Once in a while I turn to a Bengali artist to tell me off.
No hiding in Calcutta. Exposed to the elements, rawness sets in. I thought I could keep track of everything. And then I went to Kolkata, and gave it up. Back then, I was eager to go places and do things, no matter the cost. I was on my game. Inside my head, everything worked full throttle. I made use of every cell in my body, I felt and gave everything I could.
I do not know if I was assessing my surrounds for a way to tell my story then. It seemed that my story did not matter within the whirling of traffic. This last time there, I remember a street lined with anglo-centric lamp posts. Two streets parallel to that was the Gariahat main thoroughfare.
I remember getting to Arundhoti's house by bus from the airport. This was one of my tricks I picked up, take the local bus from the airport, not the taxi. Kolkata had come a long way since I first set foot in it back in 2010. I sat in an air conditioned bus, my luggage out of sight, behind the packed people, on my way into the city.
Such comforts were pleasing to the traveler, but they were not necessary. They may bring more tourists to visit, but the people taking the five rupee hunks of slashed colourful rectangles will continue to do so unless those buses get air-conditioned without a fare hike. I paid some seventy rupees for that bus across town.
From the concrete loft in Gariahat, on my stiff mattress, I looked towards Barabazar, home of the Bhadralok class.