Thoughts on Kolkata-City of Joy
When you choose a profession that makes you travel every 3-4 years to a new city, it does generate the ability to imbibe a new culture as well as tradition prevalent in that region. It does make you open to the idea of mixing and syncing with a new set of individuals and getting to know them and incorporating at least a part of their way of life and practices into your own.
So Kolkata, where I found myself. A city which is so ancient, to begin with, and yet she has character and temperament as well. Many among those who knew me asked me “Kolkata !! But why there of all the places ???? “. To tell the truth, I had no answer to the Why…. Well back then there was no answer, and maybe even now I don’t have an answer carved in stone. All I have are wisps of phrases and a wistful longing for knowing this city more.
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For beneath her multiple layering life exists in numerous planes; a reputation which is showcased to the world intimidating those who hear stories about this city. However, there does exist a graceful connect with history that has been rooted out here; a connection with teeming millions who have made this city their home.
I am a passionate photographer, and I see a plethora of frame every second out here, frames which talk about life in the streets, structures that speak about the tales which originated in the past. There is a sense of anticipation in me for this city, a feeling in the bones if I may say.
As someone once said, I think it was Shakespeare “What’s in a name … !! “. Well, Kolkata defies that statement to the hilt. It’s been a few weeks that I have been here, and the festive season is in full flow. Having seen the festivities of Christmas eve with revellers decked in their flamboyance; I have also been witness to the dockworkers at Khidderpore dressed in their finery to toil the evening away as the ships need their attention come day or night. Yet there is happiness and a sense of being connected to the ground in both the places and this the soul finds soothing.
As I find my place in this city, sometimes walking with a camera in hand, she offers herself to me tacitly, and beneath that foreboding look I have the choice to either absorb and move on or freeze that frame in my camera. Do anything or something but yea the soul is forging a link out here for Kolkata is enveloping me.
Few facts that i have come across in the last few days
|Honking needlessly is a god given right 🙂|
|Sweets ( Misthi ) is mandatory.|
|Winters is all about fairs,concerts and flower shows.|
|Christmas is bonhomie in Park Street,Bow Barracks and solemnity at St Thomas Church.|
|Maidan is the place to be on weekend mornings.|
|Gorging on street food followed by Kalo Cha ( black tea ) in clay/mud cups at the adjacent Chai Thek ( tea stall ) is mandatory.|
|Come Sankranti and its all about Peethe and Nolen Gurer Payesh in the households.|
|Rallies and protests are all taken in one’s stride. There is always a detour available.|
|Winter fogs and early mornings need to be handled with open eyes.|
|Kolaghat is for those late night impromptu highway dinners.|
|Oudh Biryani followed by Arslan’s always when it comes to choices.|
|Baghbajar and Shouvabajar is all about character and depth of Kolkata life|
Some additional work of mine on visuals, do have a look !!
This post is by no way complete as it does not even cover a minuscule of what this city holds and I will revisit this some months into my stay out there. Till then let me hold on to my thoughts.