My first impression of Kolkotta was not quite appreciable. Dilapidated houses, buses, vehicles with modernity seeping in through the Paleolithic structures which risked crumbling down any moment. Kolkotta is where the old and the new stand side by side and have a snack together (may be Chaat). It’s dirty. And soggy when it rains. but there is an ambience to the city. Something Bangalore definitely misses and will never be able to do. Of course you could can it and price it a places like Barista and Cafes like that, but that’s only like Oxygen booths in Tokyo: it’s missing everywhere outside it. Kolkotta is the India I see through National Geographic. Strikingly different from South India, which maintains a little more cleanliness, strives for a modern look (but betrays it all if you step in) and moves with the times. Kol seems behind on that account. Still you could have the latest cars running beside the Ambassador car Taxi (Now when was the last time you saw so many ambassador’s and who even thought you would find them as dirty taxies here in India’s metro city?), modern buildings beside the strong old unmaintained British buildings, metro rail and human rickshaws. . . It’s a classic example of the juxtaposition of old and new. It’s the same with people as well. You see traditionally dressed mathaji’s and pithaji’s shopping with their sin’s wearing studds and heavy metal t shirts and daughters in tank tops.
And what all did the British do in the two hundred years they were hear? What’s left in Kolkotta, infrastructure-wise is what stands today. I must note that they’re all poorly maintained too. I commented to my frined that, Kolkotta got evrything new in the past when they were all new. But nothing changed after that. so the very things Kolkotta boasted of then, is what Kolkotta boasts off even today, which isn’t worth boasting about, after all. No matter what you do, whatever achievements you have in life, you really need to constantly reinvent or modify yourself, without compromising your basic values. I learn that from Kolkotta.
I’m not just a bourgeois who thinks Bangalore and it’s modernity is everything. I certainly do no think so. It’s just the capitalist in me in reflex actions. I haven’t seen so many people out walking calmly without hurry on their faces. I haven’t seen so many thinking faces either. People seem to take life more slowly, as if having realisedthat there is more to life, or that they know only the life which makes life in other cities like Bangalore look like a rat race.
I do like the feel of Kolkotta. There certainly is more to life than ealry mornings and late nights and the few things in between, endlessly.