Familiarizing with new roots
Family,  Travel

Familiarizing with New Roots – A Visit to a Quaint Countryside

I am a god-fearing woman. I’ve been a believer for 28 years now. I believe faith is that littlest ounce of hope that pushes us to rise from the ashes of our deepest and darkest times and makes us better human beings. My faith in God has helped me find balance in life and answers in the most difficult situations. And this faith, I believe, stems from our roots.

From the moment I moved into my new home, I’ve felt my in-laws’ devotion to their roots. I’ve watched them draw strength and inner peace from their belief in the God of their roots – Lord Gobindo (Krishna) and Radharani.

Gobinda and Radharani

The Goswami trail traces its roots back to this beautiful little village of Nabagram on the outskirts of West Bengal. Following this thread, we piled up with our extra-large family in an extra-large car one Sunday morning and chugged up the highway on my first visit to Nabagram.

The quaint countryside road presented us with some real delights. Miles of greens, jet-black goats running around, humble homes lining the narrow and rugged roads, calm ponds and welcoming smiles.

Nabagram road

Nabagram Road

The temple was spread like a quiet sanctuary – embracing anyone who would walk in. Tathagata introduced me to the stories of the relics and norms of the temple, each more fascinating than the next. And with it, he introduced me to his memories of the temple and the village from his childhood. It’s amazing to see how a human mind is like a time-machine and the trigger can be insignificant incidents and things. If you are lucky, you get to travel pillion to the narrator’s past and watch his blissful childhood unfold like magic.

Nabagram temple

I met with our extended family there – Apu kaka and kakima. They welcomed me to their home and shared stories of the days gone by. I soon found myself surrounded by a library of thoughts and memories. It was beautiful to just sit there and listen to them – everything they said and everything they did not.

There was so much heart and true happiness in the conversations. I realized that the God they worship in Nabagram does not live in the temple, He lives in these simple homes and in the simplicity of the people.

The garden at Apu Kaka's home
The garden at Apu Kaka’s home

 

Picking mangoes
Picking mangoes

 

Picking mangoes

The ocassion for our visit was a worship of gratefulness. Each family in Nabagram takes this responsibility up in turns every year. This year, it was Notun Kaka’s turn (remember my visit to the Botanical garden?). The puja was held at his Nabagram house. Almost the entire village had come to witness the ceremony. It was a celebration of faith and gratitude.

Worship

Worship

Preparation for the puja

Preparation for the puja
Preparation for the puja

It felt peaceful to be near the presence of such immense faith. Nabagram calmed my mind and fed my soul. I felt an astounding closeness to my core. I felt anchored and in sync with my values, beliefs and purpose. The calm of the countryside made me more awake to my existence beyond my social identities.

Worship

On my way back, I found my thoughts wandering. Just like the world around us, there is a world within us. Even a lifetime isn’t enough to explore it. We really are mystical beings – so in touch with ourselves but so distant at the same time, so close yet so far.

I believe God resides in the strong yet subtle bonds of human connection and in the way we treat people. Faith opens our eyes to love, compassion, our ability to reason, our sense of being – everything that make us human.

But somewhere along the line, we end up feeling disconnected to what matters to us. We lose faith and our priorities become a blur. But God always has a plan – even in the darkest days. It’s faith in each other that keeps us going, that gives us hope. But the pressing question in today’s world is – does God have faith in us anymore?

Ronita

I love lazy mornings, tea, the smell of old books and oxblood staircases. I can eat red velvet cake (with cream cheese frosting) all day. Over time, I’ve realized that there’s more to Red Velvet than just cake.

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