When I do want to sit down to write about my city, which I’ve known more in the last few months than in the preceding eighteen years I’ve spent here, it’s all a cluttered emotion. It’s haphazard, its noisy, its humid and disturbing but still remotely coherent. Just like Calcutta, and it’s soul.
Having now taken a conscious effort to know the city I’ve spent my entire life in and breathe in it’s aroma which blends generations and cultures, I can say it’s enriching beyond description. Because even with the sparkling neon lights and the winding flyovers and the bright new modern buses, Calcutta never ceases to amaze with its zealous endeavor to retain its old world charm. So even with the metro channels carving up the metropolis, the trams and the hand drawn rickshaws still stand as remnants of the old Calcutta, that mysterious inertia that lends the city its senile disposition.
Amidst the omnipresent hullabaloo you’ll always find nooks where you’ll discover how the city never gathered pace, and that’s when you can’t help but sit and admire the sheer magnificence of Calcutta.
If you do make it past the bustle of Dharmatala without being run over by a bus, you’ll find yourself walking on pebbled sidewalks under antique balconies of buildings which still bear advertisements of typewriter repairers. Then you find yourself facing the imposing Raj Bhavan, and surprisingly enough, you’ll do well to catch a glimpse of the entire building in one glance. You walk further and you’ll come across adjacent cricket and football clubs, before you can catch the floodlights of the Eden Gardens in the distance. If you’re a cricket fan, you might as well stand and admire the giant structure, the ultimate epitome of Bengalis’ fervour for sports since the 1940s. Just so you know, it’s the only ground which has hosted Pele and an ODI double century
Walk past Strand Road, and you’ll see the Hooghly flowing by in its own pace, unaware of this huge city that nestles beside it. Amble on till the Prinsep Ghat, another symbol of Raj architecture, which dominates the landscape of central Kolkata, the reason for which was fed into me by someone very vibrantly not so long ago. With the magnificent yet modern Vidyasagar Setu in the backdrop, you can’t help but admire the blend of antique and new, which is, significantly, what the entire city screams out.
It was time to go back and start afresh, another day.