A Countryside Getaway
After four days of hopping to all corners of the city during Durga Puja, I felt like lazying around like a log till my office reopened on 5th October. But I ended up accepting an invitation to visit the maternal uncle and aunt of my mother, who expressed an interest in meeting me. The two days I spent at their Diamond Harbour place turned out to be a very fulfilling and much-needed holiday before I started work again.
After a one and half hours of drive, my mother and I reached the BDO quarter where they reside, located very near the Diamond Harbour station. The aunt (whom I call didun) works in the Block Development Office while her husband (my dada) has retired as a BDO.
It turned out to be a pretty two-storied building, surrounded by green and water bodies. There was a small pond right in front of the house, which apparently is the home of loads of fish of different variety.
My didun loves feeding people, and that’s how I ended up stuffing myself with all sorts of good food that she offered me throughout my stay. After I offered my pranam as Bijoya greetings, she stuffed me with loads of sweets and snack, along with coconut pieces, which dada got from the 4 trees in his garden. There were as many as 30 coconuts in his house, which he usually distributes to neighbours, friends and family.
Dal, baingan fry, Hilsa fish curry, Prawn in Coconut milk along with basmati rice made up for a very sumptuous lunch on the first day. I had already spotted the Autumn Special editions of lots of magazines and picked one of them for an afternoon rendezvous. After a lazy afternoon, dada took my mom and me for a walk along the Hooghly river bank. We rode a van rickshaw and reached the Diamond Harbour jetty, from where regular launches ply to Haldia and other places. We three watched a beautiful sunset while dada regaled us with his innumerable travel stories.
The evening saw us four engrossed in an adda session, while munching on puffed rice and snacks. Didun cooked a wonderful aloo curry, which I lapped up with loochi. The next day was Lakshmi Puja and the Goddess of Wealth was worshipped at their place.
Dada is very good with art and crafts and he showed me some wonderful drawings that he had made over the years. He also crafts beautiful pieces from everyday material, e.g. an ashtray from coconut shells, a container from old bottles, painted egg shells etc. He encouraged me to inculcate my lost passion for art and gave me invaluable tips.
They had lost their younger daughter in an accident many years ago. She was of my age and I constantly reminded them of their late daughter. The whole house is strewn with the prizes and awards that she had won in school. Didun can never hold back her tears while talking of her even now.
Next afternoon, it was time for my mom and me to get back to the city. As I made the journey back home, I framed the whole trip in just four lines –
The green nature’s long tales
Sharing grieves of soul lost
And laughter of lazy days
A weekend getaway cherished most