There are several bloggers whose blogs I like, and regularly follow. But one blogger whose blog I not only regularly follow but also love like anything is Ms. Gowri Mohanakrishnan. And the blog that I am referring to is “Seventh Chords – The Journal of an Indian Tea Planter's Wife” (link http://seventhchords.blogspot.com/).
So what exactly do I love about the blog? Actually Ms Gowri is settled in the Dooars area of West Bengal. It is that area which is blessed with exotic natural beauty in the forms of lush green forests, hill stations (one of which is the famous Darjeeling) and tea gardens. In fact, Ms Gowri’s husband himself is associated with tea plantation (as evident from her blog).
Now, I have a very special link with this part of West Bengal. No, not merely because West Bengal is my home state (though now I am settled in Delhi). But because my ancestral place lies in Jalpaiguri in the northern part of West Bengal, where Dooars and Terai are located. And like most of the “North Bengal families”, our family also has had a close link with the jungles, mountains, tea estates, etc. of this area. My grandfather was a regular hunter with the credit of various game huntings (from clouded leopard to deer and sambars) in the jungles of this area. My uncle (husband of my eldest paternal aunt) was in the Indian Forest Service of the West Bengal cadre, and eventually rose to the topmost position. Thanks to his job, since my childhood I have had so many opportunities to explore these areas, apart from other jungles located in the other parts of West Bengal. And I also had a good exposure to tea gardens, as one of my father’s close friends was a tea garden manager.
So this explains my close link with this area, affectionately called “North Bengal” by the people of West Bengal. Though my father had settled down in Calcutta even before I was born, and I eventually grew up in this city, I always enjoyed a close relationship with North Bengal. As since my childhood I used to regularly visit Jalpaiguri and other beautiful places in this region. This continued till 2001, when I shifted to Delhi for career reasons. Since then I have managed to visit North Bengal just once, in the December of 2002.
So precisely why is Ms Gowri’s blog so appealing to me?
While I always enjoyed the beauty of Dooars and adjacent areas, I was not merely content with it. I always had this wish to promote this exotic place beyond the boundary of West Bengal (and also beyond the boundary of India). Once I had tried to satisfy this dream by sending a write up to a West Bengal-based magazine. We were just back from an exciting trip to North Bengal, covering all the major jungles, hill stations, etc. I prepared a huge write up, and sent the same (with lots of photos) to the magazine's office. Unfortunately it was not published. Probably the quality of the write up was not at par with the standard of the magazine. Anyways, that marked the end of my effort to promote my dear North Bengal.
After that I have continuously tried to promote this area, but that has been mainly verbal promotion (i.e. talking about the area while having a chat with somebody). But the wish to make that promotion through media (magazines, travel web sites, etc) has remained unfulfilled. I in fact had nurtured the dream of having a blog on North Bengal. But I could not go ahead, as such a blog can be run by a person who either stays there or visits the area regularly (and as I said, now I hardly get the chance to visit the area).
And this unfulfilled dream of mine has been fulfilled by Ms Gowri. Through her blog she is sharing with the world the various interesting incidents, stories, developments, etc, in Dooars area, coupled with excellent photos. And so many people across the country are today getting the opportunity to know about this place. And hats off to her writing style. It is so attractive and juicy that it can turn even an insipid topic into a highly interesting one. Naturally, that makes her descriptions more interesting.
There are many who stay in exotic places. But most (not all) of them prefer to enjoy the beauty of the place themselves, rather than sharing the joy with others. Ms Gowri could have easily led a relaxed life, centered around her family and the social life confined within the tea garden executives and their families. But being a creative person, she preferred to share the joy of living in this beautiful place through an equally beautiful blog.
Madam, you are doing exactly what I had wanted to do. I had a long pain for not being able to do anything to promote my beautiful ancestral place, and you have given me a relief from that pain. I am so grateful to you.
Keep enjoying the beauty of North Bengal, and keep sharing the joy with the world. All the best!