Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Yuletide Sun

We Bengali use a very culture specific phrase during Durga Puja, 'pujo pujo roddur', which roughly means that the sunshine is very specific to these Pujo days. This statement basically connotes the happy, feel-good vibe prevalent during this period of celebration.

Over the years, I have realised that it's definitely because of the climactic condition during that time of the year and secondly and most importantly, it's because of the state of mind that people are in, which is happy, contentment, easy, and the only expectation and wish people around wish upon you is to have fun and enjoy and live to the fullest; which naturally makes everything and everyone around even more beautiful and happy. 

Similarly, there's a special feel and a sense of happiness and contentment during all the festivals. 

During Christmas, both love and nip in the air pleasantly increase. The only expectation people around have from you is to, eat, drink and be merry. This time of the year is even more special as the year is about to roll its shoe, thus, subtly making one reflect on the time gone by and gearing up to welcome the new year. 

The days and the nights are all about pleasant surprises with Santas running around in every shape and size, that too with a gift for you. The reds and the whites set tone for every cheerful moment and a peaceful gratitude for the same. 

Make this the time to revel in every form of joy, because this time is all about baking, cooking, drinking, eating, smiling and hugging each one around like they deserve it.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Champagne of Tea

I have huge respect for tea-drinkers, who knows their cup of tea to a tee!  The realization that there are sprawling tea gardens and that tea smell little weird than how it actually smells in a cup, came to me quite late in life, when I visited Darjeeling with a gang of 25 relatives, cousins and a dear friend of one of my cousins, who I met for the first and the last time on that trip.

Travelling with a very promising 20+, when I was a decade and a half old and so was the climactic degree of the place, did stir a lot in my cup. The morning dew and mists, evening fog, a veil of cloud suddenly blocking your view as you walk uphill; were the things that made me fall in love with the beauty of the hills more than anyone in the trip. That was the first time I realized what beauty ‘hills’ are!


To live on with this experience, appreciating “tea” was an obvious and organic extension. The most adventurous I can claim myself to be is in matters of tea. My favourite tea places range from Nasir Da’s stall, on whose “lebu-cha” (lemon tea), I have spent my university days, to some of the sprawling and most illustrious tea houses in Bombay. My indulgence in tea has made me taste anything from a paste of Matcha to a porcelain of world's top Single Estates, but the best I have tasted was in the company of that 20 + ‘dear friend of one of my cousins’.

Sitting aimlessly and at peace by the hills, realizing that the sun was going down faster than I could blink, I remember, a deafening silence engulfed the entire region within minutes. One by one, lights of houses downhill went on, the chill in the air started piercing my skin and fragrance of the hills encapsulated my senses as it started drizzling.  

Amidst all this, I vividly remember the bliss I experienced. A warm hug of a person, who I met for the first and the last time on that trip, snuggled a little close to me and gentlypressed my ice cold palms in his and placed my hand on to that steaming hot glass of tea. 

Since then, tea has been as intoxicating to me as a goblet of wine, and where else could I have lived that beautiful moment, other than what is rightly referred to as the Champagne of Tea – Darjeeling. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

'I Wish I Were' A Train!

Childhood - a place we always want to go back to once we are past the time-age boundaries of being called a child. Childhood is like that quick beautiful glimpse that pass by right at the moment it is there; much like the glimpse of the vast open expanse that pass by as we move forward sitting in a train. 

Train - that's what 'I Wish I Were'. Train, the abode that keeps moving forward to embrace the unknown in a rhythmic clatter of chaos and peace. Trains, are the place where strangers exchange greetings, opinions and foods, become friends before never meeting again. Trains gives one the moments to experience oneself within a stipulated time period. Trains allow one to enjoy the comforts of home amidst strangers. 

By being a train I would get to travel across the length and breadth of the country through terrains and topography that changes every hour. Various languages that trains get to hear from millions of passengers everyday, makes it a linguistic institution in itself. The passengers, the vendors and the staffs, each is a unique set, that hop onto this rhythmic movement with a certain objective - to reach a destination, to sell their wares and to approve the passengers' journey.

In this harried world, where everybody tries to be better than the rest, train is the place where everybody wraps themselves in a peaceful cocoon of being and doing what one desires. Read a book, listen music, stare blankly at the world outside or just sleep like a log. Train is a shell that just let you be and thus, be happy. 

Lastly, as a train, you make people believe that journey is as much or more eventful than the destination itself; much like the fact that no matter how much we clutch on to the times gone by, there's no option to stand still until there's a STOP ahead! Trains reinstate the mantra - move forward as you reminisce the past and embrace the unforeseen!