On Mukul’s trail…

Well, I’ll be honest in telling that not all people will relate to the title of this page. So, this post will start with an ode to a timeless 70’s Bengali movie by Satyajit Ray. It goes by the name of Shonar Kella and Mukul is the name the child protagonist of the movie goes by. The tale involves his tryst with dreams of his past life where he is witness to a life around precious gemstones and how the detective Pradosh Mitra(Feluda for all Bengali souls) saves him from greedy goons in a chase through the deserts of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer was where the climax was shot and since then it has been a sort of a pilgrimage for most Bengali families.

Being an ardent fan of the movie(must’ve watched it 100 times at least), a trip to Jaisalmer was always on my to do list. And so I began on Mukul’s trail. A journey which takes me through a 2 day pitstop at Jodhpur and onto the vast expanses of the Thar in Jaisalmer. It was also on my parents wishlist so we all packed into my car for a roadtrip of a lifetime. My in laws also tagged along for this trip. The plan was to drive to Jodhpur, stay there for a couple of days at my wife’s cousin’s place and then head to Jaisalmer.

And so here I am, writing this post from my bro in laws place in Jodhpur after a sumptuous dinner and excited about the drive to Jaisalmer tomorrow morning. The mandatory Umaid Bhawan and Mehrangarh Fort visits in Jodhpur has been ticked off the to do list now. Am mighty impressed by both the structures and the grandeur of the buildings. Mehrangarh fort is an architectural masterpiece that hasn’t got due recognition on the world stage. And the Rajasthan govermnent has done a terrific job in maintaing its heritage buildings. 

Jodhpur is a quaint little town with a leisurely lifestyle, far from the hustle and bustle of Delhi. A well maintained neat and clean town, its a popular tourist destination. Most people on the way to Jaisalmer take a pit stop at this place to take a break on the long route to the edge of the Thar in India.

The main attraction for all of us was Jaisalmer, the desert town of Rajasthan. Well, there’s not much of the actual desert anymore with all the canals developed in Rajasthan but you do have those arid landscapes with a hint of shrubbery around. 

There are innumerable campsites on the Thar where people spend a night or two to feel what its like to be close in the desert. We did that bit too and that night was one of the most surrealistic experiences of my life yet. Rajasthanis do know how to take care of their guests and the hospitality has to be seen to be believed. I saw perhaps the most beautiful sunset and sunrise of my life yet. And the wildfowl curry at night made by the camp staff ended what was a wonderful day. 

The desert camp stay ticked off, next day was to check in our hotel. But an impromptu discussion with the resort manager Manohar convinced us to visit Longewala army post. Safe to say that it turned out to be one of the best decisions of the trip. The place gives you the goosebumps with history associated with it. India won a crucial battle against Pakistan in 1971 here where around 120 soldiers fought an entire battalion from Pakistan to emerge victorious. The famous Bollywood movie Border was based on this very battle. All that history notwithstanding, what will remain cherished is the drive from Jaisalmer to Longewala. Its amongst some of the most remote regions and desert landscapes that is sure to send your pulse shooting. I discovered India actually has its own version of the Death Valley Road enroute. Days like today actually make you realise the incredible beauty of our country.

Jaisalmer the town has nothing much to do. The Golden Fort for all its grandeur is a living fort and somehow doesn’t give the aura and splendour associated with the other forts in Rajasthan. The structure is getting shakier by the day and there might be a time in the future when this whole thing might collapse. But what marvels you is the use of the golden sandstone and the intricate designs and patterns strewn into it. 

Modern water outlet systems within the living premises have taken their toll on the structure. So my suggestion to all would be to be a witness to its scenes till it lasts. View from the fort make you realise why Jaisalmer is called the golden city. The complete town seems strewn in yellow.

All done and a childhood dream of visiting the scene of Satyajit Ray’s movie finally bore fruit. The entire stretch of the 2226kms I drove has been my longest road trip yet. Though, its been a couple of weeks that am back in Delhi, finishing this took a lot of time. Here I am signing off till the time I set of another one of my adventures. We are blessed with a country with abundant natural beauty. From the barren to the lush, from the beaches to the mountains, from the deserts to the forests, India offers an incredible variety for tourists. I just wish I’m fortunate enough to explore some of them and I believe I have made a start. 

Finally signing off with a desire to tread into more unknown territories. A word of praise for my little one as well. Must say that he enjoyed a lot and was an absolute angel in the course of the trip. Goodbye and Cheers to all folk.Wish me well so that I can share more such adventures and experiences in the times ahead!!

Regards,
Dev.

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The Bong Foodgasms!!

My love for food is an hereditary gene that has been passed on in my family from generations. Its the bengali gene sometimes, I think. Its like all in my family live to eat. Mom’s always been a wonderful cook(She makes a mean Macher jhol and Mangshor jhol, if you know what I mean). Wifey n mom in law have followed suit. So you see, its hard not to be a die hard bhojon bilashi with all the wonderful cooks around in your life. Dad can also whip some magic, BTW.

The affinity between bongs and non veg food is legendary. We know our maach and mangsho in and out. Ask any non bengali to tell the difference between a Rui and a Katla, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.For the unitiniated,  Rui and katla are varieties of fish that pretty much look and taste similar. Ilish is another obsession amongst fishes and the fight carries on to get the ganga or padma(ganga as it is known in Bangladesh) variety every morning during Ilish season. West Bengal and Bangladesh can fight a war over which variety tastes better. Sharing a few pics of my favourite maach. Mutton is just not meat for us, it can be kochi patha or khashi depending on the occassion. Now don’t ask me to tell the difference between the two coz I can’t. Just that both taste awesome in the curry and kosha varieties. Chicken or murgi is just a filler, something we have all the time in all sorts of varieties. Its like the potato of the non veg world. Make it whatever way you like. We do have some vegetarian wonders as well. How can a proper bengali lunch be complete without the musoorir daal, aloo bhaja, shukto, ghonto and posto in its different vegatable avtaars(aloo pyaj posto is my favourite by the way)?? They may sound funny but trust me taste even better. And how can we forget our sweet teeth?? We are one species who have sweet teeth instead of a sweet tooth. Its not always about the rosogollas and sandeshs, you know. You’ll have missed something in life if you haven’t had the ledikeni, langcha, chamcham, mihidanas of Bengal. And I haven’t even mentioned Mishti doi yet!! 

Food is something that can stir a Bengali soul like nothing else. Try keeping the best french perfumes alongside a bowl of Chingri Malai Curry and you’ll see which aroma sends a Bong on a spin. Preparations for any occassion cannot be complete without deciding upon the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus well in advance. And did I mention the Cha, Shingara and Pyaji hogged during those intense discussions?? Yes, the intensity has to be seen to be believed. How can you make an easy choice when 2-3 varieties of fish have to be decided for lunch?? The staple Rui or Katla is always there but to decide between Tangra, Pabda, Bhetki, Ilish, Chala, Bata, Topshe, Chitol as options makes for a very difficult decision. You see, many a times the scale of the occassion is decided by the no of varieties of fish that is being served. Biriyani is another favourite. Now for all the Hyderabadi, Lucknawi, Chettinad varieties, you aren’t really a Biriyani Connoisseur till you’ve had the Arsalan and Shiraz varieties. They are basically two famous outlets serving possibly the best Biriyani in the country. So you see, we have an answer to all the delicacies of the country and across the world. Food is one debate that a Bengali soul will win 9 times out of 10.

The above is the Jamaishosthi spread my Mom in law had prepared this time.

Remember, a satisfied stomach helps a lot in achieving satisfaction at heart. So my friends, let’s raise a toast to some happy eating in the times to come. Let’s hope all of you can appreciate good food the way I do. And next time you’re in a fix about what and where to eat, do remember your nearest Bengali friend for once. More often than not, you’ll end up with a very Happy meal.

I’ll end this write up here as I’m getting biased now. See you all very soon again!!

Cheers n Happy Eating!!
Regards,

Dev

Something about me…just to help me get going!!

I do not have too much of a story to tell. Am a simple human being indulging in the daily monotony called life in a metro. And no, this is not an ode to the bollywood movie going by that name.

Am Devanjan. Presently working in the most unproductive departmemt of a South Korean electronics MNC renowned for their highly productive and profitable ventures. My family is my lifeline and my little world in itself. Being into sales and marketing, sometimes life’s all about meeting targets and deadlines. Everything has to be quantified into numbers and sometimes there’s that urge to just get away from it all. I hope blogging does that for me. Why blogging, you may ask??? I guess, a few friends and the advent of social networking helped. Too much time is wasted in just going through facebook and pondering over mere likes and comments.

This site, I hope will be an extension of myself. Looking forward to pen down my experiences here. I love food, travelling and cricket. There might be an overdose of the above mentioned in my posts to follow but as I said want this site to be an extension of my own self.

Am I here to sneak in to the perks of blogging and the glamour associated with it these days?? Yes maybe, but then again who doesn’t crave for his 2 mins in the sun. 

BTW, I just realised that I finished this write up at one go without any other distracting thoughts and you know what, it feels really good. I just hope I can continue with this for some time to come. Perseverance and patience have never been my strong points. Let’s hope this little hobby turns out to be a long and memorable one.

I would like to thank my wife Sujata for pushing me into this. She went as far as creating my account and leaving me alone to start doing this. As she says, there are some things that one should do for one’s own self. And yes Sweetie, I feel good after writing this.

Here’s raising a toast to the start of my blogging career. And let’s see where it takes me. Cheers n Peace to all!!

Regards,

Dev