Calcutta (now Kolkata) was named the City of Joy after the novel by the French author Dominique Lapierre. The novel was based on this city. The people here love to celebrate every occasion and festival. Kolkata has its own charm which is very different from all other regions. And to me, the very name takes me through the journey of nostalgia. Why not? This is my native land and I spent the most of my lifespan in the city. So today I thought of taking my readers through my native city in my own way.
How many of you remember the lesson on mineral formation from the geography classes? More precisely the limestone structures of stalactite and stalagmite. Like many another interesting phenomenon we studied in our geography classes this was pretty awesome too. Those impressive pillars within the dark caves, some growing upwards while some descending downwards. All sounds so spectacular. Yes, I am talking about limestone caves of Baratang in the Andaman Islands.
A story of love far from the main lands. Love that involves togetherness as well as aloofness. For long, long time they stood together holding hands in hands, braving all the perils. They romance within the jade green water and lure us all with their tale.
Through the pleasant roads and wondrous destinations en route, we reached the land of illusion – Mayabunder. The tiny hamlet situated in the northern part of Middle Andaman. It is the administrative headquarters of North and Middle Andamans. The town was settled during the colonial period. The early settler were ex-convicts, immigrants from East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and the Keren Tribe from Myanmar who was brought here as cheap logging labour.
Mayabunder – Is this the land of illusion (“maya”)? Well, there is illusion everywhere and in every sphere of life. Every human being falls for some or the other illusion. Some say the world is an illusion (“Prithvi ek maya hai”). Then how to discriminate between illusion and reality? Anyway, this was enough of my philosophical nonsense. I have no intention to write this post on such philosophical concepts. On my quest to travel as much of Andaman Islands, I was on my way to Mayabunder (the dock of illusion?).
Have you heard the Sound of Music? You must surely have watched it. But I had not till I visited Salzburg. This is the same city where the original story and the movie were based on. The old musical drama film was based on the story of Von Trapp family. Tour operators organise half day tour in and around the city with the name of The Sound of Music Tour. I became the part of this conducted tour and thus know the story. Stay with me to know the story.
A gentleman, dressed in his formal black suit walked ahead of us. His stride was cautious and different. He had his hands folded towards his back. I got suspicious. I could not help myself but follow the gentleman. On nearing him I noticed that he was holding a long-stemmed red rose. Holding it behind he carefully moved forward.