“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” – Og Mandino. After our trip to Mandarmani in March, we decided to take a road trip to Taki over the Eid weekend.
It took us around two hours from our residence in Kolkata by car to reach Hotel Sonar Bangla, Taki. After checking into our room on the second floor, it was a deja vu moment for us since we had visited the same hotel and stayed in the same block two years ago.
For lunch, we went to the hotel’s in-house restaurant. The mutton rogan josh was to die for though the Paneer makhani gave it serious competition. After exploring the property for a while, we decided to book the steamer ride on the Ichchamati River.
I could wrap up 2022 with joy and satisfaction as I hit the send button for book no. 2 (the second in the Detective Raya Ray series) to my publisher. Unfortunately, 2023 began with a shock as my father-in-law had a nasty fall. He underwent surgery for a broken bone. By God’s grace, he’s better now and recovering well. In January, we celebrated Saraswati puja and explored some delectable cuisines at different restaurants.
A month into 2023, I was chasing the deadline for book no. 3, my first commissioned project for a true crime story from the past. It was also the month my seven-and-a-half-year-old was due for his final assessment. Kolkata was under the grip of a deadly virus, and almost everyone I know, including me, was grappling with a weird kind of flu that just refused to go away.
By the beginning of March, things started looking better as I delivered the manuscript within the deadline, and we showed signs of recovery from the flu. The son finished his exams on the 6th of March, and we took off for a mini vacation to Mandarmani the next day.
Since the 7th of March was Holi, we played with colors before diving into the Mandarmani sea. Three days of a beach holiday rejuvenated our minds and bodies as we explored Tajpur Beach and Mohana near Digha Beach, experimented with local cuisine, and spent hours at Mandarmani beach. Of course, we didn’t want to return as the break got over.
The kid has his session break; I have taken another week off to spend time and play various indoor games with him. After three years of working non-stop on both books, writing and editing them, I decided to take time off before getting involved in the prepublication stages of my upcoming books. So, here we are, watching children’s movies like Sonar Kella, reading story books, playing puzzles and brain games, and squeezing out every minute to enjoy to the fullest.
I hope you had a great start to 2023 and that the year is treating you kindly so far.
2022 taught me the value of health. For the first time, I got into a fitness regime and made walking a constant parameter of my daily routine. Losing 11 kgs, walking 10k steps, and eating less junk food brought a positive change in my physical and mental health. Though I can’t do 10k steps anymore because of tendonitis, I don’t go a day without walking, even if it’s just 2.5k steps.
2022 is also the year of travel and outings. We squeezed time out of our busy schedules for gastronomic adventures, multiple day-outings, a trip to Mandarmani, going home to Berhampore during Durga Puja, and taking a vacation to Goa during Diwali. We feel grateful for the time we spent with Baba, my in-laws, and close friends.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’?)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.