Meeting strangers and making new friends is one side of the travel fun, but how about discovering the unknown side of the known ones coming de-shelled? As if one family is never enough, I am talking about the unexpectedly extended and cannot be denied later family we tend to create; those indisputable creatures, the lunatic excuses of having friends!! Travelling with friends every time is solving Rubik’s cube for the first time in my life, this is in particular reference to my small bowl of gummy bears.
The banana gang I’m referring to is my small group of friends from college. A count, less than handful, the group meant another girl with love for books, bags and bracelets but most importantly she is two feet shorter than me; just a little less than five, she was the reason I could celebrate my two feet more lofty height; then there was this high-yielding brain, always dim-witted with his amusing punch line on time (now whether that will make us laugh or go loud on him, that’s a different topic of discussion all together), as per my mother we look so much alike (and that’s curious! Very curious!); and lastly it’s the devil under-cover; tall, wax fair skin and princely looking, as once again, my mother says.
Our attachment grew from thread to magnet when the four of us chose four different fields for our career after college, we spent our respective fathers’ savings to earn for ourselves, and thankfully we managed. It was then time to follow the parents’ path and get settled in life, one of us fell into the trap so easily and so early (I can’t say which one, I got to live!) and we started our shopping to look our best for ‘humare yaar ki shaadi’ (our friend’s wedding). But just before a month there was an unexpected red-orange blast and the wedding was called off. So, being persistently intolerable (that even includes me! Unfortunate if that hurts you) we decided to celebrate this heartbreak and planned our very first weekend trip which was set on the now past, ‘D day’.
Everyone got permission from home except me! Daughters are their daddy’s little princess, and as out of world I am (in my dreams I am, you are correct!), I have two Disney princesses living live in me, there is Merida and Moana, and my father couldn’t take the risk, for the sake of others’ safety! But I could take that risk, it’s two ultra being living in one, I had my secret ways to take care of the situation with utmost care.
So a month in hand, 3 nights & 4 days to plan, and below was decided:
- The destination would be a place close to the city, so we chose Bishnupur.
- As we had 3 nights in hands, later we modified it to 1 night Mukutmanipur + 2 nights Bishnupur
- Two girls will take care of the accommodation
- Boys will handle the train tickets
- The owner of the DSLR will not miss to bring the camera, most essential on ‘to be packed’ list
- The breakfast on the date of journey must be home made and definitely to be made by me or I would be thrown out of the train! (I had to show the food packet to my friends before boarding the train, if you think it’s a joke!)
- The most important thing to carry was our free spirit, as having unlimited fun was the goal.
‘Payel, give me something to look good?’ we were getting ready the day after we reached our first stop, MukutManipur, a small hilly village in Bankura, with abundance of dark greenery everywhere. This place is best to visit when winter is just knocking at the door, when the mornings are golden and balmy, but the evening are slightly shivery with a glass of masala tea and steamy pakodas.
‘What does that mean?’ I was surprised to this dim-witted boy’s request!
‘What are you applying on your face? You are looking fair! Give me that!’ Point to mention here, these boys would only use their rooms to bathe, change clothes and sleep for the night, otherwise their only interest would be what these girls were eating without sharing with them, what make up did they use and by chance if we were slipping for some short nap.
‘I just used a sunscreen, here take it.’
‘This is not your’s, your one looks nicer!’
‘It’s the same brand, same SPF we use; I have got it in a small pyxis. That’s it!’
That didn’t satisfy him, ‘Ok take from my one.’
And we were ready to roll, the plan was to get as many pictures as possible (we actually outdid the possibility, in our 4 days trip we had taken pictures covering 9.2 GB of our combined memory cards). We stopped on the middle of the roads, lying flat on the dusty concrete laid long between the harvested fields or the well spread torrid forest of Saal, Teak trees.
‘Hey what is that man doing?’ We came out of one temple, and we were looking for our rikshaws that the dim-witted one stopped by a small shop made of mud and roof covered with red brick tiles, at the entrance there was a big mud oven being part of the mud wall and a huge empty Kadai on it, with some remaining honey brown crumbs on the surface it was obvious that it had been used just few moments ago.
‘I want to eat it, anyone wants to try?’
‘Not me’ the shorter than me girl!
‘Yes’.. ‘Yes’.. our fairly prince and I formed the majority!
‘Ok, I will also have one’ our dear little shorter girl!
We ended up having those laddus, Cham-Cham and some freshly made hot chai in mud cups. Our evening food ventures on the lanes of Bishnupu were boundless, trying 8 Fuchkas for just rupees 10, or chai at the road side shack with deep fried oily Alur chop, or trying fresh rasgullas at an old thatched sweet shop; and I definitely can’t forget discovering a ‘Taj Restuarant’ at Bishnupur where we puffed our belly with, chicken rolls and then Mughlai Paratha one for each.
Bishnupur is famous for it’s matt, baked-clay terracotta architecture; the Rash-mancha, the Madan-Mohan temple are few among the popular. The visit to the Panch-gram, the potters’ village, facing the raw rural beauty was seeing the other side of a coin for the other three. Straw thatched mud houses everywhere, potters giving shape to lump of clays, village children running around their new guests coming from the urban lands, these intriguing beauties were some inundated astonishment to us.
As I had said my friends are those small squares of the Rubik’s cube (if not, I’m saying now), so don’t think all these went so nutralite smooth. There were obvious difference of opinions, sever arguments, fights between two that one just wanted to leave the place at 11 at night but as the town got shut an hour back, the plan had to be scrubbed off, in all these, rest of the two would be Zen, the pacifiers.
We are a group of Tom, Jerry, Butch and Uncle Pecos.. And we have cups full of spiral energy, bowls of fancy ideas, some better-not-measure of active intelligence and spoon full of naughty evil in us, so our ridiculous good mad fun cross over our differences, thankfully! So the trip till date was the best but not the last, we found our crazier selves to cherish for the future grey days to come, and we are still the innocuous bunch of misfits.