Our West Bengal trip (3)


We left the airport at 12.15 for Shantiniketan. My father’s cousin and family have known Gopal for decades. He is nice person. He has problems with his speech because he had suffered from cancer.  But we could understand him.

Leaving Calcutta behind we sped along the highway. This was earlier Highway number 2 but now it is numbered 19.  Gopal said this highway was made during the time of prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It connects Calcutta and Delhi. All along the road we saw trucks and lorries parked to one side. There are fixed timings for them to go through the city.

Our home region is hilly. Very rarely do we get to see land without hills in the background. But here we saw miles and miles of level land with paddy, potato and mustard fields. The mustard plants were in full bloom with lovely yellow flowers. Most people in West Bengal use mustard oil in their daily cooking. Gopal stopped near a hotel, and we sat in the car and ate the delicious Bengali food given by Radhakka. (Akka means elder sister) Whenever we go on a vacation, we love to eat the local cuisine.

We were making good time and then we came to small town where there was a traffic jam! It took almost half an hour get through. There were lorries parked to one side and that was half the problem. Gopal does not use GPS (we too do not 😊). We had to ask some people for directions to the homestay when we reached Shantiniketan.

the local fair

At one place, in a wooded area a local fair or mela was in progress and there was a lot of rush. We reached the homestay, Desher Bari at 4.15. Desher Bari means country home.

We had forgotten to inform the manager, Dipak Sanrag the time of our arrival. So, we had to wait till the room was prepared. Dipak prepared hot milk less tea for us which was welcome in the cold weather. In our place there is no winter, but we had come fully prepared with woolen clothes. By 5.30 it was dark. At 8 o’clock Aravind’s friend, Prof. Sajal Dey came to meet us. While talking to him we learnt that homestay belonged to him and his wife. He and his wife are working to preserve tribal art and culture. The two buildings in the plot are made from mud. But the bathrooms are modern with all amenities. We noticed beautiful paintings and wood craft.

We were served very tasty food. They knew we were vegetarians and had prepared rice rotis, dal and cauliflower sabji. West Bengal is famous for its sweets made from milk and people can count on it that every meal would be accompanied by toothsome khoya sweets. We ate our first rasgulla in jaggery syrup that night. It was heavenly. We had earlier decided that we would enjoy the food and the sweets and go on a diet after returning home😊.

(to be continued…)

National Highway 2 (India, old numbering) – Wikipedia


Rasgulla – Wikipedia


Your prompt for #JusJoJan the 21st and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “count on it.” Use the phrase “count on it” somewhere in your post. Enjoy!

By Lakshmi Bhat

I am a person who believes there is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle. We live in a small place in South India. I love reading, blogging, stitching, traveling, photography, listening to people and many other things which make life so very nice and interesting. Blogging is a fun experience, it has brought me into contact with people in different parts of the world and it is good to read about their everyday life. In spite of the differences there is a sameness which is fascinating. I have learnt and am learning something everyday. I have learnt to write haikus. I enjoy combining the thought and the number of syllables. I have always read books and I was happy to write short fiction. I had thought I would not be able to do so. Stream of Consciousness and photo challenges are fun too. Yes, there is so much in life that is sad and that hurts us. Many a time I wonder why life is so unfair to so many. We all have problems in life but the problems of many seems unbearable. This makes me feel so helpless. It is not possible to help everyone but we can do our bit, we can do something to help some in whatever way we can. Due to the pandemic I could not go to the Home for the mentally challenged for two years. I had been going there since 2011. I have started going again. I was happy that some members remembered me :) All of them are an important part of my life. There have been many challenges in life and we have faced them with a positive approach. Our grandson and granddaughter have made our lives richer.


    1. Homestay is different from hotels. It is a cottage on a plot with three or four rooms that are let out to tourists. Some have a small kitchen with the rooms . But in this place the food was cooked by the staff and we ate in the dining room, separate from our room.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It is so interesting to learn more of your recent journey and I’m glad you chose to indulge in sampling the delights of the Bengali food then diet later. That door is so ornate and a delight for the eyes. Thank you once more for sharing your adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a wonderful account of a very interesting visit. I didn’t even know that different regions have their own cuisine, although it’s logical, whe you think about it! The local market was very nice, but best of all is the beautiful carved door. That is just superb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cuisine in India is fascinating. People living in one region and belonging to different communities cook differently. And usually there will be atleast one special dish or sweet which makes a community popular all over the country. When we say Calcutta people immediately think of Rasgulla 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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