My apologies for writing the second part so devastatingly late! The ‘bhaag-daur’ of everyday routine held me tightly. Nevertheless here it is finally!
Picture perfect memories, scattered all around the floor, Reachin’ for the phone ‘cause, I can’t… on and on my phone went ringing! Three missed calls! I couldn’t hear the ringing then. I called back later and informed I was on my way for the much awaited and talked about long drive plan. I reached in front of South city Mall but found no one there only a white Bolero in sight!
I called ‘Where are you guys?’
‘We’re buying drinks!’
A little later out came three men, sleek in denims, flaunting cool t-shirts and shades and looking fresh and funky! Awed, I kept gazing…! It took me a while to make out they were Nipon, Aniruddha and Rajarshi who all had dressed so well for the outing! We waved excited ‘Hi’s, they came up to the Bolero and stashed ‘the drinks’ in a backpack and we seated ourselves comfortably in the car. We were to pick up Amrita then (our final pick) from near her place. When we reached her area, we saw an embarrassing look on her face and her eyes were searching for me inside the Bolero. We were all too curious to know what had happened! At that very moment Aniruddha yanked her inside the car to sit beside him in the front seat. She was really worried about her ‘para’ people!! As soon as were we out of her ‘para’ she sighed relief. Actually she was tensed that some dadu or thamma from her ‘para’ might see her so she desperately wanted a girl (i.e., me) to save her from prying eyes, to convince that she was hanging out in female company. Society..siiigh!
And whoosh we went towards Raichak!
Aniruddha’s nice white AC bolero was a welcome relief in the searing heat outside. I had loaded my cell phone with all the good English, Bengali and Hindi tracks! Rajarshi reached the back of the car, grabbed the huge bag and readied the ‘bottles’. There was a good collection of Jack Daniels, beer, tonics! Oh yeah there was breezer for the girls! I readied my camera to capture the lush greenery that began appearing on either sides of the highway. Aniruddha cheered from the front-seat with ‘yippie’ sounds. Amrita’s big frown vanished, she relaxed and a big smile appeared on her pretty face.
Thus started our on-the-move adda! Bottles were distributed. Err, there wasn’t a bottle opener! But why to worry when Nipon was with us! He opened the beer bottles skillfully with his teeth! So cool! Rajarshi was in full mood and filled the car environment with his witty jokes and funny one-liners! There were roars of laughter! There was loud bollywood and hiphop music. There was unlimited, no-holds-barred leg-pulling. There was passing of drinks and there was admiration for the scenic beauty which went on escalating as we neared our destination.
We reached Raichak finally. It was so quiet, serene, and peaceful on the bank of The Ganges. We had parked on the roadside and hopped down from the car to enjoy the hot yet soothing weather. It felt lovely to walk there, very sunny though. We took photographs, posed for photographs, gulped down the last drop of drinks and finally relaxed while rabindra sangeet played from the car’s CD player in the background, the song sounded so apt with such a beautiful scenery, it seemed to even enhance the beauty!
Then we headed straight down below to splash in the waters, not to take a bath of course but just to do some ‘paa bhejano’. There was a small boat stationed nearby and a fisherman’s net tied to it. We posed with our sunglasses on and under an umbrella in groups! We were really hungry by then and headed towards a nearby restaurant where we had bhaat, daal, and salad, chicken.
Once we were out we again headed to get ‘paa bheja’. We found a really nice, grassy spot under a tree; from where we had to hop down several steps to reach the water. A narrow triangle shaped part of the bank sloped downwards and headed straight into the rippling waters. The sun shone very bright and turned the water-ripples into sparkling crystals. Gentle breeze and the cool shadow underneath the trees made Rajarshi and Nipon feel drowsy. The touch of water felt so cool and refreshing on our feet. Well as the saying goes, nature soothes the soul and calms the mind. That’s what happened to us.
We were totally absorbed in the beguiling beauty. We sat in silence as we stared at the magnificent sparkling crystals and cherished the enormous charm. The magnificence rendered us speechless. Just then a ship crossed us, creating a picture of prodigious elegance. We sat there as if caught in a trance, completely trapped in the beauty of nature!
After spending quite a long span of time, we headed back to car. It was getting late and we had to start to be back on time. We came to know that our driver Nimaida’s hometown is just nearby. We all decided to drop-by his locality for a while so as to let him pay a visit to his people and we could get a sneak peak of village life in the meantime! Nimai da manoeuvred the Bolero through the narrow alleys dividing paddy fields, coconut fields, sugarcane fields. We ultimately reached his locality at Falta. He parked us to be back in ten minutes or so. Suddenly we noticed a little goat tied to a bamboo just behind the car. There were tall coconut trees casting shadows with the setting sun’s rays. There were ponds on all sides and we heard ducks quacking, hens cackling, birds chirping and almost 6 to 7 village children staring at us wide-eyed! When we tried to say a ‘hi’ they were very eager to show us a ‘rajhansh’. More and more children started joining us in our quest for seeing a ‘rajhansh’. Ultimately we couldn’t as Rajhansh had hidden herself for good somewhere and Nimai Da had returned by then. But we sure took photographs of the lovely children who smiled brightly and waved us goodbyes!
The Bolero brought us back to the din and bustle of the city. We stationed ourselves for a little while at a café in New Alipore. A short adda there and we started for our respective directions. Amrita and Aniruddha spent some quiet time together and the rest of us took an auto for Gariahat. The road towards Rashbehari from Chetla was really crowded and the autowalla applied some of his auto-stunts evading a traffic signal or two without attracting the traffic police’s attention, and brought us to Gariahat in no time! And then we headed back to our homes.
A day spent far from the madding crowd, away from tensions, pressures, issues, complaints, and half-heartedness. We were all filled with refreshments in our minds to start our normal lives again with renewed vigour. It was after all much needed and a fulfilling one!