Remembering Alcha

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There’s a little cafe tucked away in Shantiniketan, just around a winding road, that I happen to love a lot. It gives me a lot of peace of mind when I sit on the familiar wooden benches, waiting for my iced tea. It’s name is Alcha.

Alcha is about special evenings with loved ones. About mild evening breezes and low lit lamps that hang right above your table. It’s about amazing Spanish omelettes and grilled cheese sandwiches.

alcha2alcha3Shantiniketan, a 2 two hour train journey from Calcutta, is a quaint little place. Lazy and romantic, with a distinct Tagorean appeal. But for me, it will always be about evenings spent at Alcha.

Where you can spend your time, listening to the night sounds of a place that’s hidden away- one where the day starts early and goes to sleep just as fast. Of chirping crickets and night time birds. And dogs barking incessantly in the distance. A cafe where you write down your order in vertical chits of paper. And give gentle reminders to affable waiters who seem to forget easily.

alcha4There are evenings that are meant to be slow and deliberate. They are about long walks on tree-flanked pathways. About holding hands in the moonlight. And being followed by a lonely dog, in need of companionship. There are evenings that meant to be spent in Alcha with someone dear to you. When the light and shadow of the surrounding lamps seem to play tricks on your mind.

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And you fix your gaze on that certain something.
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Evenings where you like making scribbles that are meant to be forgotten. Where you sit and count the endless days that are ahead of you. Plans that need time to be executed and revisions that need to be made in the grand scheme of things. Of the daily nonsense that you will soon have to return to. But those evenings, you just like stalling time for a while. Those evenings are about indulgences. They are meant to be spent in Alcha. And afterwards, a drink or two of rum and coke in your small hotel room.

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