Saturday

Wandering Alone @ Gole Bazar

Again, I got a chance to wander alone! Well, this time it was in Kharagpur, West Bengal, which boasts longest railway platform in the world! On the first day, I was wandering within walkable distance from where we stayed. Later I was in for luck, and made friends with an inspiring personality. She suggested that I use rickshaws for exploring Gole Bazar, a place worth visiting to get a local feel of market and savour mishti (sweets in Bengali), from local's favorite shop.

Predominantly, the locals either spoke in Bengali or Hindi. English was hardly understood. Somehow, I managed to communicate with the rickshaw-wala (rickshaw-driver!) in my broken Hindi. The 5 KM ride cost me only Rs 60 (around RM 3.5!!!).

Though the ride was bumpy and slow, the open top helped me to capture life on the way to Gole Bazar.

Rickshaw wala was quite talkative. As we approached the bridge over Kharagpur railway station, he told that his son was working at the Eastern Railways garage. He added that 2 trains (with 20+ carriages each) can be parked back to back on this platform! Well, it could just be local lore, as I could not verify this information online.

Longest platform in the world - 1075m

My expectation of the bazar, was that of a crowded vibrant market, but When I reached Gole bazar around 11 AM, weather was a bit chilly and the bazar seemed to be lazy like this...

Gole Bazar

A push-cart with small earthen cups attracted me. He was just opening his business and I wanted to take a picture, but was not sure how the vendor would react, if I don't buy anything. So, I asked him for what that cup was used and if I could just buy 1 cup. He told that he sold tea in that cup for Rs 4. Surprised at that cheap rate, I asked again, if he was telling the rate of the cup or tea. He gave a weird look and told that the tea and cup together was Rs 4!!!

Matka Chai - Teh Tarik - Rs 4 or just around 20 sen per cup!

Then I understood that this cup was meant for one time use ONLY! What an environmental friendly disposable cup! I dared to take a sip, and fell in love with the tea as the flavor and fragrance was enhanced because of the earthenware:)

By now, slowly the market was coming alive and I bought a couple of duppattas.

When it was about time to leave, I stopped by the mithai (sweet) shop, which my friend recommended to.

Jamuns, rosgullas, sweet yogurt...

Later, I decided to take a 'share auto', as there was a lonely stretch on the way back. There I met two Midnapur university students (fellow passengers). I learned that one of them were married and continuing education! Well, marrying at young age is still prevalent, but at least education seems to have gained importance.

Altogether it was a lively experience.

3 comments:

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Bazaars are interesting places. You find all sorts of necessary--and quirky--things, including shadows!

Shimmering Shadows & Haiku


Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots from the market.

Kusum Sanu said...

Interesting small town market!

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