Kolkata...a name I heard a hundred times..a city that wove stories for centuries now...a place that hold a different place in my heart. I have been reading hearing and imagining Kolkata from a long time now. Today when I see Kolkata, I prove right of my imaginations.
After celebrating Sankranti in a village, we headed to Kolkata on 15/Jan/2013. After a long tiring and a late journey, we reached Howrah station half past five to find it all dark already. Howrah station itself by all means worth seeing. The biggest station I ever saw till date. With nomads all around, we looked no different in our journey clothes. The only thing I could think is to reach the hotel and freshen up.
The pre-paid taxi service was of no help and hence, we hired a taxi ourselves. The driver dada, the first person we met in Kolkata who helped us a lot in understanding Kolkata and specially plan our trip for the next day. While conversing with him, we also had a glimpse of the traffic, roads and people around. One thing anyone can notice in the very first hour is the "dirty footpaths". One can see a tiny little shop just next to a pile of Khachra and all this is all around the city. The first day, we never found any completely clean road.
Freshening up in a low class "luxury hotel", we had a quick dinner and set out to see the night life of the city of Joy. To our surprise, at 8 p.m. half the city already closed. Nothing was happening. Taxis didnot drive. We were struck. Then, the complete underground metro came to our help and the rail guard is worth a mention. For the single information we sought, he spoke continuously for a minute in bengali. When we informed about our Bengali illiteracy, he said he was struggling too as he also doesnt know good bengali.
With help from youngsters around, we managed to go to the biggest mall of Kolkata (so far the only decent place) and the exteriors were good but the interiors were awesome. The beautiful and vibrant colors caught the lens of my camera. Except the colors and the engineering, everything was same as any other mall.
Coming back, we got down near Kalighat. it was half past nine already and the roads were near to being deserted. We walked almost near to the temple to make sure that we dont take the wrong road the next morning and we got it right.
Amidst all this, I found Kolkata a different destination in life. A city which might have to start questioning about being a "city". The capital of the Bengalis is still trying to wakeup from the long left charishma during the British reign.
As the night fell silent, the tired body yearned for rest and hence, we dozed down. We doze off to rise for another different experience...!!!
Day 1 in Kolkata: 16/Jan/2013.