GUWAHATI, Jan 2 � Reviving memories of yesteryears when life was still not complicated and people enjoyed the privilege of hospitality even at the residence of a perfect stranger, the bullock-driven cart � a project conceptualised several years ago by the Sankardev Kalakshetra Society � has finally hit the road with a traditional Assamese bullock cart plying around the premises with tourists.
This bullock cart � complete with a kerosene lamp to give the feel of the days gone by � has become an instant hit with children as well as elders. Nostalgia has overcome even the coachman, Nagen Das, who while talking to this reporter on Sunday, said that the bullock cart always reminded him of his younger days.
�We had many bighas of paddy field at one time. I used to ride a bullock cart and was very happy,� said Das, recalling the past and hiding a sigh.
The happiness that was his has come back to him again. With the changes sweeping across the capital city in the last two decades, the paddy fields that once were the favourite outing spot for Das have stood replaced with concrete structures.
�But now while riding the bullock cart here at the Kalakshetra, I feel the same happiness I had when I spend long hours in our paddy fields,� said Das.
It needs to be mentioned here that apart from this new attraction, the Kalakshetra has another addition that was thrown open for the visitors today.
A medicinal plant garden was inaugurated by Ratna Oja on the occasion of the New Year festivities that got off on January 1. This garden, according to Kalakshetra officials, will give an opportunity to the visitors to know about the value of the local medicinal plants as well as help the research students.
However, casting a dampener, the traditional food stalls that stand out in the New Year festivities of the Kalakshetra were missing and food lovers who had gone solely for savouring the traditional delicacies were a disappointed lot.
�As part of the New Year celebrations, the Kalakshetra has been hosting the Silpamela regularly and the only reason for which I come is to eat the Assamese delicacies. But I am missing the delicacies this year,� regretted Rajdeep Baruah, pointing out to the stalls in the Silpamela ground selling Chinese and North Indian food.
Another visitor to the Kalakshetra, Rima Barthakur said that the Kalakshetra authorities should have ensured the traditional flavour in the Silpamela.
�As in the earlier years, I was expecting a lot of stalls exhibiting and selling the Assamese delicacies but was disappointed,� she said.