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Friday, June 03, 2011

Brief holiday

It was my half-yearly one week holiday, and I try to stay off the Net as much as I can during such times, hence the delay in posting.

It wasn’t much of a holiday actually: there was very mundane but essential work to attend to in the Big City, and it was sweltering hot all the time (though right now Durgapur is just as bad). Still, Kolkata did look a teeny-weeny bit cleaner and greener than usual – or was it my Didi-infatuated eyes playing tricks on me? And we got a bit of rain, though it did precious little to affect the weather for the better. Anything without air conditioning was a perfect nightmare, and whenever I feel like griping that God didn’t do enough for me, all I have to do to feel mightily better is remind myself I could have been a daily office-goer in Kolkata lifelong…

We took a two-day breather by scooting off to Diamond Harbour. It was a very nice hour-long drive from my in-laws’ place. Sagarika, the government tourist lodge, is located on a prime spot right on the waterfront. We took a liking to it immediately, although, expectedly, not everything was as spick and span as one would like, because the room was large and airy and slightly olde-worlde: I mean, very much on the generously expansive 1950s scale. One does not see such big bathrooms and enormous balconies in hotels these days, except in the five-star category. There wasn’t much activity on offer, but we were only looking for uninterrupted leisure, and we got it. The weather was just as muggy as in the city, but the waterfront was always breezy, and you could sit out on the river’s edge till nearly midnight if you wanted to, listening to the lapping of water on the shore and watching the lights of Haldia on the far bank, and following with your ears more than your eyes some small steamer or trawler throbbing away downriver in the dark. I dreamt how the first British ships had come up the same river more than 300 years ago to lay the foundations of empire, and also of how when I had last made a day-trip to the place, my entire expenses had not been more than a hundred rupees. To my daughter, they both sounded equally like fairy tales. Here is a link to some photographs that we took.

Back on the net, I am delighted to see that there have been so many comments on my last post (though, it goes without saying, I am always hungry for more), and that, without my noticing, the number of ‘followers’ has reached the 200 mark. Who was it, I wonder, the 200th one? I’d have loved to thank her or him personally.  (The few who left recently were no loss; they had enlisted themselves for a lark, I’m sure, and never really read what I wrote). I am looking forward to suggestions from serious readers again. And I do wish that more people would look up my other blog more frequently…


Shilpi said...

Hullo. This post actually reads like a boat-ride in part - a slow and easy and languorous boat-ride. Makes a part of me wish that I'd been there.

The pictures were good to see, and some of them especially make one pause for more than some moments.

Now I see though why a friend burst out into hooting peals of laughter when I told her that I wanted to take some pictures of the river here in flood, and she said something like, "Stream, Shilpi. Call it a stream. Don't tell your friends at home that it's a river you see" and had gone on for about two whole minutes. I'd gotten quite annoyed (still am) but I really had forgotten how sometimes the far-side bank is almost invisible in the mighty rivers.

Sitting near the river till midnight is something I'll have to try out one of these days.

Glad to know that the three of you had a bit of a holiday but can't say I'm sad to to see you back on the net. That first bit abut the big-city is funny in one way and sobering in another way.


Rajdeep said...

I liked "Storm approaching" and "Before the sunken ruins of an old fort" the best.

Nishant Kamath said...

Dear Sir,

Thanks for putting up the pictures. From your narrative and pictures, I was reminded of the trip I had made to a place very close to Kushalnagar in Karnataka (near Coorg). Our lodge was by the Kaveri river and the water lapping against the banks was a constant music and a good accompaniment to the green and serene surroundings. In the evening the weather was very pleasant and we sat in the balcony and ate hot pakoras and drank beer. I feel like going there again. If you do make a trip to that area, I would suggest you to spend a day and night there (there are a few things to see around too: the place where they train elephants being one of them).


Suvro Chatterjee said...

Shilpi: we in fact missed the boat ride this time round, though we have had such rides aplenty before.

Rajdeep, thanks for commenting on the photos. That photo captioned 'Storm approaching' did turn out to be quite nice, didn't it... though it was taken rather absent-mindedly at the time, without much serious thought. It is only in reflection, with hindsight, that we see the beauty and significance of so many things.

Nishant, many thanks for the tip; I'm going to remember it. Wonder when I am going to make that trip, though: these days I am getting tired and wary of long trips, even by air, given the state of our airports and the long waits and uncertainty and insecurity.

Why don't more people send in comments about how these posts make them feel, I wonder?

Soham Mukhopadhyay said...

Dear Sir,
It was nice to read about your trip and to see the photos too. The last time I visited Diamond Harbour was 3 years ago. Though I visited only for few hours with my parents and grandma. We were only able to see a single ship. But it amazed me to see that you saw so many of those. I liked the photo "storm approaching" and all the photos of the ships.It seemed to me that the place where you stayed was a nice one.

With regards,

Vaishnavi said...

Dear Sir,

I love to read travel accounts and when they are accompanied by pictures, even better! You really would love Karnataka Sir. Durgapur is a long way off but it would make the headache of travelling the distance completely worth your while. The government run tourist lodges are excellent. I ave been running away to these places with my brothers for many years now and each time we come back to the cities with reluctance. I love the fact that they are a lot less toruisty than Ranthambore or Corbett National Park for instance. Apart from the ever exciting opportunities of spotting tigers (in all these years I have never spotted a tiger but I live in hope :) ), you go there and realize it isn't just about the excitement that the wild cat sightings will give you. Most people come only for that and they are disappointed if they don't spot any. It's the environs.I cannot describe how peaceful it can be, or how much fun you will have angling in the Cauvery (we southerners have a mad love for her), the fish you might catch if only to release into the waters again. People come away with a healthy respect for wildlife conservation and it is just pure fun! If you ever decide to make a trip Sir, I guarantee you will want to go back again and again!

This is the link to their state tourism page sir, hope it helps!

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Many thanks, Vaishnavi.

As for actually making that trip, well, I shall keep my fingers crossed!