It shouldn’t have taken long for this come up. I have got no particular excuses other than eating and sleeping and even more eating during my visits to home. December is always a fantastic time in Jamshedpur. There’s the warmth of the day, the cold of the night and the ever dependable spicy and absolutely heavenly (to those who have already been deceived in Delhi and Bombay specially) golgappas and littis for company. I almost forgot about the tilkuts, those sweet saucer shaped delicacies made from the sesame seeds.
Perhaps, I am too taken up with the food in this place which made me ramble on for no reason at all. So be it.
Some Railway Journeys
I have been a fan of railways ever since my childhood. The colours, the sounds, the abysmal food of the pantry cars, the selling cry of Chai! Chai! beginning at 7 in the morning and continuing till 11, the grumbling of irate passengers of the train being late, the Great Adjustment Game which starts with the meeting of a 20 something-alone-male traveler and the Indian Family who got separated when their seats got confirmed at the last moment or just simply a game of ludo or some good ol’ talks with complete strangers. A complete potpourri for an interesting travel story. Such things have never ceased to amaze me.
This photo was taken on the 7th of July, 2017. I have been to Bangalore for quite a few times since last year always through Yesvantpur or Bangalore City but never through this Cantonment Station. As is with such places, this station radiates an old-world charm. High arches supported by pillars, a low platform, very few shops, bright red uniformed porters and the standard A.H. Wheeler bookstores. There was also a bakery! As one would approach it from Platform 1, the smell of freshly baked cakes and patisseries drafts in. I haven’t seen such a spectacle elsewhere. Maybe I have but not one which makes things freshly baked right in the station. Since we were early, we couldn’t partake in its mirth as much as we would have wanted to. Had to be satisfied with simple and plain palatable fruit cookies which sadly didn’t last long enough to reach Jamshedpur. We ate them all. Evil grin.
Also, here is another image I took. A steam workhouse now reduced to a show in front of Ambala Cantonment (these cantonment stations have really some idiosyncratic about them). I always take a bus from Delhi ISBT to Patiala. A Volvo normally. On 24th October, 2017 a change of means was necessitated by the 5 hours delayed Purushottam Express. Since I always book my tickets online, I neither had the money nor the time to wait another 3 hours for a comfy trip back to college. Took the easy and cheap way out. It destroyed my bum. Squeezing in a tiny seat for 6 hours is a challenge I would urge others to take. The open windows were the only solace. And when we reached Ambala, I got the best view I could have ever hoped for.
So, my 2017 was all about Railways, Buses and even more Railways.
A Calcuttan Rendezvous
Now, before I divulge more into this part, I should make it clear that just because my mother tongue is Bengali, I share no particular longing or dreams about this East-Indian-Once-Capital-Now-Languishing City. I think my father would beg to differ. For me its not. I am Jamshedpur bred. That should put a rest to any homogeneity longing in me. I prefer diversity.
But I love its food. And its Howrah and Sealdah Stations. And its yellow taxis. And its expansive Raj era buildings. And some more food. Damn its cheap over there! Those chicken rolls, Mughlai porotha, gurer roshogolla, French toast, et cetera et cetera. Yum Yum! The Park Street revelry during Christmas and New Year is another thing to be noted (and also the quizzing culture). A native Calcuttan would be able to expand more and may be disapprove of the above things.
On 20th December I was with my father in Calcutta. There are Ubers and Olas but seldom do they beat the charm of the Ambassadors. This time around, I saw a change. Its fleet was depleting. The seats were hard and become slimy over the years. The bonnets did not fit into the latches anymore. They didn’t have AC’s. Still a lot of folks like us prefer them. It reminds us of the old times. Calcutta always reminds you of the old times.
But there was a traffic jam as usual. Sitting inside one of the yellows with a green coloured lebu lozenge, I took captured this moment.
Calcutta would have something new to tell you every time you visit.
Whenever I come home, evenings are reserved for only one things – drives, undirected, unambitious drives with music and trash talks for company. Each one of us plays a definite part in this play. Aditya, The Chauffeur, The Rapper, The Singer, The Owner of Large Dog named Tiger, The One with a Girlfriend, The One With the Santa Fe who dreams of hitting a 120 kmph in a Jamshedpur Street and the occasional giver of panic moments to this writer who is not so enthusiastic about his such endeavors. Rishi, The Jocular With Long Hair And Malnutritioned Figure whose current ambition is to reverse engineer his fate of getting 14/30 in an Engineering College Maths Exam and humouring us with his nonsensical framing of words which he thinks makes a sentence. Shaunak, The Lawyer In Making From Bombai. He has particular penchant for edibles which will contribute and reward his religious visits to the gymnasium and also of hairstyles which changes (in my opinion) every 6 months or so. A favourite of girls. Has got a talent in that department for sure. And lastly Me, The Unobtrusive, The Unremarkable, The Untalented, The Writer With A Humongous Appetite and Farzi Photographer. The Play has no Script, no Direction or Lighting. Just Actors (we are not sexists, we would gladly welcome a feminine spirit amongst us). Rest is improvised. The setting changes from Link Road to Marine Drive to Essentials to the back of Loyola School. Riding aimlessly. Taken on 23rd of December.
We moved into our present accommodation in 2009. Our quarter has a large space of gardens both front and back. These spaces remained grossly underutilized for a couple of years, serving instead as the temporary homes of creatures with more than 4 legs who would casually romp into the rooms for shade as and when they desired giving no care to the terror they caused. Some time in 2014 or 2015, my father decided to change the state de affairs of the gardens. Began thus the work of pouring in soil, settling it down, adding the manure (it stunk very bad) and the countless hours of manual labour. I too was called upon to help. A thing which I detested but who cares? A young one should do some work.
Its been years since and the garden has actually started to look like one. This time during my exams, my mother would send me photos of the flowers with a good morning text on Whatsapp. A new one each day. Each would be unique; grown on our soil. I was completely oblivious to the intentions behind them. Thought they were the usuals.
When I came back, I was pestered every day to click some photos of the seasonal flowers. Everyday. I relented. Taken on 23rd of December.
The Night of Colours
It was the year 2013. I had given my Class 10th ICSE exams. People around me were happy. I scored 95.8% (those were the days, my friend). My friends did too. They desired for a new Android and got it. It was a rage back then. Android was affordable and Whatsapp was the new buzzword. I different. Wanted a camera, a proper one with interchangeable lenses. Photography was another way of telling stories and I loved stories. After a long time of saving up, I bought my Nikon D5100 contributed generously by my father and grandmother.
However, the ability to take good photos eluded me. The settings didn’t help, the tutorials didn’t. I always resorted to Photoshop to make up for my inadequacies. I didn’t know about the Rule of Thirds or how to use Aperture or Shutter mode then. With time I learned and improved. So, on the cold, cold night of 23rd of December, took this photo. In reality the place doesn’t even look as alluring as shown. Prioritizing the aperture helped. A long way to go still. Before that I need to learn the art of giving captions. A Night of Colours? Seriously?
Glimpses of The Flower Show
Flowers again! Jamshedpur recently held its 33rd Annual Flower Show in the Regal Grounds. Earlier it was held on the empty ground on the backside of Sir Dorabji Tata park. It was just opposite to Sacred Heart Convent School (smirks). I happily agreed to go there. Where would I get another opportunity to take some wondrous photos? And truly, I was not disappointed.
The row of roses, the carefully crafted bonsai trees, the seas of colourful things was a treat for the eyes. 24th December, 2017.
With that The Random Assortment of Images comes to an end. Feel so relieved. My writing streak for this year finally comes to an end! Lots to do and lots to read but today I am in a mood for some Sinatra and Fitzgerald. Need to have another go and relish Strangers in the Night and My Way again.
Danke für das tragen mit mir.