Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Part 1: Weekend Getaway to Haldia

This is about that time I had a a really bad week and didn't want to talk about it. And you can relax, I still don't. 

It's just that my bad week thankfully coincided with the weekend that mom,one of her best friends and I decided to travel to the districts. For fun. 

When I told my friends, I was going to Haldia for fun, one half of them made political jokes and the other half would just stare at me baffled and go..."but what's there in Haldia?" So not the best build up before a trip. 

Then we boarded our "Volvo" buses and I could hear birds chirping in my head with the uneasy silence between the three of us. It was shabby. Definitely not what we were expecting. So mom's friend (P) finally decided to address the elephant in the bus and meekly said "er...the make of this bus isn't of the Volvo kind. Maybe a Small-vo.." with a sheepish grin.

The proactive mother had to immediately call our contact person at Haldia, a certain Mr. Sengupta (S.G) to ascertain if there were better options for our way back to Kolkata.S.G said this was the only "luxury bus" available. Moreover, on our way back this bus won't be plying because of some strike... and we could discuss the "options" once we see him. 

I sat back, rested my head against the tattered headrest of the bus, reluctantly (I have cleanliness issues, to put it mildly) and revised my expectations for this trip. More than anything, I was really hoping to clear my mind but right then it felt like a vague possibility. 

S.G  has been living in this place for the last 20 years.  When we thanked him for being so gracious and arranging this whole trip for us, he said "we have a lot of time on our hands around here." I'm not sure if he was being sarcastic about us ("you city dwellers" as he called us) But just hearing that felt good. So I made a mental note to maybe  use "I have a lot of time on my hands" as a conversation ice breaker with acquaintances because that shit is bound to put you at ease. Like yeah, she has a lot of time on her hands...so there's no need to rush things around here. It's okay to chill. That kind of vibe...you know? (Or maybe this is terrible advice, don't take it) 

We asked him about the possible places we could visit from there. I'm thinking Go, On, Sir, prove my friends wrong...pretty please...and there's again that deafening silence. 

Thankfully though P had a whole list of places she'd downloaded "from the internets". Mr. Sengupta(S.G)  shook his head at all of them..."I don't see what you'd want to see there" 

So we ambled along hesitantly in our car post breakfast and here's what there wasn't much to see of: 

A Temple on the grounds of a deserted palace- Mahishadal, West Bengal 
The Deserted Palace- Mahishadal, West Bengal 

Palace adjacent to the deserted palace, apparently we like contrasts.  
This place is teeming with taxidermy, old books, gramophones...
the works! You're not allowed to take pictures though. 
At this point we were rather surprised to find actual places tourists could visit. And P started to tell the palace curator how West Bengal was teeming with wondrous places and how she would be sure to ask her family to visit Tamluk. 

The curator gave a wry smile and said "that's great madam, why don't you ask them to visit this poor palace in Mahishadal as well." 

It's amazing how we know the names of so many obscure places on the world map, places we probably won't be able to visit in a lifetime...and yet our geographies get so messed up when it comes to these great spots waiting patiently to be discovered on extended weekends. This reminds me of how I get with  distant relatives on Facebook...I know them by my idea of them...a nickname or a blank placeholder. On Facebook they use their real names,  a friend request from them and I'm always like...who are you? I don't know you. Oh wait, you're So and so's husband. Right. Sorry my bad.


There was  a procession in Tamluk 

Color, Noise, Paper and A Whole Lot of Gaping. 

They had some mad beats. I have no idea what dude in the brown shirt 
is doing and why he's making weird faces at my mom who has taken this picture. 
I don't know what they were celebrating, but there were little boys and girls dressed as Gods, Goddesses, brides and they passed by too fast for me to enquire. It was the independence day weekend though. So, maybe this is their quirky homage to our nation. 

After another stop at a temple, it was lunch time.  I had a bit of an incident. Mom really wanted to get the "local flavour" and try some fish in these random cooking shacks. I wasn't very opposed to the idea myself.  But the smell of that place hit me out of nowhere and I couldn't eat.  Which was absolutely fine except our driver felt so terrible about it that I wanted to go back in time and stuff my face with food just to stop him from sulking. 

But we were already off to another obscure place...Gyeonkhali,this time... the confluence of the rivers Hooghly, Rupnarayan and Damodar. 

We stopped at a restaurant. (The driver was very relieved.) However, they didn't have any food... shops, restaurants everything shuts down at 1 p.m in the districts. But the driver didn't have to know. 

I got me some chilled Thums Up instead and had my pretend lunch in a mostly deserted room.... with a view. 

Gyeonkhali, West Bengal. 
It became a guessing game: which country are  the ships  
coming in from. You can tell from their names and the more obvious hint of the flag. 

Thus, ends part 1 of this trip. 

I realise that this was meant to be a blog post about our weekend getaway to Haldia and not one of these places are in Haldia. At this point I'm thanking my lucky stars I'm not a travel writer. 

Let's talk about Haldia in Part 2 which hopefully happens...or doesn't...no rush,  no pressure.  ( Because this is a safe space, a laze around as much as you want space and more importantly a me- space. And Peace is of primary importance here. )

My work and  life in general right now... is all about delivering and seeing end to end completion of every bit of task handed out to me...It's annoying, tedious and I'm always unprepared. Of course,  I get that it's not very adult of me to complain about this. But posting something that might be left  unfinished  feels like a glorious aberration and I shall partake in this tiny ceremony, guilt-free. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tire Swing

When I was growing up I always thought "Lay a whisper on my pillow" from Must Have Been Love by Roxette meant that Roxette was on her periods. And I thought the following "lay the window on the ground" clearly just means she's PMSed bad enough to  tear open a window with her bare hands! That song used to comfort me, because I thought surely things are not  bad as this for me. I have no delusions about love while PMS ing which sounded like a really hard trip if you ask me.

 And then I grew up and discovered the internets and consequently, this thing called Google that lo and behold! allows you to search song lyrics on-line.  And that made me very sad because suddenly everything wasn't as you'd imagined it to be...much like life.. (the number of Celine Dion songs I'd messed up must be some sort of a record). 

Sadder still? I started to relate to the lyrics I was discovering anew. I cannot tell you how many times I have cried over these stupid songs. 

Now, when I tend to get carried away, I always remind myself that sometimes in life, you are going to cry and worry about songs that you were convinced at one point were about the unleashing of PMS rage, or something equally ridiculous....

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."