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City of Joy with WANDERING WORDS

Updated on April 22, 2015
Beautiful flowers to welcome the New Year in Assam and parts of India like west Bengal, Punjab etc
Beautiful flowers to welcome the New Year in Assam and parts of India like west Bengal, Punjab etc | Source
New leaves in the trees to welcome the Assamese New year
New leaves in the trees to welcome the Assamese New year | Source

Welcoming a new season – Spring in Assam

The festival to greet New Year in Assam is Bohag bihu, known as Rongali bihu as well. Assam is mainly a State to have a rich culture and tradition that revolves around cultivation. It is Spring season to start the new cultivation following the nature’s trend. As the trees change with the seasonal ambience around with new leaves matching the sweet melodies of the Cuckoo and many other feathery friends, it’s the Bohag Bihu for the Assamese people to start life anew with new zest and new hope. In English Calendar it is 14th, 15th and 16th April this year, Bohag Bihu and Assamese New Year are celebrated here. As these are the holidays for the family, so we have decided to visit Kolkata as Mumpi ( Snigdha - daughter of Sarma da and Papori Bow, our family friend whom we consider as our own family members) had to appear for her academic interview also. West Bengal also celebrate their New Year same time as here in Assam. So that also suited us. We have been to Kolkata earlier many times but for her interview for higher studies we decided to again visit as Sarma Da thought it will be a nice getaway from our mundane hectic schedules. And together with likeminded people it is always fun to go out. Me, Apurba (my hubby) and Reet (my son) with Mr Robin Sarma ( whom we call as Sarma Da – in respect we call our elder brothers as ‘dada’ ) , his wife Mrs Papori Sarma (whom we address as Papori Bow - we address our elder sister –in – law as ‘bow’)and their two daughters – Snigdha and Nishita ( for us Mumpi and Naina ) decided to visit Kolkata during this holidays. So off we were to celebrate our Bihu holidays with joy….. in the City of Joy.

Victoria Memorial - Kolkata
Victoria Memorial - Kolkata | Source

City of Joy –to enjoy Bihu Holidays

On 11th April at 8.15 pm we boarded our flight to the City of Joy, Kolkata. Landed here at 9.30 pm and Apurba (my hubby) had already arranged for a taxi to take us to our guest house. We have checked in at the Life Insurance Corporation of India, Guest house around 10.30 pm at Park Street as Apurba had a very good friend who works there. The VIP guest room allotted to us was very huge with high ceilings and two large beds which are just perfect for our family. As arranged earlier we had dinner in the guest house itself with simple tasty plain rice, dal, potato fry with cumin seeds and chicken curry to end with misti doi ( sweetened yogurt) and rasagulla ( Famous Bengali sweet). After dinner we slept nicely.

Inside Forum Shopping Mall - Kolkata
Inside Forum Shopping Mall - Kolkata | Source
Famed Street Food joints of Kolkata
Famed Street Food joints of Kolkata | Source

Sunny Sunday in Kolkata

On 12th April a very sunny day greeted us in our first day of this trip in Kolkata. Sarma da and Papori Bow went to drop Mumpi to her Interview Centre at St Xavier’s College in the morning before breakfast. After they returned we all had a lazy breakfast over long chitchat. We decided to relax during the day because of the heat and as Mumpi was anyway bit tired for her preparation of the interview. So we had lunch in the guest house only with Chicken, a mixed vegetable curry, stir fried lady’s finer, dal , green salad with Plain rice and desert of some sweet platter. Then we all took an afternoon nap to pass the heat. After a light snack of Tea and cookies, we all went to a nearby shopping mall for a little shopping and evening strolling. This was the first time, I have been walking to my destinations in Kolkata and that is quite an experience in itself. The City which I frequented many time has unfolded in front of me like never before. The street food stalls were bustling with crowed who were enjoying their Sunday evening snacks with their families. Many well to do people were almost sitting in the footpaths to savour their foods which was bit discomfited for me. But Apurba told me that this is pretty common fact in Kolkata and the natives are very easy going people. The crowed seemed to really enjoy their spicy street snacks while talking very loudly without being bothered to be over heard whatever they were talking about. They seem to me to be really easy going and carefree crowd.

My hubby - Apurba with the famous Street Vendor - Singh Jee
My hubby - Apurba with the famous Street Vendor - Singh Jee | Source
Singh Jee's unique way of selling Chatpata Chana
Singh Jee's unique way of selling Chatpata Chana | Source

The Street snacks ....yummy and ever enticing

We went to the Forum Shopping mall which has been always a favourite shopping destination for me. The kids wanted to eat some snacks so we went to the topmost floor which catered to the food counters in the Mall. They ordered for some cold coffee and cakes while we adults went for our shopping. We bought some gift items and mainly strolled around to have a feel of the new collections. After shopping we came out and Apurba insisted we taste the Chatpatta Channa an old vendor was selling in front of the Shopping Mall. That was my first brush with the famous street food of Kolkata. Though initially I was a bit apprehensive but once I gulped a handful of the tangy snacks there was no looking back. The old person’s name was Singh Jee who told us that he has been selling that Special flavoured Chana since very long time there. He has this unique way to keep his snacks hot. He carries a kind of bamboo basket hanged on to his body with the help of a strong cloth where he keeps his ingredients. To keep it hot for the crunchy taste he maintains a small earthen pot wherein he places some burnt charcoal so that the heat is maintained irrespective of the weather condition and instead of humid weather the ingredients does not get dampened over time. With a dash of lemon the Chatpata Chana was very yummy and I will surely make it a point to find Singh Jee whenever I visit Kolkata in near future.

After shopping we went to a restaurant named Mogambo in the Park Street itself to have our dinner. We ordered for Plain Polao with Mutton Kosha which was very delicious. Then we returned to our Guest house by walk. I really must admit here that I enjoyed the walk very much. It felt so rejuvenated all long. The people were all busy in the road for their evening walks and talking with their companions. It is nice to see many busy people with many moods and lots of differed animated conversations across the busy streets. After a little chat with Hubby ( Apurba) and Son ( Reet) we retired for the day.

Famous and huge Maidan in Kolkata - the big field so well maintained by the West Bengal Govt for the benefit of the ecological balance of the Great City of Kolkata
Famous and huge Maidan in Kolkata - the big field so well maintained by the West Bengal Govt for the benefit of the ecological balance of the Great City of Kolkata | Source
Beautiful Maidan with great trees around
Beautiful Maidan with great trees around | Source
Hand pulled Rikshaw by human - only found in Kolkata
Hand pulled Rikshaw by human - only found in Kolkata | Source
Source
Famous Chicken Biriyani of Arsalan - Kolkata
Famous Chicken Biriyani of Arsalan - Kolkata | Source
The Authentic Bengali treat from the Guest House staffs
The Authentic Bengali treat from the Guest House staffs | Source

Day 2 - Mind-fullness in the Maidan

Apurba took me for a long morning walk at 6 am. That was the highlight for me in the entire trip this time. He took me to the Maidan(a big natural park) crossing the road from Park Street. It was amazingly big and such natural beauty really amidst the busy Park Area which is the main commercial centre of the Big City of Kolkata. I admired and instantly fell in love with the vast field where many people were walking in that morning including many youths practicing their football. Bengalis are known for their overwhelming love for the game of football. It felt so nice to walk in the natural openness mainly in the morning air overflowing with the nostalgic melodies’ of the Cuckoo to greet the spring in its own tune filled ways. How much I wished to have a huge field like that in Guwhati! I instantly felt envious of the Kolkata people for the natural luxuries of having such a huge field for their physical exercises and many other games.

After the morning walk we had tea and cookies and got ready by 9 am. Then we all had a scrumptious breakfast of Parantha and Potato Sabji with tea. After breakfast we left as per everybody’s decision to visit New Market for shopping again. It seemed to me that it was almost like we were there to only do shopping. But helpless situation it was actually. Because it seemed all family members would certainly anticipate for some token gifts during the festival times. We decided to visit New Market which is famous for its assortment and affordable ranges of goods. It was a hot day but never the less we decided to walk again to the dismay of the kids. So following the leads of the male members we, lady’s and kids made our foray into the humid Kolkata Street.

Although, the kids forgot about the heat and the distress once we arrived in the main shopping area. The girls got busy in their shopping for the junk jewelleries and dresses. But for me to be honest, it was a real big pain to follow the kids and our group among the rush in the busy shops and among the roadside vendors. Because I can’t stand so much hustle bustle and overcrowded shopping places. I feel suffocated and kind of breathless but again I did not have the intention to dampen their ever enthusiastic shopping binge. I was simply dragging myself to follow all of them somehow, being sometimes pushed by the crowd and sometimes pulled by our group.

But around 3 pm I could not drag myself anymore among the heat and jam-packed people. I requested Apurba that we move apart from the other people in our group for our lunch because they decided to continue shopping, whereas I actually hate this whole affair of shopping. I just only tend to go for shopping when that’s a mere case of utter necessity and else to buy gifts when actually I can’t avoid. I am certainly being honest here like never before. Then me, Apurba and Reet bid goodbye from the rest of our group and went for our lunch. Apurba took us to Arsalan, famous joint for Biriyani in Kolkata where in many occasions one got to be in a queue for their turn to eat. We really enjoyed the yummy Chicken Biriyani while Reet ordered for a plate of Mutton Biriyani. The meats were all very nicely cooked and almost melted in mouth. Then we head toward our Guest house and we all took a long cooling shower to wash off the roadside dirt and sweats.

After the entire groups arrived we ordered for tea and cookies. The Guest house staffs requested us to have dinner in-house itself as they wanted to treat us with authentic Bengali dishes. We agreed with all hearts. And what a treat it was! Famed Bengali dish of Sarso Ilish ( Ilish Fish with Mastered Seeds curry), Mutton Kosha ( Traditional Mutton dish with fresh spices), Gondhoraj Mutton ( Lemon Flavoured Mutton dish), Lady’s Finger with Posto, Cottage Cheese with Pea in spicy curry, Mixed vegetables, Very traditional dish of Sona Muger dal fry, Tomato and Unripe Mango chutney with famous Gobinda Bhog steamed rice. Mainly I savoured most the Tomato and Unripe Mango Chutney with lots of cashews and raisins in it and the staffs made it sure that I am served with that dish in every single meal during the course of my stay there. We all ate to our hearts delight. It was a dinner to remember for a lifetime. Mainly what touched us most was the hospitality of the staffs of the guest house. They treated us with so much warmth that it felt almost like second home for all of us.

Source

Day 3 and the Sari saga…

Apurba had to take me for much cherished long morning walk in the early hours again. And I thank him really for introducing me to the beautiful Maidan which I never visited earlier.

As it was very hot the kids decided not to explore out in the city and instead they planned to stay back in the Guest House with their gadgets for their entertainment. As Papori Bow wanted to buy Sarees we all decided to explore a place called Goriahaat, famous for its high quality affordable Sarees. Sarees are famous Indian Traditional attire of six yards of different variety of fabric for the ladies. Those who never have heard about Sarees can please visit the below mentioned page for their detailed knowledge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sari

http://www.amazon.in/

We bought several Sarees and without planning I too ended up buying three chiffon Sarees for office going etc. But the market was not of my personal choice. It was too crowded for my taste. But that’s the authentic Bengali essence of a market area, I have been informed by Apurba . There were good collections of Sarees of differed materials and at very affordable rate. I never had a plan of buying Sarees but I could not resist after checking on the rates and the high quality of the fabrics. And the wide variety made it quite tempting actually. After we ended up shopping at Goriahat, we went to again New Market because Papori Bow’s gift list was yet to be finished. We did our shopping there and that time it was bit all right for me as there was not much of heat during the evening hours. Then we returned to our guest house and after a hearty meal we sit to talk among us. And we talked for a long time till midnight and then we all retired for the day.

Interiors at Quest Shopping Mall
Interiors at Quest Shopping Mall | Source
Quest Shopping Mall
Quest Shopping Mall | Source
Kolkata at night
Kolkata at night | Source

Day 4 and it was a movie time

As we slept very late we got to skip our morning walk for which I felt very upset. But for being very tired I actually got up around 8 am which was too late for me. I am an early riser always. So we started the fourth day on a very lazy note. After a lazy breakfast we took our shower and dressed up to exchange some of our staffs which were not as good as we shopped in real hurry. Reet and the Mumpi stayed back to catch up on their studies (still very doubtful case if they really studied!!). We visited Forum Mall first and exchanged one of my Kurta and Papori Bows’ pair of shoe. Then we headed toward South City Shopping Mall which Naina wished to visit by a taxi as it’s far away from Park Street. We bought some knick knacks from there. Apurba tried to buy movie tickets for us as we all planned to catch up with some movie to pass out time. But we could not get it there. Then we headed toward our guest house in a short while. On the way Apurba again tried for the movie in another Mall and that time we got lucky. So after dropping Naina in the guest house we four went for the Hindi Movie around 7 pm. It was short distance from our Guest House so we reached on time. We enjoyed a hindi movie named “ Dharam Shankat” which was revolving around the protagonist’s dilemma regarding religious beliefs. It was a comedy movie with a strong message to the society. After the movie ended we headed back to our Guest house. We really liked the Quest Shopping Mall with its elegant interiors. Then we had a nice dinner at the Guest house and slept.

Day 5...time to say good bye to the Tomato and Unripe Mango Chutney

The last morning in Kolkata we all went for a long morning walk excluding the kids. And the icing on the cake was that as per the result declared online Mumpi got the desired seat in the Christ College, Bangalore and that made the trip a successful one for her first interview for her higher studies. We visited the Victoria Memorial Museum also for our walk that day. I really enjoyed the visit to the famed historical monument. It is very nicely maintained and the neighbouring garden with its many beautiful trees is worth a visit actually. Then Apurba treated me with tender coconut water which was real sweet and delicious against the slight fatigue after the long morning walk. Then we returned to our Guest House.

Victoria Memorial - Kolkata
Victoria Memorial - Kolkata | Source
Trees so well maintained in the Garden of Victoria Memorial - Kolkatta
Trees so well maintained in the Garden of Victoria Memorial - Kolkatta | Source

After a nice breakfast we packed to leave Kolkata. Our flight was at 4-50 pm. So we decided to have our lunch there itself. Apurba had a close friend visiting him in the Guest house whom he met in Guwahati. He gifted me with a nice Silver showpiece which was a real surprise for me. We chatted for a long time. After a nice lunch we left for the Airport. At 4-50 we flew back to our hometown. Thus the Bihu celebration was over for this year among much foods, chutneys, shopping, movie, walking and merriment.

This visit to Kolkata would always be a nice memory for me for the long walks - later we evaluated that every day therein we walked for 12 kms almost, the fresh and beautiful morning walks in Maidan, for the sumptuous food by the wonderful Guest House Staffs, and predominantly the luscious Tomato and Unripe Mango Chutney etc. The sweet and tangy taste still lingers in my mouth to make it worse for me so much so that I just feel like cooking it and have it again. But I don’t even want to spoil the taste in my memory as of now at least.

my most fav dish I had in my trip to Kolkata - Tomato and Unripe Mango Chutney Courtesy - Guest House staffs
my most fav dish I had in my trip to Kolkata - Tomato and Unripe Mango Chutney Courtesy - Guest House staffs | Source

So we welcome the Spring to fill our hearts with much peace, prosperity and happiness in this Assamese New Year with the festive ambience all around with the flavour of Bihu in the air. Then we wait for our next trip though destination and nothing is fixed yet. But yes I personally wait excitedly for my next escape from my humdrum schedules with my WANDERING WORDS. Till then Good bye and I wish to come back with my next WADNDERING WORDS trip sooner. Thank you for your precious time here.

Famous Rabindra Sangeet - Song from the land of Kolkata

Famous and Traditional Bihu Dance from Assam

Bihu Hussori from Assam - Group traditional Dance from Assam

Assamese New Year and Bihu

Have you ever heard of Bihu Dance from Assam?

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    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Hey Deb,

      Many thanks and yeah ...what actually we waiting for ?????

      You have the cam and you will teach me how to follow the trails....so lets not wait for anything else okay????

      And yeah I will sure gonna pack some Biriyani for you

      LOL.....Love you dear

      Many warm hugs your way

      Hope you are doing great

      Deergha

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds like a wonderful trip. I like you, don't care for shopping, so next time, let's sneak off and look for birds, shall we? I would like to eat some biryani, though...

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Big thanks to you Dips for your precious times here.

      God bless

      Dee

    • profile image

      Dipti 2 years ago

      U've put it in such a good way Dee..the city now looks very inviting :)

      Loved it !

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Manatita...many thanks for being here and your continual support for me is much precious always. Thanks for your kind interest in India. Tagore songs and other literature are always a favorite. Yes one day sure it should be India for you and I will be happy actually.

      Hope you are doing great.

      Take care and God bless you always

      Deergha

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Dear Chitranagada,

      Many thanks for your precious time here. Its so nice to know that you visited Assam and Kolkata. Next time you come please do contact me. It will great to meet up , what you think?

      Anyway....its really awesome to know that you actually have a traditional Muga Saree with red border.

      Thank you for your continual support always.

      Hope you are doing great. Take care and God bless you always

      Deergha

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      I see that you are reaching out, Dear girl. I like the Tagore Sangeet. I like everything of Tagore! Interesting places, food and things to see. I have been close to 37 countries, I believe, and some of these many times. India one day, perhaps.

      City of Joy, eh? Cool. Much Love.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What a wonderful way to share the customs, culture, cuisine of your beautiful place! I have been to Assam and Calcutta several times and quite well versed with whatever you have showcased here.

      I just love 'Bihu,' and also own that lovely Muga silk saree with red border---just beautiful.

      Beautiful and interesting hub, voted up and shared on HP!

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Thank you @AudreyHowitt

      Glad that you have liked this hub here. You are always welcome. Hope you are doing great.

      Many smiles your way

      Deergha

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Dear Shyron,

      Hello friend, How are doing today?

      Your comment and votes are much appreciated here.Glad that you have liked the trip including my photos.

      To be honest I am not a person who enjoy cooking. But I have the recipe of the Tomato and Unripe Mango chutney with me and very soon I will post it here. Shyron, this recipe hub will be specially for you sure

      As I never thought to post a recipe hub in my life ha ha ha. Anyway I will work on it and mail you as soon as I post it here. Hope I am allowed with some time to put it together right, friend?

      Take care and God bless you always dear.

      Many smiles your way...:-)

      Deergha

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Dear Mary,

      Hello how are you?

      Many thanks for making your time to be here in this hub. Glad that you have enjoyed the trip here. Actually we had a lovely time. I am inspired to cover more about our culture and traditions in my next hubs by your words here.

      Your comment and votes are much appreciated like always.

      Take care and God bless you always my friend.

      Many warm hugs your way

      Deergha

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      What a wonderful adventure. I loved the food and the videos--thank you for sharing this trip with us!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Deergha, thank you for the adventure. your pictures are beautiful. I enjoyed the trip.

      I would like to try the tomato mango chutney. Do you have the recipe?

      Voted up, UABI and shared

      Blessings

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Oh Deergha, I so enjoyed your little vacation. So many new sights and things I never knew. I truly appreciate you taking us with you and educating us on your part of the world.

      The entire trip looked lovely and the shopping malls looked beautiful. I hope you get to journey out again soon.

      Voted all but funny.

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Dear Frank,

      Many thanks for your dropped by here and left your valuable comment. I am sorry to know that Videos are not operating properly as it should have been. Yeah Frank, the Mango chutney tasted soooo good I still miss them so much ha ha ha. Really I enjoy traveling and thus every trip i go i do really enjoy very much.

      Thanks once again and I hope you are doing great.

      Many warm wishes your way

      Deergha

    • dghbrh profile image
      Author

      deergha 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Dear Faith,

      Many thanks for enjoying the trip here with me. I enjoy travelling a lot actually thus i try to share it with my friends out here. Its nice to know that you love learning about other cultures and I will try to cover that subject next time to present about our culture and traditions which you might have not came across till now. Yeah you are right ...there were foods everywhere ha ha ha.....Thanks for liking the videos even.

      And yes your shares...votes and again your comment is much cherished like always my dear sweet friend.

      Hope you are doing fine.

      Many smiles and hugs your way from across the countries.

      Deergha

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      so nice of you for sharing this adventure.. the videos took some time to play, but finally.. playing as I comment.. the mango chutney looks good too.. Im so glad you enjoyed the holiday...:)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi sweet friend,

      Wow, thank you for taking us along with you on your wonderful trip. You are a great tour guide! I love learning about other cultures and find this hub fascinating. Your photos are great and looks like there was plenty of delicious food everywhere you went.

      I also love the videos.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning and sharing

      (((Hugs))) and peace always