Thursday, 12 October 2017

INTROSPECTION-My debut Novel



A journey that started few years ago is finally nearing its destination
My debut novel is now available online for the world
A strange tingling feeling has made my life miserable...its a delectable mixture of happiness, anxiety and nervousness
"INTROSPECTION" is that journey of soul searching which is relatable, enriching yet agonising

IT IS ALREADY AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
Click on the following link : Introspection

I seek your blessings and your review will be precious

Friday, 6 October 2017

Sunny Side Up - Interlaken

There was beauty all around, sheen and seraphic
While the sun spread its golden hue, the sky was a blissful blue
As if the splendor of the empyrean had descended on earth
I just pleaded time, to be gradual, to be slow.

Greenery all around and intervening flower beds
Surrounded by the Alps and its beatific glory
And did you hear the church bell ring?
And did the horse drawn chariot, tell you it's story?

The majestic blues of the waters of the lakes
One side Brienz and the other is Thun
Makes you that embedded gem in the nature's crown
Or like the uninhibited fairy, who dances with the moon
 By Aritra



Being one of the most talked about locations in Switzerland, we visited Interlaken with loads of expectations. But what met our eyes, wasn't what we surmised, it was beyond our reckoning. Luck favored us, and granted us a lavish treat of exuberant nature, where the greens, the blues and the looming grey basked in the compassionate sun, and evolved into a divine form.


Interlaken is quite a fairy land, with its stretches of green grass and flowerbeds, lined by the snow-capped Alps at a distance. It is best experienced in a sunny day, when nature unfolds it demeanor in full glory. There is a heavenly sheen all around and the emerald water of lake Brienz and lake Thun reflecting that shimmer.



Besides devouring the elaborate platter that nature offers, there are many activities in Interlaken which can keep you engaged. You can either have a Gandola ride to Gimmelwald, a little scenic village near Interlaken or enjoy a relaxing cruising experience on the lakes. Each activity is unique and has its set of experiences to commemorate throughout life.




However the activity that attracted us the most, was a trip to Harder Kulm. A train which almost travels vertically up and takes you to a spot, where from the entire town of Interlaken entwined between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun appear spectacular. The train tour is exciting, the view mesmerizing and the restaurant on top serves great food, what more do you want, to construct memorable moments?

Some important points on Interlaken:
a. Its beautiful but expensive.
b. Best explored on a sunny day. You can just rent a bike and go around exploring the place.
c. Harder Kulm is highly recommended.
d. You can very well spend a day or two, and explore the other possibilities and activities too. 


Interlaken is that prized memory that I will always cherish with love. It is that experience which I hold above many others. This dream land should be a must in every traveler's wish list.

Happy traveling....





Aritra Chakrabarty
 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Macher Jhol is a yummy ensemble of emotions


The entertainment industry of India is evolving, with the encroachment of digital platforms, storytellers get opportunities like never before. We see movies being made on varied subjects, backdrops etc. This advancement is not limited to the Hindi movie industry, Bengali movies have also undergone radical transformations. The stern demarcation between commercial and urban or parallel cinema, has gradually mellowed, if not vanished completely. A freer thoroughfare of ideologies, performers and storytelling across this line of control is being witnessed these days.

Recently I watched a Bengali movie. Keeping the nostalgia, ethos and pathos of watching a Bengali movie outside Bengal aside, 'Maacher Jhol' truly intrigued me by its unique make. Director Pratim D Gupta has chosen a subject, which is largely untouched. Or rather he sings a known song in an unknown tune. He wraps a delectable blend of emotions, social taboos, conjectures in a newly baked crisp cover. And the cover, essentially consist of flavors, new to the Bengali audience. 

Maacher Jhol means the quintessential Bengali fish curry, which is associated with varied emotions and flavors that comprise the life of a bong. This tale is that of a man who aspires to be chef but finds himself trapped in the cobweb of expectations of his father. Veteran actor Mamata Shankar, excels playing the exemplary mother who resonates with the aspirations of her son, played by Ritwick Chakrabarty.

Ritwick is a treat to watch, in his absolute candid portrayal of the successful chef Debdatto based in Paris, with a doting french girlfriend. However his success story like all others, has dark patches too. Paoli Dam as the dauntingly self respecting wife of the chef, whom he leaves in Kolkata to pursue his dreams, must be applauded for her underplay which succeeds to overwhelm. 

The characters are well defined and their journeys converge laminar. When Debdatto comes to visit his ailing mother, the tangled threads of his life gradually loosen. When he strives hard to cook the 'Maacher Jhol', his mother wants to have, he learns about himself and encounters his inner demons.

While I end my narrative, I recommend this yummy treat of emotions to all movie lovers.

Friday, 8 September 2017

The Father - A play and more...

It's not very often that you see a legend perform in front of your eyes. It is too overwhelming to categorize the experience as good or bad, too daring to rate the performances, yet I wanted to blog about my recent theater experience, which took my breath away.

I just love plays and theater, it's live appeal is much more endearing than images moving in front of me, as in motion pictures. Hence, given a chance, I would rather spend my toil stained money on witnessing enriching theater performances, instead of other ways of spending the same.

My recent indulgence was an experimental theater experience, "The Father", enacted by Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Neeraj Kabi and many more talented actors. Originally written by Florian Zeller in French, it is a visual and emotional treat for theater lovers.

Quite a mind blogging drama, with every scene conflicting the previous one, it takes the audience a while to get hold of the changing string of events. It takes a bit of you to appreciate that the play is a reflection of what goes on in the mind of a Alzheimer affected old man, who is the father of two daughters. One who takes care of him and the other who takes space in his brain, after succumbing to the deadly strike of an accident. 

Naseeruddin Shah is real, amorous, exasperating, flirtatious and adorable as the dementia stricken old man, while Ratna Pathak Shah is effortlessly brilliant as the daughter trying to balance her life and taking care of an unintentionally non cooperative father. In fact the entire Motley group, comes together to create magical theater experience. A special mention of Neeraj Kabi, who had really impressed me by his portrayal of the convicted, controversial yet sympathy attracting father of deceased Arushi in Talvar. Expectantly I enjoyed his theater competency, especially his slightly different style of dialogue delivery. Sayan Banerjee, Aahana Kumra and Trishla Patel also delivered wonderful performances.


I would love to recommend all theater lovers to make use of this opportunity and experience something extraordinary. I congratulate every one associated with the production of "The Father".

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Washington Poste - A stylish pub with yummy servings

Journeys are not only about the celebrated tourist attractions and well known destinations. It is also about the little stories we pick up here and there. Some unique food item, or unconventional eatery, it can be anything between heaven and earth. 

Few months back, when on a bright sunny day, I was walking hand in hand with my husband, on the streets of Paris, I collected few such, stories. Story of a handsome boy selling crepes by the side of the road or my rendezvous with a eatery which I simply adored, I have a lot to recollect.

"Washington Poste" situated in the posh location of Champ Elysees serves French, American and other European cuisines. It's geographic location makes it's lucrative to all those tired and hungry souls shopping in the area, which is one of the most exquisite shopping destinations of the globe. With the overwhelming brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes etc. bestowing their panache.  

We chose the place, more because it was one of those few eateries, which had English menu card along with French, and also because the crew was very welcoming. This lovely bistro with its warm interiors, made the experience truly relaxing.

We ordered this amazing chicken pizza and glasses of red wine. Truly speaking it was the best pizza I had ever tasted. Yummy chicken dressing, mouth watering cheese topping and sprinkled herbs on top of thin pizza bread, it was quite a treat I must say. I also loved the wine, as it complimented the food very well. 

This restaurant is on the expensive side, yet I recommend it for food lovers.  
The charming interiors, friendly staff and very tasty food made it one of the great food joints we explored in our Euro Trip.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta


Pizza n wine

My hubby 

N me

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Guinness and more, a restaurant review

The world is diverse and that's the beauty. There are multiple hues of life, flavors of living and rhythms of life. But all tunes do not resonate with our heartbeat, and only few reach our soul.

During our recent Europe trip we explored many eateries, serving different cuisines. But not all tastes remained with us and not all places struck a chord.

This post is about the small restro pub by Lake Lucerne, in Switzerland. Out of the many restaurants lined on the lakeside, we chose "Guinness and more" majorly due to its small, cozy interiors. 

Lucerne was very cold when we reached the place. The chilly winds were making us shiver from the core. What we needed was a steaming cup of coffee or a jug of beer and some smoking munchies and hence after dumping our belongings in the hotel room, we started searching the neighborhood for a good place to eat. Needless to say the options were numerous and we were pretty confused. After a stroll across all available options we chose "Guinness and more", a restro pub by the lake. The interiors were cosy and warm. And it was evident that the place warmed up as the sun set each day.

I ordered coffee and my husband some beer, we also included french fries, chicken wings and onion rings in our order. The best part was, they fried and got the food smoking hot in front of our eyes. And man, it was so tasty that the taste has remained with me till date.

Glitz and show off attracts us, but sometimes happiness comes in simple packages and this experience was one such.

#interiors

#us enjoying our meal

#our food

Saturday, 8 July 2017

The reverie called Lucerne...

The tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne
Like Mirror to the snow-capped eminence
Chilly was the wind and high was the spirit
As I witness the sublime magnificence

The tree lined lakeside and the chapel bridge
Grey clouds looming low
The cold winds and its fiendish dance
Compel my creative juices to flow

I wondered, if in that fairyland
Fairies descend in moonlit night?
I would keep awake through the warm silence
As the wild roses emanate their aura and hypnotize.

My first rendezvous with the enamored Alps
Engagement with the Swiss land of dreams
Lucerne was that fascinating prologue for us
That compels to experience the entire piece

By Aritra
Lucerne Lake, lined with eateries


Our Swiss Holiday had started with Lucerne, serene, peaceful and dreamy. With majestic ranges overlooking the swathe of Lake Lucerne, a mischievous hide & seek of the sun, the old, intimidating chapel bridge and its colorful aura, it was the perfect prelude to the upcoming musical spectacle.

But as they say "its about the journey not the destination". Hence my narrative assign some space to our travel from Paris to Lucerne.

 After Boarding TGV

The bar

We had taken a TGV or Train a Grand Vitesse from Paris to Zurich, this is a high speed intercity train service in France. "Grandeur" is the word for Grand Vitesse. We had taken a first class ticket and it was truly a classy ride. The bar in the train, adds that exquisiteness and uniqueness to it.

  




Glimpses of the picturesque landscape

But the most amusing and captivating part was the scenery of serenity it traverses through. The beautiful European Countryside leaves you absolutely spellbound. Lush greenery, blue meadows, cows with that signature Swiss bells around their necks and slow encroachment of the visibility of the Swiss Alps, each frame is capture worthy and uniquely separate from each other.


"I keep looking, without a moment to blink
I keep looking at you
Smile refuses to discard my lips
Nature has been such gracious, just to few"

From Zurich, we took a train to Lucerne and when we reached it was ideal time for brunch. We decided to fill our stomachs first and then start our expedition.

Foodie delight

We chose a nice warm cafe by the lake called "Guinness and more", previously this place was called Shamrock Irish Pub. A sport bar that turns to a pub at night, it was an awesome place for some relaxation, yummy food, a cup of coffee or a can of beer. The coziness was a welcomed change from the chilling air outside.


Chapel Bridge

St. Peter's Church

View from the Church

Lucerne, is more about the silence of the place. The lake with the swans and ducks, the cold wind, the fir lined lane, the huge church and of course the chapel bridge named after St. Peter's Chapel. This one is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, and the semi dilapidated state makes it very unique.


The little place with its immense beauty, leaves you craving for more of the Swiss Alps, which gives its alluring appearance in Lucerne, but can be seen more closely as you travel higher up. Among the places we visited, Wengen gave the best view.


Some tips to the travelers:

a. Lucerne is very beautiful and is a must visit. It can be easily explored on foot. But remember to book a hotel near the station as most of the places of interest are nearby and makes traveling easy.

b. If you are traveling to Switzerland from France, don't miss the TGV experience. It is worth every penny.


c. Food in Swiss destinations are more expensive than France, so be prepared to spend good amount on that.





Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Monday, 26 June 2017

R-Adda-in high spirits

It’s not very often that I visit pubs, the reason being the underwhelming crowd and scarcity of sitting arrangement. But deep inside I love the idea of getting dressed and dancing to foot tapping numbers. And probably, when you don’t arrange anything, things get arranged the best. The same happened this Friday, recuperating from fever, visiting a pub was the last thing in my wish list. But my husband, Avishek, wanted to and he assured that we would return, immediately, if I don’t feel good.

It wasn’t the first time, he visited R Adda in Juhu, but it was my introductory visit for sure.

Truly the place is high spirited and is one of the very few that remains open till 3:00 am. The crowd is good and starts pouring in only after 12:00. We didn’t have food but the drinks were good and there is hookah. I think it’s also one of the very few where the music is a mixture of English, Hindi and Punjabi blockbusters, and hence there is an intriguing desi twist to the hip-hop and English chart-busters.


Great company, euphoria and fun, experimental music made my rendezvous overwhelming. Overall R Adda fascinated me and I would love to revisit its maddening and celebrating aura once again.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Quietude and Wengen


My fingers touched the rim of the coffee mug
I could feel the warmth and cherished
As steam escaped from the pool of caffeine
I gazed through the windows, my vocabulary had perished

Sun rays passed the glass and touched my amazed eyes
But my lids refused to curtain my vision
My eyes and me craved for a little more
My life suddenly had an enticing reason

I witnessed overwhelmed, the mighty Alps
Oaks, Maples and Pines embellished my sight
Little Heidi with freckled cheeks, angry, old grandpa
Came alive with a boom, tangible and bright

A beauty beyond words, a beauty too naive
Wengen is a tale of amorous congruence
Expression defy my orders, I am the dethroned queen
Shout out loud and clear,  the song of its reverence


By Aritra

Whenever we talk of exotic landscapes and breathtaking views, the first name that comes to the mind is Switzerland. It is an over-discussed location, but believe me it is not over-hyped. It is not that I have seen too much of this world of diverse beauties, yet I strongly feel, that Switzerland is indeed one of the best that nature has to offer. 

It is like that Paula Donna with Alps for her hood and Pine lined lush greens for her robe. She is sublime, she is amorous, she is even erotic at times, but whatever be her mood, she never fails to overwhelm her onlookers.

In my recent visit to Switzerland, we went to many places and I will relive those experiences through my subsequent posts. But the days we spent in Wengen, are special and I dedicate my first narrative about our Swiss extravaganza, to its aura and grandeur.

Wengen is situated at the foothills of the Alps and easily accessible by train. It is a small village blessed with a magnum opus like natural beauty. The stretches of green, the mountains overlooking the never ending abysses, the stretches of valley, the typical chalets and the palpable blue sky, you cannot resist falling in love. It is like that fairy land we have heard stories about, where flowers grow on the bed of grass, and smoke escapes the chimney of wooden chalets, Wengen is a painter's paradise. And its a painting that the supreme has painted in mirth.


We had a taken a home-stay from Airbnb and the room was extremely cozy and comfortable. Though our host Chris wasn't there to be with us, he had taken care of all our needs and we were impressed by his systematic approach.


Wengen is about flowerbeds and cinematic landscapes, its best explored on foot. We walked around for hours around the little village, clicking pictures of the panoramic view and devouring the endearing silence, interrupted by the occasional ringing of the chapel bell. We sat for hours on the benches overlooking the valley and enjoying the coldness in the air.

It is also the best place to plan your trip to the top of Europe "Jungfrau". Its a journey for about an hour or a little more by train. You can buy tickets from Wengen Station and plunge into exploring the snow-clad glacier region of Jungfrau. The journey is indeed unforgettable as the train traverse the vast white cloak of snow, rising higher and higher in a altitude. 

We were fortunate enough to get good weather and witness the vast glaciers basking in the  summer sun. And on our way back we enjoyed the unexpected and indulgent snowfall. Nature unfolded its enigma is full blossom and we had no choice but to admire her majestic aura.


Some points for travelers to know:
a. Wengen is easily accessible by trains and is little farther up towards the Alps from the more known station Lauterbrunnen. We traveled to Wengen from Luzern, and had to change train at Interlaken. Tickets are readily available online or even on the spot in the station ticket counters. We had booked online, and if you too do so, keep your passport handy to show to the ticket checker.

b. You can select a homestay, there is a wide range of apartments to be offered. Airbnb is safe. Our host Chris was a meticulous planner, he had made everything so easy. From directions, to the door code, to valuable informations and instructions to avoid confusion, he had planned all.

c. You can plan your trip to Jungrau from Wengen. Don't buy tickets beforehand, its much cheaper if you buy from the station. Buy tickets only after ascertaining the weather, which is pretty unpredictable in the Jungrau region.

d. This place is famous for winter sports, so if you are a lover of skiing etc. head to Wengen during the chilling months.

e. It is worthy to spend a night or two in this heavenly hamlet. Besides the jaw dropping view its offers, it also bestows serenity which is a luxury in our lives these days. It gives that relaxation, which you might be trying to achieve since long.

My Swiss trip would have been incomplete without the rendezvous with this beautiful little village. I still remember the evening, when me and Avishek, my hubby, sat hand in hand on the bench, by the little chapel. It was approaching darkness and fog was engulfing the sunshine, it was chilling, it was divine. I could not have felt better. I cannot thank Avishek enough for choosing Wengen, no doubt you know me too well.

I end my tale of serenity by thanking Wengen, for giving me back a piece of my childhood.


Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta
For complete set of photographs visit  www.talestotell.co.in






Sunday, 28 May 2017

Je t'aime PARIS


If you were a painting
I would display your aura
If you were a person
I would cherish your presence forever
If you were a bird
I would love to see you fly
If your were a flower
I would wake up to witness you blossom
But if you are a city
I wouldn't believe you are just stones and concrete
I would believe you have a heart
Graying hair and wrinkles on your forehead
Yet you are ageless
I would believe you define class
I would believe you define love
I would believe you are that prince called "PARIS"

By Aritra


Paris is the dream travel destination for millions of travelers across the globe. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the world, with unimaginable footfall every year. And like the millions of aspiring travelers, I too wanted to experience the splendor of the city and imbibe its exuberant vibes.



It was only some time back, that I was roaming in the lanes of champ-de-elysees, drowned in gaiety, I was witnessing the grandeur, world class brands and sheer panache all around. But all good things come to an end and the same is true for holidays, but the happy news is, they don't vanish. They continue to reign supreme on the dwindling paths of your memory lane. At times bringing a smile to your lips, or leaving you gasping for more.




The days I spent in Paris, will be cherished forever. Some say it is overcrowded due to the incredible number of tourists it pulls, but the reality is, it is an impeccable travel destination. After all, is there a soul on the face of this earth, you wouldn't love to sail in a cruise, on the emerald waters of a river and see couples sitting by the bank playing guitar, while the Eiffel Tower at a distance, lights up in its resplendence? I guess none.




The make of the city makes it unique. The lack of high risers, uniformity of architecture, splash of history, resonance of art, the narrow stone lanes and the open air street restaurants, it is extremely difficult to be not overwhelmed. 


Our first day, was the day the city revealed its eccentricity to us. We had opted for a home-stay option through Airbnb and the apartment was in Bastille, the heart of Paris. Truly speaking it was a great location to be. Very well connected to all major tourist spots and also a happening locality lined with many eateries, which are open till late at night. Our hosts, the lovely couple Yacine and Emmanuel were great company to be with. They made us very comfortable and we actually had long hours of chat. While Emmanuel is French, Yacine is from Africa, both of them are majorly associated with social work. It was indeed a pleasure meeting people, who believe in humanity and love, and practiced the same through their lives. Emmanuel also helped us in figuring out the best way of commuting in the city, and his magic bus number '69' made traveling easy and fun. This bus basically goes to every place of interest in Paris.


The first rendezvous with the majestic Eiffel Tower, is a moment I will always cherish. Books, internet and many other sources have made it visible to the world, but nothing compares to standing in front of its hugeness. It was one moment when I felt so happy to have planned the vacation.


The amount of walking I have done in the city is incredible, probably I don't walk that much in a month in India. And the sole reason being the weather, which infused infinite amount of energy into my ever lazed out self. 


Well, at this point I must confess. that this post is not about the artistry you cherish in Louvre, or the excitement of climbing 300 mt to the top of Eiffel or even the ecstasy of cruising on the river Seine, because the world knows enough of that. My narrative is enjoying unison with the soul of a city, and breathing in sync with it. It is the unbridled joy of walking kilometers hand in hand with your loved one on the banks of the river, waiting patiently for the sun to sink and the tower to light up.





One of my best moments with the city is the time we spent on Pont Alexandre III, a deck arch bridge on Seine connecting Champs-Elysees with the Eiffel Tower area. It is considered as the most ornate bridge in Paris. And trust me, the view from the bridge, its aura and the surrounding eateries, makes it worthy to spend some time. In fact it is a beautiful location for photo-shoot and we witnessed many newly weds posing amidst the grandeur.

Nature was truly giving and we cherished its different hues in full galore. The dawn and the dusk, the cloudy and sunny, it even drenched us in an unexpected shower when we were relaxing on the garden adjacent to Eiffel Tower one evening. 



Some words of advice to travelers:


a. Paris is famous for pickpockets and snatchers, be very cautious. One wrong move and you are doomed.  However, it is not as bad as it sounds, but its very important to know about this in advance.

b. Well, my personal experience says,never go with a tours and travels agency. Public transport is easy and safe, you can easily avail and roam around. Besides if you are an uncurbed soul, you need to have the power of deciding. However you have to do a good amount of homework about the metro and bus routes, which my husband did for us.


c. Food is expensive and be prepared to spend a good amount on that. But the eateries have great aura and are worth experiencing.


d. You can book a home-stay from Airbnb. It is safe. But while choosing see the location and study it's accessibility from nearby metro station and bus stands. We stayed in Bastille, with Yacine and Emmanuel. They are wonderful and warm hosts and the location is very convenient.


e. Make a note of holidays, on some days the Louvre Museum is closed.


f. We had booked our Eiffel, Louvre and Seine Cruise, through Viator. But I didn't find it very well organised and it's overpriced.


g. A little warning about Paris Airport, Charles De Gaulle, dear readers its huge and baffling. And anytime if you plan to transit via Paris, have sufficient lay over to enjoy hassle free travel.


Travel tales, like that of Paris, are more than just travel. They impart that pleasure for the soul, if you truly want. Yes it is crowded, yes it is expensive but its unique, in its aura, its vibe, its architecture and of course its soul, which unifies with that of the traveler if they intend to.


We loads of paintings, artistry and ambiance we have returned back to India, to relish those memories forever.






Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta