I woke up feeling awesome, with a grin on my face. I had been dreaming and my dreamy self was still loitering about, on the known and loved grounds of the place I belong to. Of late I was always waking up feeling sore, the fast and the furious life of Mumbai was somewhat not suiting this small town girl. But that day, I felt distinctly divine. Beaming with confidence, I had kick started the eventful and long day.
And as Gurudev says” If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
I have grown up in the beautiful township of Kulti (near Asansol) in West Bengal. Nature have always expressed her enticing self in the most magnanimous manner there, with lush greenery, well-kept gardens and parks and huge mansions, Kulti could be the perfect ground for breeding rich souls. I still vividly remember those evenings, when I used to stand aimlessly in the balcony, gazing at the lane leading to the busy Grand Trunk road and the golf ground that paralleled it.
My father was working with IISCo, and the company managed the glorious township. All the needs, comforts and luxuries were taken care of in the most proficient manner. The bungalows and apartments were mostly built in the British era. Hence they had the English touch, with exorbitant rooms, high ceilings, fireplaces and gardens with out houses; they were evidently chic pieces of British architecture.
I remember the dilapidated one in the middle of a ground; people called it “Bhoot Bungalow” (The haunted mansion) and the Lodge in front of our apartments, which was believed to be nesting smugglers. The spooky suspense tales greatly intrigued my friends and me, as children.
Life in Kulti was just like a painting, with happy faced, high-spirited people in the frame. Every festival, be it the grandiloquent Durga Puja, euphoric Holi, cheerful Christmas, effervescent Diwali or seraphic Eid, dawned with the hope of commemoration with enthusiasm and conviction.
People with different pragmatism, from different places and of different caste and creed had come together, to build a highly polished, cosmopolitan haven.
Memoirs of Kulti are incomplete without the mention of our club “Kulti Club”. The elaborate building witnessed festivities, fun, frolic and euphoria. Clubbing has never been so fun. There was an auditorium, a restaurant, a bar, a billiard’s room, swimming pools, lawn tennis and badminton courts and a library within the premises of our club.
Although miles away from the happening city life, Kulti had a very modern culture, thanks to the people dwelling there. I remember swimming gala nights, when the club building would be flooded with lights and how tastefully Srilekha aunty would conduct. The moonlight picnics, Bingo nights, English dinners, Jam sessions, scintillating winter balls on 24th December, New Year bashes which witnessed chic men and women cladded in their best outfits, who can forget such grandeur?
While on one side of the coin there was glee and ecstasy, the other side embodied culture.
Kulti taught me the importance of Rabindra jayanti and Mahishasur Mardini. Annually at least three to four cultural programs were staged, inculcating in us richness of our culture and literature. My parents always encouraged me to participate and so I did willingly. I posses humongous memories, of these cultural events and numerous blogs might be insufficient to portray them all on paper.
Life in Kulti has made me what I am today, my strengths and weaknesses too. And when I tend to loose my cool due to the vulnerabilities around, it returns to my life in the form of a dream and breathes life into my ailing soul.
“It was all green around, the breeze was cool and sweet, at a distance children were playing, just as I used to with my friends…from the void the enchanting melody of “Jodi tor daak shune keu na ashe, tobe ekla cholo re” was reaching my ears…..” and suddenly I woke up with a jolt feeling awesome.
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta