Part 1: The Road Less Traveled: Unveiling the Hidden Gem of Shankarpur

Dusting off my keyboard and cobwebs, I’m back! It’s been ages since I’ve poured my travel tales into this digital journal, and let me tell you, the wanderlust hasn’t dulled one bit. Today, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to a hidden gem called Shankarpur, a beach paradise I unearthed with my besties a while back. Buckle up, folks, for a salty breeze of escapism!

Job interviews have dominated my keyboard for too long. Two years, to be precise – the corporate grind, has nibbled away at my creative edge. But the beauty of creativity lies in its resilience, its ability to blossom anew. So, this blog is my whisker-tinged attempt to jumpstart the process. When it comes to soul sustenance, mountains have always called to me more than flatlands. Living in the plains all my life, the enigmatic allure of hilly terrain – the uncertainty of the path, the thin air, the shivers on lonely roads – pulls me in. Yet, there’s an undeniable poetry in sun-drenched hues and the ocean’s rhythmic whispers that stirs something deeper, making you sing a bit louder.

Shankarpur: A Glimpse into Paradise

I craved for destinations where the sand isn’t just warm, it tells stories – tales of undiscovered beauty and adventures waiting to unfold. That’s how Shankarpur caught my eye – a speck on the map, far from the usual tourist clamor. It shimmered like a secret whispered by the Bay of Bengal, promising pristine sands, untamed beauty, and the whisper of a slower, more soulful pace.

The Journey Begins to Shankarpur

February had just begun, two weeks after my sister’s wedding. A few friends and I were itching for a trip, and among us were two “Subhams” who’d never seen the ocean. Shankarpur had graced my college years with a visit alongside my parents. My aunt’s family had bought land there to build a resort, We went there to checkout the plot, and as well as the place that time. But the construction hit a pause due to political land disputes. During my sister’s wedding, my aunt let me know that, the resort was finally finished and open for guests! So later on when we were searching for places to go, ‘Shankarpur’ felt like the nudge from universe for us – how could we resist? We whipped up a WhatsApp group, shared the details, and with that, the trip was born!

The 6 of Us

Six of us booked tickets from Howrah to Ramnagar, the closest station to Shankarpur. Trains on this route are notoriously slow, but due to limited availability, we were stuck with the 2:30 PM train from Howrah to Digha. As the group’s resident photographer, I typically wield my aging Nikon D90, a bulky DSLR. However, its ISO sensor was acting up, so I requested Subham to bring his new Canon EOS M2 mirrorless camera for its portability.

That proved to be my first trip blunder. Subham (the first), the planet’s poster child for carefree living, absentmindedly grabbed the camera bag I’d lent him. Stashed it by the door while rushing to tie his shoes, and promptly forgot it entirely. Realizing his epic gaffe on the bus. Retrieving the bag and the camera was out of the question with the tight schedule. Thus, we embarked on our adventure armed with nothing but our trusty smartphone cameras.

Howrah Hijinks: From Familiar Shade to Uncharted Territory

Howrah station remains a labyrinth to me, even though I have visited this station hundreds of time. It’s one of the largest and possibly busiest railway junctions in India. Sprawling across multiple sections with 23 platforms. I am familiar with the the main building area, where local trains and the express trains I’ve encountered before resides. It is nestled between platforms 1 and 15. But today, our adventure to Shankarpur demanded a different path. For the first time in my life, I had to navigate the bustling road separating part A from part B to reach our train. Which departed from the distant realms of platform 17 or 23. This seemingly simple crossing felt like a momentous step into the uncharted territory of Howrah’s hidden depths.

One and a half hours before our train’s departure, I stood at Howrah Station, a lone warrior against the bustling tide. Living in Tarakeswar, my local train options were limited, leaving me to the long game of waiting. First, I messaged Subham(the first), who was staying at his PG in Barasat prior to that date. He assured me a swift arrival, a promise I held with a pinch of salt . Afterall, the poster children for carefree living rarely abide by mere mortal schedules, do they? So, after getting extremely bored after thirty-minutes of wait, I sought solace in the nearby Pizza Hut near second section of the station. A text from Abhishek ( @nikku-net ) sparked an idea: why not grab a bite for everyone, a group feast upon their arrival before boarding? It seemed the perfect antidote to the waiting game, and perhaps, a subtle nudge towards punctuality…

The Meetup At last !!

The long wait finally ended when I spotted Subham, my childhood comrade, sauntering in through the front gate of the Pizza Hut. A gentle smile, as always, graced his face, silently apologizing for his tardiness. I acknowledged him with a knowing nod and a smile, thinking, “Ye nhi sudhrega!!” (He’ll never change!). After another ten minutes, the rest of the gang joined the pizza party. We demolished the pizzas I’d ordered and placed further reinforcements for the journey ahead.

With bellies full and anticipation bubbling, we boarded the train, a cacophony of laughter and chatter chasing away the remnants of wait-induced melancholy. Shankarpur beckoned, promising sun-kissed shores and salty whispers. But was it all smooth sailing ahead, or would adventure take an unexpected turn? Stay tuned for Part 2, where the real fun begins!

Post Script – This trip to Shankarpur was just the first stop on our adventure-filled journey! @nikku-net (Abhishek) have published another blog series on out trip to Kalimpong. Get ready to pack your bags and wanderlust with us!

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