कुछ पल बिताये जो यारों के संग
भुल ना पाए ऊँहे हम कभी
जब जिंदगी मैं हो जाऊं मायूस यूं कभी
एक हलकी सी मुस्कान दे जाए वो मुझे आज भी
रोजाना की जिंदगी में चाहे कही भी खो जाए हम
वो यारों के संग बिताये हुए यही पल होते है
जो फ़िर मुझे अंजान गली यो से भी ढूंढ़ लाते है
In our day to day life’s hustle and bustle we get drowned in work and responsibilities and we keep postponing our very well deserved breaks only to accommodate more work between them. After spending almost a whole year at home in 2020 due to pandemic without taking any vacation and travelling to any place I felt really thankful for all the trips and vacations that I took in 2019, a year before it all started and even just a month before the lockdown I decided to take a trip to Pondicherry and that has been my best decision last year. However, this one is about a trip I took close to the end of 2019.
In December of 2019, finally after saving some leaves and after getting bored of the daily rut of work and day to day life,me and my friend from college decided to visit Kolkata to meet and stay with our friend for an extended weekend. The plan was quite impromptu and we just notified our friend that we are coming and he has to be available on those days. That’s how our plan took shape just in a day or two and we quickly booked our flight tickets and applied for our leaves.
Before I go any further, let me make this clear, this isn’t a blog that will actually tell you the places of attraction at Kolkata or the same touristy things that you must have come across in travel blogs earlier. This blog tells you about the little experiences that a 24 year old man had when he finally had his long awaited break and vacation with two of his dearest friends which he always used to wish for. Few days back I came across a post on one of the social media sites. It said the vacations which I have in my mid 20’s with friends are just about a lot of drinking, partying and relaxing and not about other touristy things. This vacation was somewhat similar for us.
A couple of days before we left from Kolkata, I had a friend visiting me from Belgium. Since he knew I love beers he made sure to get me two bottles of Belgian beers all the way from Belgium. I decided to carry them with me to enjoy it with my friend who also loved beers.
We had a late night flight to Kolkata and reached Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at 2 am. We took a cab to the Salt lake area to my friend’s house. After reaching his house in the middle of the night, we ordered hot chicken momos which we relished a lot during our college days. While feasting on the momos and talking we didn’t realize how time had passed and it was almost time for sunrise. As we weren’t sleepy yet, we decided to go on the terrace and enjoy the view of sunrise in Kolkata with the special Belgian Beers and some music. The beauty of those early morning hours coupled with the company of friends, beers and music was magical, it was almost like creating our very own Dil Chahta hai moment.
The food in Kolkata has a very different vibe to it. Traditional Bengali meals are something to die for and try. I would always recommend 6 Ballygunge Place restaurants to people who want to try authentic bengali cuisine with an ambience that will take you in the vintage era. Their prawn curry served in a green coconut shell is a must try for food lovers. Also their aloo bhaja is loved by all. कोलकाता गए और रसगुल्ले नहीं खाए तो क्या खाया? Obviously you will be asked this question by everyone if you don’t stuff your mouth with enough rosgullas. We too had many and all kinds of rosgullas, though my personal favorites are baked rosgulla which are something which you don’t get to try everywhere but here in Kolkata.
Another memorable moment for me during this entire trip had been the nouko ride at Princep Ghat. If you want to experience Kolkata in a unique way then the boat ride or as they call it the nouko ride at Princep ghat is a must try for all. Especially late evening after the sundown, you can witness the beautifully lit Howrah as well as Vidyasagar setu bridge during this ride while floating on the river Hooghly and also on the other side of the banks you can see the city lights and some modern party or dinner cruises. If that’s not enough you can try lying down on that small boat and listen to the famous bollywood song ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’ as you see the lantern in the boat swaying.
If you are in Kolkata only for a couple of days just like us, then a visit to Victoria Memorial is a must. It is a site of great historical importance and is completely made of marble with a marble statue of Queen Victoria of England placed in it. It also houses a museum filled with artefacts, coins and other articles of the pre-independence era. What I liked about it the most was that it was situated right between the hustle and bustle of the city, however once you enter its huge wrought iron gates it takes you in a different era and a different place altogether. The memorial is surrounded by many water reservoirs and streams and it’s filled with greenery. Try sitting on one of its benches and notice how the city sounds get overshadowed by the chirping of almost a thousand birds on each of the trees filling your ears.
With all these beautiful experiences and some of the best moments that I spent with my friends after a very long time, I said goodbye to this beautiful city promising to return again someday and explore more that it has to offer very soon.