Today was a mostly tea-less day. I played tourist today starting with a delicious breakfast at the Mayfair Hotel. So much history everywhere I step. The Mayfair has named their library after Tenzing Norgay, the first man to conquer Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. Upon Norgay’s death, his estate gave the hotel the ice pick used by Norgay on his climb. Priceless.
From the Mayfair the morning continued on to the Yiga Choeling Ghoom Monastery, a Buddhist monastery that was built in 1850. I walked in silence and entered the monastery to have my moment of silence and prayer. I was reminded of the Japanese principal of Ichigo Ichie – one time one place. It is the understanding that every moment and every experience we have in life will never again repeat itself in the same way twice. I stayed in the moment.
The unexpected surprise today was a visit to Campbell House. For those of you that don’t know, Dr Campbell was a civil surgeon stationed in Darjeeling g in 1841. He was the first to successfully plant the Chinese tea varietal in India. It is thanks to Dr Cambell that we enjoy the astounding flavours of Darjeeling tea. It is the unique combination of Chinese muscatal flavours, high altitudes that make the tea struggle (more on that tomorrow) that create such a unique flavour in the teas from this region. I was indeed fortunate enough to pluck a few leaves from that original tea bush that Dr Campbell planted all those years ago.
I suppose in some ways, the day was touched by seeing how two men made such an impression on history – in different ways. The morning visit to the monastery however, reminded me that greatness is everywhere. It is in each and every one of us and may be found in the smallest of gestures. It is in the man in charge of tea making we met at Castleton last night. Whose weathered face had eyes shining with pride at our appreciation of his tea. It is in the smile you give to a stranger allowing them to know that someone saw them today. Sometimes we don’t need to try and make history – most great people don’t. If we spent more time being present, we might find that greatness is everywhere. Ichigo Ichie.