Welcome to Sonar Bungalow..oops Bengal-a

 

‘Your Jet Airways flight  9W 670 has been cancelled, please collect your E-ticket for your Go Air Ticket from the counter’. Hmm, not the best omen before you leave for your 1st Job post your MBA. And I quietly left my pals here with the impression that I was a a Jet-Setter rather than a Go-getter 😉

Part One: The Sonar


Met a couple of future colleagues on the flight, who seemed to be entirely occupying row 19 and I sat next to another tam bram, and made sure that  before I entered bongolnad I got out all the tamil I could. As we landed, we took cabs to..ahem The Sonar Bungalow. It certainly lived up to its reputation of being the best in Calcutta for the next week or so where I made sure that I left no stone unturned, meaning every facility in every nook and corner that was offered , I was there! The bathtub in the rooms deserves a special mention with the intricate number of potions in the elegant bottles ranging in colours from sea-green to aqua-blue. I was so bought the intricate descriptions on each of them were so well done that even If one had a goats urine sample I might have added it to my bathtub. I used it nearly 3 hours a day so effectively I’ve spent more life in water than land @ Sonar.

Moving on to breakfast, at ‘Dum Pukht’ (I cant pronounce it, you can try but don’t be too loud) I was taken aback with the sheer no of cuisines on offer. Continental , South Indian, Italian (cheeses of 4 types, again Id love to list them but I cant spell either) and French breads and pastries.  I loaded up so much on plate that I nearly tested the manufactures guarantee on weight factor. As I looked at the elegantly set table with numerous eating aids in the forms of forks,spoons, knives of different kinds, I realized that I could no longer carry on the traditional eating style of  Obelix devouring a wild boar. (Let my clarify to the reader that I am pure veggie, unfortunately for me as the steak apparently was to die for. Well, the animal sure died , I don’t know about the eater of same)  The food was succulent , no surprises there as I headed to meet the other starry eyed joinees. The day began with the formal corporate induction followed by the rest of the business visions and strategy for the next couple of days.

@ Sonar..table 12, nice huh 😉

The coffee breaks turned out to be quite an interesting informal interaction whereby everyone got to meet the people behind the faces @ orkut and gtalk.  Quite a few surprises there…Arun and Bhaaaaarat can vouch for that 😉
I did not have the heart to leave the hotel to go sight seeing the city of joy, considering the fact that the room per nite was worth more than my 1st jobs monthly salary. We used the steam bath (hopefully should have knocked out a couple 1000 calories that added up in a hurry after scooping up 4 ice cream deserts last night) and the sauna followed by the jacuzi which was really something. I really don’t see the point of the steam bath, it’s a 4 by 4 room where you sit on wooden plank and boiling hot steam fills up the entire room blinding you unconscious and you are forced to sit there till you sweat profusely. Hmm..where has that happened to me before? Oh I don’t know, how about 16 years @ Chennai?!  The next day’s plan was a swim @ the pool ( more of trying to save my self from drowning, ironic considering Im a Piscean). So, good use of the fringe benefits of sonar, although the gym was one place I had not used, I had not intention of breaking into a sweat when I got know what lay ahead in rural Bengal, my home for the next 8 months!
Part II: Upcountry Bengal
Before I knew it, I was travelling by every mode of transport- local trains, speed buses, autos, cycles, bullock carts & makeshift vans across the districts of mecchada, haldia , monishadol. The hotel rooms I stayed in were undoubtedly the best the region had to offer with each having its  bathtub too! But after the benchmark had been set, the rest seemed like a unused grave for horses put to sleep after going insane so I skipped that luxury.
As I went with the salesman to the panwallas to observe how he does his sales of cigs.   As part of my training, I was to help him to the same but I would struggle mentally to calculate how much 15 times 1x.xx would result to.I was taken aback by his speed in calculating the selling price of stocks he sold at the fraction of a second for the entire set of transactions. I would still be mentally telling my self ‘5 times 7=35, carry the 3, add 1….’ . He gave a me a look that would put an Indian politician to shame.  I realized even after giving my CAT/SNAP, my love hate relationship with mathematics and percentages will never leave me. Amen to that.
The weather here is quite capricious in the sense that the clouds would break with showers for 15 minutes and immediately they would clear for their buddy Mr Sun to shine in all his glory.  Reminded me of the sauna but here I was fully dressed and did not have a cool pool waiting for me back at the room ;P

A few Pics on the way!

Dew drops in the morning..

Liqour Chai in the morning..it aint booze..hehe

On a 100 km round trip into the heart of rural Bengal. There are 4 of us there..how we managed even I don’t know

This is the sign you make when you are lost..learn it well. And get on anything that has wheels cause we are not all marathon runners. Even if you are an Olympic runner, you aint Columbus too!

For the past few days in the afternoon time as I kept walking around I was wondering why there was no human life forms mulling around. I thought there was a bandh or something, very common but peculiar that it lasted only in the noon times. Guess the bandh issue was not so great, could be against the use of monkeys dressed in pink in the local circus I thought. Apparently here people shut shops for an afternoon siesta as it happens in Italy/spain.    Hmm,  Walmart aint going to be opening Sams club here in a hurry.
Food for me has been an issue here for me as always. Consider yesterday when I decided that I would be impulsive and order a roti with a veg sabzi of the waiters choice (the menu he handed to me was completely in Bengali, including the numbers -.- ).  As he laid down the food for me, something that resembled an eye was staring back at me. My 6th sense (I barely have 5 actually) kicked in telling me that the sabzi had something that shouldn’t be. I gingerly enquired my concerns with the waiter and he proudly  told me that it was the house special of the day ‘fish mutter’ or something. Lucky me huh? As I withdrew in horror I recalled the wise words that my friend told me that fish is considered veg here in Bengal. He seemed deflated at my refusal to eat it and had a took it back as if he was following his mother’s hearse. Sorry buddy, no hard feelings.  It’s back to a bowl of hot corn flakes with cut apples for me for dinner. Experiment at your own risk.

STATUTORY WARNING: READING MY BLOG COULD LEAD TO BRAIN DAMAGE.

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3 Responses to “Welcome to Sonar Bungalow..oops Bengal-a”

  1. ragahv dude..a little mention of baalygunj and ur tryst with Hindi wud make it merrier.
    also the “toss ka boss” @%$#$%#$

    thats reason im poisting comments on ur blog and ur meerrily writing pieces 😀

  2. Managed to get ur comment out of the spam filter..intuitively wordpress knows u speak trash sometimes 😉 Next post will do..

  3. Da,
    Having a great time at company’s cost? eh?

    -Nikhil

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