This January, I decided to work on a travel diary based on the rich historical background of my home district Murshidabad in Bengal. I had moved out of my hometown Berhampore in 1999 for higher studies. For sixteen long years, I stayed in different cities owing to education and job assignments. When we moved back in 2016, Kolkata had become our new home. In the backyard of my memories, Murshidabad always had a strong influence. I extended my stay at my in-laws for a month this time. Every alternate day, I visited places of historical significance in Murshidabad to understand the folklore surrounding it, read up history books, listened to a tourist guide’s version of its history and clicked numerous snaps. This series formed a part of my BlogchatterA2Z challenge based on the theme ‘A dollop of Bengal”(letters H – M).
This photo was clicked at Nasipur Rajbari (Palace). This palace used to be the court of Debi Singha – the tax collector (in)famous for his atrocities towards the poor. A portion of this property has now been converted into an art museum and library. These steps with a tainted history of bloodshed and pain evoked a feeling of eeriness in me.
This is the third post (nonfiction) written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign on the theme ‘Shades of Perception’. You can read the first flash fiction around this picture prompt hereand the second one here.
My husband (T) and my toddler (also T) are the best of friends. Senior T is posted in a city far away from Kolkata. He travels back to the city only over the weekends. Whenever Senior T is at home, Junior T doesn’t leave him even for a minute. With the onset of monsoon seasons, Junior T has been suffering from recurring viral fever. A couple of weeks back, he was still in the recovery process and had been missing his father a lot. His father decided to surprise him by turning up a day earlier than usual. On spotting his father after waking up, the surprised toddler jumped on him out of joy while senior T instantly lifted him up higher leading to a moment worth capturing.
This picture is from my wedding in 2011. Though the Hindu Bengali wedding is full of such beautiful moments, this particular scene is a personal favorite. I feel that this frame depicts one of the most poignant moments of my marriage. For me, it signifies that two souls united by the threads of love, trust, and understanding have chosen to walk together in this new phase of life.
If you want to read more about Bengali weddings, you can read my personalized post here.
There’s an assortment of toys lying at various corners of my apartment. From soft toys to remote-controlled gadgets suitable for his age group, the soon to turn three-year-old cherishes every single purchase. Until a certain point, his favorite play items were pieces of paper, empty cartons, and discarded boxes. His next favorite became the huge collection of soft toys that were mostly accumulated as gifts. But the preferences shifted at every phase of growing up.
However, if there’s any toy set that has maintained the consistency of being his favorite for a year now, it will have to the plastic kitchen set meant for kids in the age group of 2 – 5 years. Other than the fact that we get to eat some delicious items cooked by him, this set also has a high sentimental value for him. It was gifted to my son on his second birthday by our cook who saved up money so that she could give him a gift.
Today is India’s 72nd Independence Day. Decades back, there were ample opportunities to move out and make a more developed country my home. But I chose to stay back for reasons close to my heart. Despite the number of years, it pains to see that my motherland is still shackled by quite a few regressive thoughts and practices. My son and his kitchen set are not mere toys in our household. They stand for our thoughts in trying to bring a change in the tiniest of ways, It is our way to break the taboo associated with gender stereotyping or casteism.
My husband and I have always grabbed the slightest of opportunities to travel to the unexplored destinations. During our first road trip from Mysore (Karnataka, India) to Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu, India), we were exhausted after traveling for nine hours. As we got down near the reception, this is the first sight that greeted us beyond which lay the cloud embraced hills.
The row of flower pots arranged symmetrically added to the beauty of the place. During our three days stay there, we realized that almost everything about the resort followed an alignment in the pattern of rows. The planning of cottages or placing of chairs and flower pots were evidence to our conclusion.
At times, I wish I knew how to arrange my life into a neat and symmetrical pattern of rows since chaos seems to be a permanent guest here.
This picture was clicked at Munnar, Kerala (India). As a married couple, this was the first hill station we had traveled together embarking on the first of many travel journeys that followed suit. Driving down from Mysore, it took us eleven hours to reach this beautiful town in Kerala yet the scenic beauty was enough to rejuvenate our soul. The field in this picture was the grazing ground for the animals but during the tiffin break, it also served as the play ground for the school kids on the opposite side of the road. The field was surrounded by houses, schools, offices and a research laboratory beyond which started the hills. We stood mesmerized by the rare and peaceful co-existence of nature and civilization.
Despite loving hills and mountains, I have always had a major fear of heights. In 2009, I had been freshly recruited as a Branch Manager for one of India’s topmost private banks. Along with another twenty-three campus recruits from different B-schools in the country, we were sent for a month-long training program at the Bank’s training center in Khandala (Maharashtra). Over the weekend, few of us started planning short trips to the nearby cities of Pune, Lavasa, Lonavala, Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. After a daylong tour at Mahabaleshwar, the last destination was an age-old temple post which we had planned to return back to our center. Just adjacent to this temple, we located a cliff that provided an amazing view of the surrounding. Confident of my unwillingness to climb the cliff, the team had begun retracing their steps when the gutsy wind swept my hair over my face, giving me a hitherto unknown strength. Along with my friends, I climbed the cliff to a safe zone near its edge by letting go of all my inhibitions. As I stood there breathing in the beauty of nature, the feeling was that of an achiever. I still say that I have never felt so liberated even till today.