Sunday, 29 November 2015

Commemorating BNLF

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 walls
Rabindranath Tagore

All of us know of the above quote. The father of emotions and emoting had written the above long back. An imagination we all wish to be true. But is it? I don’t think so. But this narrative is not a debate on freedom of speech, or intolerance. It is about blogging. It is about BNLF. Yes, true…my blogger friends might just be too astonished at my gesture, as most of them have already written about the phenomenal success of the event. And for those who do not know, “BNLF” was the most disruptive blogging conference initiative taken by Indiblogger on the 30th of October and 1st of November 2015. And was held in “The Lalit Hotel” in Mumbai. Bloggers and speakers had come from around the globe to be a part of this grand symposium on blogging.

Now the question is, why I started with Tagore. No…the reason is not connected to the state I belong. But it is definitely a manifestation of my mind, which is a thoroughfare of paramount thoughts, with a filter to keep away conjectures. My mind is like the world, Tagore had imagined, and so are of all the bloggers, authors and creative people who had gathered there. Is it justified? My beginning?


Firstly my heartiest “Thank You” to INDIBLOGGER, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of an event like BNLF. “Blog Now, Live Forever” how thoughtful! Believe you me, this conference enlightened me on my abilities. Given to my hectic schedule and chemical engineering profession, it would never have been possible for me, to accumulate the magnitude and quality of information and knowledge that this two-day long conference gave me. Each speaker was unique and had uniqueness to share, imbibing even a bit of which can help me as a blogger or author. The takeaways were many, which I would like to discuss in this post.

1.       Even a very popular blogger might not get recognised in a crowd, so if you are dreaming to get mobbed, it is not easy through this profession – Purba Ray. As it comes to this petite beauty, I would love to add, she is confident, pretty and humorous as expected, but against to what she continuously mentioned of her nervousness to speak in public, I thought she has got immense presence.

2.      An inspiration for the possibility of balancing job life along with an author’s creative world – Arnab Ray. His session was extremely inspiring for me as I am currently struggling to balance my chemical engineering with creative writing. His interaction on the second day, was very informative and is helping me to go about publishing of my manuscript.


3.     Good Content creation, content which intrigues a bigger audience and making presence felt through tools like Twitter, Facebook etc is important for a blogger to be recognised. This is a continuous process and may take good time, so be patient- Christopher Trappe and Jeff Bullas. These two gentlemen really educated us on different aspects of content creation and content marketing. I never knew of the power of twitter, it was only after BNLF that I started with my handle seriously. Thanks to both of them.



4.      Life is to be lived and not to be taken too seriously, because when you are least serious you get the best in life- Kanan Gill. His session was hilarious, though he did not discuss much about his blog and online career, but his stage presence is commendable. And yes, he was quite an eye candy too.


5.     An inspiring success story, which gives you that ray of hope to keep trying – Preeti Shenoy. This lady who is the author of many best-selling novels, was candid and shared her ups and downs uninhibitedly. Besides the technicalities of conventional publishing sphere which I knew from her, her own story was quite an inspiration.


6.      Jack of all trades and master of all – Bruce Dickinson.  This man is a real inspiration, never knew will get to see him like this. Holy Shit! Bruce Dickinson, lead vocalist of Iron Maiden, Businessman, Pilot,  etc etc etc and a master of all the undertaken tasks, was speaking right in front of my eyes…what more could I ask for.


I had never been to any blogging conference before this and what a great start! Besides meeting the awesome personalities, I already mentioned, the best part was spending some great time with a multitude of great thinkers. I made so many friends and each of them is unique. Someone is a travel addict, someone a fashionista, someone experiments in kitchen and someone lives with verses. Each of them inspire me in ways more than one.

mobile pics

This conference just proved, that as you open the doors of creativity you only grow as a person, fetters can’t bind thoughts, so just live your dreams.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta
The pics are taken from the album shared by Indiblogger, otherwise it is mentioned.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Romance with Udaipur continues...

 As years pass by and I grow older
As time ticks off never to return
I preserve my life in my heart's secret folder
Beautiful Memoirs that no one can spurn.
                                                              By Aritra

I am a traveler at heart, the minute beauties of a place attract me. Eating noodles while shivering in north east, drinking tea and eating roasted corn in a wet day by the western ghats, the taste of port wine by a serene beach in Goa or walking through the narrow lanes in Old Udaipur is what attracts me. A heart to heart connection with the place. And hence I consider 12th November 2015, my birthday, as one of the best days in my life so far.







The day started with the most awaited visit to the The City Palace. What do I write!! The painted walls, the glass and crystal maze, the silver chariot or preserved weapons, all speak about the Royal Maharana Era, which continues till date. Rana Sriji Arvind Singh Mewar is the current and 76th custodian of the Mewar Dynasty. The palace is a magnum opus created by the expert hands of Indian artisans years ago, which continue to spellbind Indians and foreigners alike by its art and magnitude. And then we went to the Vintage Car showroom, owned by the current Maharana, a lavish spread of vintage Mercedes and Rolls Royce, a treat to fantasies is what I can write for it. Then to Moti Magri overlooking  the Fateh Sagar Lake to see the unique alloy statue, of Maharana Pratap on his favorite horse Chetak, commemorating The battle of Haldighati. Our last destination for the day was Saheliyon ki bari, a garden laid by Rana Sangram Singh for the forty female attendants, who had come as dowry with the queen. It is a beautiful place with fountains fed naturally by the lake waters and kiosks. 


Satisfied with whatever history that we gulped in together with the traditional Rajasthani Thali for lunch, we headed towards our hotel to shed off the physical stress our body had accumulated. Stress buster was most definitely a longed for afternoon siesta, which is like an unattainable dream in city life. After drowning ourselves in pillows we slept like logs and got up feeling low, this usually happens after a long sleep in the afternoon. But it was my birthday, I couldn't afford to feel to sad. Springing back to life was not a choice but a compulsion, driven by which I decided to dine by Pichola lake.


Unfortunately to our utter disgust, we found out that all the fine diners by the lake were already occupied. But as they say " God always has something good in store", and if it is your birthday, he gifts you something to be cherished. Google helped us find the destination for our dinner date "Hari Garh" in old Udaipur, it had good ratings in TripAdvisor. So we headed towards it.

The journey to the place was intriguing, narrow lanes, huge iron doors and ladies with typical round "Mang Tika", yes! I was in Rajasthan, the royal, the traditional and the colourful Rajasthan. I think our journey to Hari Garh was one of the best experiences during the trip.
When we entered the restaurant through a huge palacial door, a lavish comforable spread of couches met our gaze. But they asked us to go to the top floor, under the sky. The iron stairs took us to that awe-inspiring expanse, with comfortably placed couches with pillows. Each couch had a small wooden plank, with a candle lit lamp on it. The royal waters of Lake pichola flowed rythmically by, the stars , the moon and the Deepawali crackers cast a maddening dazzle on it, while we witnessed it all from the soothing light of the lamps.
It was a magical night, my birthday night and a delicious night as well, as yummy "Laal Mas" with soft rotis made our dinner gluttony-worthy.





Days passed by, the next morning, the last in Udaipur saw us fresh, we went for an early morning stoll to the Udaivillas, which is a part of the Oberoi property. It was magnificient, regal and reminded us of "Kabira..........", as the wedding part of superhit "Ye Jawani hai Deewani" was shot there. There was a jetty from where we witnessed the morning sun cast it's splendor on the silvery lake waters, it was a beautiful morning.......

Udaipur will always continue to cast its romantic shadow on my heart, my best birthday celebration so far....
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Rang de tu mohe Gerua

 Gerua From the upcoming movie "Dilwale"

I am a fan of this effervescent jodi. Especially for their performance in the never to be forgotten, romantic saga DDLJ, like million others. I don't know how "Dilwale" will turn out to be, but the picturization or depiction of romance in this song, evokes that lost tingling sensation. Like today's modern audience I too like to see real life converted to believable stories on the celluloid. But deep within me, there is a girl who still fantasises to live romance like a dream. Romancing the loved one in virgin locations, witnessing the sun hide behind the dark cloak of unknownness, seeing it rise above the horizon spreading its crimson rays around..hand in hand with him, watching the firs dance to the chilled breeze or sinking in majestic blues of waterbodies. "Gerua" is a visual treat and honey on ears....sometimes being realistic is too boring....let your fantasies run crazy, unreasonable and dreamy with this song...
I saw the song yesterday and fell in love yet again...the poet in me popped its head up and urged me to pen down something...
So this one, is for and because of "Gerua"...

I opened my eyes to see a dream,
A dream so dearly mine,
The sky was a delectable blue,
Gracefully danced the pine.

The placid waters were deep blue,
The woods a darling green,
Two love birds sang in a distant meadow,
It was an aura with a glorious sheen.

I opened my eyes to see a dream,
My hand tucked in yours,
You were sleeping looking vulnerably in peace,
Without an iota of abhors.

The crimson rays touched us warm,
The world was suddenly devoid of harm,
The sweetness of the breeze evoked love,
Nature evolved in its delicious charm.

I opened my eyes to see a dream,
I was lying on the greens,
My head rested on your caring lap,
To me and you,this is what life means.

A butterfly fluttered around,
Winsomely coloured in aqua,
While the colour of love touched our souls,
"Rang de tu mohe Gerua"

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta
To my hubby Avishek

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The cherished Sojourn of Udaipur has begun

“Kesariya balam aavo ni
Padharo mhare des”

If you are an Indian or an admirer of the colourful Indian culture you must have heard that. Yes! You have done me proud by guessing it right!! He he…it the famous Rajasthani Folk Song, preferably sung in the mand singing style. There is something about the lyrics of this song and the tune. It fascinates my whims and beckons me to those lands of palaces, lakes, sand dunes and cactus. Ever since I had learnt about Rajasthan and seen it in none other than Satyajit Rays Sonar Kella… I wanted to be there. But my first enticing visit to these enchanting lands happened this month after years of dreaming about it. Wait, wait…yeah I did visit Mt. Abu a few years back, but it is more like a common hill station, with picturesque landscape but not the essence of the deserts.

A few days back I went to the land of Maharana Udai Singh, the city which was once the capital of the kingdom of Mewar. Any guesses? But no prize for that.. Yes, I have just returned with the lingering fragrance of the most romantic city “Udaipur”. The land of lakes and palaces and how aptly so! Set at the foothills of the Aravalli Range and with Lake Pichola and Lake Fateh Sagar to add to its beauty, Udaipur stands out amongst the major tourist attractions in our country. Every major and minor name in the luxury hotel league have acquired properties in this city and developed them mesmerizingly. And why not…Indian and foreigner tourists come to the city to live the royal life. 

Reached Trident Early Morning

The welcome Drink

The royal lounge

We, or rather my husband Avishek had chosen the Oberoi Property “The Trident”, afterall it was my birthday special trip and had to be special, royal, exotic…oops….I was and am too excited!! Spread over acres of land, surrounded by lush green lawns and well kept gardens and overlooking Lake Pichola, this property is an ideal place to breed rich souls in its tranquility. The rooms though not very spacious, are aptly comfortable for a couple and aptly cosy to add to the romance between them. The hotel staff, were extremely warm and welcoming. Their smiling faces and care has remained with me and was a major takeaway. The food was very tasty, in their restaurant named “Aravalli”. A special mention of “Nalli Nihari” and "Makki Roti", the taste till tantalize my foodie tongue. The food cost was high, I mean of the five star standard, as expected. The only complaint, is the unavailability of free wifi, internet now being a necessity of living. Oh! how could I not mention the elaborate breakfast spread and the more elaborate view of the surrounding lake, mountain hugging monsoon palace and the exotic greenery. A prodigious way to kick start the day.

Photography started with the bathroom
Me with the lavish breakfast spread

Avishek drowned in taste

Eggs looked awesome

The exotic pool side

Aravalli, the restaurant

The blueness attracts

Relaxing in the beautiful garden

Give me the wings to fly

Bada Mahal inside the hotel premises

The first glimpse of the National Bird

I am with you and always

In the Hotel

Diwali Sweets

We had grossly three days to explore the place. But unfortunately my ever energetic hubby , went into oblivion with the serenity around. Nevertheless, I explored the property and dragged him to the nearby local market, for a desi dinner. "Dal, Bati, Churma...was what I wanted to have. A Rajasthani delicacy I had heard so much about, but was never bestowed with the fortune to taste it. That evening was made special by the hospitality in the little restaurant we went to and the lasting taste of that cuisine. Yummy!!! Loved it!! "Santosh Bhojnalaya" served the perfect dish and with love. 

Dal, Bati and Churma 

You and I 

The poolside at night

Cool nights

It was an eventful day and I slept blissfully. At midnight the doorbell rang, half awake I stared at Avishek from under the blanket, he smiled and wished me Happy Birthday, the hospitality guy came in with a yum chocolate cake and red roses...uhooo!! It was my Birthday already!!!!!!!!

Mid night fun

Happy Birthday to me!!

To be continued......

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The enchanting summon

Given the wings I would have flew
Spreading my wings to horizons new

As the waves incessantly bang on the shore

Or the rising sun caress my core!!

Magnificent nature has numerous hues
Greens of the Alps or depth of the blues
I would have flown all across them
From youthful smiles to wrinkles of a dame!!

I would lay myself on the grass as soft
And let the breeze fly me aloft
And watch the peacocks dance to a darkening sky
Let the bounteous nature give me a high!!

As the solitary reaper hum a magical tune
I will be somewhere perched on an unknown sand dune
As aurora borealis enlighten the poles
I will be with snow bears and their endangered souls!!

As the Alps start their fiendish dance
I will be flowing with Niagara given a chance
As the fishermen fight the mavericks brave
The fragrance of wet soil will evoke my crave!!

How much do I write about you nature
Describing you is beyond my stature
But you beckon me with a force unknown
Given a chance I would have flown!!

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta
Pics courtesy: Avishek Sengupta