The clouds lifted from Darjeeling to unveil the gleaming Mount Kanchenjungha and give the people of the hills a picture-perfect gift amid the raging pandemic.
Gyanendra Rai, a mental health counsellor from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati, said a day like this, coming after nearly four months, gave out positive vibes.
“For people with depressive disorder or more precisely mood-related disorder, the weather plays an important role,” said Rai, who for the past few months has also been involved with Manauta, a Darjeeling outfit working on mental health. Rai said that during times such as the Covid-19 crisis — with the spectre of illness, uncertainty and economic hardship — there was a tendency for people with mental issues to hit “the panic button”.
“People with mental health issues tend to hit the panic button suddenly…Good weather uplifts everyone’s mood. But the degree of extremity of being happy and sad is accelerated for those with mental illness,” Rai said.
While the pre-Covid hustle and bustle was missing on roads, Darjeeling residents appreciated the clear view of the peaks, clicked pictures and shared them on social media.
Rajesh Chettri, a lawyer and former student of Mount Hermon, Darjeeling, said the day reminded him of his boyhood. “We would get a sunshine holiday (in school) if there was such a day after days of rains. Boarders would dry their clothes, mattresses and quilts,” he said. “It used to be great fun.”
Weathermen said this sunshine was a regional phenomenon while predicting intermittent rains through the week. Monsoon entered the region on June 12. Darjeeling hills received above normal rainfall in the past two months, said SaveTheHills (STH), a group of citizens raising awareness about landslides.