Sometimes some events remain unexplained. The chronicler narrates two such events which he experienced in the Tarapith.
By Somashis Gupta
I have no idea of what backward sweep of memory, has brought the matter fresh to my mind. The closest I can assume is the fact that, the date for the festival of Kali Pujo, is approaching. This interesting recollection, which I share with you today, is definitely one of the most curious experiences I have ever had.
It is important for me to appraise you to the fact that, I am not a keen visitor to temples or any other religious place. In fact my aversion to the Heil of Gods, which is often misplaced with the tune and notes, has always been abhorrent to my mother and others in the family. So it came as a considerable amount of surprise for my uncle, when I agreed to join him for a visit to Tarapith that year.
I remember it was a blazing hot day of April in the year 2010. I was usually very late in the mornings those days save upon those not infrequent occasions when I was up all night, was seated at one of the benches just beneath the vintage fan probably from the Victorian era at the Howrah station, waiting for the rest to come. By rest I refer to my uncle, and his friends.
When they saw me, I observed that the look of their eyes showed keen pleasure, “Am I glad to see you my boy” said my uncle, evidently confirming my astute observation skills. We boarded the Rampurhat express at an air-conditioned seating arrangement, giving a yarning relief from the hardship of the thermometer at 42 degrees.
With the immediate relief I leaned back in my chair and fell into a brown study. Suddenly a voice broke in upon my thoughts as I heard ‘Chai garam Chai’. “Ah! The chay wala” I expressed but my companions remained unmoved at this sudden pleasure. They planned to visit the temple so they continued their fasting, an act which I looked upon with incredulity. I ordered for a cup of tea for myself. The rest of the journey remained uneventful except an Indian Railway breakfast, omelets and breads to be precise, which I ordered for myself. My uncle was not very exuberant about this decision of mine, which he expressed certainly not with words but with his eyebrows.
A shower of rain fell as we reached our destination, and the heat was far less oppressive in Tarapith than in Calcutta. We drove down to a descent little hotel at the further extremity of the town where we had a pleasant little meal. The afternoon was far advanced and the hot glare had softened into a mellow glow before we found ourselves taking a pleasant little nap.
In the evening I looked out from the windows of our hotel and I could see the grassy land which lay ahead as the evening Sun slowly disappeared over it. We sat for an hour or two over cups of tea discussing politics, music, literature, and soon a luscious dinner was served.
Later that night I went out for my usual nocturnal walk in the course of which I was in the habit of smoking a cigarette. But to my utter disgust and disbelief I found none left in my cigarette packet. So a walk a bit further to find a tobacconist was conspicuous. But to my disappointment I found none to be open even as I reached at the main junction of the town. I turned towards the temple road with anticipation not for God but for cigarette. Half way down this walk there is a gate which leads out on to the moor which is used as a cremation ground.
I stood for some little time there and eventually proceeded down the alley hoping to find a shop. As I walked, I found payers all around at various levels of completion. After walking for about 10 minutes I felt a strange urge to stop, as if someone or something is averting my advancement. I wanted to ignore as I could see no physical presence near me nor anywhere close. But then something dreadful happened, I looked ahead and realized a couple of more steps would lead me to a cliff following which is a full-flowing river. Any further progress would result in a definite death. I slowly turned and walked back. One fact remained unexplained though, who or what prevented me and saved me from death.
I joined my companions the next day on the walk to the temple, and as I crossed the same gate which led me to an unusual and inexplicable experience the previous night, which so nearly cost me my life, I felt a tumultuous rush in my veins due to a considerable state of excitement. This dramatic moment of fate soon dissipated along with my feeling of fear, when I saw down the road a stream of devotees queued up for almost five furlong in front of the temple.
I get dismayed by huge gathering so I expressed my discomfort to be a part of the thong and excused myself. What followed was an inconceivable sequel, which afforded me the greatest shock and surprise of an event in my adventurous life. I stood there in the Natmandir avoiding the crowd who constantly chanted ‘Joy Ma Tara’ along with occasional ringing of the temple bell.
Suddenly I was all palpitating with a strong desire to see the idol which stood behind almost 20 thousand people. I tried peeping round the corner and realized it was preposterous to even think of it. I was rather sad and felt a sense of regret not to be along with my companions. But than a minute later I almost miraculously found that the crowd was gone clearing the pathway of my vision and what lay in front was thin air between me and the Goddess mother. I felt tears rolling down my eyes, which I assure you under no circumstances has happened ever before. I remained an inarticulate man for a long period of time that day.
I do not know what forces made me cry that day or kept me alive the preceding night, but even now, after this long interval, I find myself thrilling as I think of it, and feeling once more a sudden flood of joy, amazement, and incredulity which utterly submerged my mind. Perhaps there are some bewildering forces outside the ordinary laws of nature, some cosmic force which remains unknown to human kind.
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.