“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
I woke up as the train approached Balasore, a city known to me for being a missile test range and to Ravi, it was something related to shares and share market. Different people and different recalls for the same place, I wondered. Looking out through the window, I could see agricultural fields all over the place, each in different stages of cultivation. Some were sowed, some tilled and some just waiting to be tilled. I always remind myself that 70% of Indians still are into the agricultural sector when I pass through these places.
As we moved on, we saw regions that were more densely populated and we entered the Asia’s longest railway platform in Kharagpur. It was very long and I wondered why it was constructed that way. Just for the records? I wondered.
We got down in Howrah at noon and after keeping our luggage in the cloak room I looked around to find a sweet shop. I was feeling very hungry and the displays made it all the more tempting. We had rasagollas and a sweet called ‘patal’. It tasted very good and was not costly too. I then called up the birthday boy, Saurabh, who is my batchmate at TAPMI and a native of Kolkata and it was by chance that couple of his friends arrived at the same station after a north-east India trip a few minutes back. We all met together at the station and wished him on his birthday in the typical “we came all the way here just to wish you” style! We met his friends, Shashi, from Kerala and Paresh, from Maharashtra. Both of them were on a trip for the past two weeks in the North-East, after resigning from their companies and before joining their B-Schools. I was happy to find like minded Indians.
After having our lunch, obviously, sponsored by the birthday boy, we thought of going around the city. I had covered most of the places that can be covered in a day in my last trip exactly a year back. So I told them that we can do the same route. So we came out of the station, got into a ferry and headed for Babughat. We got down there and hired the typical yellow coloured ambassador taxi and reached the Victoria Memorial. Since we were in short of time, we decided not to go in. I promised the group of taking them to the place were I had yummy ‘momo’s last year. I could recall the street and the route that we needed to take. Finally, we reached the place and found the same street side hawker selling momo. We were now in ‘theatre street’ as told by Saurabh. We had the momo, which was very tasty and spicy and moved on. Saurabh then took us to a stall at the end of the street and I had a drink called ‘kala katta’. Nothing great about it, but still, it was something new.
We then took a metro train to reach Esplanade and we went into what Saurabh ‘claimed’ was the place where the sweet, Rasagulla, was first prepared! It was K. C. Das bakery. We went in and had Kala Jamun and of course, the rasagulla itself. Inside we found a certificate hung which said, “best mithai 2008 and 2009” according to the ‘Times food awards’ by the Times of India. Quite a good place indeed. We ran out of time and so had to get back to the station. We bid farewel to others and got to the station in time to go to our next destination.
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