First time joys for the kid during Janmashtami’22

Last month, we traveled to Berhampore for Janmashtami celebrations at my marital home. Though the kid has traveled by train a couple of times, he was too young to remember. This time, we chucked the car and took the train. Our son enjoyed the onward and return journey as he ate a variety of food, purchased items and toys from the hawkers, and enjoyed the view from the train’s window. Here’s a snap of him at his naughty best on the day we traveled back to Kolkata.

The fun ride on the train

Berhampore sky was at its sunny best for the first two days of our trip. On the third day, the skies yelped and shed tears as I prepared for our return journey. Strangely, by evening, it was back to its gorgeous state. My marital home is located in the busiest part of the town. Surrounded by the local market, the place is forever buzzing. Most of the residential properties are decades old, though some have been demolished to build new age apartment complexes. Our son was amazed by the thriving market area and surrounding landscape that smelt of nostalgia. We spent a lot of time on the terrace.

Berhampore sky and the landscape around my marital home

The boy loves birds. Even in Kolkata, he ensures to leave some food items on our balcony grills for the birds. But in Berhampore, he had the huge terrace to himself to run around and have fun. Every evening, he spread puffed rice, bread crumbs, and biscuit pieces all over the terrace and called out to the pigeons. Almost every day, a few pigeons and some crows came to nibble on the food as we sat at one corner, away from the birds. Though he had done this ritual before, it was his first time acting responsible and feeding the birds by himself. His father and I were mere spectators.

Feeding the birds

There are many other things that the child did for enjoyment. I found him giving signatures on paper to the guests present during Janmashtami puja as a permit granted to them to go upstairs for eating prasad. He spent hours playing the dholak while ensuring that the pen he used to give his autograph was safely tucked into his t-shirt.

The boy with his dholak and pen

Inside the room, he spent hours swaying on his father’s rocking chair that he has already claimed to be his property now. From tasting yummy malpoa and taler bora to eating spicy dum aloo along with polao as part of the bhog offered, the kid experienced it all. These small gestures keep him close to our roots and experience things that were integral to our childhood spent in the small town of Berhampore.

Hijacking his father’s rocking chair.

Food, friends, and fun – summing up July’22

July usually is an uneventful month in my life with no birthdays or occasions to celebrate. It’s also when my son has his first term assessment, leaving us with little time to enjoy. However, his school preponed the assessment dates by two weeks, and we began the month with exams on the 1st of July. But that meant we ended it within the 15th of July, leaving us with half of the month to have fun.

Dessert @Golden Joy

We experimented with a lot of new cuisines in new cafes and restaurants. While we celebrated his finishing the exams on a high with Chinese food at the Golden Joy in Tangra, my son and I went on a book shopping spree to the Storyteller store, followed by sandwiches at The Wise Owl cafe in Golpark.

Snacks @The Wise owl

Last week, I met Kasturi, one of my closest friends from the writing world for the first time. We had breakfast at the Roastery Coffee House in Gariahat. It became a memorable experience not just became of the ambiance and delectable food but also because of the best company I had.

Breakfast @Roastery Coffee House

We ended the month with the best continental food in town at Mocambo, Park Street. While Chicken-Ala-Kyiv satiated our taste buds, Baked Alaska thrilled the kid with its unique presentation.

Baked Alaska @Mocambo

A lot is happening in the health/fitness of my life. Also, there are quite some exciting updates to share about the completed and writing-in-progress books. But that’s for another day in the upcoming blog posts.

The gorgeous Kolkata sky at dusk

The New Town sky

On Tuesday, we took a day off to explore New Town and its surrounding areas in Kolkata since the kid finished his first offline term examinations. We lunched at the Golden Joy in China Town, went on a long drive to Khoribari for hot and tasty tea, and shopped at the old Shyambazar/Haitbagan market, followed by book purchases at the famous boi para on College Street.

Dessert at the Golden Joy restaurant

Here’s sharing some memorable pictures from a day where we spend quality family time while soaking in the beauty of nature. It rained the entire day, and I captured some gorgeous photos of the blue sky at dusk.

At Khoribari
College street – clicked in front of my alma mater, Presidency University

We met with a car accident last Tuesday

It is such a bizarre topic to experience and write about, but it’s also my responsibility to share the horrific experience that we went through as a family. On Tuesday evening, we were out for a family dinner. Our regular driver was at the wheels car, and my husband was seated beside him. Our son and I sat occupied the back seats.

We were waiting at the traffic signal when a bus violated the traffic rules and hit our car. It shattered our looking glass on the spot. Instead of stopping, the bus kept moving, thus crushing the front left door. It was a traumatic phase where I couldn’t stop worrying about my husband’s safety. Since our 6.5-year-old child was also in the car, we failed to calm down our nerves.

The condition of the car after the accident – the shattered looking glass and the crushed front left door.
Continue reading “We met with a car accident last Tuesday”

Destination five & six – Dacres Lane & Iskcon Temple (Exploring Kolkata in a day series)

On 14th April, we started the day with lunch at Peter Cat, a visit to the Birla Planetarium followed by St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a boat ride at the Prinsep Ghat. As dusk settled down in the sky, we were exhausted and craved hot tea.

Chitto Babu r Dokan

Dacres Lane, near Esplanade, houses one of the oldest and most sought-after shops, Chitto Da’s stall or Chitto Babu r dokan. During any time of the day, one can find a crowd of office goers, residents, and travelers relishing tea, butter toast, chicken stew, or fish fry while sitting on the long benches on the opposite foot. It’s not a fancy or upscale eatery, but the kind that satisfies the nostalgic soul of a foodie. We gorged on tea and butter toast, while the kid ate a fish fry.

The Iskcon temple complex

By the time we got into the car, it was around 6:30 p.m. and a trip to the Ecopark didn’t seem like a viable option. Also, the kid was super tired from running around and doing other activities. So, we headed towards Minto Park to spend some time at the Iskcon temple. We witnessed the evening aarti there and drove back home to New Town.

Iskcon temple, Minto Park

Kolkata is a heritage city, rich in so many spots worth visiting that a day’s outing can never do justice to the heart of a traveler. But we want the kid to know and appreciate his birth city as he grows up. So, we decided to start taking him out on such short day trips. We hope to carry on the tradition of sightseeing new locations in the city as and when it fits into our schedule.

Hope you enjoyed reading my series as much as I loved writing the blog posts.

Destination four – Princep Ghat (Exploring Kolkata in a day series)

When we left St. Paul’s Cathedral after covering Birla Planetarium and lunching at Peter Cat, the watch showed 4:30 p.m. The kid wanted us to stop at Maidan to play football, a ritual we followed on most weekends during winter. But we had a different plan in mind and convinced him to a fun ride at a destination new to all of us. We reached Prinsep Ghat, the favorite spot of every movie director depicting Kolkata on the big screen (remember ‘Parineeta’?)

Fort William

The child ran in the park, leading us to the ghat. We rented a boat for the four of us for around thirty minutes. The boatman rowed towards the opposite side of the ghat only after we put on the mandatory life jackets.

Against the backdrop of the setting sun

Initially, the kid was a little scared since the boat swayed in the river. Once he discovered the joy of splashing water, there was no looking back for us.

And we begin the ride
The boats, ready to sail

Of all the places we visited in our day’s outing, the ride on the Ganges against the backdrop of the yellowish-orange sun setting in the pinkish-blue sky became the most memorable part of our trip. I captured some gorgeous snapshots of the setting sun and the Vidyasagar Setu, before sailing back to the ghat. The kid was so happy about the ride that he made us promise to bring him back for another trip soon.

Against the backdrop of Vidyasagar Setu

On the way back, we saw the Chakra rail; the kid happily posed in front of Fort William. It was already 6 p.m., and we craved tea. Through Burrabazar, we headed to Dacres lane towards our fifth destination. Stay tuned to know which place was next on our list.

The kid preparing to splash water

Destination three – St. Paul’s Church (Exploring Kolkata in a day series)

After Peter Cat and M.P.Birla Planetarium, our third destination choice was St. Paul’s Cathedral, the largest church in the city. Every year, we visit the church in December when it is decked up for Christmas. It is located adjacent to the Planetarium. So, we parked our car inside the premises to visit both places.

Bird’s eye view of St. Paul’s Cathedral

A portion of the church is still under renovation, but one can still sit inside and soak in the silence of spirituality. After spending some time in tranquility, we took a look around to appreciate the architecture designed in an Indo-Gothic style. Next, we went to the children’s play area in the backside. The kid had a great time on the swing and slide while also running behind squirrels.

The view from the entrance gate

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of my favorite places in the city to spend some time alone. In 2018, when I had just begun blogging, I wrote a detailed blog post about this spot. Needless to say, we would again return here on or before Christmas.

The kid on the swing

We spent some time in the garden area before driving out towards our fourth destination. Stay tuned to figure out where we took the kid next to have a gala time.

Destination two – M.P. Birla Planetarium (Exploring Kolkata in a day series)

After our first destination, Peter Cat, we headed over to the Jawaharlal Nehru Road for our second stoop, M.P. Birla Planetarium. The kid has recently developed a fascination for the solar system and space. We got him a couple of age-appropriate books to satiate his curiosity about the planets. But he is always looking to know more. So, we thought of taking him to one of the shows currently running about ‘Cosmic collisions.’

M.P. Birla Planetarium

After parking our car, we got the tickets by standing in a long queue. The second line was for entry, which was longer than the first one. Honestly, it was a big turn-off in the scorching heat. After getting inside, we realized that one could sit anywhere they chose to. We decided on sitting in the last row to have a better view, though the seating arrangement doesn’t make much of a difference once the show begins.

The garden within the premises

It was a mesmerizing experience. Once the movie began, we felt transported to the enormity of space. At times, the kid was baffled because most phenomena were beyond his age and understanding. However, that didn’t deter him or us from enjoying the experience. After the thirty-minutes show (which we felt was too short), we walked to our third destination in the vicinity. I’ll share more details in the next blog post.

The kid was excited to see the show

Photography is prohibited inside the planetarium, so I’ve shared pictures only of the entrance and the garden area outside the building. You can find details of the planetarium on their official website.