Sometimes life throws surprises on you, and you are none to ignore that enigma. I found one interesting fact that if you want to find the healthy and profound involvement of universe with your ongoing life, you have to see back when you are travelling. World is already set to give you experiences, but you have to step out first!
So I was in Kolkata for Durga-puja last year. The grandeur of that festival had already made me out of words to frame my feeling in mere wordly expressions. As I wanted to visit Sunderbans from my unknown childhood, I got interacted with Anup Bag in Kolkata. He hails from countryside locality of Sunderbans, so I didn’t wait to think much. He joined me directly from the office and we finally started our journey from Sealdah junction, which station has second highest number of platforms in India after Howrah(20). Of course it is the busiest railway station of country the way people get in and out in such heavy rush. As we met, it wasn’t like we met for the first time and then he kept talking about things like there will be a salty water, issues of electricity and blah blah.
I said, ” Chill man. I am a villager and I know the things.”
And he said, “Vaise bi travellers ko kahi pe bi chhod do, kuch nahi hoga.”
And from here the most amazing train journey to Canning station started, which is the last railway station as a gateway of Sunderbans. The timing of train is synchronized with the timing of bus, which leaves at the same time from market, when train arrives at Canning. I was instructed to jump off on the track and run off to another side as fast as possible to get seat. It was a moment of adventure, as everyone was settled from the doors of coach. As soon as we reached, people started to jump and run off. I too followed it, and believe me, it was the kind of different feeling at all. Enjoying my little running journey, finally we got the seat.
Transportation of West Bengal is perfect in all ways and you will get to know once you visit it. From handpulled rickshaw to the oldest metro, everything is there. As the bus went deep to rural side, I got to know that in these areas, Durga Puja is even celebrated for months as people are used to wander around for entire night with waves of music and amazing food. I was already loving the colours of bus we were witnessing, the interioir and lighting. We didn’t even know when the destination arrived as we were busy enjoying the journey. The main village was like an island, so we had to take a boat from that point, where 4 rivers met.
Believe me, it takes only 2 RS to travel almost half of kilometre on the water. It was almost new experience for me- to go to any village in boat at night with locals, but that experience came out as stardust dream for me. And then the best thing happened as we started to walk on alley from ghat, which was exactly situated along the gigantic river side. Voice of insects, little bit wheezing of heavy wind and productive silence of surroundings, these all things made me helpless that how amazing scenes would be there in next morning!I was welcomed by a little guy standing in the mid of handmade wooden door of local hut, where pure green chillies and banana were placed in buckets. We were given Gamcha for getting freshened first. We completed our act of getting freshened from nearby lake, and then sea-food was all set in dish along with artistic and colour ful floor-cloth! Being a Gujarati, it was new for me to have that sea-food, but I am not vegan and I could say that spicy taste is still clung at my tongue. It was an adventure itself as prawns, fishes and crabs were served for a dinner.
Early morning was foggy and we started to roam around river for having the preciousness of that appeasing moment. What a moment it was! Lillies were trying to manipulate the focus of our eyes with their colours, as ignorant green leaves were still floating carelessly on the surface of water congested in corner wide pond. Fog had already made those paddy fields hazy, but I could see sudden appearance of cycle-man coming out of that smoky world through a little alley. I also learnt how to make a garland from lillie and wearing them around neck. All thanks to Anup. That was the best feeling of my life, as I was witnessing every life around from the colours of Lilly to the virgin shine of morning sun, to the flight of birds with tasty chaos, to the silent movement of humans and creature to their destinations, to the clearance of images of river and attached little mangroves.
And we came back to explore every little home of village to know their lifestyle, where art was present at its best. I was surprised seeing solar plate on every little hut. The main source of earning is fishing and farming. They also get some by weaving things with their art.
As after having this amazing local experience of Sunderbans, I already made my journey completed from inner side but still we went to the main Sunderbans from the Gosaba. West Bengal’s own- only floor like slate owning tuktuk(where people seat after taking off their shoes like pupils in the classroom without benches) was bringing us to mid of forest by rough cobbled road and the person sat next to me was also a traveller. That gentleman started sharing his experiences of adventures, and I was feeling like OMG!
As Sunderbans is the largest mangrove forest of the world, it harbours a lot of unique flora and fauna in its bosom. It was hard to find Bengal Tiger, but we saw variety of birds mainly Kingerfisher and Madan tak. Also salt-water crocodile, turtles. It was pure delight to see aerial roots with my own eyes after looking them thousands of time in book of biology. At the end, breathing is important for everyone.And the tragedy happensed when we were coming back as I lost my phone in that muddy water of gigantic river, from where getting it back was next to impossible. In beginning, I was telling myself that no, my phone couldn’t be fallen down. Its not a fact. No No. I was blank for few time, as for a traveller like me, phone is everything from photography to way of connecting, to way of earning and blogging, to searching and satisfying and what not.
But again, it’s a life and everything happens for a reason. This experience has taught me a lot of things silently, and I will be grateful to it for lifetime!