Nov 29, 2023
Nov 29, 2023
by Abhijit Sur
As the EMU train chugged into Baghbazar Circular Railway station, the face of my son was visibly lit up with a bubbling glee, so was mine, as I was about to embark for journey down a nostalgic trail. It was his first trip on Circular Train along the bank of river Ganga. As the train started rolling down the track view of river started playing hide and seek with us due to intermittent obstacles posed by century ramshackle and dilapidated buildings and decrepit structures. However, the ultimate station of life i.e. Kashi Mitra Ghat and Nimtola Ghat, two of the main three Burning Ghats of Kolkata, never missed sight. Train was rolling down with incessant horn while passing through Burra Bazar area as that area is thickly populated and the track is flanked with shacks and hovels.
As the train arrived at B.B.D. Bag station the landscape changed overnight. The colonial buildings on left and busy Strand Road stole the attention. As the train approached Eden Garden station, the entire panorama has changed on the right side. The gurgling river flanked with promenade and landscaped vistas took us back to the world of the yore when concrete jungle was not known, pollution was confined to old factories only and men and nature used to coexist. I had seen the world of the yore but not my son. Now he believes Kolkata too was so green and pleasant. We were passing through the breathing space of Kolkata. Slowly the train arrived at our destination-Princep Ghat. We quickly alighted.
With towering and magnificent Vidyasagar Setu on the backdrop the area was looking like a paradise- a play ground of Gods. The grass was Eden-green with patches of plethora of flowers. At the middle of lush green lawn stands one Palladian structure, the prime attraction of that area. The structure was constructed in the year 1843 in the memory of Anglo-Indian scholar James Prinsep. He was the founding editor of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and is best remembered for deciphering the Kharosthi and Brahmi scripts of ancient India. Two information boards were visible near the site describing the history of the structure. Typical Kolkattan Alu Kabli walla, Jhalmuri wallas dotted the fringes of the lawn. They were busy doing brisk business.
As the sun was about to set we quickly crossed the rail track and took the boulevard along the river. As we were heading towards Babughat, the age old restaurant Scoop was visible on our left. I could not suppress my temptation to spend some time over a Float and chocolate brownie ice cream on the first floor. The most visible change I noticed there, it was made self help and air conditioners were in place in the first floor. The cozy place overlooking the river was an experience sui generis.
Almost two kilometer stretch from Princep Ghat to Babu ghat we walked down comfortably as dark cloud was hovering over our head, the gentle murmur of river ripples, the enchanting view of scattered canoes and the salubrious zephyr quenched all our tiredness.
We arrived shortly at Babughat Bus stand. I took my son to another nostalgic trail i.e. via Eden Gardens, Club House overlooking Mohun Bagan Club. Then we took a left turn towards Akash Vani Bhaban followed by Raj Bhaban. The drizzling started to quench us further on a hot humid day of August. We were pondering over hiring one App cab or yellow Taxi when one 30C bus zoomed past us before it stopped in the signal. We hurriedly made out feet firm on its footboard and the bus started. We reached home with a renewed experience and its effect will linger long and especially it will be etched in the memory of my son indelibly and prod him to take his following generations along this trail narrating this journey like I did to him.
More by : Abhijit Sur