Saturday, December 31, 2011

Amsterdam.. Here I Come!!!

Sorry to keep you waiting, if you were actually waiting for the Amsterdam part to begin. Let me not take your time and come straight to the point.
Yes, the very next morning I and Ma woke up 5 in the morning to view the first day at a distant land. Well, it was a simple view but very neat and clean. A small green lane with a little space left for three cars to park below the pine tree. Yes! A real huge big pine tree, I don’t remember the last time when I saw this tree, apart from Ma’s craze to decorate its fruits in the drawing room. I couldn’t go back to sleep because as the Indian timing says it was already ten in the morning. I hate jet lag!!

View from Didi's hous
 I don’t remember what I did after that. At 2 p.m. maybe or after that, I remember buckling myself tight and sitting beside my Didi, who was driving her Volkswagen to get Sayanda from office. Initially I was afraid to ride with her, but by the end of the tour I must confess, she is good at driving, though parking gives her trouble at times. 

Ma and Didi waiting for the train to arrive

Anyway, we packed our bags and ran off to the nearest railway station, which was only 10 minutes away. And from Kassel we started our journey to Amsterdam  and reached our destination by night.

The hotel was very cozy and the view from the window was awesome, which we saw the very next day when we woke up, once again 5 am in the morning. To be more specific, though we landed in Germany but the first real look of a foreign land was Amsterdam. I wish I had taken the picture; it’s all in my mind now.

Day 1: The great guide Sayanda as planned; we would be visiting the world famous Tulip Garden at Keukenhof. My Indian friends would recognize the place very fast if I name a few movies… remember the Bollywood song of  the movie Silsilah “Yeh kaha a gaye hum” or may be “ Dil ne yeh kaha hain dil se” of the movie, Dhadkan. The layers of yellow, red, pink that went down the hill, yes that is the place I went in and I witnessed a beauty, a nature, the green smell that will last forever. I felt at certain point of time, the greatest fashion designer in the world is the creator.  She knows (it must be a women, she knows how to leverage beauty after all) where and how to decorate same thing but with a different cover. 

Tulip Garden at Keukenhof
But many know, my patience burns out easily and after watching the tulips for hours I felt like I needed a break now. However, Keukenhof was no doubt beautiful and a balm to the eyes and mind.

We came back to Amsterdam and didn’t wasted time and we were out again to visit the world famous Red Light Area. Yes it actually means what it says. I knew about this place as a friend told me but my firsthand experience was “kan ta gorom hoye gelo”, in English “embarrassing”.  There were prostitutes all over the place bargaining for the clients. But gradually, things soothed and the funniest part was people come here to visit even holding the hands of their child. Surprised huh!! So was I. 

Blown with the wind
Day 2: We visited a cheese factory and enjoyed the ambiance, looking eagerly at the 500 years old windmills, still working. Oh and those famous wooden shoes with a special demonstration about why and how they are made. Usually, the farmers put those on and work on their field so that their leather shoes don’t get dirty or wet. Woohoo cool na.

Ok, now when you are in Amsterdam and if you have not taken a ride through those wonderful canals, hey are you kidding me! We did that too and had enjoyed the wonderful tour throughout the city waving hands to unknown and they wave back, amazing (in India you do that, people would think you gone crazy). Every building got a lever at the top to pull up stuffs inside the houses because the entrances are really small and at the same time all of them share their walls with their neighboring buildings. We saw the 1 meter house can you believe it and people live in there. Finally the sun sets at 9 and the rush still in the road says evening hasn’t ended yet. But we went back to our hotel to get back the energy for the next day trip.

Ride along the canal

Sayanda and Didi in front of the one meter house


Day 3: A very happening day, we visited some of the world famous museums like the Rijksmuseum and watched some of the jaw dropping paintings. Oh I can still see those in front of my eyes. Every painting speaks, has its own grace and shows the passion of the painter. Some of them even left their resemblance. I came to know about Vincent Van Gogh. An artist who was under so much mental pressure that he cut off his ear and even drew a picture of himself and it is a very famous one. That moment I realized Don Mclean has sung the song “Vincent” for this man and right then I really understood the meaning of the whole song. We visited Rembrandt’s house and was taken aback with his senses. A man was demonstrating a technique that has been specially designed by Rembrandt to take out photocopies of his painting or to add some more designs to it. I was really thrilled and thank god my face showed it to the demonstrator who gifted me one of his demonstrations of Rembrandt’s work. My mind said out loud “Bingo, treasure!” 

An excellent work of Vincent Van Gogh
Kudos to Rembrandt

There was so much to see and learn but we needed to leave as our next stop was Anna Frank’s house.

Yes the very girl who was hiding in a small room and wrote the brutality about Nazi exploitation in a diary known to the world as “Anna Frank’s Diary”. Each and every moment that she has encountered was being played on a tape throughout the house. Every wall bears the testimony to her fear and the impending Holocaust that was about to occur. I suddenly found something warm on my cheeks, silent tears was actually rolling down my eye, I couldn’t stop it.  There was a cupboard with a collection of all those translated version of Anna Frank’s Diary and I suddenly felt proud to see one of the translated versions was in Bengali, my mother tongue. None of us were speaking much, things happened years back but the ingrained pain will last forever, may be some day people would realize you don’t win anything by killing those innocents. 
Anna Frank Museum
The trip to Amsterdam came to an end as we moved on to our next destination Denmark on that very day on a late night train. Everyone dozed off and as I look outside the window with heavy eyelids I felt, 

 So much to see and learn, so much happiness and pain that burns                      
They become a part of history, some we know, some remains unturned.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Summer in Europe

I closed my eyes tightly, I was waiting for the jerk and at last the aircraft left the land soaring high in the sky. I kept my eyes glued to the television screen, temperature outside getting colder and colder and chiller within a few minutes, -23C, -33C, -45C.  I could see the houses getting smaller, the land began to look like a toposheet to me, and there were zigzag lanes. Until, at a certain point of time I couldn’t even see that and what surrounds me is cloud. Clouds of various shapes, as kids drew in their drawing books. So I said to Ma, “we are no longer physically available in India” (as we were yet to cross the entire border line). Ma sighed and said, “dugga dugga”(Indian Goddess). Yes she can say that, as we all have this idea, thanks to Ramanand Sagar and his production, that god really stay behind the clouds, so we might get a chance to say “hi” to her. But, yes we are finally off for Germany after all the drama of last one month and specifically last three days visit to Air India office. I tried to shut my eyes to take deep breath, but the excitement of going to a foreign land kept me wild awake. I took out my mobile and began to take photographs of the clouds, funny it might sound however they came out pretty nice. 

The view was no doubt very soothing but at a certain point of time boring too. Being an Indian and traveling every time on train, one need to see new people apart from your co-passengers and even the hawkers which are always a mode of entertainment along with annoyance. But I cannot deny the hospitality of Air India. The air hostess are aged enough to be called “aunt”, so they care excessively and at time give you a daring look if you ask them to get you something. I don’t remember the lunch they provided because I don’t want to, it was really bad.

It would be taking us nearly 9 hours to reach Frankfurt. Sitting continuously at one place and watching the boring programs and movies was like a hell. The encouraging thing amidst all the frustration was going to Germany and seeing my sister and brother in law, after a year. But the hours and the sun was really irritating as I was watching it shinning high since 5 in the morning and as we were moving towards west the golden thing taking more time to set , how irritating!!! 
Oh I forgot to mention about my co passenger, a foreigner guy. Don’t get excited, though I was initially because he was pretty good looking and I must add to that dam irritating. He kept on snoring all the way.
At last the long awaited announcement was made; the journey has come to an end. We landed as Frankfurt Airport and all we need to do was complete the emigration part, collect our luggage and viola we were in the Deutschland.

My sister was waiting outside and to our surprise my brother–in-law was also there who was away and supposed to be coming late on that very day from his trip.

Well, I was so glad and excited that I was helplessly smiling without a word on lips and Ma had only one word on her lips “ki sundor” (how beautiful!). It was cold but we hardly felt it as the excitement was more gripping than the coldness. But to admit the fact, it was cold and we felt it later shivering like an old lady.

It was nearly 6 hours train from Frankfurt to Melsungan  and we reached Didi’s place late at 11:30 p.m and we hit the soft cozy bed without having the dimer jhol (egg curry) ... and dozed off  as we have to start our tour on the very next day for Amsterdam.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bhromon- Ojanar Khonje

Bhromon manei ojana ke jana, se je bhabei hok….. soto badha atikrom kore notun er khoj suru hoyechilo onek kal age. Obosso, Bangalira je ghurte bhalobase, se kotha r notun ki, choto khato chuti pelie Puri ba Digha legei ache. Bhromon sonsthar jake bole “regular customer” seta bodhai bangalirai. Tobe ei desh dekhar pichone j bisal oitihasik ghotona ache tar kichuta amra prai sobbai school e thaka kalin porchi, jemon Vasco-Da-Gama r Bharat abiskar ba Columbus er America.
Modho juge byabsar tagide Europe -e arombho hoyechilo ei pipasa, kintu tar songe dekha jai gyaner pipasa o kom chilona. Sotti kotha bolte ki,tader bigyan sommoto dharona guli tader porjotone ke jothartho korechilo.

Manuser modhe bohukal dhore ekta koutuhol chilo prithivir akar niye, se somoikar budhijibira tader nirikhon ba “observation”, er opore chinta dharona k simito rakhten, kintu seta hoto “empirically defective”, tar sob theke soja udahoron holo, prithivi naki chapta. Arthath ekjon jodi hatte thake prithivir ek kon theke tahole ek sthan e giye se dhopas kore kothao ekta pore jete pare.

Ei chintar poriborton hoi Crusade er pore, Jerusalem hoye othe prithivir modho sthan karon Jisu k eikhane crus bidho kora hoyechilo. Ekti map toiri hoi jekhane Mediterranean, Don o Nile nodi prthivi k tin anse bhag kore- Asia, Africa r Europe.  Ei map tir nam hoi “ T-O map”. Tokhon bisas kora hoto eishwar manush k sabdhan kore diyeche doitoo r danob der theke, jader bas ei map tir prante , tai manush jano ei anka gondir baire na jai. Bes kichu bochor bade r navigator ra ekta map toiri kore , “Portolan Charts”. Ei manchitrer bisesotto holo manush ja dekhto tai khub nikhut bhabe map tite nirdharon korto, tai ekta jaigar simana khub sposto bhabe fute uthto. Porjotok der kache ei duto manchitro hoye othe guruttopurno.

Ponchodos satabdi te  ek amul poribortan ase jokhon Byzantine Empire theke Europe e Ptolemy-r bhugol er boi pawa jai jeti dwitiyo satabdir. Tobe aschorjer  bapar holo, ei map e 8000 jaiga nirdisto chilo. Emonki Europe, Asia o Uttor Africar bhougulik abasthar biboron o ache. Tobe ei map ti teo bhul chilo karon Ptolemy eikhane prithivi k “spherical” dekhiyechilen.

Church, jar adhipotto ponchodos satabdite Europe- e churanto matrai chilo tar hatei chilo ei somosto tathyar chabi. Ebong church nijer subidhe moto tathya ti manipulate korten. Tai ekotha bole dite hoe na j church tar probhab bistar korar jonne anek bhul tathyakeo manten ebong sadharon lokeder ta mante badho kora hoto. Ptolmy Aristotle –er “law of physics” theke anupranito chilen, tar oporei bhitti kore uni bolen prithivi universe er modhom sthole. Church jano lufe nei ei bisleson, karon tara bisas korten manush eshwer er sristi tai tar sthan eshwer er porei. Ebong sei ek e karon e prithivi universe er modhe jehetu manuser bas sekhane.

Otoebb church er sommoti thakar karone ei tothyati challenge korte keu pareni emonki Portolan map keo grohon kore newa hoi. Tobe ei map tir modhe Mediterranean-er upokulborti jaiga gulike poriskar kore dekhano hoini. Church eo bolechilen jodi poschim dike jawa jai tahole Asia te pouchabe. Kintu, Columbus sei rasta dhorei jokhon America abiskar kore falen, tokhon church stombhito hon. Tar agei Portuguese ra Africa r upokol khunje pai ebong kromoso ektar por ekta notun desh uthbhabon hote thake. Ei sob er modhe diye Ptolemyr bhul gonona prokas hoi, tar sathei khoi hoi church er to diner odhikar.

Vasco Da Gama Bharat abiskar er pothe 170 jon lok k jahajer nabik hisebe niyog koren tar modhe 10 jon chilo pran donde dondito asami. Ei 10 jon asami k niyog korar karon chilo tader diye bipod sonkul kaj korano. Portugal er Lisbon sohor theke  8th july, 1897 sale jatra suru kore Vasco Da Gama, Africar Cape of Good Hope k chariye  Mozambique pouchan. Gama obak hoye jai sekhankar byabsa banijjo dekhe , tara  Bharatiyo drobyo kena bencha korto Europe er sona rupor poriborte . Gama bisas korte pareni, je rastata tader ekta satabdi lege gelo khunjte sei rastai ei byabosahira bohu satabdi dhore banijjo kore choleche. Vasco Da  Gama obak hoye jan jene ,ei byabsahi ra mousumi bayur probahe jolopothe poschim Bharat e banijjo korte jai , o biporit bayur probahe abar fire ase. Sei anusare, 1495 er 20 May Gama Bharat e pouchan.

Somoyer sathe aro notun deser thikana pawa jai, tader samaj , lok, dharma sob alada. Ekta “revolution” moton bapar hoye darai, ebong church k manush bar bar prosno korte thake. Tader chiroporicito bhab dharona palte jai, prithivir akar j gol ta sosthodos satabdi te onker madhome  promanito hoi. Ebong “Scientific Revolution” er suchona hoi ei brhomon gulir modho diye.

Renaissance-er modho diye, manuser modhe "individualism" k gurutto dewa hoi, se nijer echai  soto badha otikrom korte pare tate “Divine Intervention” bole kichu nei, seti chilo kebol church-er  ek hatiyar ,manush k dabiye rakhar. Tobe sei  astro britha, tar proman pawa jai manuser koutuholi syabhab ebong anusondhaner echa, jar sahajje tara char dewaler baire chole jete perechilo.

Bhromon er kotha bolte gele Bharat e asa china porjotok Fa Hien ba Hieun Tsang ro oneker kothai bola jai, tobe tara desh k janar jonno esechilen. Kintu Europe-er porjotok ra byabsar songe songe, purono dhyan dharona k bhenge ojanar khonje ghor chere beriyechilen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tremdous Interaction

Well, never thought I would go to that place and pamper myself…but you don’t know, sometime shit happens…

Yes, I am talking about a beauty parlor experience. Taken aback! Come on, at least you are a non human mechanical stuff…till 5th generation computer turns up and roll on hearing this….

Anyway, pushing the door of the parlor and entering it for going through a bleaching session was very much like an audition. Climbing the spiral  staircase for an upcoming event was funny I must say (I can say that now)…but I resisted myself then…..thinking the utmost serious thing happening in the world. My god! Never so political in my life I have ever been.

I was asked to lie down in a bed…which reminds me of a situation 5 months back…then and now… comparing them is a futile effort…but the bed…..phew……..a real joke…

A lady plunged onto my face with some paste….she kept on putting and rubbing …as if, am a brick wall and she is applying cement on it….
She moved away …I took some time to recover and realize ……”what the hell is going on!!”…….and then my face was burning….control is all I could do…..after 15mins…the pack was removed…swear by god…I was happy to the infinity thinking time to go home…….
But no……… sweet mom said, “give her a massage”……….
Oh god now what!!!

Then it all started again. Some aromatic water was applied…and now…the moment ………I realized the feeling of being stuck in an earthquake. Her hand went up down tangent dissecting my face…...perpendicular, hypotenuse and all the angles one can have in geometry. I felt a seismographic curves and waves all over my face…or an extreme judo session with rigorous punches all over and around. God………stop stop…I shouted but what came out of my mouth was a timid “ehw”….

Nearly, 15mins…seemed  like an hour…she stopped……….really she stopped….the lava plates no more moving …..And that’s the end of it. Thank god there was no mirror when the bleaching pack was put on…..or else don’t know what would I have done…but what I saw was also nothing different…..”hey am okey and alive” …but my sensitive skin has turned red….with pores now more prominent …mom said…,”ah u looking fresh”……which actually she was looking… the same thing was done to her…..

As, I pushed out the door I felt normal…..the normal faces without packs around me was like breathing air….may be that is what you called independence……please don’t measure its quality…..but am back from a war…….as I said to the parlor…….see you only for a hair cut….