Knowing 2014 and Shantiniketan

Shantiniketan's signature রাঙ্গা মাটির পথ

2014 ends in three days. It was truly an eventful year.

This year literally tested me. I may have spent 20 days (or more) taking various examinations. Class 12 selection test, board examinations, three engineering entrance examinations, college admission tests, college semester examinations.

I took admission into Ramakrishna Mission Residential College.

My aunt and my brother came after two years, as did my grandfather’s brother (whom I call Kakadadu), after four years.

We went to Uttarakhand. We experienced extraordinary places there.

And Shantiniketan was always there.


This year, we made five trips to Shantiniketan! There’s a reason we enjoy going there innumerable times, and it never gets old.

The one obvious reason is our house, and the numerous facilities present within the walls of the Aamar Bari project.

Table Tennis - one of the elements of the club house in Aamar Bari
Table Tennis – one of the elements of the club house in Aamar Bari

However, it’s primarily because we can experience the countryside whenever we go there. Each season presents new shades of colours to Shantiniketan.

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The highway

I decided to move my bicycle there. With my bicycle, I can ride across the highway, with crop fields on both sides, that continue to stretch as far as the eye can see. I’ll tell you something. Riding a bicycle, with that kind of an atmosphere around you, gives you a level of freedom that cannot be perceived in a crowded city.

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The Aamar Bari project from the highway

My aunt gifted me a DSLR camera in August 2014. This was one of the key instruments to my enjoyment throughout the year!

And, in Shantiniketan, it helped me a lot 🙂

This post will contain three posts detailing three trips:

Before the three long trips, I and my father went to Aamar Bari with two close friends of mine. It was just a one-night stay. However, we chatted for a long time on the rooftop after having dinner. We even visited a couple of places. There weren’t too many important ‘events’, but it was a beautiful trip. A short and memorable one.


August – with my aunt and my brother

Initially, when we reached Shantiniketan on the 15th, we were slightly saddened to see the wet atmosphere. We wouldn’t be able to play outside. But this turned out to be the best vacation in a long time! And the rain had a significant part in making it memorable…

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The approaching clouds

My father likes to explore the places he visits. Earlier, he had come to know about a certain temple 26 kilometres away from our project. I wasn’t so thrilled initially, but the road was beautiful!

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When we started out
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When we were returning
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Adjacent to the temple

We did get a couple of ‘off’ days. The weather was cool, but it wasn’t raining. It was pleasant to talk while having a cup of tea in the morning.

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My brother
My brother

Memorable days were spent.


October – with Kakadadu

Kakadadu is one of those people who can always make you laugh. He can crack a joke at any point of a conversation! This was a short stay of two days. We didn’t travel much. In fact, apart from the time we went swimming and played table tennis, the only thing we did was converse. These were two lovely days filled with lots of jokes, stories and debates (yes, even those occasionally).

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We did go to the two lovely clay houses near our project – Aaro Aakash and Onek Aakash – which are located in a relatively remote village.

However, it isn’t so remote nowadays. In fact, a scene of the Bengali movie – Moner Manush – was shot in Aaro Aakash.

Kakadadu and Mishti Thamma at the entrance of Onek Aakash
Kakadadu and Mishti Thamma at the entrance of Onek Aakash

We also visited the celebrated Boner Haat of Shantiniketan. The sky was amazing at the time we went there!

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Opposite to Boner Haat

On the second evening সাঁওতাল নাচ (Santhal dance) and বাউল সঙ্গীত (Baul music) was organized.

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Santhal Naach
Baul Sangeet
Baul Sangeet

This had indeed been a pleasant trip 🙂


The Christmas Trip

29th of December, 2014:

We returned home yesterday, from the last trip of the year. I had two objectives in mind before I sat in our car – this blog post, and to visit some new uncommon places (and click photographs of those locations).

I had my 1st semester examination from 8th to 20th. This trip was very refreshing.

But, instead of being active and eager to explore, the five of us – me, my mother, my father, my sister, and my grandmother – simply lazied around on the first day 😀

We went to the celebrated পৌষ মেলা (Paush Mela) on the second evening. 

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A Baul performing on stage

Third day was again an ‘off’ day. We conversed, played table tennis, carom, badminton.

On the fourth day, my mother and my grandmother went to shop at a place near Boner Haat – Maharshi NivasMy father took me and my sister to the Boner Haat area.

The Boner Haat is a kind of sitting. Students from the famous বিশ্বভারতী (Biśbabhāratī) come here to sell their works of art. Many tribal people sell their handmade items. These sales however occur only on Saturday. And on Saturday, the place is packed! This was a Friday. The peace was beautiful! I went towards the crop fields and stayed there for an hour…

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সরিষা (mustard) fields
After the sunset
This is one of the few guest houses present near Boner Haat

The next day was filled with natural beauty! We went to an amazing highway inn to have lunch. Inside, I saw a variety of pigeons that the owner had kept! And the scenery around the inn was amazing!

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The literal definition of ‘love-birds’
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I’ll admit something. This bird was mildly frightening.
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White beauty
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The common homing pigeon

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Personality should be learnt from him
Personality should be learnt from him
This surrounded the inn, in three directions
This surrounded the inn, in three directions
Roadside detail
Roadside detail
Elemental structures
Elemental structures

Following this, we went to Boner Haat because my parents needed to buy some items for our house. My grandmother would buy gifts for her friends.

I enjoyed my time again. Except, this time, I went into the crop field. Time flowed away fast.

One of the lone trees in the field
One of the lone trees in the field
A few metres away from the tree, a small water-body, rather a puddle, was present
A few metres away from the tree, a small water-body, rather a puddle, was present. The sunlight made it shine!
The numerous cars coming to the Boner Haat dispersed dust. The dust captured the sunlight, and made the কাশ (kash) flowers golden!
The numerous cars coming to Boner Haat dispersed dust. The dust captured the sunlight, and made the কাশ (kash) flowers golden!
The Watchdog
The Watchdog
Free from dust
Free from dust

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Shantiniketan's signature রাঙ্গা মাটির পথ
Shantiniketan’s signature রাঙ্গা মাটির পথ

These short trips are necessary. The four of us love to travel. After the ongoing humdrums of our ‘normal’ lives, playing table tennis, carom, badminton, cycling through the highway during the winter afternoons, having long conversations, without any interruptions, visiting uncommon places in Shantiniketan – these give us oxygen, to our lungs, and to our minds 🙂


Meaning of রাঙ্গা মাটির পথ: A path with red soil

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15 thoughts on “Knowing 2014 and Shantiniketan

  1. Hey Gunjan,
    We have met briefly. Gopa sends me your blogs. I am amazed at your skill at photography. Fabulous compositions! Written beautifully of course but I doff my hat 🙂 you photography.
    I am Dipto’s mother – incidentally. Your grandparents have been very very special people in my life.
    Take care

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this paints so many lovely, vivid pictures.
    You are very lucky to have your own place in Shantiniketan. I would know, because of our new abode in Jalpaiguri, because of which we have been frequenting North Bengal and the Dooars like mad people.
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I told Maa about Dooars (on that specific day) when she called 🙂
      Yes, Shantiniketan IS beautiful. The more we explore, the more beauty we find.

      Even in the common places, if you just walk around, or move deeper into the forest, or the fields, you find stunning beauty! 😀

      Like

  3. Hi there, Thank you for posting your experiences in Shantiniketan and in particular, at Aamar Bari. Perhaps we will cross paths one day within these gates as my family has also purchased a home there. As we live abroad, your blog has given me some insights and the ability to experience and feel Shantiniketan and Aamar Bari.

    Like

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