On the way to Assam and Arunachal, and on the way back, Geetanjali and I spent a day (well, most of it) in my beloved hometown….
Can you see the icon of this city, the Victoria Memorial, in the mist…I clicked as we sped past..
the first day was in the northern suburb of Uttarpara,visiting Geetanjali's hospitable in-laws:
about the lovely Bengali lunch I had at their place!
A a lovely visit to
On the way, I photographed the lovely details of the old mansions:
On the way to their place from Howrah, I quickly snapped this photo of Belur Station, which is a replica of the
the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Here we are on Bally Bridge, looking at the beautiful temple:
That's the eco-friendly cycle-rickshaw that we took!
On the way was this rickshaw with this profound philosophical statement in Bengali:
"jotho moth, thotho potth"...which means, there are as many paths as there are opinions/views...
and the second day, we visited my childhood friends in Casbah, who are practically family!
Here are the 5 sisters (there are two brothers who are not in this photograph!) on their terrace, where the Guru who taught me music for more than 15 years, Meenakshi, (she's the one on the rightmost) tends to her beloved jasmines and orchids:
and with Bhavanidi and Meenadi, picking up Sridhar from his office, and then gallivanting all over Rash Behari Avenue, that childhood haunt of mine.
Here's the Avenue, with the ubiquitous Kolkata yellow taxi:
We started shopping for shadow-work and cutwork petticoats on R B Ave:
The shop was right at the gate of Svarna School, which was the first school I went to. Situated in part of a majestic turn of the 20th century mansion, it's still going strong....
We went past this famous singhAdA shop on Lansdowne, sorry, Sarat Bose Road:
and also passed the Bajrang vyAyAmghar (gymnasium), the hall on top of which hosted several concerts, mainly under the auspices of Music Circle:
Hand rickshaws still seem to be in use in this part of Kolkata:
We then went past my first home in Kolkata. The top floor was where we lived, and that was where my younger brother was born (no, he wasn't born in hospital...I can only marvel at my mother's courage, I would never dare have a baby at home, especially when I was on my own!)
Here's the building from the front...after (at least) 55 years of existence, it's still so beautiful!
Here's the house where I lived when I got married and came to the south of India to live:
We then went to Lake Market, and enjoyed seeing the very reasonable rates at which one can have Pure Bliss:
Of course I had to stop to have "chA" in "bhAnd", the little mud-pots, at the Bihari chaiwallah's stall!
Here we are, enjoying it!
Next door is the famous MohAprabhu mishtAnno bhandAr"...
This was the season for "nolEn gudEr sondEsh"...made with palm sugar...just look at the shapes of the kodApAk sondesh!
These are called "amrit kumbh" or "pots of nectar".
I ate and ate to my hearts' content, and then I looked longingly at these water chestnuts, which are locally called "singhAdA" because of their shape!
Lake Market's flower stalls also glowed in the winter sunlight, with marigolds:
and just all sorts of flowers:
Then I had to re-visit Komala Vilas, a south Indian restaurant and hotel, and have their filter coffee:
Geetanjali wanted to buy a saree or two, so we took her to the famous Saree Kutir in Gariahat:
The time in Kolkata was very short, but most enjoyable....I'll always love this city!
Here’s my closing image of three Bengalis at their roadside “adda”, passing the day in time-honoured fashion…it could be cards, carroms, or heated debate!
Just look at the poster behind them, of a jewellery-adorned Bengali woman, holding a lotus…it’s (of course) an ad for a jewellery shop! gave me the wonderful notion that the lady seems to be the fourth player in that game of cards!