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Saturday, March 15, 2008

A few hours spent at Kolkata 1

Before I begin this post one thing I want to make it absolutely clear and that is This is not a travel post!!!

I had this opportunity to spend about five to six hours in Kolkata while waiting for my connecting train to and from Hyderabad. So, in all I spent about 12 hours over a period of two days. Hence, at best, this can be description of what little I saw of the city, and certainly not the entire Kolkata.

The first thing that you notice while you enter the Howrah is the Howrah Junction itself. Now why would I mention this especially after seeing VT (Mumbai). No doubt VT is much older, cleaner, and more beautiful than Howrah anytime but that's it.

Howrah actually beats VT outright due to various reason. Firstly, Howrah Junction is itself very beautiful; somewhat, resembles to the chinese castle in "Age of empire". Secondly, It is adjacent to Howrah Bridge, now called Rabindra Setu which is extremely beautiful. Thirdly it overlooks Hoogli and that adds to its beauty even more. Fourthly, The view from the the First class waiting room is exquisite with its large terrace looking over the bridge and the river. And Fifthly, because of its design to allow cars to enter, right next to every platform.

Now according to me, Travelling means to visit and experience something which is very intrinsic to the city culture and way of living.Remember being cheated is also an experience. So Dear gals if you are expecting a list of shopping centres; you'll be disappointed. Now, since I had pretty less time mind you, I need to freshen up too!!! I made a mental list of things that one must do to make his visit to Kolkata count and here is the one.
  • To visit the by lanes of Kolkata and see its culture and way of living.

  • Travel in tram which can be done in Kolkata (So Dear, Switzerland you'll have to wait!!!)

  • Taste its famous Mishti (Sweets) for which the City is famous.

  • A walk down the famous Howrah Bridge.

  • Taste its famous "fuchka" or "Pani Puri".

  • A ferry ride across Hoogli.

  • Ride the famous and unique hand pulled Rickshaw.

  • Travel in Metro (Even though Delhi has one)

  • If get a chance ogle at some "khoob bhalo Bongali Beauty"


The best part about my journey was that Dad was there to accompany me. Now that was fun, since this is the only trip I can recall, in all my life; that had two of us alone. At the age of 22 it may sound odd, moreover I never expected it to happen at this time and age, but like I said I give a damn about your opinion.

As I was with my Dad, I hope it is clear by now that by lanes does not mean "Sona Gachi".

Anyways, the first thing that you notice about Kolkata is the leisurely pace at which this metro moves in. It doesn't have any air of the metropolis it is portrayed as; and is damn cheap. Kolkata is a city where you come to observe, that it is happy to preserve its culture and traditions, and not to mention those old depleted bungalows amidst the "New malls" that are coming up. If you ask me, I sometime wonder, if the photographs of two different centuries are superimposed on one another; for a Mall looks quite odd among a shanties of shops selling tea in a "Kulhad" (earthen pots.)

Now Kolkata is not a clean city, in fact it is dirty, and very dirty however. it doesn't stink like Mumbai. In fact as soon as you leave the road and walk on the pavement/corridors of the of the porches of the big Bungalows, which overlook MG Road, and now house several of the shops which sell Sarees, sweets and other things a sweet aroma of incence greets you. Something similar to the smell that comes around; the incence during the "Durga pooja". Near the pillars, of which a dull white plaster is coming off due to lack of maintainece of the bunglows; still support the corridor arches, you will more often than not will you find a small road side tea stall selling hot tea in "kullhad" or earthen Pots. Beside it runs an open concrete drain which is 4 inch deep and about 18 inch wide is liberally filled with broken earthen pots. Occasionally you see a tap about three feet above the ground which is always running and scores of children bathing mother naked and enjoying the cool water as if there is no tomorrow. At one of the corner you are bound to find a "Pan Shop" ( A beetle shop) and beside it you will find a lottery counter or a "Pani Puri wala". Sounds of salesman claiming to have best of the Sarees will always greet you once every three step.

More of it later...

8 comments:

shikha said...

quite ,quite interesting..

"Travelling means to visit and experience something which is very intrinsic to the city culture and way of living" -i loved this particular sentence..thats exactly wat i feel abt travelling or xploring new places..a good piece of writing there..

falcon said...

@ Shikha
Thx for the compliment but at best this can be said a mediocre post...
It lacks the description that can gives a visual appeal or thrust to let your imagination fly....

Intriguiging Answers said...

I wish i could have read this post before you came to kolkata so that i could have helped you fulfill all your fdesires.Anyways i think i helped you achieve the last objective in your list.

falcon said...

@kg (INTRIGUING ANSWERS)

Hey I don't know abt that but these posts are really on the waiting time I spent.

i hope we had a good time when we were together and I' jus might write a post regarding the time spent together...
but I can't bet on that

shikha said...

time to start with kolkata 2i guess..

:)

falcon said...

Soon

Poonam Sharma said...

Kolkata fuchka have their unique taste. Water is imli water while here in delhi they use jalzeera water.

And kolkata metro is not hald as sophisticated and clean as Delhi metro. Delhi metro has a clean technology as well that earned it billions of carbon credits as well.

falcon said...

@poonam...
Haven't got an experience of Delhi metro... so can't say abt that..
But kolkata metro is much older than Delhi so don't be surprised if it is also dirty and less maintained

Regarding fuchka.. kolkata has the best...hoever neighbouring states like bihar have almost the same taste but their fuchka is smaller in size..