It's around nine on a cold December night and the chill has begun to spread to our bones as the car takes a sudden turn. The ride is bumpy, to say the least, the road lined with trees, and the only source of light are the headlights of the car we are sitting in. Even as we alight, and stretch our legs, I can see nothing. The headlights have been switched off. And then, from somewhere, a source of light in the form of a swinging lantern. Slowly, the world around me reveals itself. A moderately sized hut, with a small, fenced courtyard. A friendly smile greets me as I step inside. It belongs to S, one of the workers at the NGO we have come to visit. The hut where we are staying is the office.
But this story is not about the NGO (although it probably should have been), it is not about the indomitable spirit of a community whose hardships are beyond description. This post is not an exercise in locating the 'exotic' in rural Bengal. This story is about a place that can change you, for several reasons, and among them, simply for being itself.
It is almost impossible to describe what it feels like to stare up at the night sky- so vast-like nothing you have ever seen before, shining, dazzling with stars. And there is literally nothing around you. Your phone can't pick up a signal. You've fallen off the map. But you've gained your footing somewhere else. Travels to such places literally and metaphorically open up horizons.
Photos by SDC.