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Down Memory Lane

๐—”-๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜-๐˜๐—ผ-๐—•๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต-๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ

Our member Ms K. Paul had a desire and a long-lasting wish to visit Lord Biswanath at Banaras, from the time she heard about the templeโ€™s renovation. She narrates about her wish fulfilment. I had visited the Biswanath temple in Banaras many times in my life, but those experiences had left me disheartened due to its neglected state. However, learning about its renovation some time ago ignited a longing within me to revisit it, which became a persisting wish which required fulfilment. Despite the constraints of age and familial obligations, a meticulously planned trip unfolded. After some discussions it was agreed that we would fly to Banaras on Saturday and return on Monday. It was the month of June. Amidst the sweltering heat, we travelled but due to the airconditioned travel, we were pretty comfortable. We reached Banaras on Saturday evening. The visits to the various ghats by boat was a serene start. But the best was the soul-stirring spectacle of the evening arati. I enjoyed it thoroughly, albeit with aid of a wheelchair. The following day we visited the Biswanath temple. Being advised and guided by a Guruji of Ramakrishna Mission, Banaras regarding seamless access to the temple precincts, we started on our journey. We approached the police to secure swift access to the shrine. We were four people, wheelchair assisted taken straight to the shrine saving us the misery of waiting in long queues. After getting off the wheelchairs, it was hardly a few steps to the shrine. We offered our prayers, traversed the marble floored sanctuary. I marvelled at its pristine beauty- a stark contrast to its former state. Now it had an open space for all followers to sit and pray. The entire place was bright and nice with a spiritual aura. It felt as if Lord Biswanath himself expressed satisfaction at the transformation. After our visit to the Biswanath temple, we retreated to our hotel briefly before exploring Banaras’ other renowned temples. Our itinerary encompassed revered sites such as the Shankatmochan temple, Durga temple, Annapurna temple, Kalbhairav temple, and Tilbhandeshwar. Each destination offered a unique spiritual serenity and architectural grandeur. Being accompanied by my cherished school friend and beloved relatives, this short excursion brought even greater joy and togetherness. Evening was a time for shopping which we gleefully immersed in to buy well known sweets and other things which Banaras was famous for. In the morning of our day of return we visited Ramkrishna Mission, reconnecting with familiar faces. Interactions there concluded the trip on a nostalgic note. I might not be able to visit Banaras again, but the experience there would always remain as a lasting expression in my mind.
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Down Memory Lane

A moonlight reverie

Our member has vividly described his experience of a night when there was a blackout in his neighbourhood. It brought back fond memories of his childhood, turning the night into a blissful tapestry.
As dusk settled over our society, I returned from an outing only to find the entire community gathered around a majestic Deodar tree. Intrigued, I inquired and learned that the trees branches had tangled with electric wires, plunging us into darkness. The electricity board was summoned, but as we waited, the community transformed the situation into an unexpected bonding experience.
We engaged in lively conversations, fostering a sense of camaraderie. Returning home, I embraced the rare opportunity for a candlelit dinner, relishing the simplicity of the moment. I hardly remember the last time I had a candle light dinner, so I thoroughly enjoyed the situation. Venturing back downstairs, I witnessed CESC workers diligently clearing the obstructive branches. Then they worked on the damaged wires.
Retreating to my apartment, I opened the bedroom window, and lay down. It was then that I witnessed the moonbeams casting a gentle glow. Memories flooded back, reminiscent of childhood nights illuminated by moonlight, hurricanes, and the hum of mosquitoes. This blackout, a temporary disruption, became a gateway to rediscover the natural beauty often overlooked in our modern lives. Recollections of childhood visits to Jhargram, where local communities safeguarded us against any nocturnal being, added depth to the experience. The unexpected blackout, rather than a nuisance, became a canvas for reconnecting with the simplicity and beauty of our surroundings.
During my childhood, post my December exams, I often visited my relatives in Jhargram, close to a Rajbari. The house that we used to stay in had a big courtyard, and behind the house there was a jungle of Sal tree. The jungle used to create a creepy feeling in us. In that rustic setting, I witnessed locals dealing with tigers that occasionally emerged from the nearby jungles. On one occasion, a 3-feet tiger posed a threat, leading the community to take necessary measures to safeguard against potential danger. That day too while they were carrying the body of the tiger, I touched it, an experience very few nowadays would have.
The memories of that night, illuminated by the moonbeam, remain vivid and cherished in my recollections.