Monday, August 8, 2011

yesterday at kolkata

i am in kolkata now.
yesterday our esteemed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had arranged a holiday for every state department. yesterday was Rabindranath Tagore's death anniversary. this year being the 150th year of Tagore's birth is being celebrated in style by the genteel Bengalis, therefore this holiday to commemorate Bengal's vintage style icon. so there were day long programmes: songs, dances, dramas on every makeshift stage at every street corner.
yesterday was also a day of rains. parts of this ancient city drowned raising fears of terrible traffic jams.
yesterday i had fishes after a long time. pomfret fried lightly and cooked until the masala enters its body and parshe (not the hydrid ones but purebred ones caught from sweet water ponds) done in mustard sauce.

yesterday i was at the legendary coffee house in college street. i sat there sipping two cups of hot coffee and read a book (nightrunners of bengal by john masters, a mutiny novel for those who do not know). i drew some doodle figures and stared at the people around me. yesterday being a holiday coffeehouse wasn't busy. young couples came in with their charms. there were middle aged men and women sipping their coffee alone watching people.

yesterday was a day of memories. i remembered several of my old associates (god bless them) while walking through the streets of this city. at the college street i visited my old chai shops and book stores and YMCA canteen and sweet shops and Medical College. i saw a complex game of football on the wet playground inside Presidency College. (why were the players avoiding the wet parts of the field i don't know, specially when the wet parts were near the goal posts.)

finally i boarded a train at central station and rattled home. opposite me sat a series of glum looking creatures. i don't know why underground metro railways in kolkata makes you melancholy. i guess it is the stuffiness of the underground or maybe the lack of scenery outside.

at the end of the day this melancholy got into me. The only image of the city that stayed was the face of lenin soaking under the rain, forgotten as if, looking sharp as usual, carved on a cement slab with red background in front of Hindu School.  like this sooty dark city, he too was probably waiting for thy kingdom come. 


  1. I loved the coffee house!! It's such a great experience!! College Street is fun too! I love Calcutta...the shopping, the phuchkas, Zhal-mudi, the trams, the sweet shops on every corner...
    Your blog reminded me of the lovely time I had during the one and only time I visited the city of joy... Thanks! :)

  2. Hey Mr. Rishi, thanks Yaar. I can smell the college street road bathed in rains and plus the hot coffee at Coffee House. Yaa whenever i go through metro station I also feel like that --- r ei (...)chal neie to amra benche achi. Ki bolo.