Thank God for Tea!

Thank God for Tea! What will the world do without Tea!

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” – is what sums up my mood exactly at any point during the day. It’s the elixir that keeps me, and many others going. The Brits too, for that matter of fact… Tea is almost a ritual for them.

Thus it was an almost surreal moment when Atreya from First Idea PR invited me along with a group of other blogger friends for a session of Tea Testing at a place called Karma Kettle.Karma1

The Karma Kettle is promoted by the owners of the beautifully scenic Cochrane Place in Kurseong. I have had the privilege of staying at Cochrane Place and have loved the ambience and also the loving way in which they present their tea. It was at Cochrane that I first had my lemongrass tea and trust me, those who haven’t had that…are just missing an elixir.

Karma Kettle is very conveniently located in Ballygunge – Swinhoe Street to be exact. The beautiful seating arrangement outside is going to be a delight when the weather cools down and the interiors too are absolute gems.

In the tea testing session we had around 20 types of tea, amongst which we tried some of the eternal favorites like the Darjeeling and various types of that, or the Tea Sticks; which are all the rage now and also something Tisane ( pronounced as ti-zahn) which are not tea but beautiful herbal concoctions. Tisanes are without any doubt healthier to an extent as they do not contain caffeine.krma3

I am going to talk about the couple of tea tastes which got me hooked and which I am going to go back for and make into a lifelong habit.

Amongst the slightly known to non-connoisseurs like me were the Darjeeling First Flush, produced in February from the abode of Gods, Darjeeling; where the weather is perfect and the soil gives that perfect tone of astringency which is exquisitely balanced between sweet and a mellow note.

I personally loved and highly recommend the Himalayan Moonshine, which is the second flush. The name comes from the fact that its plucked only during full moon and the leaves look like slivers of the silvery moon. It had a slight lemony flavor upon sipping.

The Maya was truly illusory and had a distinct chocolaty flavor to it, having bits of white chocolate, dark chocolate and butterscotch in it.

We came back to the lemongrass flavor with the tea called Great Wall. The Longjin tea comes from China and has the lower notes of lemongrass, musk melon and lychee. The tea tasted luscious and left a beautiful after-taste.

karma5The other blend which I am going to go back to is the Table Mountain. It is essentially a mixture of ingredients mostly found in the African Sub continent, like the Rooibos, Liquorice amongst numerous others and having a Vanilla top note. It is a caffeine free variety.

Santorini, with its delectable Mediterranean flavor also caught our collective attention. It had the distinct notes of Oregano, Rosemary, basil and peppermint which were immediately recognizable to our olfactory tracts.

Some of The other extremely interesting and musically named teas that we had were – Shanti, Gulmarg, Travancore etc.

We downed these delectable brews along with some delicious red velvet cupcakes, homemade sandwiches with chips and other tid bits.

The premises also houses Ivy House, which in the true legacy of Cochrane Place is a home away from home for the weary travelers.

karma4So those looking for some shanti, which is actually maya and an illusion… do drop in to Karma Kettle and enjoy moments of solitude or have a heart-to-heart with friends! The delectable, refreshing and delicious teas are available as gift packs and boxes too.

So sip on and carry on…

Till then

Love and light

sudarshana

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পয়লা বৈশাখের পাঁচ রকম…

একটা বছর ঘুরে আবার এসে গেল – কাঠফাটা গরমে এক ঝলক মিষ্টি হাওয়ার মতো, টানা মাসের পর মাস ঘাড় গুঁজে কাজ করে যাওয়ার পরে স্বস্তির নিশ্বাস ফেলা একটা বন্ধের দিনের মতো, দিনের পর দিন ডায়েটিং করতে করতে হঠাৎ এক প্লেট বিরিয়ানি খাবার মতো, একঘেয়ে জীবনের স্বাদ বদলাতে একটা নিটোল খুশির দিন – বাংলা নববর্ষ, পয়লা বৈশাখ, আমাদের এক-লা বৈশাখ |

পয়লা বৈশাখ বলতে কি বোঝো – একেকজনের একেক রকম মত | গড়পড়তা হিসেব ধরে, তার সঙ্গে নিজের ২ যোগ দিয়ে মোটামুটি এই গোটা পাঁচেক-এ নামানো গেছে – উপাদান, উপকরণ, উপসর্গ…

কেনাকাটা

সত্যি করে বলুন তো কোন দুটো জিনিসের কথা প্রথমেই মাথায় আসে? আমি জানি – নাইটি আর বিছানার চাদর ! অন্য আরো অনেক কিছুই কেনা হতো – কনিষ্ক থেকে ছাপা শাড়ী, নারী সেবা সংঘের সুতির ফ্রক, খাদি গ্রামোদ্যোগ থেকে পাঞ্জাবি; কিন্তু চৈত্র সেলের কেনাকাটা বললেই মনে আসে বিকেল চারটের ঠা ঠা রোদে গড়িয়াহাটের দুই ফুটপাথের এমাথা থেকে ওমাথা জুড়ে ঝুলে থাকা রাশি রাশি নাইটি আর শ’য়ে শ’য়ে বেডশীট, বেডকভার, বালিশের ওয়াড় ! আর ভিড় ! সেই ভিড় ঠেলে যে না ঘুরেছে তাকে বোঝানো যাবে না সে নিদারুণ অনুভূতি ! সারা কলকাতা ভেঙে পড়েছে সম্বচ্ছরের বাড়ির জিনিসপত্র একটু সস্তায় কিনে নিতে | দরদর করে ঘাম গড়াচ্ছে কপাল বেয়ে, মুছে নেবার জন্য হাত তোলার ফাঁকটুকু পাওয়াও দুষ্কর; নদী নামছে ঘাড় বেয়ে, পিঠ বেয়ে… তবু যেতাম, মা-র সাথে, দিদুনের সাথে – জেদ করে, ঘ্যানঘ্যান করে, লোকের কোমরের চাপে চিঁড়েচ্যাপ্টা হতে | বুক ধুকপুক আশা, ফেরার সময় পেতে পারি নির্মল বুক এজেন্সির “ভয়ঙ্কর শিকার কাহিনী”, এক কৌটো মিষ্টি সুপুরি ( এখন অবিশ্বাস্য মনে হলেও একটা গোটা দোকান ছিল মিষ্টি সুপুরির, গড়িয়াহাট মোড়ের কাছেই ), একটা ভ্যানিলা আইসক্রিম কোন !

আজকাল এই যে সব জিনিস আমরা অনলাইন কিনছি, শাড়ী-ব্লাউজ থেকে শুরু করে পর্দা-বালিশের ওয়াড় পর্যন্ত, তাতে কি এই ভিড়টা কমেছে ? একটুও ?

পুজো-হালখাতা

প্রধানত: মা-র নামে চিঠি আসতো, বহুদিনের চেনা সোনার দোকান, শাড়ীর দোকান থেকে, হালখাতার নিমন্ত্রণ | পুরোনো গল্পের বই আর বাবার মুখে শুনেছিলাম দোকানে ঘুরে ঘুরে মিষ্টি খেয়ে হালখাতা করার কথা | বলাই বাহুল্য, জিনিসটা তখন আর তত আকর্ষণীয় মনে হয়নি |

Poila Boishakh 01এই হালখাতার পুজোর জন্যেও বটে, তাছাড়া অনেকেই নতুন বছরের শুরুতেই আগাম পাপস্খালন করে রাখতে চান বলেও বোধহয়, এইদিনে ছোট বড় মাঝারি সব কালীবাড়িতে ( হ্যাঁ, স্পেশালি কালীবাড়িতেই !!! ) মানুষ-মারা ভিড় হয় ! আমাদের বাড়ির পাশে লেক কালীবাড়িতে দেখেছি ভোরবেলা থেকে দুপুর ১২টা – ১টা অবধি একদিকের রাস্তা বন্ধ রাখতে হয়, ভিড় সামলাতে ! কালীঘাটের কথা তো ছেড়েই দিন, দক্ষিনেশ্বর মন্দিরেও তথৈবচ ! আমার মতে, বাকি ৩৬৪টা দিন যার কাছে হাত জোড় করেন, বছরের শুরুটাও নয় সেই বাড়ির ঠাকুরের পুজো করেই কাটালেন ! তবে আমার মতে কি বা আসে যায়…

খাওয়া দাওয়া

মেন পয়েন্টে এসে গেছি, গুরু ! বাঙালির উৎসব মানেই জম্পেশ খাওয়া দাওয়া ! তারওপর যেহেতু পয়লা বৈশাখ-এ আর বিশেষ কিছু করার থাকে না, তাই পুরো চাপটা এসে পড়ে একটা “কথা হবে না, বস” টাইপের মেনু নামিয়ে দেবার ওপর | দোকানের হাতছানি তো আছেই – ভুরিভোজ, মহাভোজ, কব্জি ডুবিয়ে খাওয়া, বনেদি বাড়ির খাওয়া, ঘরোয়া খাওয়া দাওয়া ইত্যাদি ইত্যাদি; আজকাল আবার সোশ্যাল মিডিয়াতে পোস্ট দেখে চোখ কপালে ওঠে ! “কর্তার জন্য নববর্ষের স্পেশাল মেনু বানিয়ে ফেললাম…” “বৌকে চমকে দিতে পয়লা বৈশাখের লাঞ্চ..” “নতুন বছরে বন্ধুদের সাথে খাওয়া দাওয়া…” – চার রকম মাছের পদ, মুরগির দুইরকম, তার মধ্যে একটা আবার ইতালিয়ান ! বাড়িতে বানানো মিহিদানা, ক্ষীরকদম, tiramisu, blueberry cheesecake ! অবাক করলি ভাই, কচি কচি ছেলেমেয়েগুলোর মধ্যে এত গুণও লুকোনো আছে ! আমজনতা বাঙালির পাতে পোলাও একটা থাকেই, একটু মিষ্টি মিষ্টি, পাঁঠাও চলে তবে মাছের আদরই বোধহয় বেশি, অন্তত আজকের জন্য | এরপর কাঁচা আমের চাটনি ( seasonal fruit বলে কথা ), পাঁপড় থাকলেও থাকতে পারে, এবং মধুরেণ সমাপয়েৎ | নববর্ষ স্পেশাল এক খিলি পান বা একটুকরো মুখশুদ্ধি মুখে ফেলে, একটা ফুরফুরে মেজাজের বই নিয়ে, কোলবালিশটা টেনে বিছানায় কাত | অচিরেই নিদ্রাদেবীর শুভাগমন !

বেড়ানো

আমার বেশ বড়বেলা পর্যন্ত নববর্ষে আত্মীয়-স্বজনের বাড়ি গিয়ে দেখা করে প্রণাম-শুভেচ্ছা বিনিময়ের চলটা বজায় ছিল | কর্তা পাটভাঙা পাঞ্জাবি, গিন্নি টাঙ্গাইল বা ঢাকাই, কুচো-কাঁচারা নতুন জামা, মিষ্টির বাক্স হাতে ট্যাক্সি থেকে নামতে দেখা যেত আদর্শ বাঙালি পরিবারকে | আর কিছু মনেপ্রাণে রোমান্টিক বাঙালি যেত হাওয়া খেতে – আউট্রাম ঘাটে গঙ্গার ধারে, ভিক্টোরিয়ার সামনে টাঙ্গায় চড়ে | দৃশ্যটা ভাবুন, হাওয়ায় সিল্কের শাড়ির আঁচল উড়ন্ত, খোঁপার গোড়েমালা থেকে ভেসে আসছে মৃদু সুগন্ধ, হাওয়াই শার্টের ঠোঁটে WILLS NAVY CUT, গালে হালকা Old Spice… আমি যে নিজেই মত্ত, জানিনা প্রেমের শর্ত… আহাহা ! দুত্তোর ! নিকুচি করেছে মল-মাল্টিপ্লেক্স আর বুটিক রেস্টুরেন্টের ! অন্তত আজকের জন্য – চলো একবার ফিরসে “সৌমিত্র-তনুজা” বন যায়ে হাম দোনো…

বৈঠক

নববর্ষ কেটে যাবে অথচ রামকুমার চট্টোপাধ্যায়ের গলায় পুরাতনী গানPoila Boishakh 02 শোনা যাবে না, এমনটা হতেই পারতো না | দূরদর্শনের সাদাকালো পর্দায় সাদা আল্পনার ওপর কলসিতে সাজানো রজনীগন্ধার গুচ্ছ ঘিরে রসিকজনের মজলিশে মধ্যমণি হয়ে বসতেন, মুখ খুললে বেনারসি জর্দার গন্ধটা যেন নাকে এসে লাগতো – টপ্পা, ঠুংরি, নাটকের গান, মাঝখানে মাঝখানে নিজেদের ব্যক্তিগত অভিজ্ঞতার গল্প !

এখনো হয় টিভির নানা চ্যানেলে, যোগ্য উত্তরসূরীরা আছেন, আড্ডাও ভালোই জমে, তবে বড্ড টানাপোড়েন যায় ! এদিকে শ্রীকুমারবাবুকে শুনতে গিয়ে ঐদিকে অজয়বাবু মিস, অনিন্দ্যর কথা শুনতে গেলে স্বাগতালক্ষী বাদ ! বাকিরা কে কি দেখছে কে জানে বাবা ! মনোবৈজ্ঞানিক চাপে থাকতে হয় !

কিছু কিছু জাঁদরেল সাংস্কৃতিক আবহাওয়াসম্পন্ন বাড়িতে ঘরোয়া বৈঠক আগেও হতো, এখনো হয় | হাতেগোনা বিশ-তিরিশ জন কাছের মানুষ, দু-একটা খুচরো বন্ধুর বন্ধু টাইপ | অচেনা ভাবের আড়ষ্টতা কাটিয়ে, সম্বলপুরী-গাদোয়াল-র’সিল্কের পাঞ্জাবির জবরজং আড়াল সরিয়ে মূল রসের স্রোতে ভাসতে পারলে এই অভিজ্ঞতা মনে থেকে যায় বহুদিন |

মিলিয়ে মিশিয়ে এইরকমই বাঙালির নববর্ষ | কোনোটা কম, কোনোটা বেশি | বছরভর নিজেকে ভুলে দৌড়াতে দৌড়াতে, একটা দিন শিকড়ের টানে ফিরে তাকানো, এইটুকুই |

সংহিতা

 

ছবি: www.rootsbd.com

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Noboborsho- shekal ekal

BongNewYearI was really in a dilemma whether to write this in Bangla or not.

Bangla is an emotion and is THE language to write in, when it comes to write about the Bangla New Year or Noboborsho. But then I thought that there just might be some non- Bongs who, if we are lucky enough; might just be following or reading our blog!

Bolstered with that ego boosting thought, I sat to pen down my two cents on Nobo Borsho. In Bangla we have a proverb – Baro Mash e Tero Parbon, broadly translated as too many festivities in a dozen months. Amongst all these Nobo Borsho or Poila Baisakh is an extremely important one. The Bangla New Year starts from the Poila or the 1 st of the Baisakh Month which is 14 th or 15 th of April. I will of course not go to the historical when’s and how’s of Noboborsho, but just ramble about our earliest memories of Poila Baisakh.

When we were young, and when the families hadn’t really become nuclear; the day would be preceded by almost a month long activity. It was an occasion which required new clothes for every member of the family. So shopping would be done meticulously and for the whole family. The day would begin with everyone waking early and having a bath to wear the new clothes. Us, the younger lot would touch the elders’ feet and seek blessings.

This was a day when the menu would be elaborate at home. The 80s and the early 90s had not seen this tremendous influx of eating out on Poila Baisakh and neither the Restaurants also laying out special Poila Baisakh Menus. Thus, it would still be the Ma and the Thakumas toiling at the kitchen and producing some lip smacking Bangali khabar.

Apart from the excitement of new clothes and Basanti Pulao and Ilish Maach and Mangsho; another highlight of Noboborsho was the Halkhata. Anyone who remembers what a Halkhata is? This was the auspicious day when the shops would usher in their new financial year and invite their regular patrons and a new account would open. It was almost a tradition for the Ginnis or the matriarchs of the house to go out for Halkhata in the evening and come back with a lot of Bengali calenders, tightly rolled up and packets of complimentary sweets. The calendars would mostly have Ma Durga, Radha- Krishna, Ganesh, Kali or Swami Bibekananda, Paramhansa and other eminent personalities and the small squares would have symbols such as half moon, full moon etc signifying Purnima, Amabashya and so on and so forth.

Noboborsho also meant Prabhat Feris. The minstrels would start the day musically, singing songs such as ‘Esho He Baisakh” and other songs. Gone are those days when the Para clubs and the Kakimas or the Didis proficient in Rabindrasangeet would teach us songs such as Phoole Phoole dhole dhole and make us walk through our locality singing these, while that boy would look on!!!.

The times kept changing and the years went by and we grew up. We still buy new clothes, but from the swanky malls. We still eat a lavish Bangali spread, but from the Bengali specialty restaurants. We still listen to Esho He Baisakh; but in TV channels like Tara, Channel 7 etc and hum to ourselves to satiate our cultural propensity.

Tomorrow is the beginning of another New Year. Tomorrow is the beginning of another 365 days. Tomorrow is Noboborsho. Tomorrow we usher in 1424.

Let this Noboborsho be a year of new beginnings. May this year be one of fulfillments, one of contentment. May all that you aspire for come true. Shubho Noboborsho. Bochor bhalo katuk.

Love and Light

Sudarshana

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Malyasian Palm Oil and it’s 100th Year!

mpocTo be honest, the first and last I had heard of Palm Oil was when I was very very young.  There was a major furor regarding the ill effects of Palm Oil. That dissipated and that was it, till decades after decades later, I received a call from a beautiful voice enquiring if I would like to join an event on a Sunday afternoon talking about…. Palm Oil!

I was fairly skeptical and was actually in a dilemma to be or not to be. Anyway, seeing a lot of friends and renowned fellow bloggers agreeing to attend the event; I followed suit. I wasn’t disappointed.

This event was organized by the MPOC( Malaysian Palm Oil Council) commemorating their centenary and was meant to spread an awareness about Palm Oil and was held in Barbeque Nation, Park Street.  The MPOC is a non-profitable organization that propagates the benefits of Palm Oil and does the marketing activities necessary for creating a favorable brand image.

Apart from Malaysia and south eastern Asian countries, Palm Oil is widely used in countries such as Africa, and also in Brazil. Derived from the flesh of the fruit of the oil palm, according to MPOC, it prolongs the shelf life of all cosmetic products and is a must for few edible products as well. According to researched it has also been proven that the Palm oil is cholesterol free and lowers the bad cholesterol in the body.

mpThe session began with Priyanka ushering us in and Bhavna Shah navigating us through the labyrinthine history of Palm Oil. How and when it was planted and what are the usages and that it may have been sabotaged by the Western Media.

Post the information session provided by Ms Bhavna Shah, the bloggers participated in a clue and treasure hunt activity and in turn visited Mocambo, Oasis and Trinca’s.  In between there was a game where the bloggers blindfolded had to taste a dish and list the ingredients .mp1

Upon reaching Trinca’s, each team was given the task of preparing a salad, garnering ingredients laid out on the table and were judged on the basis of taste and presentation by the Chef and Ms. Bhavna Shah. Post this all the tired yet gleeful bloggers sauntered their way back to Barbeque Nation .

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The next and the last segment of this fun afternoon was darting. The teams had to throw a dart and accrue points. I failed miserably! The best team won and there were photograph sessions with funky accessories and placards.

Last but not the least was the amazing lunch from Barbeque Nation , Park Street. Over succulent kebabs ,delicious main courses  and delightful desserts; the bloggers bonded and spoke almost a nineteen to a dozen! One thing was a certainty, that Six Sigma and MPOC had organized a delightful event and an afternoon. We look forward to more such events which are informative yet fun-filled.

Till then

Love and light

Sudarshana

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Ghost stories of my childhood: a spookfest memoir

Do you like ghost stories? I do.

My growing-up years were full of so many of them! Right from Thamma’s (my grandmother) recollection of the native ghosts that resided in our ancestral village in Chattagram, to the bizarre tales that Papa (my father) used to cook up, that scared me right off my skin; and then graduating to the delights of Poe, Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, Ray Bradbury, Algernon Blackwood and the likes.

haunting3Although I generally started disliking listening to stories after I could read them myself, ghost stories were an exception. There was a delicious thrill about ‘load-shedding’ evenings (I think that was one of the Great Romantic Phenomenon that happened to Kolkata when we were kids, don’t you agree? Of course I was not my 40+ self then, with a 100 chores to take care of while groping about in the semi-darkness, so I can afford to be fondly nostalgic about it), with the flicker of a ‘hurricane’ light, long, weird shadows in the corners, and listening to someone’s recounting of ‘shotti bhuter golpo’s (true ghost stories) – with my mouth slightly agape and skin breaking into goosebumps.

The first ghost stories that I heard were from Thamma – of the village ghosts. There was one about this spectral white horse that people would sometimes see on new moon nights, and which invariably meant that there would be a death in the village within the next seven days. There was also one about a beautiful girl whose heartbreaking sobs could be heard from a bamboo grove bordering the village on stormy nights. Unsuspecting people who had gone to the grove to find out the reason, never came back. The one that I particularly liked was a story about The Echo.

ghost-06Since Chattagram is a somewhat hilly area, there was this one echo point near the village. During the daytime, whatever people would shout from that point, the sound would come back like a normal echo. But at night, if you ask The Echo a question, it would retort with an answer! The way I heard it was, if you ask- ‘O sonabibi, aij bhat khaile ki diya?’ (O Sonabibi, what did you have for dinner?), the echo would reply, in a slightly nasal voice- ‘huna machher salun diya’ (with dried fish curry)! The tongue-in-cheek humour in this tale always cracked me up.

In this context, remember a priceless story that I read in ‘Shondesh’.(remember that children’s magazine?) It was written by Mahashweta Debi and was called ‘Bharengar Bhoot’. (‘Bharenga’ being the name of their native village). This one is her grandmother’s recounting. She always said – “Contrary to popular belief, never say ‘bhoot amar poot, petni amar jhi..’ when you see a ghost.” When asked why, she said – “once I was passing a lonely street at night and was having this eerie feeling. But just when I started chanting this, (and I just HAVE to quote her verbatim here!) ‘duita chhamra chhemri bhoot laf maira aisha koy ki – “jhi ashchhe, putro ashchhe, kole nyao”!” (‘Your son and daughters are here, pick us up in your lap’)

Now these were the more ‘jomati’ ghost stories. A little sardonic and weird, but suitable for kids, never spine-tingling. Those other variety of stories were my Papa’s forte. And he always used to chronicle them in first person, which made them all the more convincing and macabre! The one that I remember the most goes like this –

‘I used to travel a lot during my salesman days, and my areas were mainly Siliguri and Dooars. During that time, I often used to dream of a house. It was an old house, but not dilapidated, and it stood lonely near the bank of a river. Whenever I had that dream, I would feel a mixture of sadness and anxiety, as if I knew this house and have unfinished business there.

There was an old, rusty gate that was not locked. I would open the gate and walk towards the house, then knock on the door. The door would slowly start to open, as if someone was parting it from inside, and I would invariably wake up at that precise time, never finding out what would happen next.

Now this one time, I was assigned to go to Moinaguri for some work. I finished my business by late afternoon, and then started walking towards the station to catch my return train. And that was when I spotted The House. It was exactly the same house in my dreams, standing forlorn in the melancholy grey light of the falling dusk. My heart started racing. I almost felt like I didn’t want to go to the house, but some invisible power pulled me towards it. I opened the rusty gate just like I would in my dreams, and went walking towards the main door through the gravelly path. I knocked and waited. After a while, the door started opening and I saw an aged man, very pale and gaunt, peeping out. It seemed to me that he was probably a caretaker of sorts. I asked him, “I was just passing by, and this house somehow caught my fancy. Does anyone live here?” The man nodded his head. “No one does. The house is haunted. They say that someone comes here every night.” I was surprised. “Really, who does?” The man looked at me with his weird, vacant eyes. “Well, the one who comes…” “Yes, tell me” I said encouragingly, a peculiar dread building up within me, “who comes here every night?” “The one who comes”, said that man, “..is You!”

This story would give me the creeps every time I heard it. A lot later I discovered that it was actually a short story by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.

hauntingAnother source (although scantier) of ghostly tales was my grandfather. Being a lawyer, he had his own repertoire of delectable court ghost stories. My favourite one was about this clerk who had to stay back late in the Bar Library one day due to some reason. When he was about to finish his work, it was already night and the dimly-lit library was deserted. The hairs on his neck stood up suddenly when he heard a very soft, desolate sigh behind his back. He dared not turn back as a paralysing fear had gripped him. Someone spoke, in a whisper that sounded like it was made up of emptiness and ether, “khoon ta kintu ami kori ni” (but I did not really commit the murder).

I could narrate hundreds more. How a man found a little baby crying pitifully near a level crossing at night and picked it up to take it to the nearest village, and as he was carrying it, found something weird touching his feet. He lit up his torch to see if it was a snake and saw that it was the baby’s arms that became long enough to dangle and touch the ground. Bizarre, thrilling, supernatural tales that coloured my childhood imagination. It is such a pity that that ambience is lost, as well as the people who would recount these tales with such mastery.

What was your favourite haunting tale? Tell us some. We’re all ears.

Purba

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