ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Visitors from Distant Lands

In small towns, visitors from faraway lands are often the locals’ only source of amusement.

Soon after the Moscow Olympics, a team of four women gymnasts from the Soviet Union came to Cuttack, where I lived. No one knew of this team’s visit. Cuttack was one of those old small towns, once venerated, and now obscure. A major freedom fighter was born here, and another had his bust in a small, poorly kept garden that few visited. Cuttack was an overnight train journey from Calcutta, and the afternoon train from there brought us the day’s papers, which of course, had little mention of things happening in Cuttack.

Relatives came, stopped over for a day or so, before moving on to the temple-beach towns not too far away. The breeze would bring in the smell of a salty sea even when you were an hour away from Puri. Every time the palm trees along the highway bent to the wind, you’d hear the sound of the sea caught in its branches. About Konark, the other temple town, I knew little then. We were always told it wasn’t the right time for us to go there. Grown-ups never elaborated on matters like these and we stood forlorn on the portico every time relatives left to explore places that, to us, were strange and unseen.

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Updated On : 17th May, 2019

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