Bengal Diaries: To Market We Go

It’s a nice, bright, new day in Uttarpara. The time’s 5:00 and the sun’s already out. Today being a very relaxed day, I slept in some more and leisurely took my time to get ready by 10:30.

A toto took us to the train station. Believe it, readers, for it is the truth, it was only my second time on the train. The first was for a school trip. Other than that, it was my only other time. Watching all the buildings zoom by, we got off two stops later onto the Serampore railway station.

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Serampore is a very famous historical city in Bengal and while that is motivation enough to explore and uncover its tales, we were there for a more frivolous task: SHOPPING.

The Serampore or Shrirampur market is vast, winding and filled with cherishable artifacts. The train directly leads to the market that is lined with hundreds of rows of stalls and tiny shops along with branded showrooms. It’s a lot like Bangalore’s Commercial Street, but bigger and with a much wider range of products.

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Our agenda of the day was to buy authentic Bengali saris for the upcoming Durga Pujo. We stopped at a couple stores and marvelled at the variety of Bengali style saris available. The traditional red and white sari alone had such diverse and intricate artwork weaved into them that selecting one was a task. Since I had my heart set on a plain white and red sari, I wasn’t looking for any patterned work on the sari. Mom and aunt continued shopping some more.

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After walking and shopping for a while, we cooled off with kulfis. The kulfis here were beautifully rich and creamy, unlike the commonly found milky kulfis found in Bangalore. The kulfi-wala whips out a kulfi from his humongous ice filled pot and breaks them out of their molds. He cuts it up and serves it to us in eco-friendly dried leaf plates. It was just what we needed to relieve us from the scorching heat.

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We shopped some more for my sisters and finally decided to board the train back home at 4:30. Just as we climbed on, thunder striked and it started pouring. By the time we reached Uttarpara, the rain ceased. Stopping for pastries on the way, we took a toto back to my aunt’s house where we had left the children for the day. Finally, at 5:00 we ate our lunch and headed back to the guest house to call it a day.

We blissfully went to bed, grateful for the cool weather after the rain.

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