The crowd which had gathered for the ‘ShanibarerHaat’ had completely vanished the next day, i.e, a Sunday. My last night in Sonajhuri was already a history and currently I was spending the ‘last day’. I always tend to suffer from incredible bouts of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
The previous night before falling asleep I had promised to myself that next day I would wake up early in the morning at 6AM and go for a long walk to the nearby village and meet the villagers. The medicines I took to cure my painful shingles definitely worked against my plan. At 8 AM I found myself sleepily shouting at someone for creating ‘sound pollution’ and waking me up.
At 8.30 AM I pulled my guilt ridden self up from the bed and cooked up a new plan. I revised my list of ‘things to do before I leave’. I was hungry. Naturally having a Luchi-aludam breakfast got the first priority.
A battery operated Tuktuk (these are a raging new thing in West Bengal) was booked via the resort to take us, the younger people of the family, to the bank of river Kopai. We all hopped in and the vehicle started.
We balanced ourselves and held the ‘handle’ firmly as the tuktuk rocked about on the undulating red earth. The leaves of the trees swayed in the breeze just like we did inside the vehicle. We crossed the village, unfortunately in a speeding vehicle and not on foot. I still managed to grab some photographs.
The walls of the village huts are predominantly made of mud and not cement. Some have hay covered ceilings others are asbestos. But the village was clean to the power infinity!
As our tuktuk progressed further suddenly the quality of the houses changed. We were still in the village but the houses started resembling those found in the cities. Multiple storeyed fancy houses with a garden in front and a car parked inside. I thought to myself these must be the ‘farm houses’ of the wealthy city dwellers. No idea if I was right or wrong. Soon the tyre marks of the tuktuk in the red earth vanished, we were no more travelling in the dirt road, and we had hit the highway!
Kopai River Bank
The riverbank was not spectacular. Kopai river looked like just another stream which flows through a highway adjacent to a village. I inferred the ‘season’ makes a huge difference in determining the beauty of the river. Winter season is dry in India. I am sure the riverbank looks beautiful in the monsoon season when the river is filled with water to its brim and the grasses are greener.
Despite the river bank failing to reach our ‘aesthetic’ expectation, we all enjoyed this place, so much that I decided to write a blogpost over this!The reason? There was a lone ‘baul’ singing on the riverbank. He was singing not to impress people, he was singing for his own satisfaction.
Frankly speaking I think my bloodline suffers from ‘dance disorder’; we just cannot keep our feet quite when we hear music. The‘notion’ I picked up from movies, TV stuffs and books is that: ‘punjabis’ are the race from India popular for dancing and Bengalis are exactly opposite. If this ‘notion’ is infact true for most of the population, then we definitely stand apart.
Only one-two occasional passerby crossed the village path adjacent to the river shore and the highway was equally empty. Raj from the popular American TV series Big Bang Theory once quoted in an episode “In India there is people everywhere”. He was anything but wrong. So imagine our ecstasy when we found ‘privacy’ in this huge 360 degree open nature’s lobby!
Needless to say we took full advantage of the situation and tried out all the dance steps that we had ever seen in life. I dislodged all other thoughts and stress from my mind and concentrated on just the music and the nature around me; after a long long timeI lived in the moment. It seeped in my brain how the baul music truly represents life there. The voice of the bauls had a rhythm, a melody which hammered the fact in my brain that they belong with Shantiniketan. Just like life partners, the bauls and Shantiniketan are inseparable.
All the bauls here performs without charging a fee. They happily accept whatever the people enjoying their music are willing to pay them, they do not mind even if the crowd ends up paying nothing. I admire their love for the music but really wish they would stop undervaluing themselves. Becoming an artist is difficult. It is high-time artists get proper financial compensation for their work.
Finally We Return
All the items in my ‘to-do’ list were checked and now it was time to bid goodbye to Sonajhuri. With a heavy heart we boarded the train and quickly started discussing about our probable next location for a getaway!
Trip Taken On- December 2015
Travel Agent Hired- Breathe Fresh (Moumita Mukherjee- 9830171510)
This is not an advertisement but a recommendation. I paid for my own trip.
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