The train journey in the next morning was already started showing the fate of our trip in Kolkata, yes early in the morning I could notice the white sun with no pleasant message, it was a fortune teller about the hot day ahead.
The rail roads reached its destination, we were about to touch Howrah station. Every one was ready and packed the stuffs.
At first I thought I will find another hotel in downtown Kolkata instead of Howrah, as staying in the city may give some opportunity to travel in the Tram. A quick taxi drive into the esplanade area showed us the most congested Kolkata city, I was spotting a concrete made tub shared by at least 30 men for bathing on the road(unfortunately I was in moving cab and couldn’t pickup the camera from bag before we passed the scene).
The taxi trip also gave a quick glance of heritage beauty the Tram network in Kolkata, We (I) for sure enjoyed seeing it. The tram(m)way in the middle of the road negotiating with cars, rickshaws and pedestrians, Great.
By then my family was already tired and wanted to go back to the old hotel itself, so the U turn to reach Howrah, once again we reached Hotel Meghdoot.
The weather god in Kolkata was very unfair with us, our summer holiday was kind of over, I watched the TV at the hotel room to understand the weather forecast and Kolkata was hotter than Chennai by 5degrees. My kids were already saying Aaiiiyooo! , seeing all the drama I decided to cancel all the plans in Kolkata and just stayed clam at the hotel room to keep the North East memory safe.
We only went to the Kalighat Kali Temple in the evening, I’m extremely sorry if my words below hurts anyone’s sentiments but I felt very much disappointing by the way we were treated in the temple by the Pandits. The Pandits (mostly) seemed well trained in day light robbery. Here is the story, we reached the temple by a taxi and a shop keeper at the temple entrance asked us to take all the Pooja items including some sweets (packed in a leaf cup), bangle like stuff (4 nos), Aroma sticks, Flowers and a Coconut. At first he was telling me 50 for bangles, 150 for sweets and rest are 10 and 15 rupees. We agreed and I was about to pay, he said I need to pay after coming back from the temple and send a guy (Pandit) with us to do the pooja.
We went with the guy and he took us inside the temple, the moment we entered another pandit inside was asking money I thought this guy and he are associated and I asked why? He told me this is thakshina, Hmm something fishy my father took some money (few 10 rupees bills) and tried to pickup one from the bunch, before even we realized the other pandit grabbed all the 10 rupees bills from my father and vanished from the scene. I was at great shock, even before I asked the other pandit who accompanied us he moved near the sanctorum and asked me to get in, but then another pandit on the entrance of sanctorum asking me Rs.200 and once again it was a great shock and I said no, he bullied and pushed me away while grabbing a Rs.20 from my hands which I was about to donate to the Hundi basket. While all these things were happening in sub one minute gap, the Pandit who walked with us went outside and took us into the hall before the Santorum, and another elderly Pandit came and started doing pooja in a corner of the hall without any statues of any god. I didn’t realize that he is doing the pooja, I thought he is taking out names etc for doing the actual pooja at the Santorum, after two minutes he completed the pooja without even breaking the coconut and asked us Rs.250 @#$%, I was out of my temper and started shouting at him, there were many other pandits came together and finally we have to pay Rs.250.
When the scene inside the temple like that, we went out of the temple and reached the shop he had a bill for Rs.950 for the items he provided. ****, I really hated the entire people around the temple, after a larger debate we have settled for Rs.600 because the useless pandit who walked with us got a price tag of Rs. 200 and the bangles in the basket was priced at Rs.50 each. I don’t want to loose my temper any more and through the money and pushed away, just because I was in an alien terrain with in my country.
I’m sure with this kind of cheap money making activities with no signs of devotedness to the Goddess the Goddess in the temple would have long before vanished and she lives elsewhere in the hearts of lovable people.
Once again this information is narrated here only for prevent anyone going through the same hurdles and not to hurt anyone’s sentiment. I’m extremely sorry if I did by posting this very unfortunate experience in here. (I’m not going to post any picture here as the entire blog will loose its charm for me)