Passing on the love of traveling – a nomad’s perspective


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“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

I was five years old when I went on my first trip to Darjeeling with my parents. Higher studies and corporate stints made me a resident of cities like Delhi, Bangalore, and Mysore. This was also the period when I traveled with my gang of girls to places like Chennai, Pondicherry, and Ooty and groups of friends to Pune, Khandala, Lonavala, Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar, Ahmedabad, Agra, and Goa. Once I discovered that I was essentially a nomad at heart, my solo trips took me to Hyderabad, Mumbai, Mangalore, Coorg, Madikeri, and Chickmagalur. 

Chennai
Chennai

When T and I got married in 2011, it was a delight to discover that we shared the same enthusiasm for travel. Munnar was the first place that we visited as a married couple. Unfortunately, I lost my mother in the same year and life came to a stand-still. In 2012, an impromptu road trip from Trivandrum to Varkala and Kanyakumari helped me get a grip on my life again. Together we managed to visit Thekkady, Periyar, Alleppey, Athirapally, Cochin, Wayanad, Goa, Coimbatore, and Kodaikanal. If writing helped me cope up with my mother’s loss, traveling gave me the reason to live.

Mumbai
Mumbai

Three years back after my son was born, the trips became more planned and less on an impulse. From Goa and Mumbai in Central India, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Shankarpur, and Digha in the East, Delhi and Noida in the North to Guwahati, Shillong, and Cherrapunji in the North East, the three of us have explored both the tranquility of nature, humdrum of the city, sea and mountains alike. 

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Memories from 2018 – Recap series (Dec)


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I have enjoyed getting into this throwback mode and pulling out the best moments of 2018. In the last post of both the recap series and this year, I talk about December – the month of joy and holidays and bring forth my goals for 2019. The previous posts related to this series is available here.

DECEMBER

In this month, I was delighted to have made it to the list of top twenty writers in the categories of Travel Writing and Humor at the Orange Flower Awards conducted by Women’s Web. To be shortlisted among 1600 writers was nothing short of a dream come true moment for me. While I might not have won the award this year, it gave me the right kind of boost and motivation to stay focused and work harder.

Indiblogger #TheBlindlist winner
Indiblogger #TheBlindlist winner

This was also the month when the Indiblogger #TheBlindList contest winners were announced and I was pleasantly surprised to find my name and post in the list of winners.

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Memories from 2018 – Recap Series (Oct & Nov)


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It has been quite an incredible experience to capture the best moments from JanuaryFebruary and MarchAprilMayJune and July, August and September. In today’s post, I write about the most cherished memories from October – a month filled with festivals and November – a month I wish I could delete from the calendar every year.

OCTOBER

The last day of Durga Puja
The last day of Durga Puja

October holds a special place in my heart because of my fond memories of Durga Puja. While I have never been very keen on celebrating this festival after losing my mother, last year I made a conscious choice to let my toddler understand the significance and joy associated with this festival by helping him be a part of it. And this year, the unofficial childhood club formed by my husband and his friends began its first-year journey of conducting Durga Puja. A group of people with a strong sense of belonging to the took everyone by surprise as the festival turned out to be a grand success with everyone soaking in the emotions of joy and bliss.

Birthday cake for the husband
Birthday cake for the husband

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Memories from 2018 – Recap series (Aug & Sep)


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After bringing out some extremely special memories from JanuaryFebruary and MarchAprilMay, June and July, I move on to talk about an eventful August and delightful September here.

AUGUST

Lights, Camera, Chatter
Lights, Camera, Chatter

August has always been about my mother’s birthday and my motherland’s independence day. Till date, I celebrate her birthday by cutting a cake hoping that her soul finds peace in her heavenly abode. But this year, August became a landmark month in my life after winning the Lights, Camera, Chatter contest by Blogchatter. As winners, we had the opportunity to perform our pieces live on camera. Through this forum, I transformed from a story writer to a storyteller this year. I have been thinking of doing this more often through my some selective storytelling sessions on my YouTube channel in 2019.

SEPTEMBER

Tuneer turns three
Tuneer turns three

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Memories from 2018 – Recap series (June & July)


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It’s a great feeling to get back into this recap mode sharing throwback memories from 2018. After  JanuaryFebruary and MarchApril and May, we move on to the middle of the year as I cherish memories from June and shudder at the thought of July this year.

JUNE

The anniversary cake
The anniversary cake this year

June marked my entry into fiction writing as I participated in the Write Tribe Festival of Words for the first time. I discovered my love for writing short stories and flash fiction and my blogging journey took off in a new direction.

Seven years back as we became partners for life
Seven years back as we became partners for life

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Memories from 2018 – Recap series (May)


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The last couple of posts featured my favorite moments from January, February and March, and April. Today, I talk about my most precious memories of May.

MAY

Celebrating my birthday with the family
Celebrating my birthday with the family

The most special aspect of May has always been the fact that it is my birthday month. To date, I feel excited as a child whenever my family or friends organize a surprise party or I am showered with surprise gifts. This May, I was on a short trip to my hometown Berhampore. Celebrating my birthday with my father and marital family together on 29th May made this birthday a little more special.

Deal of Death_Sonia Chatterjee
Deal of Death_Sonia Chatterjee

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Memories from 2018 – Recap series (April)


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In my previous posts, have written about my special memories from January and also featured my most precious moments of February and March. Today, I move ahead and talk about one of my favorite months in the year – April.

APRIL

The grandfather celebrating his birthday with the grandson
The grandfather celebrating his birthday with the grandson

In my eight years of a being a Banker, I have always eagerly waited for the month of April. It meant the beginning of a new Financial year and a month with new goals and benchmarks to be set. But deep within, I also accept the fact that I have always been a little biased towards April because it happens to be my father’s birthday month. On the 1st April this year, my young man turned sixty-nine and I feel grateful that we could be around him to celebrate his special day with cakes, gifts, and some delicious food.

The first month of preschool.jpg
The first month of preschool

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Memories from 2018 – Recap series (Feb & March)


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The first post of Recap series had featured my most precious picture from January this year. Moving on to the memories created in the next two months, I realized that both these pictures had a feeling of a homecoming for me.

FEBRUARY

The remnants of the past at Balia
The remnants of the past at Balia

The month of February saw us visiting my father’s ancestral home in a small village called Balia in Bengal. My father had spent ten years of his childhood in this village before moving out to a town for higher studies. He finished his graduation from a college in the same town and then shifted to Calcutta for his post-graduation. After becoming the University topper, he chose to return back to the same small town and join as a Lecturer at his alma mater. I have never seen a man so content to give up lucrative offers and opportunities to stay close to his family in a place which gave him a sense of belonging. Even today at the age of 70, he ensures to visit his ancestral home at least once a month to meet his eldest sis-in-law and my cousin brothers. This February, we decided to take our toddler to Balia to let him have a feel of the emotions that define his maternal grandfather. It was a delight to see him enjoy and explore the place which still retains some memories of the bygone era.

MARCH

Celebrating the festival of colors.jpg
Celebrating the festival of colors

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Memories from 2018 – Recap series (January)


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NaNoWriMo in November has been quite an exhausting journey. This month, I have barely managed to write just two posts until now. However, I must admit that I have consciously started practicing the concept of a mindful break for a quarter now. So, I decided to let go of my guilt for not writing enough and instead cater to the need of my mind and soul.

Yesterday, I had been running through the pictures gallery on my laptop thinking of utilizing them to make another personalized item. I have a huge fetish for anything personalized – be it a notebook, a calendar, a mug or picture frame. It was during this process of reliving memories that I decided to do a series capturing the most special moments of this year every month. This has been a quite significant year both personally and professionally. So in the next series of posts, I would be sharing twelve different pictures from each month of this year featuring my most precious memories.

JANUARY 2018

Saraswati Puja - Jan 2018 - Recap series
Saraswati Puja – Jan 2018

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Passing on the joy of celebration – Mahalaya special


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It’s that time of the year again when the wait for the biggest celebration for a Bengali household comes to an end with the arrival of Mahalaya. For the next ten days, all that one can hear a Bengali talk about is how Durga pujo is nothing short of an emotion. It doesn’t matter in which city you are going to celebrate pujo this year. It could be Berhampore/Murshidabad, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, New York or London because the level of excitement always stays the same.

A pandal created out of drums -Pujo 2017
A pandal created out of drums -Pujo 2017

Mahalaya in my childhood meant the beginning of school holidays. Preparation began the night before as Ma pestered me to sleep early while ensuring that Baba kept the radio station sorted out for the wee hours of the morning. Sharp at 4 am, she woke up every year to turn on the radio. I would snuggle up to them with sleepy eyes as Mahishashur Mardini was aired on All India Radio. Birendra Krishna Bhadra chanted the verses of Chandi Kavya/Path while devotional songs played during intervals.

Throwback - Pujo 2017
Throwback – Pujo 2017

And then Doordarshan came up with a Mahalaya special episode of Mahishashur Mardini. My parents would watch till the end as I dozed off intermittently. Baba would next go to the local sweet shop Mitali and get us Kachori, Aloo Dum and misthi. I still feel those were the only motivating factors for me to wake up so early.

Open Air Durga Pujo - Pujo 2017
Open Air Durga Pujo – Pujo 2017

I normally spent the day reading books that I would stack up for the last few months. These were called pujabarshikis because these annual magazines were published only during pujo. For me, Anandamela pujabarshiki meant the world though we also got Shukhtara, Desh, Sananda and Anandalok. This hasn’t changed over the years. Last year I had written a post on how this is a gift from my father that I eagerly wait for every year. This year, I am hoping to get it when I travel to Berhampore this 12th.

Anandamela Pujabarshiki last year
Anandamela Pujabarshiki last year

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