First Jack – The Pink prince!

The journey started from Jaipur and the plan was to come back in 2 days but it got extended to 10 days. From Delhi bus station which is at Dhaula Kuan, the night bus was boarded for Jaipur. As it was a night journey so sleepers were found to be fit. Let me tell you something that I have Vertigo and thus I did not enjoy the journey at all. I was always on fear, anyway, the bus reached Jaipur at the crack of the dawn.  From there to hotel, auto was the only available service. Everyone was sleeping as it was still dark interestingly, life there starts a little late. Thankfully the hotel staffs were courteous and since they are informed beforehand of the early arrival, they prepared the room and served tea. After taking a little rest, taking a hot bath was the most important and then breakfast.


Having local cuisine is the wisest decision to make. Thus the Indian style breakfast, Parantha and achaar with special masala milk tea. The tour for the city started. The first fort which is the main attraction of the city of Jaipur is Amber Fort or Amer Fort. This fort is in Amer which is 4 Km away from the city. Built-in 1550 in an artistic Hindu style with large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths. The Maota Lake is the main source of water for the palace. This palace is constructed of red sandstone and marble and its four-storey high. The structure is huge with opulent space and it was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas. Each gate has a symbol and story to unfold. The first entrance is known as Ganesh Gate and there is a temple dedicated to Shila Devi which was given to Raja Man Singh when he defeated Raja of Jessore. There is a secret passage to another famous fort, Jaigarh Fort. Amber fort has been renovated and brought some modernism in their periphery. Well, apparently it is required but to some people basking amidst ancient ruins is much fun than being on a modernised place.


Honestly one shouldn’t avail any other option than following the secret path from Amber fort to Jaigarh Fort. The secret path was built as an escape route in the time of war when the royal families had to move from Jaigarh to Amber. The trek was quiet fun. As you walk along the path you see the giant fort and wonder how they have created this architecture 100 of years ago. This fort is located on the same Aravalli range of hills. Present prince is the owner and resident of the Jaigarh Fort. There are several things which one can observe in this fort. The most striking things one can find that the inner palace is built very simple nothing decorative or flashy. Like any other palace, there is Dewaan-i-khas and Dewaan-i-aam, with rooms for prince, princess and the fort is surrounded by beautiful terraces on all sides. Interestingly this fort has a huge canon foundry, armoury with a huge Jaivana canon. Jaivana canon is the world’s largest canon on wheels. Other than that this fort also consists of different museums.


The trip to Jaipur was a pleasurable one, the city is friendly and clean and you would want to come back again and again. Food was no doubted was the native cuisines of Rajasthan from Laal Maas, to gatte ki sabji, Halwa. There is a very beautiful place in Jaipur called Chokhi Dhani, if you wish to enjoy the real flavour of Rajasthan hospitality and their food, visit is a must. The place is little crowded but it has a lot of varieties from Mehendi wearing, folk music and dance like ghoomar, camel ride and much more. The markets are colourful and you will always want to buy their Juttis, Chappals, Chunri, shining jewellery and yes a colourful Turban is important. After much revelry at Jaipur, now the next destination is Jaisalmer, the golden city!



3 Jacks state!

The epic journey of colours –  Pink, Gold and Blue!

The beginning…

The year-end journey usually is the unsure one. You can’t decide what you should do to end the year on a good note. There is always a dilemma of thoughts asking friends for plans and still remain in two minds whether to go or not to go. That’s how I guess almost 70% people like me thinks and then either they end up sulking at home alone or get bored in a most unnerving alcoholic party where you only regret to be a participant.

Now comes the second part, luckily sometimes you partner with someone and an abrupt plan happens. You know from the core of your heart that the idea is crazy and it involves a lot of risks. Still, you take it because the adrenaline has already triggered in your system and it won’t give you peace unless you complete the given task. That’s what happened with me this year, I embarked on a crazy, unplanned and epic journey for Rajasthan depending on friends.
Well, it was a lot of risks, the journey was at first planned for 2 days then it extended to 10 days and with bare minimum money. People usually say that unplanned travel is the best and I agree with it completely. The visit to Rajasthan was truly a memorable one in every respect and I have cherished every bit of it. A truly thrilling, enjoying travel happened across 3 grand cities of Rajasthan. Soaking the 3 vibrant colours Pink, Gold and Blue! While writing about this journey, the blog was becoming too much to read and write…hence I sectioned it into 3. Hope you will enjoy!!


Looking back…

Kolkata is a fascinating place. It is the third most populated metropolitan area in India. This city embraced every culture, religion and people from every corner of the world. Thus, we can say that Kolkata has a mini world inside and everyone here lives in happiness, peace and harmony. Some of the communities may be dwindling in numbers but their presence adds a great contribution to the heritage and culturally rich Kolkata.

Speaking of communities and culture, here I am talking about one of the oldest religions whose origin traces back to the late Bronze period that is 13th century BC. Yes, Jew or Judaism or Yhudim in Israeli pronunciation. As we know that the most Jewish are from and belong to Israel but across the world, they have created their mark.

It is a proud factor for Kolkata that people find this place peaceful for the living.

I remember when I was a child, my father used to bring fruit cake from Nahoum’s Bakery which is still situated in New Market. Once I visited the shop as a child with my parents and to my surprise, the décor is way different from other cake shops present. The glass cased teak wood furniture where a delectable array of confectioneries is displayed. Rum ball, Lemon Tart, Marzian Patties, Brownies and of course very famous Fruit Cake are a must try. More than 100 years old this shop stands as a landmark to a disappearing heritage. If you go inside you can see the traditional style decor which still they haven’t altered a bit.


When I grew up and started taking interest in heritage and culture of Kolkata, I again come across Nahoum’s Bakery and thus come to know about the Jew community here. Today there are only 27 people living here but once 6000 Jews from Baghdad settled here. In the year 1798 first Jewish immigrant named Shalom Aharon Obadiah Cohen came to Kolkata and in the early 19th century more and more Jews settled here in Kolkata.

Slowly they started building a new life and community amongst all others in peace and harmony. Proud to say that Kolkata houses 3 Synagogues dated 1825 and still today 2 are in use. Obsessed with history and culture I tried to visit those Synagogues but unfortunately, I couldn’t. As you have to take permission either from the head of the Jew community or from ASI. From outside what I have seen, these Synagogues are large in structure and beautifully carved. There is also a Jew cemetery and two Jew schools present in Kolkata.

David synagogue

There are few streets like Ezra Street, Belilios Street and Synagogue Street which are kept as before reminding the presence of Jew community. Ezra Mansions and the Ezra Hospital and two buildings in the zoo which are still owned by the Jews. There are many other mansions, residences and office buildings that still stand but they no longer bear their Jewish names and few know they were once Jewish-owned. With dwindling numbers may be one day Jew community will vanish from Kolkata since people who are living are very old. Nevertheless, people are still trying to survive and leave their mark.

These people from Middle-East country adopted and embraced Bengali lifestyle, language and also their culture. Many recall Kolkata as their home and they belong here. They have intertwined Jewish culture with Bengali culture in several ways like food, jewellery and of course fashion. Many restaurants have opened a new section for the middle-east cuisines and people are loving it. Even in fashion Jewish style are adopted and loved.

Across the world Jew have created a big impact in every field, be it politics, art or science. You will be surprised to read few notable Jewish people of Kolkata whom we thought as Bengali. It was during the era of Zamindars in Kolkata when Mujra was a new thing, a very famous singer and dancer Gauhar Jaan gained fame because of her voice and music. She was actually a Jew named Angelina Yeoward who changed her name to Gauhar Jaan after she moved to Benaras and accepted Muslim as her religion. She was also the first woman to perform in radio. Like here there are many eminent people who are notable actresses, musicians, businessmen, administrators, ad man, artists and they are all children of Israel but belonged to Kolkata.


Maybe in few years, Jewish community will disappear as more people are settling abroad or people due to age leaving the earth, but their creation will always be a part of Kolkata’s heritage and we will always remember that.



Ghats of Kolkata

The Ganges, above all, is the river of India, which has held India’s heart and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges from her source to the sea, from old times to new speaks about India’s civilisation and culture.  The story about great empire’s rise and fall and much more. Kolkata The capital West Bengal has a great and heroic past. The city owes its creation to its position along the east bank of the River Hooghly, a distributary of the river Ganges.


Kolkata is one of the big metropolitan cities of India. It bears its unique heritage and culture. One can find various kinds of people from different background and culture. And most of all people with various occupations. It’s so strange that people here make their living on jobs that outside world can never imagine. This is Kolkata where you will find everything from heritage to modernism, all living at their own pace and we the people of Kolkata embraced it with open arms.
Doing this documentation I wanted to focus on few parts of this great city’s cultural heritage. The social life and mostly the profession.


The Late Harappan period about 1900–1300 BC, saw the spread of Harappan settlement eastward from the Indus River basin to the Ganges-Yamuna doab, although none crossed the Ganges to settle its eastern bank. The disintegration of the Harappan civilisation, in the early 2nd millennium BC, marks the point when the center of Indian civilisation shifted from the Indus basin to the Ganges basin. This river is the longest in India. During the early Vedic Age of the Rigveda,  Indus and  Saraswati river were the major sacred rivers but not the Ganges. Later three Vedas gave much more importance to the Ganges.


The Gangetic Plain became the cradle of successive civilisations from  Mauryan to  Mughal Empire. In West Bengal, the main branch of Ganga- Padma, passes through the Farraka Barrage, a gigantic barrier designed to divert the Ganga waters into the Hooghly branch and away from the Padma. Completed by the Indian government in the early 1970s, it was intended to help flush out the increasing silt deposits in the Hooghly to improve navigation and to provide Kolkata with irrigation and drinking water.


The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. It is worshiped as the Goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It has also been important historically as many former provincial or imperial capitals have been located on its banks. Today there are thousands of people depend on the river for their living and need. People have spent their life on the river practising different professions and this went on generations after generations.


Mullick Ghat is named after Hurro Chunder Mullick. It is the best first thing in the morning but at any time of day, you can’t fail to be impressed by the hundreds of flower sellers plying their trade. There are huge mounds of aromatic pink and orange garlands, and baskets piled high with petals for temple-goers. The flower laden baskets of dizzying sizes are carried on the head with extraordinary poise back up the steps and onto Howrah Bridge.


There is an enclosed area near the banks where wrestling is practised, they call it in local language as Kushti Ankhra.

Beneath the bridge, men, women and children doing their daily chores like washing, playing, praying, working in and around the river. The vast cantilever bridge provides an impressive modernist backdrop to the dilapidated old temple on the Hooghly’s banks. The pujaris stay right beside the river and temple to help people in their needs.


Travelling from Mullick Ghat, now we are headed towards another very important and busiest ghats of Kolkata, the Babu Ghat. It also can be considered as one of the bathing ghats where people visit for different purposes like the first bathing ritual of a newborn or an ancestral death. Babughat is also been used for drowning the Durga idols after Dasami. And it’s one of the busiest bus stands of Kolkata travelling to different parts of India. One can notice many interesting profession along the ghats. From barber to pujari, tea maker, idol maker, coin exchange and many more. But among them unique is the local parlour situated along the ghat, they call it Tel Malish.



The Hooghly river flows a short stretch of 1.5 km between Babu Ghat and Prinsep Ghat that is open and visible. The Prinsep Ghat built in 1843 stands magnificently among the ruins. Rich in Greek and Gothic inlays, the monument was restored by the state public works department in November 2001 and has since been well-maintained.  The Man-O-War jetty that belongs to Indian Navy is properly maintained but has no architectural significance.


The stretch of riverfront between Kingsway Babu ghat and Fairlie Place Ferry ghat particularly the Circular Railway track is an open defecation ground all year round. Thus to develop the place a park is built. Millennium Park is one of the newest development. It was developed by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) on the land of Kolkata Port Trust. The park on the river front is an ideal place to enjoy a romantic evening with splendour of  River Hooghly presenting a majestic backdrop. It is a major tourist attraction of the city.


The tradition of clay image making was established during the 18th-19th centuries as a distinctive feature of Bengali culture. Today a large number of artists work in Kumartuli in the North of Kolkata. There are about 200 studios in Kumartuli which serve both as workplace and home. An average studio is a ‘fenced-off’ space with an earthen floor. During the festival, the alleyways of Kumartuli are packed with images drying in the sun. The potters who make these images are called Kumars and they often have surname as Pal or Paul. Their work is seasonal and they use clay from the rivers.



In the early 1800s, Dakshineswar was a small village along the eastern banks of the River Ganga. Dense forest surrounded the area where the famous Dakshineswar temple stands today. It was 300 years back when Durgaprasad Roy Choudhury and Bhavaniprasad Roy Choudhury, members of the renowned Savarna Roy Choudhury family settled there.


The famous Dakshineswar temple which houses the Goddess Kali was founded by Rani Rashmoni following a dream she saw when she was about to start her pilgrimage to Benaras. The temple ferry ghat is another important ghats of Kolkata. Thousands of people come every day to bath in the sacred river and then go for puja. Interesting people and professions can be seen along the ghat, from children to women all are engaged in a peculiar profession like filling water bottles from the river, searching for coins inside the water using a magnet or by diving deep. The market area is surrounded by the temple that helps to flourish the business.


Bagbazar Ghat, on the Hooghly River, is an old one. It was once called Raghu Meeter’s Ghat after Raghu Mitra, son of Gobindram Mitra renowned as the Black Zamindar but once was one of the wealthiest and most influential natives of Kolkata in the early days of the British East India Company. There is a steamer jetty next to Baghbazar Ghat with a paved staircase. Steamers carry passengers to the opposite bank of the river to the office localities around B.B.D. Bagh and Esplanade. The old ghat is used by bathers, people collecting Ganges water for performing religious ceremonies and for mundane tasks like unloading country boats carrying various materials. The main attraction of the ghat is the Ganga Arati which is performed daily. In the afternoon with the backdrop of the river and sky, the ambience becomes mesmerising.


The stretch of the river passes from Baghbazar Ghat straight to Nimtola Ghat. It is situated at Jorabgan of Kolkata. Jorabagan is a neighbourhood in North Kolkata. As a neighbourhood, it covers a small area but its importance is high because of the police station and the assembly constituency. Nimtala Ghat in the neighbourhood is the burning ghat where Hindus cremate the dead. Many renowned people have been cremated and among them was Rabindranath Tagore. The place is marked with a memorial structure of him. Nimtala ghat now has an electric crematorium along with the old style.  The places surrounded here has a different flavour from all other ghats. The market sells commodities for cremation and needless to say about its importance. There is a big temple of lord Shiva and people surrounded there are snake charmers earning money by telling mythological stories.


I have tried to cover all the important ghats of Kolkata providing details and history of each. Hope you will enjoy it.


War legends: Shoot at sight!

The idea to write about this topic came to my mind after I saw the film “The Bang Bang Club”. It is one of the most recalled and famous films because the biography of four war photographers and how they became legends is still intriguing. Everyone remembered the famous photograph of the Sudanese girl who was about to die and a vulture was waiting for her death. This particular picture was clicked by Kevin Carter for which he won Pulitzer award. That particular picture brought him fame and also shame. At last, when he became so overwhelmed with the media focus, he finally killed himself.


Such tragedies always happen with war photographers. They risk their lives to give us a view of the extreme situations. Most of the time situation becomes so horrifying that they never get over it. If you read about these photographers you will know that many of them have lived a traumatic life. The projection of the situation to us is much lesser than what actually happens. One of the famous war photographers named, Robert Capa once said “War is like an actress who is getting old. It is less and less photogenic and more and more dangerous.” He was arguably the greatest Hungarian War, combat and adventure photographer of the history. He died a tragic death at the age of 40 by stepping on a landmine during the first Indo-China war. Needless to say that his pictures are still very much appreciated and observed as a case study for the aspiring photographers.


Like him, many have lost their lives while capturing the image. These photographers are not celebrated like others but they have also done great job. Not only men even women war photographers needs to be mentioned as they have also left their mark boldly. Photographers like Catherine Leroy or Constance Stuart Larrabee lived in extreme conditions and terrifying situations to capture the image. War photography is not an easy job, it requires a lot of passion, sense of adventure and most of all the courage to face the horror live.


Not many of us can imagine what could be the real situation, no matter how many movies we have watched or books we have read. Always living on the edge of your life without any protection or claim is the greatest sacrifice. Photography is a glamorous world and today with the availability of cheap DSLRs we all know how to click. Seriously, how many of us actually have any idea about these photographers? We all bask in the heat of fashion world but don’t you think that these photographers also deserve the equal limelight.

As I am writing this article and reading about these legends, I am moved and also feeling ashamed that before this I have never read or taken any interest. As I read, see and learn about them I think my life is much simpler, easy and comfortable. These people must be way too passionate, crazy, daring and open towards life that they took this job without any questions asked. I hope after reading this article my fellow friends will shed some light towards these legendary photographers who are constantly putting their life at risk to give us a glimpse of the situation.


I love basking in the ancient ruins, tales and things…

Since childhood like any other kid, I too loved listening to stories. I remember my grandma used to narrate stories every day after lunch. The stories usually contained gods-goddesses and their triumphs over evil but once a while on a very nostalgic moment she used to tell stories of her childhood. She used to reminisce the memories about the places she belonged, her childhood, peoples, battles, her journey from one country to another and of course about the society. Most of the time I used to picturise them on my mind and later enact the same in the backyard garden. I always thought myself as a warrior or someone going on a tremendous risky adventure.

Being a shy child, my childhood was mostly away from people and spending time alone. And precisely I liked it very much and still do. I was born and a part of my childhood was spent in a very small town of North Bengal, to me it is a blessing as I have witnessed and lived a lot more than any big-city person. When my family finally moved to a big city, I was sad and unhappy for a very long time. I missed my backyard garden, I missed my favourite tree branches and mostly my adventure stories which I enacted and my audience silently appreciated.

Time passed and I grew up coping with the situation. It was at that point of time when I started going out alone in the city and that’s how I discovered solution for my solitude.

I have lived major time of my life in a metropolitan city called Kolkata, it’s a fascinating city. More than 300 years old, this city consists a mini world inside. On one side you can relish the history and on the other hand, you can enjoy all the new age innovations. This city is a perfect balance of both history and modernism and now I can say that I love this city with all my heart. This city has a soul and I am proud that I belong here.

Speaking of ancient ruins and Kolkata is synonymous. Each lanes, by lanes, roads and walls bear the mark of every evolution, revolution and growth this civilisation have ever seen. There are several houses still present in this city which are more than 300 years old and believe it or not, people still dwell in these houses happily. If you visit any of these houses you may not be very impressed by its outlook but it has its own beauty. Every brick in the wall will tell you stories and the journeys of every generations you learn is mesmerising. There are certain lanes in this city which remained the same since ages and when you walk down those lanes a sense of pride automatically comes to you. As many legends have walked the same path as you’re doing.

There are several shops which still hold the same old custom of greeting a guest. Now comes the best part, food-the food which is served in those shops tastes equally mouthful as before. Sadly most of these places are now under the archaeological society and they are trying to modernise it in every possible way. May be it is a good decision but somehow I just love the old ruins, the freckles, dusty pictures and mostly the faded colours of the walls.

I believe, when you are renovating an old place, you are not only destroying its originality but also putting a cover on all those unheard stories, struggles, glories, emotions and moments. Its simplicity is gone forever with the newness of modernity.

I feel sad for these but I am helpless. On a practical note, this is the right thing to do but I am an old soul who loves basking in the crevasses of ancient times and finds solitude in the silent music of the walls.

Now I stay far from my loved city, in a new city which also have a heroic past. No matter what, I will always love my Kolkata and for some reason, I know that when I will return, my city will be dawned with modernism. All I wish that hope my city will keep a single place as it is, just for me to visit and be in solitude one more time.


Autumn in Delhi and Winter is coming!

I am always a summer person, never really liked rain or cold. I know this is also surprising to you too. Whoever hears this laughs at me and gives me the same expression like you are giving now. Still, it is true I hate rains and winter very much.
I have no personal vendetta or grudge but somewhere I feel that in these two seasons people are more depressed than in the summer. Everywhere you look there’s a numbness and quietness that befall. You struggle everyday to survive. Even the sky is not in its best mood also growling. Tell me how can you be happy in this condition? At least I can’t, I slip into seasonal depression and that is very bad!
Well in general context people hate summer, for obvious reasons – heat, perspiration, heatstroke etc. still when the cool breeze blows, it makes you forget everything. You enjoy it and there’s a smile appears in you lip which is priceless. I know, what are you thinking, every season has their own specialty. Yes, it does!
After hot summer, the first shower is a big relief! The smell of the earth after it’s soaked with rain, the experience is out of this world. And then arrives Autumn, everything looks very colourful. Nature in its utmost beauty, even the leaves bloom and it is the transition phase from warm to cold. Like any good thing, this also comes to an end.

All the leaves slowly falls and leaving a bare look. Though, many art appreciator will see the beauty in bare look also, but I being a simple human feels depressed. To remind you that Autumn is always accompanied by rain so no matter how beautiful the weather looks, it will turn grumpy in no time.

Even when the winter arrives, the foggy weather, the chill feels very good unless it turns out to be very chilly and unbearable. It’s not their fault, it’s just the nature and we have to embrace it but somehow people like me can’t really cope with these two seasons.
They lose all their interest and thus feel very sad. Everything for them goes wrong, sadness and depression surrounds them. It is worst than heartbreak.


Still people like us are surviving, motivating them every time and hoping that one day sun will rise brighter and take away all the sadness and world will be a happier place!

March 2018
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