Design a site like this with
Get started

The intrigue of a lost cigarette case.

Hello friends, when we were younger, always game for the stories told by our visiting elders. As they were the days sans cable TV and bombardment of social media, kids always were eager to listen to the interesting events, as happened to their elders. They might be sometimes real, sometimes imaginary, nevertheless, the attention quotient of the children were always high.This particular story I’m going to tell you was told by the eldest maternal uncle of my husband, to his younger self. When I heard it from him, although not so young for a story time, decided instantly to tell you. Hope you find it engaging too!!

Our main protagonist is a confirmed bachelor Mr. Ganguly, well into his midd age. The events unfolding in the coming lines, took place about 30 – 35 years ago. In a small town of Bihar called Bhagalpur, where my husband grew up. Mr Ganguly lived in another town, Purnea. The twin towns were separated by the holy river, Ganges. At that time there was no bridge over the wide river. People had to travel in a zonga, a hardy vehicle on the sandy road upto the river banks then boarded motorised boat to cross the mighty river.

Whenever Mr Ganguli had some leisure, he liked to visit his sister and spend quality time with his nephews and nieces, which are total six in numbers, four boys and two girls. He used to dot on all of them. In between endless cups of tea prepared by one or the other kid (each tea was designated by the name of the person who prepared it), he would open the treasure trove of his stories.

Once, when he got down the boat at Barari Ghat, in Bhagalpur it was already 9 of the night and there was a power cut. At that time, it was felt more like a midnight. Very few passengers and rickshaws were seen to take them to their destination, autos had retired altogether for the night and cabs were literally non existent. On reaching the rickshaw stand, Mr Ganguly found that all the rickshaw were already taken up. It was a good 45 minutes to 1 hours ride on foot, yet he had no other option than take it up.

It was a dark night with no street lights due to power outage and very few vehicles were plying on the road. Suddenly he saw a vaccant rickshaw coming towards him. When Mr Ganguly called out, the rickshaw stopped near him, he hurriedly climbed it, but before he could give the address, the rickshaw started to move. He surmised that as he was quite regular on the route, the rickshaw puller might have recognized him and already knew, where he had to go.

Along the route, there was a small forest like enclosure called Sundarban, containing a graveyard beside the main road. His perplexity was heightened, when he found the rickshaw turning towards it, off the normal path. He enquired, “Why brother, you are taking this route?”

The person all covered in a large shawl and head gear to offset the wintry night his face imperceptible in the layers of drapes, replied something vaguely which implied, he had opted for the shortcut to reache quicker.

Mr Ganguly found it highly unusual and the lines of consternation started appearing on his forehead. Just to allay the uneasiness, he casually lighted a cigarette deep in his thoughts trying to comprehend the matter. He barely might have taken a few puffs in, the hand of the man pulling the rickshaw was raised towards him, asking in a feeble voice, “Give me a cigarette too, Sir.”

Mr Ganguly saw only the shawl raised towards him, but no hands, a void!! He couldn’t tell how much time had passed when some person approached the rickshaw from the other side. They had a hand held lantern along with them. On coming near, one of the person raised the lantern to enquire, “Why are you sitting like that, all alone in this desolate place?”

The voice of the man acted like a trigger to break the deep trance like condition of Mr Ganguly. He realised that the burning cigarette, held in his hand, had gone so short that it was about to burn his fingers. He hurriedly threw it away and then realised that he was sitting in a graveyard and the seat of the rickshaw puller was lying vacant. The cigarette case and the lighter held in his other hand was gone too!!

One of the strangers spoke with sympathy,” It seems that you too have been dragged by the ghost of the rickshaw puller who died a few years ago. His spirit has the propensity of grabbing any rickshaw whose attendant is not in sight at night time and carry unsuspecting passengers to this place. See, there is his grave!”

In the raised lantern light, Mr Ganguly could clearly see that his cigarette case and the lighter was lying beside the directed grave. One of the person offered, “We were returning after the burial of our relative. Come down, don’t worry we will take you safely to your home.”


Following the Passions

Countless as the sands of the sea are human passions. – Nikolai Gogol.

Hello friends, for the past whole week I had been particularly busy with a special assignment which I had taken up as a challenge. That is to accept a job of a school teacher after all these years, when my both children are all grown up. I attended school as part of the orientation programme for the newly appointed teachers. Believe me, being a fresher teacher, when I’m knocking at the door of the age fifty is quite a stupendous feat indeed as far as my physical capabilities and stamina are concerned!

As a recap I must tell you that in between the noble job of child rearing, with the positive support and encouragement of my hubby, I had succeeded to secure the degrees of Masters in History, A B.Ed. and an M. Ed.. I accepted the courses thrown in my lot as a challenge and completed them with flying colours. Managing all the while a household of a school going and a college going children .

When I was interviewed for the job of a teacher last September, I was not sure whether I should take it up or let it go. Then they informed that they they would recruit once the schools were open that was tentatively from the new session which starts in India from the month of April. Consequently I got the ample time to ponder over the pros and cons of my prospective dicision, which required a massive alteration in my daily life.

I must tell you that I’m staunchly a house bound person, looking after my home and hearth had always been my primary aim. Now when both of my children have started to carve out an independent life for themselves, I am more or less have been divested of my responsibilities towards their career building. What next?

Though I was teaching two brothers studying in class seven and eight respectively, the sudden opportunity to teache in a school was just like a bolt out of the blue. A chanced meeting with the President of the managing committee of a reputed school, with my husband, was kind of acted like a catalyst. When he learnt that I have so many degrees in education then he exhorted my hubby, not to waste my expertise by limiting myself to the boundary of my home.

Suddenly in the middle of this month, the call came from the school of my appointment. As I had no prior experience I have to start from teaching in class 3, 4 and 5 then they will upgrade me to higher classes. Imagine my bewilderment and the exhilaration at the same time! They also informed that I have to start to attend school as part of orientation programme from the day after itself! So you see, got no time to wriggle out and moreover, I was contemplating and preparing myself for this after a long consultation and subsequent strong backing from my family.

So friends, here I am , after completing my one week initiation to school. Though the real test will begin from April 4, when students would start attending the new session and I have to handle so many of them face to face! It is incidentally their first day at school after a pandemic induced long gap of two years. Needless to say I have a lot to relate to you about my experiences at school. I must save it for my upcoming blogs.

Let’s see how I’m going to juggle all my passions that are my home, family, school and ofcourse my blog and your friendship in the days to come.

Wising you all health and happiness.

Adieu for now.

The Encounter with a Cranky Old Lady.

Hello friends, in the present trying times a dive into the sea of memories of one’s childhood is the safe bet to rewind and relax. In my previous post I told you about my adolescent days, that were before the advent of the era of cable television and internet. Let me tell you another antic of my eleven year old self.

As I told you earlier that we lived in a small colony of a coalliery where people lived like a one big family, always together in happiness and sorrow. All the children mostly my age or younger to me and consequently had no problem in following me, regarding which kind of game to play or planning any mischief. From 4 to 6 pm in weekdays and indefinite hours during holidays (untill our mothers issued the third warning to come home) was our own time to spend. Apart from playing, plucking guavas or collecting raw mangoes or bathing in the river, right beside our quarters, we had a favorite pass time, that was observing a very ancient old lady around 90 years of age.

You may be wondering what is so special about it. The chief attraction was that the old lady lived a reclusive life along with her almost 60 years old son, who looked older than his age. The uncle was a an affable man and joined in the ‘adda’ sessions of the elders and was more than friendly to us. The uncle lived with his old mother while his family stayed at their ancestral home.

But he isn’t the protagonist, the lady in question was his mother,a frail, toothless lady with a wrinkled face. Her tiny body bent further by the stooping with age, yet it didn’t hinder her agility in dispensing off all the chores of a household. She had a short prickly silver hairs and only a white, shortened version of a saree wrapped around her thin body. It’s not only her peculiar appearance which drew us towards her, it was her cranky and cantankerous nature which acted like a magnet for us.

All the doors of her house were always shut, nobody except her son was allowed to enter her den. There was a gap in the wooden door of her courtyard and provided us perfect medium to watch her activities. We used to peep through it waiting for her to come out on the open. Eventually when she did, one of us would call out, “O Thakuma (grandma), what are you doing?” It instantly followed by flurry of rebuke from her. We didn’t understand a word coming out of her toothless mouth but it was quite palpable that if she got hold of us, she would teache us a lesson for teasing her. Her angry reaction was highly entertaining for us.

Once I was peeking through the door with my gang on toe, there was no sign of her in the courtyard. We were discussing to leave, when suddenly the door opened and her small figure appeared. Without allowing any time for us to respond, she quickly got hold of my wrist by her left hand and a worn out coconot stick broom holding in her right one, her eyes shining in the glory and her indecipherable voice gloating over the victory well deserved for her.

Apparently she was waiting behind the closed door for us, as the tiger waits for it’s prey. Realizing my capture, rest of the children ran for their dear lives. Friends you can easily imagine the horror freezing my heart, eyes widened, throat turning bone dry. It felt like that was the end of me!

Belatedly I made a last ditch effort to extricate myself from her grip but it was almost vice like and impenetrable! I then sent a silent SOS to my hiding friends and the next moment I was dragged inside the house and the door was firmly shut.

After the hasty intimation of an impending doom, a rescue effort was promptly launched by my mother and other available aunts. They kept on banging the door, frantically, pleading the old lady to release me. A good quarter of an hour passed, before the old lady deigned to open the door but without me! Continuing the suspense, she just gestured with her hand to the ladies to follow her. The entire entourage comprising of the children too, got inside with great trepidations.

What they discovered? I was sitting blithely in a small stool eating a homemade sweet made with dessicated coconut and sugar syrup(Narkol Naroos) which tasted just heavenly. My terrorized face had evidently melted her heart and eventually won her over.

The ceasefire had been called after that day. It was the start of long lasting friendship between the old lady and us. We had now easy access to her home. And we all helped her in small ways we could, like grinding her betel leaf in pestle for her to consume and other smaller errands. In turn she treated us with delicious homemade sweets. She told us stories about her life as a young bride, we understood half of it due to her toothless state, yet obediently nodded in unison.

Hope you liked this edition of my childhood  pranks. Wishing you all health and happiness.

Adieu for now.

Read another one of my childhood stories here:

A Glimmer of Hope

Hello friends, a particular piece of news published in The Times of India, Kolkata edition, got me into contemplation mode.Though the news do not have high profile people in it, but the relevance is never the less. It’s about some tribal villages of Purulia district of West Bengal, India, concerning man and animal conflict. I will tell you first about the incident occurred in 2015, when the tribal villagers captured a loepard, strayed into their village. The animal was mercilessly clobbered to death in front of cops and its mutilated caracass was hung from a tree.

The interesting part is that another loepard have been continuously spotted in the area, bordering Kotshila forest range. Despite the loss of their livestock, the villagers have resolved to protect the big cat. It’s indeed a paradigm shift of collective behavior, that may go a long way in curbing a man animal conflict to a large extent.

A resident of Simni village, Mokli Murmu, who collects wood from the forest and sell it at a market 15 km away for Rs 160 per 10 kg, said, “We are the ones encroaching on wildlife habitat in search of livelihood and not the other way round. The leopard has killed five calves raised by me but I still don’t want it to be killed or harmed.”

The leopard has already fed on at least a dozen of cattles and in the latest spotting the leapard was found moving around with a cub.The chief wildlife warden Debal Roy is arranging to make public announcement not to panic and attack the animal like the last time. He maintains that if the animal has survived for nearly two years, it’s likely that residents have become aware of wildlife conservation. The chief warden also added that if a loepard has a cub there it means that it doesn’t feel threatened.

Friends, even simple villagers mostly not very literate people can value the importance of life and don’t inflict harm on a wild carnivore in spite of incurring losses of livestock, then why some leaders of the world are hell bent on killing and displacing so many innocent living beings. The madness must stop atonce for the welfare of mankind.

We must learn to live peacefully. If the leaders can show geuine sincerity they must find a diplomatic solution to the problem of Russia, Ukraine conflict. With deft handling the situation can be salvaged from further catastrophes.

We common mortals can only pray for peacful coexistence of all. Wish you all health happiness and prosperity.
Adieu for now.

Holi – The Festival of Spring

Hello friends, if we call India, the country of festivals, than it wouldn’t be very far from the truth. Spanning from North to South, East to West, we celebrate so many festivals that we just can’t finish it by counting on our fingers. These bevy of festival may be religious, national, social or local in nature, but people participate in it with great gusto. Holi, the festival of spring, love and colour also falls both in the category of socio religious. It’s celebrated to felicitate the spring season, as there is profusion of colourful flowers all around, we mark the occasion by smearing colour to deities and on each other.

As for festival of love, Holi celebrates the eternal and divine love of Lord Krishna and Radha. On this full moon day of spring Sri Krishna played Holi ( Dol jatra in Bangla) with his lady love Radha and other Gopikas( village belles of Gokul) and danced with them in gaiety. Krishna had such a charisma that each of the Gopikas were convinced that his affection was only for her.

Holi is also the festival of delectable, homefood cuisines like malpuas, gujias, shakarparas, dahi vadas( ground mung and urad dal, fried and dunked in spiced bitten curd) and chholeys( cheak peas cooked in lot of spices). Friend and relatives visit each other’s houses, play with colour during the day and come back to taste the delicacies in evening.

When we were kids, there were absolute frenzy, frolic and ecxcitement surrounding the festival. The surfeit of colour, food and non stop fun overwhelmed us all the children so much that we slept like a log at the night. The next day at school we made fun of each other, because all our faces were still tinged with traces of colours which were hard to wash. We remained that way for the next few days to come!

Let the festival of colour make everyone’s life colourful and bright. There should be no sadness and pain and people learn to live and let live, peacefully.


Wish you all a very Happy Holi.


The Sublime and the Base

A sublime thought elevates the mind and expands the heart; a base thought excites the mind and renders the feelings morbid and dark. Those who have a little control over their thoughts and speech will have a calm, serene, beautiful, charming, face, a sweet voice and their eyes will turn brilliant and lustrous. –   Swami Shivananda

Hello friends, when I read the above quote, got me to start reminiscing my mother ‘s words. When we were kids , she used to say that our face is like a mirror which reflects exactly what we are thinking and contemplating inside. If one nurtures happy and benevolent thoughts, the person’s face will automatically glow. I used to wonder, how it is possible!! But after all these years and the experiences, I come to know the real import of it.

I must give you an example, of a famous actor of yesteryear, of Hindi cinema, Amreesh Puri. He had an imposing personality, tall and having a voice of formidably deep baritone. He acted both as villain and in the roles of a doting father or grand father. I used to watch in awe,  how a menacing and terrifying face of villain would undergo such a make over when he was a enacting a positive charecter. As a doting elderly,  he esed to look so benign and affable! The difference was only in the way of his expression of the emotions of the character he was, enacting.

As I told you earlier that how much, dark and brooding thoughts pollutes our heart and mind. It’s better for our own well being if we succeed to cast them away. If we are a little mindful of controling our thoughts and moderating the subsequent speech in positive manner, our faces would reflect the beauty, people around us wuold like to admire.

It’s absolutely true that beauty lies in the eyes of a beholder,. If one perceive someone as friendly and genial, all the shortcomings is overlooked and the person is pronounced a beauty. In the contrary, a real beauty could be trashed, if the person has a vain attitude and sinister and diabolic thought patterns.

If we think before we speak, a lot of misunderstanding and feeling of hurt and animosity can be eliminated. Because people tend to remember the indelicate words of indiscretion,  it gets stuck into their hearts, which are really tough to erase, however hard we may try afterwards. There are few outbursts in my life too, which I had uttered in a spate of anger and came to regret deeply. Though I have mended the creases in the relationship to a large extent but traces of the words still linger somewhere in the background.

Actually we get agitated by the injustice done to us and tend to strike back with a vengeance,  but if in that crucial moment,  if we handle the matter more sensibly and calmly, we could put across our unhappiness and humiliation in calmer and saner way. This can make the person realise his or her mistakes and mend accordingly.

It’s just the matter of tact and discretion on our part, which can salvage any tricky situation from going downhill. Let’s us all remember to apply them, when we are really angry with something or someone.

Featured photo: Riya.

A Miraculous Save.

Hello friends, amidst the devastation and despair of war, I want to share a unique piece of news which would surely lift your collective mood. The particular information came to me from my daughter who is currently doing her internship. One of her intern friend was deputed in a semi-urban Government Health Dispensary as a part of community health assignment. Due to the prevailing situation, she had to handle a large rush of patients. She was doing her job quite commendably in spite of the constraints of limited resources.

One day, a haggard looking man entered her chamber and earnestly requested her to have a look at his wife, who was in labour. As there was no other responsible female at home around to handle the matter (as rural people still prefer home delivery assisted by midwives in presence of elderly women of the house), he had thought it better to come over to the health centre.

She hurriedly rushed out along with him and found a woman, half sitting, half lying in an auto rickshaw, her face wracking in apparent distress. A quick check up was enough for her to pronounce that baby was about to come. There was no stretcher or ward boy around to carry the expecting mother.

She then took one of the woman’s arm around her shoulder and asked her husband to hold the another. She was immediately needed to be shifted to a bed. They barely have progressed half the distance, when suddenly the husband bent down to catch something. The very next moment, a babies cry was heard.

Actually the baby had decided that it was time to come out. You may call it an instinct of a father, the first tentative cry had reached his ears and he became instantly aware that baby had forced it’s way out . On a reflex he extended his hand to save the baby from falling head down.

The good news is that, baby which was miraculously saved by his father and now doing well along with the mother.The father had gifted him, literally the second life.

Hope you liked the amazing rescue of a tiny life. In comparison, there are people, who are hell bent on extinguishing lives and put people in misery. God give them sanity so that they immediately stop the blood bath.

Wishing for peace and happiness to all.

Adieu for now

War or Survival?

We won’t wait for you to act. We will lead even if you don’t. We will act even if you delay. We will build the future even if you are still stuck in the past. Please accept my invitation. I assure you won’t regret it.” Vinisha Umashanker, a fourteen-year-old finalist of the inaugural Earth shot Prize, Prince Williams’s ambitious global environment award, during her address at COP26 World Leaders’ Summit, held in Glasgow, England.

If the current developments across the world are anything to go by, all the world leaders are blithely ignoring the writing on the wall, still stuck in the time warp, searing innocent citizens into the unholy flames of war or ready to wage another of potentially catastrophic consequences. Be it Russia – Ukraine and Nato conflict or China -Taiwan and the South China Sea conflict. These unfortunate developments are taking place when the world is still trying to come out of the pandemic induced crisis.

It’s utter callousness on the part of world leaders of not exploring the common ground of peaceful co- existence and common good of humanity. They are resorting to bombing and razing the cities into ground just for the shake of expanding their power and influence, entirely disregarding the writing in the wall in the form of climate change and the increasings bouts of natural disasters. What is the use of expanded borders when the entire earth is racing towards becoming inhabitable?

Vinisha Umashanker

today I listened to the speech given by a teenage girl, Vinisha Umashanker from Tamil Nadu, India and got mightily impressed by her words and strong resolve to bring about a positive change in the environment. She is a 10th Grade student and introduced herself as an artist, innovator, entrepreneur and environmentalist. She won the prize for her innovation of solar ironing cart which could replace coal-fueled ironing carts across the towns and cities of India.

The young Vinisha affirmed, “I am not talking about the future, I am the future.” She also reminded that in the matter of climate change, there is no stop button, not a pause or rewind. Her confident and convincing attitude made everyone take notice. But are the people in power heeding to her clarion call?

When the young generation is asking for our(grown-ups) time, effort and money to back their innovation for a better and more sustainable future, the countries are hell bent on decimating each other even threatening to use their nuclear and biological arsenal for furthering their selfish agendas.

I wonder when the saner reasons would prevail. When we would be able to think and work unitedly to make the earth a better place to live for our young generation? Only giving lofty speeches about saving the environment, and then forgetting all about it, has become the norm. It is the time to think and act progressively instead of the regressive path of war and amassing more military power and expansionism.

Hopefully, the leaders would retrace their steps and stop walking on the path of destruction and work unitedly and constructively towards the common goal of safeguarding the humankind from the wrath of nature. The walfare of citizens should be the priority, instead of killing and displacing them.

Featured photo courtesy: Aditya Mukherjee.

God Save the World.

“Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhabati bharata, abhyutthanam adharmsya tadatmanam srijamyaham, paritranai sadhunam vinashay cha dushkritam, dharmasangsthapanarthay, sambhamami yugey yugey.” Bhagwad Geeta

These are the very words of Lord Krishna to Arjuna during the epic war of Maha Bharata, faught between Pandavas and Kauravas, which is collected in the holy book, Geeta. The book is in fact a great commentary on philosophy of life. In the precise sloka, Lord Krishna assures Arjuna that when when the religion or righteousness is harmed, when inequality and injustice increases, He ( Lord) create Himself. To save the pious and good people, to destroy the evil and diabolic persons and to establish the faith in religion and righteousness , He takes birth in every era.

Hello friends, whichever faith we may belong to, one thing is universal that, God, the Supreme Power is real savior of this world. The humanity at present is in dire need of His kind protection. After going through the never ending spiral of pandemic, which has left us all exhausted and wary. It’s indeed the God’s blessing that the scientist around the world brought out vaccine in such a short notice, which had blunted the effect of the virus to a large extent.

But before the world could return to normalcy, another man created saga of catastrophe has been unfolded in the form of a devastating war which was avoidable in the first place by the use of proper tact, diplomacy and wisdom. The sad consequences in the form of death, destruction and misery for the millions of innocent people is there for everyone to see.

Then again, there is indeed the fear of radiation in Chernobyl and other nuclear power facilities lurking in the background. The other potential danger is the misappropriation of the rumoured catche of biological weapons, which can unleashe a host of terrible diseases, I shudder to take their names! I genuinely wonder who is actually in control to reverse the situation!!

God need not to show Himself in person but He can bestow his blessing and wisdom to humans who would find a way out of this morass. A joint and pragmatic effort is needed by the world to stop the mayhem and restore peace.

It’s indeed been a long time almost the entire humanity is living in shadows of perpetual terror. I again like to remind that unity is the strength. If we all believers pray in unison to the Almighty to save the world, He is bound to listen. We need not go to a temple, a church, a mosque or a gurudwara to pray, we can do it simultaneously with whatever work we happen to be doing. The prayer from heart has the power to sway the Almighty to take note of our sufferings and rectify it.

I pray to Him to keep us all safe and healthy. Be careful, strong and alert to fight the problems away from your life.

God save the world from destruction.

Adieu for now.


The tale of a sorbet.

Those who are at peace within themselves have a responsibility to bring peace around them. If there is a will, it’s possible to have peace at all levels, from individual to global. –  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Hello friends, I sincerely wish that peace comes to the hearts in turmoil so that they could see reason and decide on a ceasefire.

For some days I was meaning to tell you about a special sorbet made with a seasonal fruit which ripe at the time of spring. The name of the fruit is bael in Hindi, vilva in Sanskrit and wood apple or stone apple in English. The bael fruit is commonly found in Indian Subcontinent and is known to be very good for health. As it is the norm that anything healthy doesn’t score very good in taste, the same can be said about wood apple.

Wood apple

The bael fruit has a very strong exterior, hence the name wood apple. It takes a lot of strength to break open the fruit, although lesser energy is required than breaking a coconut! The ripe fruit is yellow. The pulp is a little messy with a sticky jelly like seeds embedded in it. In earlier days the organic gum or binder was prepared from the seeds, which were used in traditional paintings like Kalighat Patachitra painting of Kolkata.

Inside of wood apple

The taste of pulp is generally sweet but the sticky seed gives it a slightly bitter taste. The messy seeds and presence of strong fibres make it almost inedible, unlike any other fruit, but when it is turned into a sorbet, it becomes a delectable and refreshing drink. All one has to do is to break the fruit, carve out the yellow fibrous pulp with a spoon and soak it in a bowl of water and let it rest for a few hours.

The woodenness of the pulp would give way to a mushy concoction. The mixture is then squeezed with fingers then poured through a strainer to discard the unpalatable fibres and the seeds. A homogeneous mixture is obtained. Sugar to taste is added along with some bitten curd to provide a tangy taste to the liquid. A little bit of stirring and adding some ice cubes(optional), the sorbet is ready to drink. The vibrant colour and the rich taste is sure to entice everyone towards it, as it is the case with my family members!

So friends, a little exertion on our part can turn a bittersweet fruit into a tasty and refreshing drink, which has loads of nutritious value, being rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It is also known to be a sure shot medicine for constipation.

What is your experience with the wood apple? Do let me know. If you haven’t any, then please do procure it from the market, as it is available now in abundance. Your effort would be worth it.
Thanks for reading. Wish you all health and happiness.
Adieu for now.

Featured photo: Riya Mukherjee.