A soul-calming walk amidst the trees, ripples of water reflecting the birds flying above, and people simply vegetating under the azure sky; well we’re not talking about the saturated Rabindra Sarobar which the city can’t get enough of or the Eco park where people from every corner of the city flock to for peace; but the ‘other’ sarobar- Subhas Sarobar, much like its name basks in the glory of the grandeur which it once used to have.
The place hides right in the din of the city just off E.M. Bypass, insulating all the cacophony perfectly to give a sense of tranquillity, surrounded with trees and shrubs, some of which are more than a hundred years old. As you walk through the paths around the lake which covers about 73 acres you will find more than one thing distracting you. Firstly the sheer beauty of the place will grasp your attention, especially if you’re a nature-lover; then the plethora of varied humanly activities such as kids of all age polishing their sporting skills at the football & cricket clubs, gymkhana, and also people simply living there in shacks. If you sit and decide to take in the view of the place, your mind will be blown by what you will see- the beautiful lake with its mysterious islands and nature enveloping the entire perimeter of the area; what really will perplex your senses is you get to see the incessant traffic on the road and a glimpse of the Salt Lake Football Stadium and other tall buildings around. What really plays here is the fact that you see the cacophony and not hear it- perfect blend of nature and clamour.
A lot is happening in and around the place and just one visit won’t suffice if you are genuinely curious about this seemingly obscure nature’s paradise sparkling amidst the pollution and concrete jungle of the city. On traversing around the place, much to your pleasant bewilderment, you will come across two small islands right in the middle of the lake which is home to none but mother-nature only. And it will only make one curious to further investigate into the niceties of those two islands- as in what if there are people living up there? Or some mysterious species of animal?
Well on probing the locals we found out that there’s nothing but trees and shrubs and nobody really ever goes there. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to live on an island right in the middle of Kolkata?
Ironically there happens to be a small park as well on one side of the lake which has well-groomed shrubs and trees along with a proper stone path for morning/evening walks, needless to say there are people who come in their cars just for their walks and to imbibe in the sensation. A side path which deviates after a certain length from the main stone path of the park leads uphill (not high enough that you would have to hike) to a small temple. There are a few mysterious spots, like a raised wide platform like structure made of concrete, abandoned houses which are now shrouded with wild flora and certain small areas choking with wild shrubs so badly that hardly any light would pass through.
Now some people prefer doing something rather than just taking walks or whiling away time doing nothing, and for such pro-active people there is fishing. The entire lake is buzzing with an overabundance of varied species of fishes including Rohu, Hilsa, Silver Carp and American Koi. Fishing has its own joy and also teaches a few lessons of virtue, and also comes packed with a lot of thrill- the age old need of pursuing and catching. The thrill lies in the challenge, such as persistently trying to catch a big one after several failed attempts or simply waiting patiently for the fish to take your bait. And of-course nothing beats the delight of springing a fish out of the water and calling it victory. And imaginably so there are people (mostly locals) all around the lake who’ve settled themselves down to a picnic of fishing, which they say, are mostly for their personal consumption or some do sell them off at the local bazaar. A few were there simply for the thrill of fishing, said they loved doing it even on a weekday.
Subhas Sarobar is one of the lesser known places in the city but it definitely does not lack the charm to deserve such oblivion. It is indeed beautiful and welcoming enough for all of us to not just pay it a visit as a ‘place of interest’, rather make it the usual.