Monday, June 8, 2009
It is easy to understand why Calcutta is called a city with a soul. And its also easy to see why it is so easy to fall in love with this city - with its crumbling, old buildings, its beautiful but rusted grills, its caked with grime facades, its cobblestoned roads, rickety, ready to fall-apart buses, its truly out-dated, out-moded, rickshaws pulled by sweaty and labouring people, its mad traffic - taxis, pedestrians, buses, autos, rickshaws, pedestrians, all in a jumbled-senseless melee yet all surviving the cut-throat competition to get that one little opening where one can push through.
It is truly amazing.
Though the words may sound critical, they are not critical at all - they are only meant to paint the picture of what I saw. If there is a city I fell in love with instantaneously, it is Calcutta. The women beautiful, the men unnoticeable :). It is a city where one can feel the palpitating poverty. Bombay has its crumbling old buildings too. Its has its slums too. But Calcutta seems so much more different. There is no visible wealth here unlinke Bombay where it can be obscenely visible. The rural and colonial air of the city permeates through every layer. Its as if the city is caught in a time-warp. It looks forgotten. As if nobody really cares if this city dies or survives.The buses are a testimony to this. Rickety to the extreme and a design which must be at least a couple of centuries old (!), it looks as if Calcutta hasn't even seen, let alone caught up, with modern developments.Its a city I am sure to go again and again to. And I know deep inside that this first glimpse was only the first of many to come ...