Let this article be a brief token of expression of my freedom, which found its fullest expression in the places I have traveled, lived and cherished a few priceless memories.
The Kolkata chromosome
Kolkata is probably one of the most fascinating cities of the world. It is a modern city with laid-back culture of Bengal heritage. h A unique blend of eastern and western cultural influences is predominant in this city. Once upon a time, this city was to be the capital of British India. Hence every nook and corner of the city still retains some touches of the British raj, the zamindars (land lords), who were the backbones of the Bengali heritage. So, British laid the foundation of the modern India.
My childhood and college days were mostly spent in south Kolkata. My teen-age days were very boring. I had almost nothing to do other than studying. We were this very common lower middle class family; it was indeed great that somehow my father managed to make the two ends meet. My only recreation was to visit College Street, Kolkata’s one and only largest second-hand book market. Also known as ‘Boi Para’ (book-mart), College Street is one of the eminent centers of the literary crowd.
College Street, Kolkata, India
Reaching College Street was fun. I would often travel halfway by tram and halfway by metro (subway). The smell of books, crowds, hand pulled rickshaws, trams; the beauty of my old city amidst the chaos was priceless. My life and dreams merged in those beautiful moments. One can bargain and get cheap books, second-hand books, vendors arguing over customers for prices, hear their voices with the honking of cars, minibus trams. There was my chaotic heaven – my freedom from four walls and boredom. College Street taught me how to love and read books –just any books. Since then living has become reading.
The Alabama Ab ovo
Ab ovo is translated from Latin meaning from the beginning. In the year 2005, I came to Florence, Alabama from India to study at the University of North Alabama. Thus began a new chapter in my life or the hardships of my American dream. Florence, Alabama is far away from the big city skyscrapers. Rather it is a quiet country town with trails that will take you on a journey, stories of the civil war, and Helen Keller.
I faced tremendous hardship during my initial days in Florence. My happiness once again found its freedom in an old abandoned railroad bridge famously known as the Old Rail Road Bridge. During the early part of Civil War, the only sole purpose of the railroad bridge was to transport Confederate troops to the battles of Shiloh and Corinth. However the bridge is abandoned now and is a tourist attraction. People often stop by for morning walks, jogging and even yoga. I used to go there to just to acknowledge and feel my solitude. I could hear my own voice, my inner strength and weakness. The Railroad Bridge taught me to spend time with myself. Freedom brings happiness –those were my happy moments!!
Old Railroad Bridge, Sheffield- Al, USA
We moved to Las Vegas about six months ago. And my husband, Om, gifted me with a two-month-old English bulldog. I never liked dogs. Hence, it pissed me off instantly. That little thing was running all around and was not potty trained (duh), I had no idea how to deal with a puppy, and this was our first pet.
Pluto, aka, Dogson
First night as per the direction given by the vet, we put him inside his cage, covered up or wrapped up the cage with a quilt, only to undo the entire thing from the beginning. That little fellow was crying his heart out. Om thought it would be a good idea if I shared our bed with him and once again that four-legged devil decided to sleep just in between us. And when I say sleep I have to mention his snoring too. Between that night and today six months have passed. I refer him as my “dogson”. We say all kind of foolish things to him and he looks at us and he is like “Yes you are right. “ I cannot imagine my life without him anymore. As Dean Koontz once said “Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” Now you must be thinking “freedom related to a pet?” Pluto – my charming pet took the stress out of my life; he gave us freedom of love and laughter. Isn’t that priceless?
Indrani is from the “city of joy” Kolkata , India. However she has been living in the United States since 2005 and at present she is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She holds an MBA degree from University Of North Alabama. She is the business lead for major manufacturing company. She is passionate about poetry and literature and other forms of arts like music and cinema . She enjoys her happy hour with her friends and often takes on adventurous outings or vacations, which include rafting , base jump or skydiving . To sum up , her life is measured by “3 F’s namely fun, food, and friends .