Peeking at you from behind the shady trees the silent and gravelly dirt road will urge you to follow it. Somewhere from behind the stunted shrubs muffled chirping of invisible birds can be heard. The wind will giggle in your ear until it suddenly breaks into a gusty glee. Surpassing all these sounds your ears are sure to be tantalised by the rustic earthy songs of the bauls.
The melancholic voice of these wandering minstrels will easily guide you to the open land called Khoai. Spotted with a dry patch of forest Khoai draws a big crowd every Saturday when a flea market is held in the late afternoon. As you weave in and out of the various stalls, admiring the local art and crafts that are for sale, a cool soothing wind blowing from the direction of the Kopai River will assure you that life is not at all complicated as sometimes as you think it to be.
Immortalised worldwide by the great poet, writers, music composer and painter Rabindranath Tagore, Shantiniketan is just not one of the best weekend getaway destinations or a great learning centre but also a place where you are reminded you that you as a man are much closer to the soil than you ever knew.
Life in Shantiniketan is like a folk song, simple, uncluttered and closer to both soil and soul. Even today, it has carefully safeguarded the dreams of Tagore through their museums, tribal music and dance, cuisine and most importantly through its people.
A couple of hour’s car ride or better the local train will take you far from the city of Kolkata, to this tiny peaceful village cum town, Shantiniketan. As if browsing through a storybook, the scenic beauty will change in front of your eyes, giving way to more and more greenery. With acres and acres of farmland disappearing into the horizon, this journey is sure to evoke a song from within you which perhaps have not been sung for a very long time. And that song which had lingered in the periphery of your memory will suddenly come to your lips.
Shantiniketan with its rural abundances welcomes you with an open arm. Besides the feeling of being close to nature, Shantiniketan has a lot to offer. As you discover each place be it Chhatim Tala, the Great Banyan Tree or Amar Kutir where local handicrafts are sold, be it the prayer hall of Upasan Ghar or the humble abode of Goddess Kali at Kankalitala, you will realise that each place will leave behind a piece of the song in your heart. And those songs shall be the healing of your soul. Without even realising your heart will start to hum away it’s your own song.