Avon simply pretty cherry red review

So the other day when I was going through my collection of makeup and cleaning up my place, which I rarely do, I noted the woeful absence of a classic red lipstick. Not that I really needed one given that I hardly sport bold lips and I really do not like buying something that I would be using once in a while and it would expire after couple of uses. But red is a colour that tempts us all and so I was out, searching for an economical option but should be true red. I knew of this lipstick and soon managed to get one and after using it for almost six months, here is what I think of it.
Price: Rs. 169 but I got it at a discount for rs.129 for 4.2g
Packaging
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The lipstick tube is magenta in colour and has a baby pink band in the middle. The name of the range is printed in baby pink as well. The shade name is mentioned below the tube. The tube feels flimsy but the cap shuts firmly and since it is made of plastic chances of breaking or cracking is minimal.
My view of the lipstick
Texture:
The lipstick is moisturizing in texture and glides very smoothly on the lips. the lipstick does not feel heavy or stretchy on the lips even after a few minutes from application. However it can bleed due to the moisturizing texture particularly at the corner of the lips. it can also transfer very easily and smudges if you rub your lips even a bit somewhere. The lipstick would not survive a heavy meal and leave a patch stain after meals.

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Pigmentation:
The lipstick is much pigmented and covers the pigmentation of your lips with a single swipe. For a deeper shade, one can build up the colour with double swipe but after that it can get streaky.
Longevity:
The lipstick can survive on the lips without any heavy meals for about 4-4.5 hours. It is easy to remove. I am not very fond of the moisturising shiny texture so usually matte down the texture with powder and tissue paper and after that it has survived really well for around 6hours even with a full course meal in between.
Color:
The colour is true red. There is no sparkle in it. the colour would suit everyone and perfect for parties. If you are thinking about trying out red lipstick for frst time and do not want to spent a fortune on a lipstick and then regret buying it because it is not suiting you, this lipstick is very good option to choose. A true scarlet red at such  low price is near impossible to find these days- even the elle 18 lipsticks with new formulations are priced higher than this one.
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Rate: 4.5/5
Would I recommend?
Yes, highly recommended for beginners or someone looking for economical options.

Chandannagar to Bandel- A day out to remember

Being a bong, feeling restless every few weeks just to go out and breathe some fresh air is a second nature for me. So keeping in mind all sorts of parental curfews and restrictions, I still managed to plan a day out within the curfew limits (think restrictions to how long you stay out and who you go out with to where you are going). Chandannagar seemed to be the perfect place that fitted my criteria and the trip was chalked out soon. I am glad I did not think of a solo trip as usual and went out with a friend who is almost equally crazy about travelling- you will find out soon why having someone as company helped.

The plan- theoretically

We planned to head out really early at around 6am in the morning to make sure that even if any unwanted hindrance does occur, we still have enough time to all the places and come back home in time too. The primary attraction of the town include the Chandannagar museum, the Sacred heart church, Patalbari and the Strand. Chandannagar was the only place we had in mind.

The day out in reality

So, first we reached the Howrah station in record time around 6:45 in the morning and looked for the first Bandel local that was scheduled at the earliest. We ended up on an unreserved train that was supposed to go to Chandannagar but were scheduled to leave much later. The chaos began as we almost forgot our bags on this train as we ran to get on the Bandel local that had arrived on another platform. We finally managed to get on the right train with everything and being the early morning train, it made before time to the destination station. We were at Chandannagar by 8 am.

From the station we took an auto to the ferry ghat. From the ferry ghat the strand, the sacred heart church and the Chandannagar museum and the Patalbari are all in one direction and close by. It is about ten minutes walk from the ferry ghat along the Ganges to reach the strand which is right opposite to the Chandannagar museum. The way to Sacred heart is easy enough. The road beside the Chandannagar college leads to the Sacred heart Church and Google Map was cooperative enough to provide accurate locations so far to us. The Chandannagar college is right beside the museum.

However the real trouble was not with direction but with time- we reached too early even for the church to open. So we had to spend approximately one and a half hour loitering around. This would have been hard enough if any of us had come alone. The sacred heart church opens at 9 am. The major attraction of the church is its history. Some of the oldest recorded graves during the french colonial times in chandannagar are also there within the church compound.

The Strand is a beautiful structure that is a fine specimen of the blend of French and Indian architecture and the serenity of the location make it a pleasant view of the town. The Patalbari is within your visual range from here. The house has its own history and noted as a home where Rabindranath Tagore had resided for a while. However the home is not open to public and someone actually stays in the house and the owner’s family lives across the street. So whether there are rooms below the water level was something we did not get to witness personally. So that was another disappointment.

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Our next stop was the Sacred heart church. Early in the morning we were the only people who came there as tourists. The church is homely and the detailed glass paintings are particularly beautiful. The oldest recorded grave is there right behind the church and the entire church compound is well maintained and beautiful.

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The Chandannagar museum opens at 11am or supposed to be open by 11am officially but it was finally opened around 11:30am when the employees arrived at last. Till then, we spent loitering around the museum lawns and the building itself which is a very beautiful French architecture and a sight to behold anyway. The graveled path, the really thick pillars along a long and sunny corridor was a fine sight indeed. The museum which at first appeared small actually holds quite a large number of artifacts and paintings which are very valuable. There are various manuscripts and specimens of the French colonial period that the museum holds but sadly their conservation and maintenance is not up to the mark. The French library and the duplex room are also part of the museum. The duplex room houses some very valuable and beautiful furniture and antiques from the French era.

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However exploring the museum took us about an hour and by 12pm we had nothing more to explore- not at least in Chandannagar. So we started looking up other places to go along the river and there was Bandel and regions of Hooghly. We chalked out our next part of the trip as we searched around for a restaurant for lunch. One we had lunch; we again head off for Bandel.

One can go to Bandel by train from the Chandannagar station. That is the most straight forward option for a newcomer. But the other convenient option that we found from the locales is by road. Take a tracker to “Khajnar More” and from there one can get auto to Bandel more that is the cross road between the station road and the one leading toward the church. Once you reach here, you would find numerous auto towards the church from this point. The auto we took from Khajnar more actually said that there would not be any option to go to the church and that the best choice would be reserving the auto for going to both the Bandel church and the Hooghly Imam Bara. However the Bandel church is 10minutes auto ride from this region and one would not be disappointed at the grandeur of the structure.

The Bandel church is a specimen of Portuguese architecture dated in 15th century and it is much larger than the Chandannagar church. The church compound is beautiful and one can even go to the terrace of the church. The view of the Jubilee bridge from the terrace and the sparkling Ganges under the midday sun is soothing. Like any average tourist I am not a history buff and I liked the location, the beautiful structure and the overall magnitude of the building no doubt but much of the history has just bounced off my head.

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The next stop was the Hooghly Imam Bara. One can reach the Imam Bara by auto from the front gate of the Bandel church but a more serene and beautiful option are the boats which ferry from the makeshift ferry behind the church. There are boatmen at the gate of the church itself who would ask you to opt for the boat but it is better to go to the ferry yourself and talk directly with the boatmen. The rates they tell starts from 200 approx and then with much haggling settle for 100, which is still expensive for the distance they are covering but it is worth the cost. The Hooghly Imam Bara dates into the 12th century. The location is beautiful right by the Ganga and the Imam Bara has a very serene ambience about it. There is a sun dial outside the imam Bara, though I found the view from the clock towers of the imam Bara overlooking the river and the entire Imam Bara more rewarding, though the climb up spiraling stairs seemed eternal and never ending as I climbed up.

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The trip came to an end as we proceeded to go to the station from here. The Bandel station can be reached from the imam Bara by the battery cars that were on the road outside.  We came back to Kolkata by 6:30 in the evening.

My conclusion

First, I guess we should have started at least 2 hours later to ensure that we did not have to sit or loiter around waiting for the museums to open. The second thing we could have done was plan visiting Bandel first since it seemed more interesting than the places in Chandannagar. Then lastly, I am thankful I planned to go out with someone and not alone- I would have been bored sitting around and would never have had the enthusiasm to plan on the go and keep pushing myself for going around to the new places.  The Chandannagar and Bandel trip is a perfect plan for a day out when you have to be back home within a decent time.

International men’s day celebration and Kolkata

It was like any other day as I turned my laptop on and started checking the mails of the day without expecting anything other than work mails. As I started discarding all the promotional mails as usual, my eyes got stuck to a mail from a personal email address. As I read through the mail and re-read again to make sure that I have read it right, it become obvious to me that it is an invitation to witness a car rally celebrating International men’s day. If not anything, curiosity drove me to find out more and eventually go to the event the following day, that is on 19th November.

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So what is Men’s day? Days dedicated to women, children, even fathers in particular are something we all are familiar with but a day dedicated to men in general? It was new to me and from what followed afterwards through the day, it was apparent that the event is new to a lot of people all over the city. While the world have witnessed fickle calls for an official men’s day since the 1960s, it formally came into being in 1992 , 7th February, inaugurated by Thomas Oaster. Eventually the Date was set to 19th November all over the world.

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In Kolkata, the event was being celebrated through a car rally organized by Hridaya- a NGO which focuses on improving the gender equality standards and they have been organizing this program since 2007. The car rally was scheduled to start from Kolkata Press club at 2 p.m. and after passing through significant regions like park circus, and landmarks like Science City and Ruby Hospital finally ended in Golf Green at 5 pm. The main agenda of the car rally was to make people aware of the day and how men too can seek help in distress and need to be vocal of their rights too.

In a strictly patriarchal country, the notion of distressed men is alien. Women empowerment is essential but one cannot completely discard that laws that are designed to help women are also often being misused. Patriarchy today gives women rights through reservations and with laws in their favor, perhaps in an attempt to be acknowledged as tolerant further aggravating the divide and inequality between the sexes. The celebration of this particular day focus on bringing about a change in the biased laws where the woman have every power to lodge complaints of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dowry troubles and rape. On the other hand, men complaining of domestic violence, and even sexual harassment is looked down upon. After all, the stereotype about men is that they have to be tough against all odds. Yet, in reality, men too have their share of troubles but the difference in the situations is that they do not have any law to back them up.

As I spent the three hours interacting with several members of the NGO, a thought recurred in my mind that, patriarchal society not only victimize their daughters but also their sons in a manner that is even more exploitative. I came across one such man who have been granted the legal custody for his child but is still not allowed to meet his daughter by his wife. Another man was a victim of acid attack. The men are passionate about the cause and at some point I cannot deny, the demands are just. Upholding the rights of one sex with the logic of empowerment hardly justify depriving the other of legal faculties completely. True empowerment is possible only when truly equal rights are delivered.

Questions

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A toddler of four, she walked down the same path everyday holding her father finger to reach the children’s park round the corner in the evening. It was a routine they both enjoyed. Her days were eternal freedom. She observed. She analyzed the world around her in her own ways. Nothing escaped her eyes and she was bursting with questions all the time. It has been a few months since she has started talking in sentences- an achievement that she could not help but show off in every way possible.
It was a winter evening when the father-daughter duo walked out of the park and headed towards their home. She pranced and jumped, all the while asking anything and everything she could. A little ahead of them, there stood a man in his mid-twenties at the edge of the road, looking down at the drain with his back turned to the road- a awkward posture to her virgin eyes.
“Dad? What is he doing?” her shrill voice rang clear amidst the silence.
“He is peeing. Let’s go home.” The father replied. He was much at ease with his only daughter- she was his child and not just a daughter.
She stopped walking.” Why is he peeing there?”
“Maybe because it was urgent dear.”
Her chubby cheeks inflated further as she contemplated the idea of urgent bladder relief. All of a sudden she let go of her father’s finger, ran to the man and peered good-naturedly at his front side, much to his mortification and her father’s amusement.
“Sorry mister–, come back here kid- you are not supposed to do that.”
“Why not?”
Her father recognized a tinge of haughtiness in that baby voice that came somewhere from below his knees. She was mirroring his stubborn character already. He was proud.
“You do not watch people while they are peeing. That is bad manners and it is their private needs.”
She kept silence for a while more as they walk ahead from the spot. Her father was not used to this silence. He felt uncomfortable worrying that she might have taken his tone for scolding. And then she blurted out,
“Why is his one long? It is not like mine.”
For once the father was stumped. But he was her father after all.
“Because he is a man. You are a girl. They are different.”
“Okay. I need to pee. Can I pee there?”
“Absolutely not. It is unhealthy. You will fall sick.”
“But why not? He was doing it. Would he not fall sick?”
“You will wet your pants. Home is just a few minutes walking dear.” He chose to avoid the last query.
“I will take off my pants.”
“You are not supposed to take off your pants on the road dear. That uncle was wearing his pants, remember?”
“So… I can pee anywhere if I do not take my pants off?”
“No… because you cannot pee without taking them off. Men can.”
Again, she lapsed to silence. Her tiny head felt heavy with the “simple” idea of the “other” gender. Who are men? Any person peeing on the road is man. Are they good? Don’t they have bathrooms? A million more question fluttered around in her mind.
“Dad…”
“Yes?”
“I want a long one.”
“Men only have long one dear.” He was flabbergasted.
“ I want to be a man.”
Her father was taken aback.
“Why?”
“I can do anything and no one will tell me it is unhealthy or bad manners. That’s why.”
“But you do not need to be a man to do whatever you want to. You need to grow up for that. You need to study and become a great person. Then you can do whatever you want to. Grown up girls who study hard and become something worthwhile always can do whatever they want. Girls are equally good and better. You do not have to be a man for that sweetie.”
He stopped short. She was four and perhaps she can hardly understand what he meant. He never wishes to see her just as a girl but then, even he is bound to the society.
She just nodded and did not ask any further on this.
Twenty three years later, a pleasant February evening:
“Dad, I am going out on a trek trip.”
“Good. Who are you going with?”
“No one. I am going alone.”
“You cannot go alone. I will not allow it.”
“Why not?”
The potent haughtiness he had witnessed a score and three years back, now has been unleashed to its maximum in her voice making her voice hardly female.
“But my friend already went there alone and he said it is safe enough.”
“He is a guy. He can go and survive anywhere. You are a woman. There is a difference.”
“Who said I cannot survive? Why can I not survive?”
“You are old enough to know why not. Now no more questions.”
The first rule of being a female- “does not ask questions” was quoted to her yet again- a quote she has heard billions of time since puberty.
She silently went back to her room trying to remember the things he had told her once. Or has she imagined them?
The very teachings of childhood now became vague in the light of adulthood. She is a woman first and human later now. It does not matter if she is perfectly fit and capable enough to take care of herself. It does not matter if she is better trained at combat than most males. After all, she is a “she”. She is the goddess meant to be worshipped but not to be unleashed. She is meant to be pleased and pampered in her tantrums but never to be understood.  She is meant to be controlled for she cannot mind her own safety. She is meant to be always addressed as C/O and not by her identity- her name. She is to serve and never be thanked or ( am I asking way too much?) served. Her parent’s home is not her own, neither is her husband’s. Her womb is not her own but the family ‘s she never really belongs to. Her body is not her own, neither is her mind and never her will. She never really gets to choose who will touch her for there are many who will touch her some way, whether she wants it or not.
These are knowledge she was never taught but she imbibed with time. Painful truths- even more so for her who believed ardently the words she believe to have heard as a kid- the consolatory lies. She has lived enough with them so far. She did what she could do best now. She was his daughter after all.
A note fluttered in the morning breeze early dawn, stuck on the refrigerator-
“Let me fly dad. I am your child and not your daughter. Let me fall.  Let me get hurt. Only then you can really know that I will survive when you are not around.”
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Image courtesy: google images

Voitre Face serum Review

However much I resolve not to indulge in more makeup and cosmetic products, resisting temptation is difficult when there are so many attractive offers and deals around us. I had been contemplating on subscribing for Fab Bag subscriptions for long and after going to through many mixed reviews about their repetitive and average products most of the time, I kept putting off the idea. Finally I subscribed after getting the notification that they would be giving one of the sugar matte lipsticks as a part of the bag. The voitre Face serum was among the other products that I received on that month. Read on to know how it fared for me.

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The voitre face serum comes in a tiny glass bottle with a cap that also doubles as a dropper. The glass of the bottle is thick and dark- like the packaging of essential oils. The cap is golden in colour and there is a tag tied around the neck of the bottle that gives a brief introduction of the brand and also has the ingredient list.
Price: rs. 1500 approx. for 12ml
Ingredients

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Texture and consistency
The product is milky and has a watery consistency. One has to shake the bottle every time before using it. The smell of the product is strong but not overpowering. The fragrance is heavenly. It is natural and floral and there is no artificiality about the scent.

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My view on the Voitre Face serum:
I had already read a number of good reviews on this product and was ecstatic when I received it as a part of my first month fab bag subscription. This was my March fab bag subscription and my skin was feeling rather rough during the season change. I am not very dedicated about my skin care regime and only when there is some serious trouble that I feel the urge to take care of my skin. So needless to say, my skin was dry and chapped from the winter months and was some parts of my cheeks were hurting when I finally felt the need to be regular about moisturizing. This is when I received the serum.
One needs hardly a couple of drop of the serum for your entire face. After using the serum every night before bedtime for 15 days, I must admit the results were fabulous. First, the parts of my cheeks where the skin was chapped and flaking started healing and within a week it was completely healed- something that was just not happening even though I was already routinely using moisturizer twice a day since a week before getting this serum. By another week my skin was glowing, felt very soft to touch and was smooth and hydrated. The change was very much noticeable. My mother and my sister too used the serum. For my mother, the some of her dark spots were significantly reduced which hardy happened before even though she used various anti-ageing products. My sister also experienced reduction of acne scars.
However, given we three were using the product, the bottle lasted 15 days for us but the effect of the product was lasting enough. Overall, this is one of the best face serums there is for every age group though it is extremely pricey. But the results I have experienced were miraculous and hence I cannot blame the company for such a price tag.
Pros:
Beautiful fragrance that is lasting
Consistency that gets absorbed easily in the skin irrespective of skin type
Heals acne scars, and dry, dehydrated and flaking skin
Reduced dark spots significantly
A little goes a long way
Hydrates the skin and rejuvenates youthful radiance
Sturdy packaging
Completely herbal and no preservatives
Cons:
Expensive
Not available easily
One bottle would hardly last a month when used by a single person
Would I recommend?
Yes, if you do not mind spending thousands for such tiny bottle then go for it. It is effective indeed.
Rate: 4.5/5

Star’s cosmetics concealer palette

`I have always considered concealers unnecessary given that I do not have much to conceal. But still I wanted to try out a concealer for the little amount of dark circles that I do have. I was looking for a product that would look good in photographs and suit my complexion perfectly. I had been eyeing the products from star’s cosmetics for a long time on online stores majorly because of the affordability and the wide choice they provide. They are actually an Indian brand of theatre makeup originating from Mumbai. Unexpectedly I bumped on these palettes at the oldest art supply store of Kolkata- G.C.Laha and I must admit I was elated and shocked. Elated because they cost was less than what flipkart or jabong displays as the MRP and shocked because they actually are charging so much more.
Read on to know how it fared for me.
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Price: rs. 350- I got it for rs.315 for the three shade palette
The online stores mostly charge rs.500 and extra 50-80 for shipping for these particular palettes.
The larger 12 or 10 colours palette (I do not remember exactly the number of shades they had) cost around rs.850 at the store.
Packaging:
It comes in a silver carton with the brand name printed in black. The palette case is matte black and the name is printed in white on it. There is an average sized mirror that is almost as large as the palette within it. The palette is quite sturdy but would not survive a fall as mine have cracked slightly already from a fall. The packaging, at least the outer carton reminds of kryolan cosmetics.
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My view of the product
I got this palette around December or January and at that time the temperature of Calcutta was rather low. Initially it felt very dry and almost rubbery to an extent. I was completely disappointed with the product then. But soon it turned out that with the room temperature, the texture of the product varies as well. I left the palette under the sun for about 10mins and it turned really creamy and easy to use. Now that it is summer here, the product is always creamy and smooth. The palette that I got, have a light shade which is of neutral undertone, a medium shade with strong yellow undertone and a yellow colour corrector. I use the medium one mostly, sometimes mixed with the light one depending on where I am using it.
I find that this works best with fingers or sponge. I dab a little bit of it under my eyes and then blend it with a wet sponge. Personally I feel a concealer that can stay put without creasing even during summers is the best. Sadly, this one does not fulfil that criterion at all. I have not tried wearing it under the maximum possible temperature, but it did settle in the creases badly even when the temperature was tolerable, within 3-3.5 hours of wear time. Settling it with powder did not help much, rather it felt heavy and uncomfortable that way.
The yellow corrector was a disappointment though. If you use it and then try to layer with the concealer of your tone, it gets cakey- so the purpose of the corrector fails.
Coverage is medium and buildable but not up to full. It will start getting cakey that way. The shade medium would suit anyone with yellow undertones and probably would suit most of the fair to medium skin toned women.
Since I use the concealer rarely at functions and occasions, the product despite its shortcomings is good enough for me. It photographs really well and stays in place in AC or colder temperature.  The pallet is good for beginners who want to master the use of the concealer before trying out something really fancy and expensive.
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Pros:
Affordable for a palette of three-each pan weighs 5g
Would suit fair to medium skin tone with yellow undertones
Photographs well
Cons:
Availability
Creases badly under hot temperature- not suitable for daily use
Yellow corrector is of disappointing quality
Gets cakey if layered
Tips:
It actually last longer when you blend a layer of the concealer with wet sponge and wait a while for it to dry up and then layer again in a similar manner and set it with powder.
Rate: 2.5/5

What would happen if harry potter was based in Kolkata?

 

Ever since I read the first book, my free times were mostly spent imagining myself as one of the students of Hogwarts. Sometimes, if I had the audacity to imagine myself as brilliant, I saw myself as Hermione- accompanying Harry on every expeditions and adventure. But I stumbled as I tried to follow him around given Europe or wherever the Hogwarts school is (you see, magical schools are really secretive about their whereabouts as per Bathilda Bagshot in Hogwarts: A history) since I hardly know the country. How nice it would have been had the story been set in Kolkata. The city of joy is a magic to be unravelled every day- every lanes and street hold their own history and magic that you can explore. What if there were…

Flying metros

Invisible to the muggles, flying metro would have been the perfect substitute to knight bus in Kolkata. You have to reach the metro station by either apparating, floo powder or with broomsticks and the train can take you across continents. It does not even need railway tracks and it is faster than aeroplanes. How cool is that?

 

Platform 17 ¾

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The new platforms of Howrah station are less crowded and hence the ideal place to reach the magical platform undetected. The chaotic coherence in the spirit of Kolkata is particularly manifested in the bustling heritage station which resembles platform 9 ¾ every time a train arrives at any platform. No- you don’t have to walk through the pillars here, though, it is too scary for an eleven-year-old. Platform 17 ¾ can be reached simply by flushing yourself down a particular toilet here.

The Diagon alley of Kolkata- icchepuron goli

The magical street where you can find everything you need has to be around Dharmatala in Kolkata. What can be more fitting that the central Kolkata region where you can find everything and anything. To reach the place that is located right below the Hogg Market, go inside New Market at the centre where the alleys within the market converge at the tiny shop in the middle. All you have to do is simply walk through the shop and there you are- at “icchepuron goli”.

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Floating school

Take a train to Hogwarts which is located in the heart of the Ganges on a floating coral island guarded by the Mer people. Wondering how a train can travel under water? Don’t worry- Hogwarts express is equipped with floaters or trained giant squids to pull it forward while a special water-proofing charm protects its engines. The school often rise up on the surface of the river- not that you would feel the lack of sunlight or air underwater as well. After all, Hogwarts enjoys a natural ambience even within the building itself with its enchanted ceiling.

Crows instead of owls

Kolkata has plenty of crows and the magical community can actually get a great deal of use out of the rodents simply by petting them and training them to carry your letters.

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Wands made of neem, mahogany, and saal

Wands made from the tropical and evergreen trees are the best choice here. A wand from the neem tree would perfectly match the ambience of Kolkata when to harry potter is set here. But resisting the urge to chew at it is an art to be mastered by many.

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Am I raving with my imagination? Even if I am, I do not care to restrict myself. Magic is madness. Magic is imagination and Kolkata are magic. So you never know when you stumble upon real magic in this city.

 

This Blogpost is an entry to the blogging contest, a part of the book launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in association with Kolkata Bloggers.

Image courtsey for all the images used in this post goes to google images.