Today’s corporate life is both boon and bane. It gives you money, highlight, social status but at the same time, it takes your life, your time, your valuable precious moments with your family and friends. Unfortunately, I am not in Europe or US where people can afford to take 4 months Holiday and go for a world tour. Neither can I throw the security of the well paid job away in the dustbin. So, basically for me – travel is a scarce luxury that I try hard to achieve. But still, even one day out is good – it gives me the great long desired break from the pile of stress.
One such break I opted for in 2007. This was one of the very few occasions where I did not do any planning. No hotel booked, no car, no bus ticket, no plan – nothing. Me and my two old friends decided to set a journey one day – next morning 5 am, we were ready with our backpacks.
The bus took around 3 hours from Kolkata. One of my friends spent the entire time describing his experience in military life. The bus was crowded, people were hanging from the footboard, the roof of the bus was jam-packed with all sorts of earthly beings – utensils to animals to human beings to clothes and what not. A portion of the crowd was very interested to know more about military life and its challenges – he answered almost all of them. The people were impressed. I knew that my friend has never worked with any military in his entire life. He was just showing off – but knowing it, it was too much to take for 3 hours at a stretch.
The second part was the hotel. It was a holiday and all hotels were booked. The very few rooms available were charging five times more than what it should cost, so we rejected them. Finally, we got a room in the middle of the village – it is a private house that agreed to rent out a room for one night. The room was very small and not even close to comfortable for three people. And the outside lawn had no fan and thronged by thousands of mosquitoes – so either you be inside and sleep like a pile of flesh or you come out and allow mosquitoes to take a pound of flesh from you. I decided to opt for the second one.
Then was the sea. It was beautiful. The sand was harder compared to what you find in other sea beaches. So, an afternoon nap with the sunlight directly on my body took my all stress away. I just looked around – people of all ages are in the water. Each large wave picks them up and then throws back and they laugh. They are tireless and so is the sea. I was so happy to see a large group of people leaving their all worries behind and jostling in the water. The sea is a great equalizer.
Don’t remember how long I enjoyed the sea and the sand – but suddenly there was a screech sound. It was a car right on the sea shore. The back side of the car was filled with ladies and in the front side was an enthusiastic individual who thought this would be a perfect idea to impress them. He wanted to drive the car through the border of water and sand causing a huge splash. Mere mortals who were enjoying the water would stop their enjoyment and see with an bewilderment from a distance – they don’t have car, neither they have ladies to impress by doing such stunts. All were irritated but there was nothing that we could do. Then probably it was the sea who wanted to teach them a small lesson. The car got stuck in the sand. The enthusiastic individual took some time to realize what happened and tried all possible means to take it out, but it was the tide time, so water level gradually started rising making it even more difficult. Ladies came out of the car – irritated. Mere mortals were enjoying the cinema and were happy with the justice. Then the hero started begging for help and finally the mere mortals took the car out of the sea. Luckily, I had a cam – so captured this precious moment. They didn’t like it for obvious reasons – but who cares?
The sunset is even more beautiful. The beach offers a spectacular view of the sunset anyway. But otherwise also, you get a great view of the sun setting down in the sea through the palm trees. I paused for few minutes and enjoyed the beauty. It was another moment I wished for.
The red crabs, the palm trees, the sand and the waves make Bakkhali a perfect destination for a weekend. Approximately 180 Km away from Kolkata and can be reached easily by car. Mere mortals like us who want to have every bit of fun without spending much can take a bus from Esplanade area. There are two buses at 7 and 8 am. Once you reach the bus stop, you need to take the large vessel to cross the river Hatania – Doania. The vessel will be loaded with all buses and trucks and will take approximately 15 minutes to reach the other side. From there, it’s another 30 minutes journey to Bakkhali.
So, at the end of the day – all above mentioned enjoyments and 2 days and 1 night of unforgettable memories came with a price of 500 bucks. Can you call it cheap? I think that will be an understatement. I don’t know many such destinations where travel can be made so inexpensive. And the memories are real priceless gems that I would like to preserve all my life.
This was not all – I also had an evening full of fun where we cooked our own food in a clay pot and chullah. We also did an excursion through a jungle and explored a wild, uncluttered, virgin sea beach – but that is matter of another post.