This story is about a boy who grew up in Kalimpong at an approximate distance on a straight line as the crow flies 100 miles (162 kms) towards southeast of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, amongst the Rong folks, Lepchas the autochthones, ‘Ronkup’, ‘Ronkum’, or ‘Rong’ people. Lepcha people designated as UN ancient tribe, native to the region; and their land ‘Mayel-Lyang’ once bordered further into Tibet, eastern Nepal, western Bhutan and as far south as Siliguri and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and some parts of Duars than it does today.
Kalimpong part of Lepcha culture was the ridge where Mary and Nigel played happily with unabated joy until his sister, Mary Maung Taung Lai’s early, untimely death and Nigel Kenchinz Lai’s journey to America because of the impact of the 1960 Sino-Indian border war. Many Chinese Indians were stranded, declared stateless, homeless and their inability to get jobs in India caused them to move abroad. Nigel was fortunate to receive four scholarships, four from American universities and one from Canada.
Some parts of the story are true and some portions of this book have been developed that closely parallel the real events experienced by the author. The author and his sister were fascinated with the dragon ‘Thunder and Lightning’, where clouds burst into flashing lightning followed by a big thunder storm every monsoon season. Mr. Karamkurung was their common thread for connection.
Chris Ahoy was born in Kalimpong in 1939. He started at St. Joseph Convent, Kalimpong all girls’ school, co-educational school at Dr. Graham’s Homes, Victoria Boys’ School, Kurseong, St. Xavier’s College Calcutta (Kolkata), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and University of California, Berkeley, California (UCB), where he received the coveted Regent’s Fellowship Award to complete his masters’ degree in nine months. Chris is a US citizen, served as Assistant Director and Campus Architect at UCB, Statewide Director for Systemwide of Higher Education in Alaska, Assistant Vice President Business and Finance and Director of Facilities Planning and Management at University of Nebraska central offices and finally Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management at Iowa State University. Before retiring in 2010, his organization received the coveted State of Iowa, Iowa Recognition Performance Excellence (IRPE) 2009 Gold Award (State Baldrige Award). After retirement he continues to mentor and provide consulting in ‘Creating World-Class Organization’.