After many years I had been to BNR More of Asansol to avail the Volvo bus services on 07th Feb 08. Volvo for Kolkata (Calcutta) starts from Chelidanga, close to BNR More. Being there after many years, a lot of changes all around came to my notices but overall picture of BNR More of seventies remains unchanged except few additions like a new flyover and a triangular traffic island. But on the other side, the new expressway (new GT Road, NH1A, on the one arm of the “Golden triangle”) which runs bypassing the crowded, congested Asansol town, brought many rapid changes around the town. In seventies, only one polytechnic college was standing amidst green fields and tiny villages and there was no public transport plying in those areas. Now housing colonies, a degree Engineering College, huge campus of RK Mission, All India Radio, a Hospital and a Guest house etc are prominently showing their existence and those villages and the empty fields are almost vanished. The scenes, which were drawn in my mind from my college days, are totally mismatched today.
I have nostalgic memories of that place. Where have gone those friends, boys, girls used to come to BNR More for colleges from distance places like Chittaranjan, Salanpur, Neamatpur, Barakar, Chirkunda, Kumardhubi etc.? BNR More, cinema theatres ‘Chitra’, ‘Godhuli’ and Asansol market were the places for our time pass. Those days the BNR More were too busy due to narrow roads at the triangular point. Extra attraction of BNR More was for the Girls’ college and obviously the girl students of that college. That was the point from where all girls and boys used to take their buses for different places. In our group, a beautiful but very sober girl, named Brototi, used to come from Chittaranjan. One day she told me that two boys from my college were teasing her. Since I was too coming from same township of hers, sometime we used to travel together by same bus and naturally she used to depend on us. She was student of the same Girls’ college. One day me and my college friends called those two boys and threatened them and made them aware that she was not alone. Then onwards, teasing was stopped and they were never seen waiting for her at the BNR bus stop. We the boys and girls, used to move in groups, that was our strength. Where have gone those days – those friends?
Sudden break of Volvo, the “Royal Cruiser”, awakens me from my nostalgic dream. It reached Shaktigarh, a place famous for sweets named Langchaa, Mihidanaa and Sitabhog. I purchased ½ Kg of Sitabhog, for my wife. Its her favorite sweet. My co-passenger, a PhD student of Jadavpur University purchased one cucumber and shared a piece with me but that was completely bitter in taste. Somehow we shallowed that but she was embarrassed for sharing a bitter one. To normalize the taste of our mouths, she opened a packet of potato chips, and offered few spicy, salty chips. It was necessary for normalisation of the mouth, so I took few pieces and thanked her. She insisted again for chips, I said no, thanks, you carry on. I had nothing to share or exchange with her except few words. She shuttles between Kolkata and Asansol as her husband is posted at Asansol.
While watching the picturesque villages, green paddy fields passing behind one by one, reached Kolkata (Esplanade) just after a journey of 3 ½ hours. We both got down at Karunamoyee, Salt lake and departed from each other saying that, Salt lake is a small place we may meet someday in city centre (City Centre mall is her favourite place ), or somewhere, she added or in the Volvo.