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Monday, December 05, 2016


The weather being balmy and my workload lighter, I made a quick trip to Shantiniketan on Sunday the 4th December. I had gone there last on my scooter in February 2014. My two young old boys Swarnava and Jishnu accompanied me.

I never tire of that road, and this time it was in good condition all through. A brief stop at Banalakshmi to pick up a few titbits, then at the new open-air tribal-culture museum called Srijani Shilpagram. Nice, though not deeply memorable, and I could have done with fewer cackling females around. The baul sang tunefully beside the lake: I wish I could listen in greater peace. No wonder the poet wrote ‘stop here, or gently pass’. And that was more than 200 years ago, in a far more civilized country…

The authorities at Vishvabharati seem to be taking greater care of the campus than before: there are No Smoking and No Plastic signs everywhere, you can stop only at designated parking lots, and the Rabindra Bhavan museum has been refurbished, though the collection on display is far smaller than it used to be. My bonus was a portrait of Anna Turkhud that I had never seen before. (Oh, and this is for Mr. Modi, who had declared the night before that even beggars had started accepting alms online: there was a foreign lady and her daughter and husband, and they had to pay Rs. 680 for their tickets, and the man at the counter flatly refused to accept a Visa card, so the three had to fish out currency notes from all their wallets to make up the sum, grumbling all the while).

Sonajhuri was next, much publicized in the movie Belasheshey. The resorts were a disappointment: if you want a nice place to relax, go to Mukutmanipur. And there’s too much dust in the air for the haat-s to suit my taste.

Back to Durgapur just in time for lunch with biryani at a restaurant right next to my house, and I was home by 2:30, time enough for a snooze before the evening class. I hope the boys enjoyed themselves. Swarnava had made egg rolls for breakfast with his own hands. Good job, Swarnava. And Jishnu’s enthusiasm was infectious: I need someone like that to goad me into setting out. But as you see boys, any trip longer than this requires an overnight stay, and the cost shoots up, so think about it. I hope I have adequately explained why I have given up trying to take old boys on long trips.

I keep missing Pupu acutely every time I make a trip like this. I hope I can do the next one with her. This time round she was tied up with her end-semester exams.

Pictures, a little later.

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