Thursday, November 25, 2010


What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

I had a childhood dream…

I am bestowed with two boons by Satyajit Roy’s the mighty King of Ghosts. One, the freedom to travel anywhere…I just need to close my eyes and think about the place. And two, I can be invisible as and when I wish. Empowered, I opened my history book and started reading…

Suddenly the sky became bigger. Mud roads, horses, bullock carts…and lots of greenery swallowed me up. People around me are strangely dressed, busy doing different kind of jobs. Far away in the horizon, atop a hill, there’s a fort. A huge fort; standing at one end, the other end cannot be seen. Wearing turbans and clad in colourful tunic, fierce looking guards are picketing outside the fort wall. Some of them are loitering on the wall-roof; some are in the watch towers.

From the other horizon, a cloud of dust starts nearing the fort. The guards get alerted. They took positions. Within minutes he came. He, the King. He came riding a gold-plated chariot. Pulled by five horses, the chariot whizzed past the massive Iron Gate.

I sneaked into the fort. There stands an enormous palace; so beautifully crafted. Never-ending hallways, decorated pillars, doors and windows, huge lanterns – an aura of opulence prevailing everywhere. Behind the palace, there’s an endless backyard. Trees, flowers and the chirping birds – sitting among them is the Princess, humming the tune of the birds, lost in herself.

Who’s the Princess? I wondered.

It’s me! I fantasized.


I have always wished at least one of my childhood dreams to be a reality. Didn’t you?

I know you did. Who doesn’t?

So the moment I came to know that there are the remnants of a fort, I went all out to make sure this trip to Garhpanchkot happens.

Garhpanchkot is a Santali tribal village, very near to the Maoist-dominated area of the Purulia district of West Bengal. The place was an unexplored tourist spot till it came to fame thanks to the two dams recently built – The Panchet dam on river Damodar and Mython dam on river Barakar; and the DVC power grid.

We, I was traveling with a friend and her mom, reached Garhpanchkot around 12 at noon. It’s about 5 hour journey from Kolkata. We put up at the WBFDC forest resort. After freshening up, we started towards the fort…  

Deep inside my mind, something was going on. I don’t know what it was. Did you ever get a chance to fulfill your childhood fantasy? Then you might know.

Dusk set in as we reached the doorstep of the King’s place. Time has unruffled the ancient king’s vigor. What was once an epitome of power and prosperity now stands crestfallen, left with a few structures scattered here and there. With the forever faithful Panchet hill keeping guard, the kingdom seems to have gone to an eternal sleep.

I touched the wall of an archway which used to be the Ranimahal, the residence of the Queen. I inhaled the air of the ancient world. I sat on a broken footstep of a watch tower.

I was shivering! An insignificant commoner I am, dweller of a far-off century - dared to make my way to the heart of His Majesty’s place!

The Past in Collage

I was staring blankly at a hedge of the primeval Panchratna temple. In the red hues of the setting sun, it was looking magnificent. It was looking so clean. Little by little, the weeds and creepers fall off. The broken archway took shape. The halls, the doors, the windows stood up. The palace is glittering like gold in the heavenly sun rays. Through the window I can see the beautiful backyard. I can smell the scent of the flowers. I can hear the birds’ singing. And…yes! I can…I can see a human figure amidst them! 

-Sangeeta, where are you?

I startled. I looked back. Auntie’s calling. I looked forth. The sun has set. The palace, the backyard, the human – all are gone. The hedge is fading away in darkness…I couldn’t meet myself.

I was sitting at a place where Auntie cannot see me. She got worried.

We humans are social being. We love to have people around us. We feel good when someone get worried for us, whatever be the reason. No happiness is joyful enough if it’s not shared. Sadness can take life if there’s no hand to console. But sometimes, just sometimes…being left alone is the most blissful thing you want.


A leaf from the History:

Panchkot was a part of a very old East Indian kingdom called Rajchakla Panchkot, locally named as Panchet. It was established probably during early 90 AD by Damodar Sekhar with the help of Sardars of Jhalda. The kingdom derives its name from the main five (Panch) clans (Kot) of the locals.

The ruins of the Garh (fort) of Singh Deo dynasty, founded by Damodar Sekhar, located at the southern foothills and a group of temples are still standing there. The most famous being the Panchratna temple.

Panchkot Giri has its references in Puranas also. The place was then called Sekhar Bhum.

For more: 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?

I am leaving you one last time; with no desire to come back.

There was not a single day I liked you…..not a single night I didn’t dream of waking up in the cozy comfort of my own home.

Today was my last day at office here. On my way to office and on the way coming back, I was trying to remember all the funny moments of my life; like I do whenever I see a bride leaving her parents’ house forever; whenever I watch an emotional scene in a movie – I do so to fight back tears…

Human mind is complex. Isn’t it?

I remember those early days. How I used to grasp for breath after listening to a Tamil conversation for 2 minutes at a stretch – your people talk really fast; I remember the first day I sat on the gallery seat in a Shared Auto; I was so amused! I remember Anna Salai, East Coast Road – stunning roads, pacing you up. I remember T. Nagar – the only place always full of life. I remember Durga Puja in Besant Nagar; being near to one’s own community miles away from home – you showed me how it feels.

I have led an independent life with you - living on my own, with no elders to look over my shoulders. Sometimes it used to be fun. Staying out till midnight, sleeping till late in the morning, eating junk foods..... Sometimes my heart used to yearn for the gentle touch of a caring elder. Then you have silently consoled me with your soft morning breeze and a tender wind in the evening. You are so beautiful when you are silent.

Your people are workaholic. They work from early in the morning till late at night. Only twice a year they celebrate – Pongal and Dewali. You look really adorable in those days. Can you ask them to work a little less and enjoy a little more?

I can’t say I will miss you. You have your own charisma, mostly invisible – shadowed by too much busy-ness. Mad office-goers, way too predictable weekend shoppers’ crowd in T. Nagar and universality of Idly-dosa have made you look monotonic.

Still, going apart is always painful.

I am leaving you one last time…with all the good wishes in world for you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Your smell is like a drug to me…my personal brand of heroin.

[This blog contains hot and spicy materials. Readers are advised to sit in a cool place wearing light-weight pure cotton cloths and keep an ice bag handy for emergency.]

I don’t remember when we met for the first time. I was too young to remember anything…..
Yes, it’s a childhood love story. It started, when I didn’t even know what love is. He was not that tall, lean-bodied or conventionally handsome. But he had a very cute, lovely face. Every time I saw him, I used to die a hundred deaths.

He was a part of my life, a cause of my existence. My days were incomplete without him. A responsible, caring sweetheart he was, he was always concerned about my health, about what I eat. He made it a routine to be with me during every meal. I was so used to him. If some day I couldn’t see him, I used to go crazy. I used to cry like hell…

I was madly in love with him…

My mom knew everything about our affair from the very first day. And needless to say, she was against us. I don’t understand why parents have to play spoilsport in a love story. Is it a rule mentioned in parental guidelines? Then why almost in each and every love story they become the villains?

My cutie was really lovable. Even my mom liked him but she was not ready to let her daughter fall in love with a farm-boy. He was not in our social status. He used to stay in a far away village. Every morning he used to come to the city with his uncle who was a vegetable vendor, to earn some extra for his family. But it was hardly a matter for me. When you love someone, you don’t see his social or financial status. You cannot calculate your steps when you like someone. It just happens. But neither my mom nor my dad was ready to accept that. They wanted me to break up with him.

One day my sweetie came to know about it. I don’t know how he has felt. But knowing him for so many years, I knew it was very tough for him to come to any decision. He never wanted to steal me from my parents. Because he knew I love my parents too.

But I didn’t want to lose him either. I couldn’t imagine a life without him. Neither could I hurt my parents. I didn’t know what to do. I was feeling so helpless…

One day our family physician visited us. He saw me upset and wanted to know what happened. I couldn’t control anymore and told him everything. He gently wiped my tears and told me something which I have never heard, something which changed my perspective towards love.

You don’t need to be with your loved ones all the time to show your affection towards them. Love is an emotion and physical proximity has nothing to do with emotions. You can be miles apart from your beloved, but you can be inseparably bonded with him in your mind. If the society doesn’t approve, then you should not go ahead to give your emotions a reality; because you cannot ignore your society. If you truly love someone, don’t be defensive about him; let him go. If you still feel the same attraction towards him, you’ll know then and there, that your love is eternal.

This realization opened my eyes. I felt light, I felt happy. Now I don’t feel bad if he doesn’t turn up once or twice. But whenever I see him, I feel overjoyed. My feeling towards him has only become stronger.

My love towards him is eternal……
My first love…..
POTATO!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Laugh at yourself once in a while; give yourself a break.

Once upon a time, 26 summers ago, a married couple in Kolkata was expecting their first child. It was an ordinary, bright, sunny Sunday afternoon. Oblivious to the world outside that Bengali middle class family the couple belongs to, a new life was born…..

It was a girl. A cute little baby doll……..sleeping most of the time, waking up only to eat and play, before sleeping off again.

Days pass by, the baby grows up. Daddy’s little princess she is, busy all day to maintain law and order in her tiny kingdom. She has to make sure her toy-army is stuffed with tasty food and colourful dresses, her castle remains distinctively decorated with paints, papers, cloths all the time. And even after all such hard work, when the mommy-monster attacks her, she has to run for cover to her most trusted minister – her daddy….

The little girl now goes to school. Her first step away from her own little world was not so smooth though. She was hiding behind her daddy; holding his leg with all her strength, crying inconsolably. The poor teacher couldn’t lure her to the classroom. On her very first day to school, she bunked all the classes and came back home sitting on her daddy’s lap, eyes reddened, still sobbing.

Time heals wounds. Time makes people braver every passing day, to face the new challenge on the next sunrise. So, now the girl is braver too. She is no more afraid of school. She has found a new set of human beings over there. They are not like her parents, not like her uncles, aunts, grandma and grandpa. They are more like her – her size, her age, her mentality. They are her friends. Now she spends most of her time with them. But still, when her mom gets late to pick her up from school, when her relatives ask her to stay with them for a few days, her eyes sodden, she feels insecure. One thing she knows for sure; no matter how old she gets, she can never be independent, she can never stay away from her parents.

As per Indian constitution, people turn into adult on their 18th birthday. Not defying the law, our little girl also grows up to an adult on her 18th summer on this earth. She has finished her school and now she goes to college. College – an institution that brings out the woman inside a girl, the man inside a boy.

Three years of college was a roller-coaster ride. It started with a great enthusiasm and got over within a blink of eye. The girl did many things within these three years. She learned as much slang as she has not learned over the last 18 years; she learned to spend hours in front of the mirror which she has never done before; she neglected her studies to be with her friends and screwed up in exams which she could not even dream of doing earlier; and she learned a new game to play – gazing at men. She had a very lively gang of girls. They used to bunk classes together, hang around together and do mischief together. Twice a week, they used to attain a coaching class after college hours. Those 45 minutes of bus journey from college to coaching class was a joyride. They used to make fun of everything, giggle at everything and gaze at every good-looking boy around. Once they went to extreme. They kept on staring at a guy for so long that he felt very uncomfortable and got down from the bus way before his scheduled stop!

College ended like a sudden break and the girl stepped into university – a place from where one can see one’s future universe. The girl saw hers and one fine morning, she boarded a train to Trivandrum to build up her future, leaving everything behind. It was a summer Sunday again – an ordinary, bright, sunny Sunday.

The girl is an I.T. professional now. She lives in an unknown city with unknown people all by herself. Now she cooks – though at home, her culinary skill was limited to preparing chowmin occasionally; now she doesn’t need her mom to tie up her hair or to wear ear rings; she can do it herself. She earns well enough to ride a plane a month, which she could only dream when she was a child.


Something is missing………….many things are missing……….

She can no longer fight with her brother to be the driver of the bus they used to drive as children; she cannot wait for her mom to sleep off during summer holiday afternoons to steal the pickles jar and then get caught and beaten up; she cannot bunk classes, neglect studies, make fun and giggle and neglect everything as if the world outside her friend circle doesn’t exist. She cannot do all these things and many more – because she is no longer a girl……..she has grown up into a woman.

Daddy’s little princess I was, I have finally stepped into adulthood – 8 years after my 18th birthday…………………………..

Thursday, March 18, 2010


The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

How does it feel to fly?

Well, I can give a one sentence answer to this and end the blog; and then hope to see my name beautifully crafted in the next issue of the Guinness Book of World Records, for creating world’s smallest blog! But I think destiny has something else for me and for you too, my beloved readers!!! ; ) So, here goes the anatomy of fly-feeling……………..

It’s 11 at night. By this time, my mom usually sleeps off. But it was a special day. She has called me up for the seventh time and her latest advice is something like this – “Give me the ticket number. I’ll ask your brother to cancel it. It’s not that urgent for you to come. Don’t feel so homesick, my dear. Tomorrow morning itself I’ll book a Tatkal ticket and will go there and see you.” It was the day before my first flight-journey and the ticket fare was Rs. 6000/-, non-refundable!


Wright brothers have invented airplane centuries ago – everyday, lakhs of people fly around the world – every year 2-3 Bollywood movies release with at least one of their characters working as a pilot/flight steward/air hostess – 1-2 novels/magazines are written every year with a pilot-air hostess love story; but my fantasy about my first flight journey was pretty oblivious to all these earthy facts!!! There I was….one happy soul (it’s really tough to be happy after spending Rs. 6000/- at one go; but I tried my best :| )……..lost in wild imagination about a plane ride……..

First of all, how does a full size aero plane look like? I mean, how big is it? How are the windows? Can I really open it and stretch my arms out? (there was one comedy movie where a would-be father-in-law advises his would-be son-in-law not to keep his hands out of the window; who was going to travel abroad for a business purpose. I got this doubt after watching this movie! So, don’t laugh at me…) Then, how to fasten a seat-belt? In movies I’ve seen, a girl, flying for the first time, is struggling with the belt. Then a guy, tall-dashing-handsome, seating next to her, helped her out. They started talking to each other, kept talking throughout the journey; gradually fall in love…..etc. etc. Will this happen to me also? My God! What if the guy is not from our caste? How’ll I marry him? How’ll I convince my parents and relatives!!!! Oh no! I should have thought about all these risks before booking the ticket! Trouble!!!

I was not very sure what to carry and what not to carry in a flight. When you don’t know something and ask people for help, advices galore. I was receiving overdose of advices and at the end, got totally confused…. Frustrated, I decided, enough is enough. I’ll carry whatever I feel I’ll need and then, if the checkers suspect me as a terrorist, they should resign from their job.

My flight was at 9 o’clock in the morning. The fastest and cheapest way to reach the airport from my house was via train. So, I took the train. Over-crowded with students and office-goers, the train was a menace! Somehow I managed and arrived at the airport just in time. Now, the airport itself was an undiscovered island to me. It was so huge! People moving around in all directions with travel bags and trolleys. I couldn’t understand where to go to get the ticket. Thankfully, there was a friendly fellow who guided me and I collected my ticket.

I was waiting in the lounge for the flight to come. The mob around was quite different from that in a railway station. Here it is a bit sophisticated, well dressed, carrying laptops, speaking English…. I was actually expecting to notice someone in the Tata-Birla category any moment!

The airport was two-storied. For some flights, passengers were asked to go to the first floor to board the plane. I was wondering how it is possible. Two alternate options came to my mind. One, those flights might have an extra sliding door on the top. The door would open and the passengers would be asked to jump inside! Or, there might be a make-shift staircase to climb down. Passengers would toss their luggage down and the air hostesses and flight-stewards would be catching them! But the idea appeared to be too local bus or local train-like and people here were coming in own private cars! So, in an afterthought, I chucked the idea. The second option was more realistic. I thought the plane might come and stand close to an open balcony in the first floor and the passengers would directly walk inside. Believe me, till my second flight journey, I was in complete faith to this idea! I got to know the actual reality only when I boarded a flight from first floor…

After waiting for almost 15 minutes, my flight came and with a heart full of mixed feelings, I started walking towards it. We were taken near to the plane by a bus. The plane was quite large, with two doors – one at the front, one at the back. I entered through the front door. A pretty air hostess bearing a fake smile greeted me. I mirrored back and took my seat by the window. A while later, time came to fasten the seat belt. I tried once and I succeeded! Disheartened, I looked up to see the guy sitting next to me. :( He was…….well, not like what I had imagined. So, my parents and relatives have nothing to worry, I thought. But no! there he was! Tall-dashing-handsome! He was one of the flight stewards. But….but…….does he worth a fight with parents and relatives? After all, he didn’t even help me in fastening the seat-belt……..confusing!!!!!!! :|

The flight started moving toward the runway with the speed of a bus stuck in pick-hour traffic. It came to complete halt after reaching the runway. My local bus experience told me the plane is gone and we’d soon be asked to empty it. Then we’d be put into the next flight and would have to travel all the way standing! But, even standing in the middle of the sky is not a bad experience! So, I was not complaining. But to my utter surprise, suddenly the engine roared and the plane started running as if it has been chased by a dinosaur! Within seconds, it left the runway and started rising up in the air. Reaching a certain height, the plane started bending left…….almost in right angle! I was about to scream thinking the pilot has lost control; but people around me were surprisingly calm! The plane bended to the right then, again in right angle almost and finally it became steady. I sighed in relief!

When in midair, it’s quite dull inside the plane. You can’t even feel that you are flying. Only one constant murmur of the engine, or the AC; couldn’t figure out what actually it was but it was quite annoying. I was getting bored. I tried experimenting with the window for a while; I wanted to see whether it actually opens or not. The guy sitting next to me was trying to sleep; my research activity disturbed him and he gave me an annoying look. So, for the sake of public interest I had to abandon my activity…moreover, the window was also not opening!! :(

Outside the window clouds were passing by one after another. Sometimes the plane was flying through the clouds….piercing them into pieces!!! The cities, the villages, the roads, the rivers down under were looking so tiny… in cartoon films! But my eyes were searching for something else. In Ramayana, Mahabharata and in many other such serials telecasted, I have seen Gods, wearing expensive ornaments, moving around in clouds. I wanted to see them. I wanted to see one of those God vs Demon wars live!!

After two and a half hours floating in the air, the plane made a safe landing………again ran madly till it went out of reach of the unseen dinosaur and then finally stopped, drawing the curtains to my first flight journey without much fuss........ I couldn’t open the window, didn’t start any love story up in the air and most of all, couldn’t even see the Gods!!!! :( But why didn’t I see them? Might be the pilot has taken some other route. He didn’t want to let me see all at the very first visit. It’s all business……….

In the sky also!!!!!!!! :O

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question

Sneha: Are you sure?
Satabdi: off-course am! I clearly remember, I had turned off the light before going out.
Sneha: Then how come its on?
Satabdi: Donno. How’ll I know? Something’s wrong here……..
Sneha: Hey stupid! Don’t scare me! Am not gonna sleep in this room tonight….am going to their room. You? Coming?
Satabdi: No. I want to enjoy a night alone with an unknown ghost in this room!

So, a few minutes later, we heard a knock at our door and the two musketeers were standing there with their respective pillows and quilts. What happened later? Well, next morning when the hotel-boy came to serve bed-tea, he found three beds joined together and instead of three, he served total five cups of tea!

We were on an excursion from the university to the defense labs of DRDO in Dehradun. Ten brave-hearts, if you don’t mind! We five girls and five boys, all classmates and one of our professors. I don’t remember the actual date, but it might be sometime around pre-puja, i.e. during september-october. One breezy night, we boarded the Himachal Express from Howrah station and reached Saharanpur the day after next day. The first ever visit to the mountains in my life! I was excited way beyond expression!! :)

Saharanpur is a small town at the foot of the Himalayas. We hired two private cars and started towards Dehradun. For first few hours it was the usual small town scenery – two/three storied buildings, shops, vehicles, office-crowd……. I was not very sure what’ll be in store for me.

A few yards later, a monkey showed up on the road-side. Unusual? Well, yeah, little bit. After all, you won’t see monkeys roaming around on Kolkata roads! Gradually, city-crowd started to thin out and what emerged in front of us was a road usually frequented by fairy-tale princesses! It’s actually just another highway….. but am not exaggerating a bit. A narrow, slender road, bordered by tall, mountain-trees on both sides; their branches making a never-ending arch overhead! I was feeling like stepping out of the car and taking a stroll – like a princess walking down the backyard of her castle – lost in her own world of sweet dreams!!!

A little while after, we started climbing up. Rocky mountains, covered with lash greenery started peeking up roadsides. We were crossing past u-turns in full speed – rocks on right and a dried-up mountain-river bed on the left, lying several feet down the road! I was sitting by the door on the left; closing my eyes every time the car taking a turn; fearing what if the door is not properly locked! I’d be thrown out of the car like a villain punched off by Sunny Deol or Rajni Kanth and would fall down the depth……..

Thankfully that didn’t happen and I survived to share my feelings with you! :)There’re some feelings which worth a meticulous memoir……and this trip is surely one among them. Till today, whenever I look back to my university days, I live every moment of the trip! It feels like just a matter of yesterday…..even after three eventful years!!!!

……….At that very first night, we were attacked by the unknown ghost and for the rest of our days in Dehradun, we five squeezed ourselves in three beds and were jostling with each other for space until we got tired and fed up and ultimately gave up and slept off!

Daytimes were booked by visits to various labs of DRDO. We had only the evenings to explore places and we utilized them to the extreme. Once we went to the heart of the town and walked back to our den covering 8 miles! Next morning I woke up with legs weighing like 2 kg sacks! Once we went to a temple [sorry, don’t remember the name :( ]; the entrance was cave-like; we had to actually crawl to enter! It seems, you should not go to the God with your head held high; it should be bent down in respect. How many among the visitors do have that respect I don’t know; but the idea’s great! Even world’s greatest atheist can’t disrespect the God, if he/she wants to see the idol!

Luckily we got a full day off from our busy schedule just a day before our last day at Dehradun. And that day came out to be the most remarkable day of the trip! We went to Mussoorie. Mussoorie is about a few hours journey uphill from Dehradun. We started early in the morning and by the time we reached Mussoorie mall, it was already lunch time. Mussoorie mall is a small place; a few variety shops and hotels, restaurants, car parking. And not to forget the horse-riding! First time in my life I rode a horse and it was so amazing! For a body used to struggle with hard, uncomfortable seats of public transport, the horseback appeared too soft and delicate – as soft as a feather! While boarding the horse, I became so conscious thinking that I might end up hurting the poor creature, that the man-in-charge of the horse told me, “if you hesitate so much to ride a horse, how’ll you hold your new-born?” :P

There’s a hilltop at about 1km distance from the mall, named ‘Gun Hill Point’. Sounds a little scary, is it? Like, the (in)famous ‘Suicide Point!!’ :P I was actually thinking it might be a historical place where disobedient people used to be shot at point blank range during the British Raj! Or max to max it’d be a war-memorial sort-of; with a rifle headed up, sheltered by an army-cap. I still don’t know the significance of the name of that place, but one thing I can assure you of – there’s more than what meets the eye in that place; or to be more specific, more than what your mind can imagine. The way upwards was a little steep; we were halting and grasping for breath in every 10-15 minutes. Almost half an hour later, we reached the top. And what did we see there? I don’t know how to express that feeling in words. I stood there awestruck for almost 5 minutes! Lying in front of me was the magnificent Himalayas – stretching his arms as far as my eyes can reach……..the far away peaks smeared with white soft cloud!

Mostly when people come close to the nature, they become poetic. I had a different feeling though…a little out of place, you might think. But the truth is, the moment I saw the Himalayas, I felt protected, I felt secured – as I feel when my dad is with me! To every child, his/her dad is a know-it-all Superman. To me, he’s still the same. And the moment I saw it, the Himalayas reminded me of my dad. With its sky-touching height, rock-strong feature, never-ending stretches covered with soft greenery – the Himalayas was looking so much like my dad. So strong, yet so gentle; so powerful, yet so caring. I was feeling like screaming out loud, to tell my dad - “Daaaaaaad…..don’t worry dad. I’m safe here. You don’t know dad; but I can see you here. I can feel you. You’re with me dad. I fear nothing!!!!!”

You know one thing! Life is a collage of millions and millions of tiny moments. In the hustle of daily life, it appears smudged, as meaningless as a kid’s first stroke of sketch pen; but when you stop for a while and take a closer look, it soothes you like nothing else. My visit to the Gun Hill point is one such moment. To a regular traveler it might not appear so scenic. But for a first time viewer like me, it was simply beautiful. And to add to the richness of that moment, there was a cup of steaming coffee, overflowing with white bubbles! I don’t know how espresso or cappuccino tastes like; but I’ll love to remember the moment as am holding a hot cup of espresso/cappuccino lost in the comfort of the Himalayan majesty!

Our 10-day journey ended with a short tour to one of the seven most sacred places of India – the Hardwar. I’m not that religious-minded; but I’d request each of you to visit Har Ki Pouri ghat at least once in your life; if not for religion, just to inhale the essence – the essence of humanity. So many people, from so many different walks of life, all coming to take a holy dip in the sacred river of Ganges; hoping to be a better person in next life. It’s just so incredible!

Here ends my little travelogue. Hope you enjoy reading it. While writing down, I was actually living back those moments! I don’t know how much these words can fill the canvas of your imagination…..let me keep my fingers crossed! :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Love and Trust live together. If one is missing, there's no point having the other.

Hey folks!! Good day!!!! :)

Hope you all are doing good. How was your day yesterday? Good, bad, ok, nothing special – as usual? Well………whatever it is, keep it aside. Here, now, you are with me. So, today you are going to have kind a refreshment in your daily, mundane life……. :)

Those who don’t know but care to know, today is my first day in the world of blogging. Did I hear somebody asking, “So?” Well, so……… you know, the usual staff……. if I make a mistake or two (or most likely many), knowingly or unknowingly, here and there, please forgive me with your own highness………..etc. etc. :)

All said and done, like the warning in radio before the Tsunami, or, like the roll-call before a boring lecture of a Professor honoured by the most coveted title - the ‘Sleeping Capsule’, by those nasty little creatures called students – let’s begin the journey…………. [ Wanted to keep both the extremes as possible analogies; as I’ve no idea what am going to blab out here :)]

Charming Chennai – what’s so charming about Chennai? Many things, actually. Let me share my quota of findings:-

1. Teeth: What!? That’s your expression, right? Well, don’t be too shocked. Come out of the Chennai Central Railway Station with a travel bag on your shoulder and a suitcase in your hand – Shah Rukh Khan, Main Hyun Naa style; or a backpack on your back – Ranbir Kapoor, Bachna Ae Haseeeno style; and look around the city as if you have stepped on the Moon; you will realize. Walk a few steps left or right, east or west, you will discover a Dental Cinic – with a mighty tooth or an open mouth full of glorious teeth welcoming you. Spend a few months in Chennai, roam around the city in local transport and befriend with some local people, you will be astonished with the peculiar fascination of Chennaites towards teeth. You will find a dental college in every locality, a dentist or a would-be dentist in every family…….. And know what? I suppose, in Chennai, teeth plays a vital role in elections too! Just take a look at the roadside banners, posters, wall paintings of the political parties, you’ll know what I mean. Eminent, not-so-eminent, powerful, not-so-powerful – leaders and party-members – everybody are laughing – laughing as if they are watching a Tom & Jerry show – with their mouths wide open – showcasing their teeth of various shapes and sizes and colours – every set of teeth whiter than the other! As if they are trying to impress the voters with the whiteness of their teeth – a symbol of purity!!!!

2. Moustache: What’s the symbol of masculinity? If you are an inhibitant of a modern-age metro city, your answer probably be ‘rough-n-tough, lean-figured, clean-shaved…..etc. etc.’ But for a Chennai fellow – male or female, the answer is Moustache. Girls die for the proud owner of a well-maintained moustached man; boys vie to grow one! First time when I came to Chennai, I got scared to see men with big, fat moustaches moving around claded in their traditional half-sleeve shirts and lungis! No offence, but to the eyes grown up watching Hindi movies, they were looking like typical Hindi movie villains!!

3. White: Apart from well-grown moustache, Chennai men have one more fascination. And that is their love for the colour white. Men, mostly, older people, they are just crazy about white. White shirts, white lungis – on a bright sunny day, they look like reflectors! Or, as per Chetan Bhagat in his latest novel, ‘a model in Tide commercial’!

4. Flowers: If men are crazy about moustache and white, women are game for gold and flowers. Chennai female dress very simply; even in weddings they mostly turn up in formals or casuals; but they decorate themselves in gold like anything! And flowers! Usha Uththup is a very popular singer in my hometown Kolkata. We Kolkatans have always seen her putting a garland of flowers in her hair, whatever be the occasion. I used to think its her style statement, as many people have one of their own. But after coming to Chennai I’ve realized its not that at all. Putting flowers in hair is almost like a ritual here! If you don’t put flower, you are not a proper Tamilian! Sometimes, I tease my roomies on this. They don’t put flowers, although they are Tamilians. You might have heard that sometimes rituals reach a height where they look quite funny. Here, read this: fresh flowers put on hair in the morning after bath; its night now; flowers have turned into crunchy paper; still they are on hair!!!

5. Hair oil: This is one more fascination Chennai women have. They apply oil on hair like a soldier getting ready for the warfront; fully loaded with arms and ammunitions to wash off the enemy. Chennai women literally drench their hair in oil! When they come closer, you can smell two different scents from their body – one of the hair oil and the other of the deodorant!

6. Gents’ Beauty Parlour: No. Please don’t take this phrase in any wrong meaning. People who actually frequent these places, are very much normal and straight. But the fact is, Chennai doesn’t have any Ladies’ Beauty Parlour. All Beauty Parlours are for Gents only! Ladies are managing with only salons! :( Poor ladies! What to do? After all, we are residing in a male-dominated society!!!

So, here this is my unique six-pack collection of the charms of Chennai! Whoever wants to add to the cart, is very much welcome……… :)