They say history repeats itself. Yes, in my case it almost did. Last time I was in Kolkata for my best friend’s wedding, hope you have read my blog post on the same. But, this time, it’s on our way to Youth Hostel Association of India trek to Sandakphu.
First, let me start with the story of “How It All Began”. About 8 months back we a set of friends had an awesome trip to Coorg and Goa, which I never wrote about. The same gang decided to go for yet an another trip and we ended up with this. Fortunately, a few got added and unfortunately a few couldn’t make it. As some of us are from Chennai and some of us are from Bengaluru, we decided to meet up at Kolkatta and continue our journey from there.
On 22-04-2016 (Day -2) We Chennai guys, i.e, Me, Jai (Buddy), Sudhakaran (Puppy) and Thiyagarajan (Daddy/Thagappa) had our early morning flight to Kolkata by 2.20 am. We boarded our Jet Konnect and the best thing about that flight is, they gave me something good to eat even as early as 3.00 am while I was half sleep. We touched down around 4.30 am and headed straight to our hotel after a tea. The hotel was in a century-old building on a rustic narrow crowded bazaar lane and that was a huge shock for us. But, the rooms were neat, clean and modern as if they got no connection or relevance with the locality. Sincere thanks to OYO Rooms and our friend who booked it. Prem yet another from Chennai and our Bengaluru guys Nigilan (Padhala Dhadha), Sakthiyagiri (Giri), Lavanya and Lakshmi joined us later that morning.
While others were resting, I had a critical mission to complete. To meet my friend Srijani’s mom and deliver her the thing which my mom got for her. Luckily Jai and Nigilan voluntarily accepted to give me company. I think it was a wrong decision to take a bus to her home as the weather was hot and humid as much as Chennai. My friend Srijani’s mom is so sweet and lovely person. Last time she gave my mom a beautiful Bengali cotton saree, this time, she gave my sis and my friend Shaul’s wife a beautiful Salwar suit. She also fed us with yummy authentic Bengali food. The Potol, Prawns and Fish curry were super yummy and Rasgullas are something to die for. She must have made food with so much love, It filled our stomach as well as our soul. Couldn’t thank her enough for it. From there we took a cab back to our hotel.
On reaching hotel we realized that we are already running late for the wedding that we had to attend. Yaaay, yet another Bengali wedding. Knowing that our stay at Kolkata coincides with her wedding, Nigilan’s friend Madhura Banerjee has graciously invited all of us to be present at the auspicious occasion. As the wedding is in Bandel, a suburb of Kolkata, we decided to take a train from Howrah to reach there. As it’s peak hour and that too on a weekday, the trains were heavily packed. We somehow managed to board a loaded compartment and ended up standing for rest of the journey, which is around an hour. We had a warm welcome at the wedding. After wishing the couples who were busy with the wedding rituals, we enjoyed our favorite part of the wedding, FOOD. After having a sumptuous wedding dinner, we boarded the train back to Howrah, but this time, it was lot emptier. It was already around 11 pm while we reached there and the taxis demanded an atrocious fare to drop us back. So, we decided to take a walk as the hotel was just 2 km away and as it would aid a bit in digestion. We walked over the famous Howrah Bridge. The full moon, the strong breeze from the Hooghly and my favorite track in my ears made the moment memorable. I was dead tired when we reached our rooms and my body refused to do anything other than sleeping, and that’s how the day ended for me.
Next day 23-04-2016 (Day -1) started with something funny, our friend Nigilan went to the nearby shop and this happened.
Nigilan: Bhaiya, Ek plate Vada (Bro, 1 plate Vada)
Shopkeeper: Thambi neenga tamil ah? (Bro, Are you a tamil?)
Though Nigilan used his best Hindi, sad that he couldn’t conceal his original identity.
Then, we started to Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission which is one of the significant institutions in Kolkata and was founded by Swami Vivekananda himself. But, one doesn’t get lucky always, the Math got closed for lunch the time we got in there. After finishing off our lunch at a nearby shop, we all headed to the famous Victoria Memorial. As I wrote enough about this place in my last Kolkata post (Sun TV, Top 10 movie style) let me better introduce the ones who joined us there. It’s none other than Geethakala (G2/Puli) from Bengaluru and Monica (Micky/Eli) from Chennai. From there we hopped to Babughat to experience the ferry ride to Howrah. From Howrah, we hoped to go to Kalighat, but we had to drop that plan due to the insufficiency of time. We went back to our rooms, got freshened up, checked out and started to Sealdah railway station. What else, It was dinner time, we finished our lunch at the railway canteen and boarded Padatik Express to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) around 11 PM. This city has been very kind to me, Wish I could have met a few more beloved ones there. But the situations are such that I couldn’t, my apologies, hopefully, will meet when I am there next.
Isn’t the pattern Kolkata, Bengali Wedding, Rasgullas, Aunty’s Gift, Victoria Memorial and ferry ride to Howrah sounds familiar? Definitely, it won’t unless you read my previous Kolkata post. That’s how History Repeats Itself.
To Be Continued…