Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Magic Of Spring




Like my mom I never complained about the departing winter….every year she is almost in tears while enveloping those warm clothes up there in that dark loft. Spring is the best bait to woo nature even after the greatest showdown; the contour of numbness to life is how I like spring to be defined in the microcosm web of entity. There are endless lines and thoughts personified to excavate the eerie riddle beauty scattered wide across. After an ephemeral winter it’s time for spring panacea to smoothen the rough surfaces.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects” Leo Tolstoy. It’s time to re – group back after an enticing winter. The air around becomes pleasantly moderate removing all plagues of uncertainties, this time you are high on hopes and can dare to see the toughest tangent as your mark for rest of the year. Let the migratory birds overhear your little fancy but very real wish/s on their way back, and if you are lucky it would be dropped at the right point.

You have a content smile because like you last year performance even your financial earnings are in green but friend don’t let that be intimidating. Don’t let it matter if the latter is in red, as you have proportionate time for yield and rearrange the skewed equation and trust me if you can “Spring will never let you slip”.

The first loud whisper of Kokil, don’t really remember when was the last time I saw one in action, but even today just one flash, I am left gazing around Wirless Municipal ground with couple of sloshed stumps, the inevitable try to get back last eve’s tennis ball it that weed of multiple use, jostling over the ground cardinal to push the boundary mark (slippers marking the sideline) and just when we thought that we would save the new tennis ball by the day end, somebody timed it really well.

The season of impromptu freshness to old verses, even the most discolored thing looks somewhat appealing nothing is sordid anymore. Spring is the biggest riddle of life and I just want it be the toughest one as well.

Enjoy Spring in true style…….

                                     

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tram for Calcutta!!


As a pompous bong it has always been Kolkata, but as a true Calcacian…. Calcutta is just irresistible for its unparallel probity of charm. 1880 Calcutta Tram Company Ltd registered in London, horse pulled compartments to Armenian Ghat. Two years later steam locomotives were deployed on the same meter – gauge.  Electrification happened later around 1900. A gift to the colony then now an encomium of heritage. 

Anything imperialistic in use would always mock on the face of acute nationalism.  Perhaps “Calcutta” was the widest red penumbra alive; and “Kolkata” thereby removed all hovering darkness for once.

Prince Dwarkanath Tagore the cultured capitalistic mind had engaged in direct trade with East India Company and undoubtedly he was the gaudy pin up boy of Bengal. He was the desi – flamboyant answer to the whole of occidental class. He had hosted some of the best English parties with full attendance but never dined on the same table with them; as his revered mother almost equated such an act to be blasphemous for the entire clan. The Tagores envisioned liberation in conjugation with complete Swedeshi movement but they also believed strongly on East & West cultural synthesis.

It doesn’t honk crazy it creates an alarming pitch for the pouring traffic and pedestrians, very similar like the Dosa – idli peddler found in south of greater Calcutta. A complete riddle until I saw the motor man tapping his right foot to allow the mechanism down to work.  Out of many notifications I always went guessing with this one “Pls move inside the Car” Are the commuters suppose to move around inside the car??? And in which angle does it look like a Car??....

The motorman stands throughout his shift; shifting the brass gear handle, muffler wrapped around the face and rest clad in khaki is one of those early signs of winter onset in Calcutta. The body of the tram is like a slow moving tabloid minus vulgarity. The halo like fans in the 1st class accentuates the vanity of those erstwhile Bhadraloks, as they still deny giving – up on the dying genre.   The left row in the 1st class with all single seats is clearly an example of pricey seclusion in public medium.  

The Chowringhee marked by the bastion Victoria House for Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation still have business share remnants in Sussex ……the Esplanade Tram Depot links it to all possible corners. Clamoring through the largest second hand book market, book huts on College Street have been pampering Bengali intellect over a small cup of tea at Coffee House for several decades, down the lane  Star Theater once the stable for soft power in Calcutta, 3 Gourmohan Mukherjee Street on the left of one of those single seaters house of Swami Vivekanda blissful and fortifying as ever. Buildings overloaded with time some in shambles awaiting the notice from Kolkata Municipal, wide pavements used and managed by the hawkers’ association; the tram pulls up at a distance from the unvanquished hero now mounted right at the center of 5 point crossing. On the left a dark alley shed for all Shyambazar bound trams ….

Tram is best captured by the terrain of Race Course, Maidan, The Paddock for many Viceroys in Calcutta now the only breathing meadow for the city. Officers from Eastern Army HQ those who still debate on the actual number of deceased in the Black Hole of Calcutta fiercely panting after a drill on Red Road while the Kidderpore bound Tram races by. The 2nd Class conductor with curved shoulders leaning on the footboard rod which has that unusual sheen and smoothness, early chill of winter, rolled monkey cap covering his almost bald crown pulled sidewise leaving the ear lobes, solid frame glasses with a fine hair line crack, a Khaki duty sweater with thick leather patch on the right elbow, a mid size pouch belly resting on the old torso. Last time his service shoes got polished on Independence Day laces tied since then..

Till the first few years of schooling I always thought that there is only one way you can reach Gariahat, (Piccadilly of South Calcutta) 24/29 No Ballygunge bound tram from Tolly… those eerie late announcements from the starter room, quite sure even today they must be using the same old mike with irregular buzz. The first right turn out from the Tolly depo and the electric hanger/ Trolley Pole called in Europe goes for a free swing, means an uncalled halt. A lazy diligent team stationed at Rashbehari crossing managing lines for Ballgunge/Kalighat/Esplanade. Very few know the shed at Kalighat another almost redundant area counting days. The Joka depo which had very less traffic has given up to some other flourishing dream.

Can you discuss Calcutta without the Armenians, they discovered Kalikata before the Raj company came over, the Armenian College still stands as testament of faded glory, the Tollly Nullah with some exquisite rich clubmanship in the name of Tolly Club, Bengal and Calcutta. The Park Street cemetery which is as congested as the street, tomb stones with indelible affluent English names. Dalhousie Square the commercial point of Cal, Lal Dighi, Raj Bhavan’s final bill gave sleepless nights to the Company directors back in London. The Great Eastern hotel now don’t know what!!! Sir, Winston Churchill was put in the house with guest of honor, special to the empress and record says in one of his letters he shared his likings for Calcutta Winters and how vaguely he compared it with London. St.Pauls Cathedral which occupies space in the land of colony but never intimidated with so much non- angelic things.

How is a Chatterjee different from a Chattopadhyay or a Banerjee from Bandopadhyay … well the white alien tongues could never wrap it like we do, so preferred a Jee by the end, so now Calcutta is flooded with authentic Jees. The Bengalis, with their efficacy as Clerkmanship in the Company always enjoyed intellectual reverence from folks, never wanted to soil their hands into trade and commerce; which saw a community from Rajasthan cornering the natives to the outskirts of Calcutta.

Post Calcutta Trams Act 1951 state government took over the management in 1967, around 1970 saw some sections winding up like, Howrah, Nimtala ghat route though we had some extension work around the eighties.   

Why did they choose Calcutta to run tram over a Bombay or Madras!!!!

Have you ever seen a tram conductor running down into squabble with a fellow passenger for change or, gregarious appeal by commuters to run it fast so that they don’t slip in late into office for 3rd consecutive day in the week, did you ever witness a tram set ablaze by the local mob turned goons for some high street mishap, don’t really remember when was the last time I saw a overcrowded tram with people just not able to mange on that wide footboard. City livestock can still interrupt its movement with very little admonishment…….

Must say this machine was built keeping in accord with the formative principal which once drove Calcutta, so the city of joy is incomplete without a joyous tram ride.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Akalbodhon……




Kaash Phool immersed in the divine taal of Dhaak against the matte blue and discolored wobbly masses  inflicts the much awaited Shaarod crescendo across Bengal ……..

School kids now on their way back home would get lost into the regular jigs of the Dhakis……

Weigh your piggy bank till Shaasti… and then break it into multiple pieces of joy……..

Your Ashtami wear still keeps you guessing!!!!

Bookmarking Anandamala Pujobarshiki..A must afternoon read!!!

Kolkata would get divided into a North, Central and South….

Shaarod every year stimulates that dying cultural nerve of Bengal……

Going back to the ancestral portico and reliving those days once again under the de – glam chandelier….

The old Kumor…will slip into a stupefying trance under the flickering flame while giving her eyes…

Aesthetic rendition of Rabindra Sangheet is just the perfect sync for the season….

Homemade sweets like a Naru with Nimki is too good as a starter for the season….

Cute faces but this time much more traditional will pamper your wrenching emotions….

The blissful Devi Pakkha….will wipe away all devilish nuances, so here comes Uma and her much talked about Paribar…

The flavor of Shaarod Utsav remains unvanquished against all odds….

So at the stroke of “4” Bengal’s tryst with Birendra Krishna Bhadra the perfect prelude for the biggest festival of Bengal.

 

                                                            Subho Mahalaya……O Bodhon!!!!

 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hills With Frndz.


Engine no 46608 rolled into rain soaked New Mal station, with no much shelter to dither we headed towards the cab stand.. after little bit of healthy bickering with the cabbie a lad of just 20 something, the Maruti van sprinted and we had to think that there was no tomorrow.  

Thought Rakesh deeply wanted to dive into the vastness of serenity, leaving the eatery joint at Chaalsa Bazar we ferried through some of the unparallel long stints of ever juvenile freshness. Mid September happens to be the best time just after monsoon for Dooars gateway. Lonely chirping over abandoned roads, heavy bushy trees almost falling over. The Queen of Dooars is guarded by two impregnable natural fortresses, (Chapramari and Garumara) the long standing trees by the majestic national highway reiterates that you are far off from the ubiquitous buzz and with receding phone connectivity you are nowhere to be found.
 
 
Dhar out of many snaps the one with smoke billowing out is just fav; after few rapid pics again we packed ourselves in the van and this time there was no stopping till Jhaldhaka. Jhallong River Camp, we   hopped out from the van and saw somebody waving at us from the camp, yelling with directions………….. We were standing right across the camp and had Jhaldhaka sweeping everything contemptuously.
 


Mangal the camp caretaker explained how the make shift bridge which used to be a perfect picturesque element for the camp went missing on a scandalous night. The gaudy red carpet with pristine white bed sheet, attached with an English Loo, and the natural squander palpable from inside but guarded by the camp veil would surely raise cosmic shuttle of thoughts. Had never seen such natural lavishes with so much of leisure where you can only indulge and indulge….the misty aerial trees still pampering overnight slumber. Jhaldhaka River all across was nothing less than a non- scarlet battle strip, water pouring out as if some eternal force up there has decided not to stop weeping and the rock studded agile path mustering in all possible challenges to stop it somewhere down.

 We decided to witness the battle closely, choose one big rock must have been sitting there for some quality years; all 4 of us climbed it, and now it was time for a budget toast, but we left the water bottle back in the camp and now somebody will have to trace back and get it, nobody was ready but can the Toast wait??? unified NO from all 4. So……Dhar as usual jacked up a superb nonchalance way. Why are we waiting for just a bottle when it’s flowing all over. So on the rocks like never before.



After few rapid shots now we wanted to taste the chill and Bhaskar straight away accepted his appointment as the lens man; Dhar,Rakesh and myself  was now hanging in between the voracious flow, holding each other tight and some real balance from Dhar while making those high Chinese potions. Some jaw dropping but awful stripping; we were struck by high voltage; even tried lifting some of the rocks as if they were pebbles. Mangal caretaker came for the 3rd time asking us to climb up for lunch and it was also time for the high tide, means that eternal power will sob like anything. Rakesh bhai yes we left the empty 1 liter bottle down there. Cheers!!!!....




Figure out a scene where the hero of the movie is chased by the cops and its late evening into the forest, and he spots a faint light and a small hut downhill, I am pretty sure Jhallong River Camp would evoke similar look and feel from some uphill. With zero connectivity we were just plugged off from mainstream nature of life.

Next morning was damp, sogginess everywhere.  After checking all possible and could be possible places we decided; said yes to Darj.  Jhallong had every little bit in store but Darj can be planned.

Oodlabari: Since some donkey years I was never told but perhaps my Dadu’s stint with Jessop Company in Oodlabari and his only visit to Burma now Myanmar, always made me wonder and how connected they are, also tried angling Maa as Mongolian several times which she never accepted. Now I was crossing Oodlabari o yes very much part of Dooars……… was elated as if I have grounded in some Phoren exotic destination, hypothetically I strongly feel adulteration is the word which would never find its way to this place. Peerless personification of quintessential touch over Oodlabari.



Planters Club, Remember those hawkers on the way up hill to Mall…..precisely opposite Bata, Weekenders and all, selling larger than life umbrellas, warm clothes, dedicated souvenirs….. now they are off the road, Planters would convert the space into car parking.

Got a room at Bellevue with a small ante – chamber, looping right on Chowraasta facing Kalimpong Emporium.  After a quick round of the mall, seeing off the ponies for the day, peeping into Oxford book store, Nathmulls stands as graceful as ever, Hawa Ghar the cultural point of Darj got a fresh look……….

We had a filling thali lunch at Hasty Tasty…..and it needs no special description as well. Time for flavor filled evening tea in tamed brass pot. I got my cup ready but surely not without some puffs and pies. The articulate dimness with neo – classical décor, the red English telephone booth makes it a café of penchant. (Glenarys). Dhar, Rakesh….Bhaskar …u mind changing party…will u guys stop laughing on the tea ever….. it was on me    ha ha ha ha……..


 In between Rakesh bought his first D&G jacket……from Weekender…the girl in the store just could not stop blushing …… she even tried her charm with luscious Bangla to top – up the bill a bit further…….. but lady that was more than enough… We strolled down till Rink Mall…. Who can guess this??? …… Joey’s looked better…….fresh coat of paint and some remodeling of interiors............. Met Joey’s father behind the bar with his cowboy sideburns, he has not been keeping well of late. An ardent rock guy of his time… with no power the pub was gleaming with candles placed on empty soda bottles…….a English flag pinned up making the pub a perfect collage of some dingy motel in Wolverhampton…..
 
Last Day: After a much needed long intoxicated night with my 3 AM friends it was time for an authentic English breakfast facing the rich but de- glam clock tower. Kev - serving for more than 100 years now, Santhi  ( working with Kev for more than 40 yrs). Crispy toast anointed with butter, golden brown sausages, some heavy meat loafs, baked omelets and some more toasts. The open terrace area basking under the intermitting rays offers wide view of the mountain range from the left and Planters on the right; you can overlook the whole of Neheru Road. A complete English breakfast is like a brunch which means you need to skip luncheon.  
 
Every nook and corner of Darj was smelling Baarrrrrffffiiiiiiii……….every scene was cheered by the audience. It was just couple of days after the release and Baarrrrffiiiiiiii had become a small town rage which was spreading fast all across. The skewed twist and turns of Pankhabari Road was like free falling to plane from where we would again start afresh …….and we also start counting from here for the next……..
Dhar, Rakesh, Bhaskar……. Lets Bookmark this new chapter. We will come back Darj.........
 
 

 
 
 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Extravagance!!!


The idea of extravagance is normally found at the backyards of all those wealthy merchants and managed by plutocracy jargon. You being a democrat by descent can easily sneak into the green ambush and piggyback some of it and tend to showcase pompousness in every stride.

Let me throw a yummy pie up in the air to fix your wobbling thoughts and ideas at this critical juncture.

What is emotional extravagance for you??

You are too reckless with it and allow it to go as per the law of attraction!!!  A prodigal act!!!!

Let me create the 2nd angle…emotions confined within a demarcated periphery and then “ebb” becomes the latest and utmost bygone for that same area.

So in both the cases the word “Extravagance” has got clear hegemony!!!!

So let us try & learn how to manage “Emotion” !!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

On route to Darj!!!


Apt summer destination for half of the Calcacians is Darj……a style of the British Indian Govt which we just could not let go…… so you get connected to the foothills by Tenzing Norgay Road, and in sometime you are up against the serpentine movements. If your car have galloped a bit and you don’t see any more machines close by then its real time to be all ears to the crickets amid  waterfalls nearing puberty (monsoon). By now the smart sporty driver must have started belting and humming with controlled ease over the wheel.

Here comes The place of white orchids (Kurseong) this hilltop tiny town was inhabited by the Lepchas!!!!

Not as vast and wide as Darj ……..but this minuscule town’s history goes back to 1835..

More famous as on route to Darj!!! Come lets peep in and explore this place in no time.

Let me be your amateur guide for this….

You enter the town with the only Indian Oil petrol pump followed by Amarjit Hotel on the left……..and if one of those octogenarian machines is on move (though octogenarian would surely be an understatement) then a bit of traffic snarl is what you find at the entrance.

Come lets meet this light yellow façade he is touted to be the cornerstone of this place.


                                                                               Kurseong Rail Station.
the TV tower in the backdrop is also one of the cult figures of Kurseong. The downhill road on the right of the station rises to the TV tower. It used to be one of my favorite weekend spots during early nineties. Have spent jolly hours sitting on the benches of the platform with Baba during Parents Weekend and then sobbing quietly on regular weekends with the magical expectation of him being air dropped just to hug me tight.




                                                                             Street Bazzar.

Leaving station behind now you move towards the market area the whole street is jacked by shabby shops on either side….not impressive at all but won’t you like to slip into a bakery shop for some yummy fresh desi donuts and creamy buns. See the rail strip on the right of omni….the whole stretch is used by the local vendors throughout the day, this makeshift business format also makes way for the whistle blowing machine. In fact they are all well versed with his schedule. In mid nineties there used to be only one SBI branch a bit further down, hopefully now there is a decent count.




                                                                Kurseong TV Tower.


You will have to wade the last few kilometers to the tower through the sporadically dense tea garden and if its during the late afternoon then you need to hurry or else you will miss the yummy & steamy momo at the tower canteen which is also set at a height. I had momo for the first time at tower canteen well it was in the year 93…..genuinely the best ever…..



                                                              Matinee hut!!!
Half way through the main street Plaza complex the only theater in Kurseong…..this hangs right at the edge of a steep cliff a set trajectory for leap of faith courtesy our matinee idols. Some Peek-a-boo moments are what I can recollect as we in uniform were never allowed near the booking counter only. Raju Bangaya Gentleman the backdrop of the main protagonist had a strong hilly connection so the film was an instant blockbuster then….and SRK then only Sharukh tracing down the roads in an open jeep for a song just got the feel stronger like never before.


                                                                   Montiviote Ground

This ground would again fall on the left from the main road……this rectangular strip have pampered many local talents a breeding ground for the plains. Remember hunching by the side lines; jostling by on Sunday derby matches and then sprinting up the hill to escape the scheduled flogs.



                                                                           Himali School!!
Have spent some eventful years in this building. From the main road while leaving Kurseong for Darj you can have a quick glance at Himali. Got introduced to whole lot of new things at Himali during early nineties and some deserves special mention, “the Baker’s Task Tin – an evening delicacy”, “Atop Rock – even a square inch of it used to be bartered during vacations to have that first look of the approaching parents or wait with awaited anticipation”, “the down shops – which were complete no no ….but they had astounding attraction”.



                                                               Victoria Boys School.

The only public ICSE School in West Bengal as on date, was established in the year 1879, Victorian boys were special in the town, we used to trek the downhill to watch Victorians playing and wooing downhill girls…..and if it’s a late back through the downhill you are not suggested to walk all we used to do is sprint against all odds…..



                                                                   Dow hill…




                                                                            Crimson Horizon.


Well you would not find a Planters Club at Kurseong but still can give it a serious thought to spend a night with the white orchids…….. hills for me starts with Kurseong and hopefully will end with it….

Visit Kurseong!!!!









Sunday, July 8, 2012

Subconsciously…….

Renowned dailies had almost inked Andy as the champion of Men’s Singles…..@ Wimbledon ….but the majestic Roger has just wet the deal for the 7th time. By large in last couple of weeks Andy has been pampered by the press and guess all were eagerly waiting to produce that sublime Brit triumph story.

With absolute no feeble connection I wanted Roger to lift the magnified golden trinket for the 7th time at the center court……….so now it’s time to give my subconscious mind the due credit. As again I am completely overwhelmed by the goodness of this tennis ace.

The experience of friction between body mind and subconscious mind is not very hard to describe. The former would always encourage you to be fast and develop by quantum leaps; it also has ostensible remedy to all kinds of limitations. Whereas the other one which draws its lineage from the spiritual learning, would primarily give you some jittery feel but will only profess a better conventional future.

So to stop the oscillating pendulum you have two references……..a subconsciously perfect call might look very flat and placid so just to spice it up and give it a more resplendent look we can also fall back on our body mind.

Though my body mind says Lee would slide at the mixed doubles final tonite……but still i hope the 39 year old pin up boy of Indian tennis gives it back like a real time stalwart through his racket.

All the best Leander!!!!!