Wednesday, 30 April 2014

YES...I want to write a story!!!

“ Where dainty fairies fly with their wings wide open,
Where lush greenery has no end, where all rules are broken!
Where cows loiter around, with bells around their neck,
Where phoenix of imagination, rises from a wreck!
That’s the land, where my story belong,
Where the essence of living is felt lifelong”
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

As a kid, I was a dreamer. I dreamt of the existence of fairy land, where “All iz well!” However, as more candles got added to my birthday cake, the light of imagination deemed. As “Realistic syndrome” struck me!
But that’s the process of growing up and evolving as an individual and is inevitable. 
I wanted to write a story then, I want to write a story now!

The main protagonist remained the same, but the layers of her life changed, the backdrop changed! Fairies waved their magical wand and fixed all mess then, but now my girl has become tougher, she is a fighter and deals with her life, her own way. Yes, I want to write a story and give her life, give life to my imagination. The story of your life and mine, the pathos of today’s woman, which is often misinterpreted! I want to portray those deepest feelings of the modern woman, whose free spirit is no more tied with the fetters of the bourgeois society. Who is literate, liberal and loving! My story will be about “ Urban woman and their sensibilities”.

She gets up early morning, to greet her husband with a cup of tea as he gets up. Even during her crucial client presentation, when the clock strikes three, her mind visualizes her kid, waiting for his school bus, she takes a minute off to pray that he boards the bus and reaches home safely. “ I hope he has, had his tiffin”!! She says in her mind. While starting her drive back home, instead of thinking about her own comforts, she recalls that her husband must have started his drive back home as well. She silently prays, for his safe drive. “Hope roads are less jammed today, he often looses his cool in such situations…O god the city is so crowded”!! She sighs.

Often striving hard to make a mark in the male chauvinistic corporate environment and sometimes-apathetic family life. 

The woman of today is of substance; she is careerist and dynamic, yet the deepness of her inner being always lingers in search of compassion, in search of a soul that comprehends her deep felt emotions. My narrative will be about her, her feeling and her being. It will be a salute to the “Durgas” of today!!!

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Its time to ....."Do Right"!!

 Where the winding roads take you to a paradise,
Where the cedar and pine lined rocky landscape call u from a distance,
Where life and living is simple,
Where smile lights up a face, many a times without a reason,
I belong to that land, the land of God!!!

"Charity begins at home", is a very popular saying and most of us know and believe it to be true. However how many of us, including me, are able to live this saying? Speaking for myself, I confess,that most of the times I am unable to meet my own expectation! But I salute those who are able to live the saying, overcoming odds which might stop many of us from traversing the path.

In a place, where getting food daily is more challenging than writing an All India Examination, Chandrakumar Pradhan dared to dream differently. The dream of a land where the light of education reaches  every little household and pushes away darkness of illiteracy, wrong beliefs and superstitions. Because education is the foundation and growth/ development will always depend on how strongly the foundation has been laid.

Situated at the remote hill station of Megma, in Indo Nepal Border Pradhan has created his own world. A "School", which is different in ways more than one, from the schools we know.
 Little smiling faces come there, to learn! But learn what? A, B C or 1, 2, 3? No, they learn much more than this! They learn to fight, fight poverty, fight rough weather, fight hunger! They learn from their teacher, who has pledged to devote his life, to educate these not so priviledged children, "his never defeating spirit"! They learn the importance of education, the only means which can take them out from this life of despair, and make them competent to face the world.

Shaky benches, peeling walls and eroded blackboards are not enough to break Mr Pradhan's will. His burning desire to make a difference and the children's effort to do full justice to is efforts, is exemplary to me as a human, a human who had the luxury of going to a "School"!

I feel fortunate to be having the opportunity of knowing and writing about this son of India, who is trying to lay the foundation of educated India at the grassroot level.

With this spreading awareness about Pradhan and his efforts, I hope relief in the form of required stationeries and blackboards will reach this magical school soon.
The other half of the story, will have happy and content faces of Pradhan and his children, in a school where children come to acquire eduction but not hungry, where little eyes are not strained to make out, what is written on the blackboards, where students don't topple off the benches and hurt themselves. Where eduction come to them comfortably and beautifully!!!

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta


My mind is like a nomad, which wants to set foot on the unknown grounds.
The grounds where huge colorful butterflies break free from their caterpillar life, to fly high and kiss the clouds!
The grounds where sunrays fall on the dew drops and create precious diamonds!
Where the softness of wet tender grass caresses my feet and sends serenity through my veins and brings eternal peace to my inner being.
The grounds where I can be myself and think aloud, where fetters of the bourgeois society are broken!
Where love is unconditional but respect is earned!
Where tranquility resides like the cloud settling in a low-lying valley!!
As Gurudev says “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; where knowledge is free; where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic wars…”

Blogging came to me recently, though I always loved to write, paint and express whatever I felt about my encounters and experiences, but only recently I came to know that my hobby could be pursued in a more systematic manner. A manner,  by which I could convey my deepest thoughts to all.
There are certain tales, which I had borne for years in my mind and when I first started putting them in words, I realized how much I wanted to do this.

As a kid, when I travelled by train, I keenly noticed the changing color of the landscape and topography as we moved past from one state to another. I had realized, I was lucky to be born in a country, where a travel by train, could give birth to thousand stories. As I grew up, I kept collecting memoirs aimlessly, never knowing my inner being, which wanted to express them to all.

I blog to "narrate those tales”, so that they are never lost and are preserved forever. My blogs may or may not be rhetoric, intellectual or informative. But they are bits of me. They are paintings, which I make to express my identity, my life, my living and for emoting from the core of my heart.
I blog to be HAPPY and I blog to be myself!!!!.
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Kerala Narrative

“Silent night, holy night…all is calm, all is bright”

We reached there late at night. It was December and the small houses of kumarakom, were lit with Christmas lamps. As we know, a good portion of the population in Kerala is Christian, so this time of the year, resonates vibes of festivities through the effervescence of lights. As we entered our resort premises, and walked past the garden to our wooden duplex, we noticed that, beyond a certain point everything was pitch dark. Surprised!! We went to our cottage.

It was our first trip together, elation, exuberance and romance filled the room. The hotel authority had taken care, to embellish the room in a way that the ambiance so created is apt for honeymooners.

I opened my eyes only to see and live a dream, the endless darkness which intrigued us last night,  came as a breathtaking surprise as the day unfolded. The morning rays of the sun, unveiled the backwaters of Kerala which had appeared as a void of darkness in the night.

Back Water Ripples resort is an exclusive piece of property. Well spaced, chic wooden cottages surrounded by huge well maintained garden area which led to the back waters. A luxury restaurant, apt for fine dining, a swimming pool and a community centre. Overall the resort was built with all required modern amenities, yet the overwhelming encounter with nature was ensured. Ours was a huge wooden Duplex cottage, spacious and luxurious.

Amidst the tranquil surroundings, our few days in kumarakom were well spent. A houseboat experience, an occasional speed boat ride, candle light dinners were add ons.

However, my most favorite part was the lazy afternoon that I spent hand in hand with Avishek, with the endlessness of the backwaters in front and the vastness of the blue sky above. The Mohiniyattam (classical dance form of Kerala) program organized in the community centre is also worth mentioning and remembering.
Bidding adieu to the endearing Kumarakom after collecting revered memoirs, we set forth for our next destination, “Munnar”.

Kerala amazed the most, by this changing topography and climatic conditions. A few hours of drive took us from the warm, low lying backwaters to the cold, greenery of  the mountains. Our resort “Camelot” was located literally at the top of a hill, with jaw dropping view around. The soothing greenery of magnificent tea gardens on the Western Ghats makes Munnar a prized tourist attraction.

The lush greenery caressed and kissed by the wandering clouds, the aroma of the plantations around and the heartwarming hospitality made our stay worthy.

Situated 1600 mts above sea level, this valley quenches the thirst of viewing green placidity. Munnar is blessed with the creator’s extravagance. It’s like a woman whose tender Midas touch, relieves of all pain and vulnerabilities.  And sets free to forget everything and loiter around like a nomad smelling wild flowers and drinking dewdrops. With exotic tea plantations, spice gardens, wild life sanctuary and breathe taking view from Camelot,  Munnar  added beautiful  memories  to  my first  trip  with  my husband. Memories of witnessing God’s own country- Kerala’s lavish natural beauty! We covered a  small  fragment  of  the  beautiful  state,  however  the  experience  was  fulfilling  and overwhelming enough to be cherished forever.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

My dreamy childhood in KULTI

I woke up feeling awesome, with a grin on my face. I had been dreaming and my dreamy self was still loitering about, on the known and loved grounds of the place I belong to. Of late I was always waking up feeling sore, the fast and the furious life of Mumbai was somewhat not suiting this small town girl. But that day, I felt distinctly divine.  Beaming with confidence, I had kick started the eventful and long day.

And as Gurudev says” If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”

I have grown up in the beautiful township of Kulti (near Asansol) in West Bengal. Nature have always expressed her enticing self in the most magnanimous manner there, with lush greenery, well-kept gardens and parks and huge mansions, Kulti could be the perfect ground for breeding rich souls. I still vividly remember those evenings, when I used to stand aimlessly in the balcony, gazing at the lane leading to the busy Grand Trunk road and the golf ground that paralleled it.

My father was working with IISCo, and the company managed the glorious township. All the needs, comforts and luxuries were taken care of in the most proficient manner. The bungalows and apartments were mostly built in the British era. Hence they had the English touch, with exorbitant rooms, high ceilings, fireplaces and gardens with out houses; they were evidently chic pieces of British architecture.

I remember the dilapidated one in the middle of a ground; people called it “Bhoot Bungalow” (The haunted mansion) and the Lodge in front of our apartments, which was believed to be nesting smugglers. The spooky suspense tales greatly intrigued my friends and me, as children.

Life in Kulti was just like a painting, with happy faced, high-spirited people in the frame. Every festival, be it the grandiloquent Durga Puja, euphoric Holi, cheerful Christmas, effervescent Diwali or seraphic Eid, dawned with the hope of commemoration with enthusiasm and conviction.
People with different pragmatism, from different places and of different caste and creed had come together, to build a highly polished, cosmopolitan haven.

Memoirs of Kulti are incomplete without the mention of our club “Kulti Club”. The elaborate building witnessed festivities, fun, frolic and euphoria. Clubbing has never been so fun. There was an auditorium, a restaurant, a bar, a billiard’s room, swimming pools, lawn tennis and badminton courts and a library within the premises of our club.

Although miles away from the happening city life, Kulti had a very modern culture, thanks to the people dwelling there. I remember swimming gala nights, when the club building would be flooded with lights and how tastefully Srilekha aunty would conduct. The moonlight picnics, Bingo nights, English dinners, Jam sessions, scintillating winter balls on 24th December, New Year bashes which witnessed chic men and women cladded in their best outfits, who can forget such grandeur? 
While on one side of the coin there was glee and ecstasy, the other side embodied culture.
Kulti taught me the importance of Rabindra jayanti and Mahishasur Mardini. Annually at least three to four cultural programs were staged, inculcating in us richness of our culture and literature. My parents always encouraged me to participate and so I did willingly. I posses humongous memories, of these cultural events and numerous blogs might be insufficient to portray them all.
Life in Kulti has made me what I am today, my strengths and weaknesses too. And when I tend to loose my cool due to the vulnerabilities around, it returns to my life in the form of a dream and breathes life into my ailing soul.

“It was all green around, the breeze was cool and sweet, at a distance children were playing, just as I used to with my friends…from the void the enchanting melody of “Jodi tor daak shune keu na ashe, tobe ekla cholo re” was reaching my ears…..” and suddenly I woke up with a jolt feeling awesome."

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Monday, 14 April 2014

My memoirs of Goa, the tropical paradise

The sky was unrealistically blue that day and the clouds were floating aimlessly. Surprisingly the December sun had more power and warmth than expected. It was difficult to look up, after some time a strange dizziness would descend from heaven and loom heavy on head. The waves were breaking relentlessly on the sandy/rocky shore all in vain. As if they were banging their heads at the monarch’ s feet craving for mercy, but the mighty, ruthless monarch was indifferent towards their pray. My dilated pupils were striving hard, to make out the thin line that separated the sea from the sky at the horizon’s end. But gradually a whirling sensation started in my head, the hot afternoon sun, the shining sand and the inseparable blues had started showing its symptoms. I decided to close my eyes and just feel Goa silently.

Before actually beholding its serenity, Goa to me was best known for its happening and loud night life, beer bottles, fun and loose control. Quite a cliché, I would say! However, when I actually set foot on the tropical paradise, I realized that how much the place had to offer, besides, what it is  most famous for (or infamous, as I perceive). While Goa can be heaven for hippies and drug addicts, it can also be a serene beach for nature lovers. While it can be the best place for a group of friends to go and just freak out and let loose, it can also be the proud subject of a painter.

Our trip to Goa was planned at least 5 months in advance. I vividly remember that night, when I was very upset and weeping. My husband (Avishek) and I were in different cities due to job location; both of us desperately craved to be under the same roof from quite some time, but were unable to mould our careers, suiting our personal living. That night all vent up emotions had broke loose the dam of self control. Avishek continuously made unsuccessful attempts to soothe, but nothing worked that night. Still shattered with my internal guilt, of not being able to be selfless enough, to take a chance with my career, I went to bed. To my utter surprise (not exactlyJ), I saw my cell phone screen going ablaze. Out of no good reason, I have been staring at it since I ended my call. Desperately I stretched my hand to grab the device. After a formal “hello!” I kept shut; I was hearing something which left my eyes moist and throat sore. He had booked a resort in Goa for our second anniversary celebrations, only to get back the smile on my lips. I had wept like a child out of sheer happiness, had felt so blessed and loved, so this trip would always carve a special niche in my heart.

We reached Goa in the afternoon time; the sun was shining down in full glory, over the long stretches of golden yellow sand. “Santana beach resort” on the magnificent Candolim beach of North Goa was a great property to be in and spend some beautiful moments. Spread over a large area, the property had two swimming pools, wonderfully maintained garden area, a restaurant by the pool and a fascinating floating bar. The room was spacious and well kept, with a nice bedroom, kitchenette, clean bathroom and a balcony overlooking a swimming pool. At a distance we could see the roaring enormous Arabian Sea

The afternoon sun was harsh even in December, we couldn’t stay near the waters for long, instead we decided to enjoy the view from the famous Calamari beach shack with the rhymic, soulful Goan music and spicy Goan cuisines, the enormous crabs, lobsters…yes indeed our holiday had quite a smooth takeoff. The long, neat stretch of Candolim beach was a visual treat with its blue waters, golden sand and the colorful, spirited people around. Just south of the famous Calangute beach, Candolim was calm and serene.

In the evening we enjoyed a good swim accompanied with a drink at the floating bar. All geared up we went back to our room. It was our 2nd wedding anniversary that day, and I was experiencing the most romantic evening of my life. We booked a table by the pool, as the candle flickered on our table; we sat hand in hand, cherishing our togetherness. The journey which had started from college, had taken a beautiful turning with marriage. Candle light, music, late night stroll by the bay and the occasion itself made the moment very special.

Goa is definitely a very unique holiday destination; its air is intoxicated with unimpededness. There is a beach in Goa for each type of individual. From the tranquility of Palolem to the condominium of Calangute, Goa has it all. The touch of Portugal culture, the forts, the churches, the exotic Goan music, the delicacies of Goa and the colorfully clad people on two wheelers gives Goa the happening yet tranquil tropical paradise image, which attracts tourists not only from India but also from abroad in huge number.
You can also have a taste of adrenaline rush through water sports. We enjoyed our first paragliding session, in Baga beach. We all want to fly high, and that day I really felt I was. Viewing the vastness of the sea from the enormous void was quite an experience. I will forever cherish those memories.
My holiday in Goa is one of the best I have experienced. I loved the beach shacks, especially at night, Goan music, food, the soothing sea breeze and the feel of the soft, cold sand at your feet, creates an exotic feeling inside. The romance, the thrill, the fun composed beautiful rhythms in my mind, which I would always love to think and sing aloud.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta