baruah to write stories, and the good doctor Subrata Ray to look for the mountain’s soul in a photo-essay, as he calls it, during his stint as a medical officer in Darjeeling.


Mayank ChayaMayank Chhaya has been a journalist for the past 33 years with extensive reporting out of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the United States. He has written two books so far, both biographies. The first was in 1992 about Sam Pitroda, who revolutionized India’s information technology and communications sector. The second book was the only authorized biography of its kind of the Dalai Lama titled ‘Man Monk Mystic’, which has been published in 24 languages worldwide since 2007 to critical acclaim. He is currently working on three more books, two movie scripts and one television series. He is also a regular poet in Hindi and Urdu and occasional one in English. He lives in Chicago.


Filed under Tin Trunk, Tin Trunk : Editorial


  1. Pingback: A short lament by a great mountain | South Asia Daily

  2. Vinit Pathak

    I just love your article…Beautiful words..And also a beautiful painting to reflect that. Can you please tell me who the Artist is, It would be great if you could share the link to their work. Thanks.

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