Shanti Town I

As the rickshaw leaves the station and the dying lights of the last few open shops are left behind, a strange smell hits the nose. The source – wild shrubs,some eucalyptus like tall trees, a mist slowly setting on the sleepy little town…Shanti Town we call it…Shantiniketan the normal ones do!The Prantik Station – hardly 10 minutes from where we generally put up, is convenient as well as practical. Sonar Tari Housing Complex – an incongruous modern architectural housing complex with rows of milk white duplexes and flats might have spoilt the beauty of the otherwise rustic locale, but for us, being proud owners of a place to put up, is a boon. Idealogically I oppose the incongruity of the entire idea but deep within I cannot deny how this place offers me shelter when I need it madly! As I look up, the dark sky with a million glittering glow worms and the strange silence greets me yet again with a new warmth as every time I step foot on this soil…
To take this train is the best idea if the intention is to enjoy an additional night at the Shanti town…The Vishwabharati Fast Passenger train, leaving Howrah at 4:40 p.m. takes about 4 hours to reach Prantik. The station of course has its own grace and mystique appearance. The otherwise dark stretch of platform, illumined only by the lights of the posts located at regular distances leaves a haunting feel. As a speeding wagon train passes by in full speed, the sound rips accross the silence of the semi darkness. The lone station room with a low powered bulb casts an eerie glow around the place as we climb down the stairs to move forward towards Home…
“Je muhurte tui ekhane land korish, sei muhurte oi dari buro bhodrolok toke puro grash kore ney!” is the one comment I here everytime I come here…Perhaps it just shows in my face everytime I set foot on this stretch of land. As the rickshaw moves closer to home the winds wheezes into the ears cutting through the silence of the night, as a sole, perfectly round moon smiles a welcome…with a thousand glow worms studding the sky like a bag full of diamonds strewn across carelessly.
As we unlock the otherwise deserted building and open the door to my home, a sense of calm and peace wafts through the room and hits the nose. Too late for dinner and too full with the tit bits devoured en route, we silently put down our luggage, change and come up to the terrace. A dark silence wraps the whole area with stray street lamps lighting up only parts of the dark road that walks parallely to the canal up to Sonajhuri More from the Prantik Station and beyond. The crickets break the silence of the night with their continious and chorus crescendo as the round moon gets covered by a huge black cloud. The distant Villages, ready to retire for the day are small dots of light as the last of the kerosene lamp burns to be put out. The heart sings out…“Aj jyotsna raate sobai geche bone… Bosonter ei matal somirone aj…” as the moon leaps out from the cover of the passing clouds and illumines the world yet again…Tomorrow stretches infront of our eyes as the fatigue of the day catches us unaware…slowly we climb down the steps and hit the bed…

One thought on “Shanti Town I

  1. I too love the place Prantik, way back in 1990 i used to be a regular visitor but got married and wife is from U.P. never had the courage to suggest her to visit shantiniketan due to the cultural difference, but last basant utsav i suggested to go to prantik where my cousin have a duplex my kids Harsh & shireen jumped up at the idea so we went and what happened? we are AGAIN going for pous mela, and not just for mela my family wants to soak in the very ambiance of the place thats why we will be there on 21st itself, sometimes i think i a non bengali by birth found something so close to my heart that is not even available at my native Benaras


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