Sunday, April 30, 2017

I Met My Beloved Author....

It Was a Moment of Great Pleasure today to be able to meet Legendary writer from the hills of Landour, Mr Ruskin Bond, at the Tata Steel Literary Meet for Children at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata. I had got two previously purchased books which he was kind enough to autograph for me, I wish I could let him know the amount of inspiration that I drew from his writing. His simplistic philosophy of Life which came up in his fiction and non fiction, short stories, verses etc gave me renewed inspiration & vigour to live a purposeful life. What an asset has he been to mankind.

Thanking him will obviously never be enough to justify the value he had brought into my 33 year old life. Life today unfortunately is much complicated in many ways. Turning through the pages of his writing has taken me back to the cherished world of simplicity and good humour along with great philosophy from which I have drawn huge inspiration to bounce back with rejuvenated energies. If there exists Godliness in this world, it exists in his writing and in the simplistic yet deep philosophy attached to it. He is a role model to me. I wish and pray to God that Ruskin keeps writing and sharing his thoughts forever and ever. Love, Regards and warmth from the core of my heart...

Shoubhik Bandyopadhyay

Charak Festivities in Hooghly West Bengal, 14th April 2017. Last day of Chaitra 1423

Charak puja is a traditional Bengali festival celebrated mainly in the rural areas. A festival dedicated strictly to penance, Charak puja stands unique in the scenario of Bengali festivals. The groups of men and women, who take up this 'Brata' or the time bound ritual, have to go through a month long fasting from sunrise to sunset, live strictly on fruits & perform the daily worship in order get the blessings of the lord. On the day of the 'Charak' or the 'Gajan', as it is also called, bamboo stages are made on bamboo poles, the height ranging from 10 to 15 feet. What follows is a macabre yet fascinating. After the month long penance the devotees step up the high bamboo stage & hurl themselves forward. The ground on which they fall is embedded with glass, thorns, knives & other devious weapons. But lo! The devotee escapes unhurt! The blessing of the god keeps him safe from all the possible harms. The devotees have other ways to show the god's blessings. They impale their body parts without feeling the pain. The festival not only reflects the blind faith but also the eagerness to accept penance on the road to achieve salvation.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Memoirs of a Visit to Raghunathpur, a Remote Village on the Banks of River Silabati in Garhbeta, West Midnapore, West Bengal

What they called a road leading to their village "Raghunathpur" was basically a broken pathway across the partly dried Silabati River where one can hardly walk comfortably on. We walked across with some difficulty to be warmly greeted by two young college going lads. They took us to a newly created Ashrama right on the banks of the mighty river Silabati or fondly called Silai by the local villagers. The small tin roofed hut here was primarily built to provide a place of meditation on the scenic and serene banks of the river to the spiritually inclined and also to provide free coaching classes and weekly medical advice to the villagers who resided there. However the basic need of a concrete structure for a slightly better arrangement of such noble ideas have presently taken a back seat as money that could be collected for the same has already run out till only the concrete base could be laid. I was humbled by their warm behaviour. They told us that during monsoon when the waters of the river rise higher, the walkway often breaks off or gets submerged making it more difficult for the villagers to commute. The alternate option being a more risky venture of climbing atop a high rail bridge risking their lives to tread across the river and reach Garhbeta for their daily needs.

Shoubhik Bandyopadhyay
Garhbeta, 26/02/2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017


For the sake of being unable to sacrifice the peace that my residence in a cozy suburb of West Bengal brings at the end of a hard long day, I have always had to make long daily trudges of around 120 kms each day to work in Kolkata since a while now wherein jostling for space is a common affair. In the midst of all that, my mobile phone camera has keenly kept a few moments aside to sit back and wander ....


To Continue...!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Heritage in Ruins, Raipur, Birbhum, Village in Bengal

The grandeur of the ancestral house of Bhuban Mohan Singha is still palpable inspite of the palatial house being in ruins and on the verge of demolition at Raipur Village in Birbhum West Bengal. History tells us that It is from the Zamindar of this place Bhuban Mohan Singha, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore had acquired a permanent lease of 20 acres of land in 1863 which eventually came to be known as Santiniketan. Thrilling experience it is to visit this village of Raipur. Life is so simple yet beautiful. Thakur Dalan (courtyard for worship), a palatial house in ruins, A chariot used for yearly Rath Yatra, thatched simple houses, large open fields, joyous children enjoying their afternoon games, elderly folk busy with their daily gossip sitting on the open facades in front of their houses... cattle returning at dusk after a day's graze... can it get any better? #westbengaltourismphotography #bolpur #birbhum #shantiniketan

Changing faces of the Historic Town I have Lived in... Chandannagar

Some changing faces of my beloved town of Chandannagar clicked on, 9th April, 2017. Ram Navami procession comprising of armed men, children and even women erupted in the streets dancing and dangling weapons violently while Sound Boxes with DJ impacts and chants "Jai Shri Ram" intoxicated the air.  Hinduism definitely doesn't portray a militant Religion rather it depicts Universal Love and acceptance. It depicts tolerance. Hinduism never proclaims to be the only path to be followed and is widely regarded for the same. In the land of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Chaitanya, these sights were not very pleasant. Lord Rama did take up arms to fight and establish Dharma against Ravana however there are a lot many other facades to his personality. Sadly even today, Religion is so Politically motivated...