Kolkata, West Bengal, India
The advantage of being fit and a light luggage while touring is that you don’t have to find a hotel before you start looking around a new city. I am wandering in Kolkata and I have nothing besides my backpack (and had I not carried my laptop, it would have been even lighter). When you are used to running 8-10 kms, walking so much comes naturally.
I started walking on the roads of Kolkata in the hot sun at about 1:30 and kept walking from this lane to that lane, from this road to that road, from this signal to that.. (ok enough, you got the idea 🙂 ). I walked at least for one and a half hours. I had never seen the town before, in spite of having spent time at the railway station many a times (most trains to my home, go via this place). And what other way to see the real place by taking a walk, all alone?
Sow how is old Kolkata on an early June Sunday afternoon like?
Dirty dilapidated buildings overlooking strong lanes, full of people. Sunny. Closed markets. 100 year old buses still running on road (yes, that’s how they look like). Bright yellow taxis. The neat shining white dresses of traffic policemen, made special by the black boots they are made to wear. Mango markets and the smell of a million mangoes stacked together (heavenly). Trams running on road (I will go take one generally to go to any arbitrary place once I am done with this post and a couple of more posts that were composed on train). Saffron clad poor yogis walking on road. Awesome Howrah Bridge. Windy walk over the bridge. Restless water of the Hoogli and the ferrys moving slowly over the restlessness, in full contrast. Sardarjis speaking in bengali. Girls who look so bengali. Men who talk so bengali.
You don’t have to go to Victoria Memorial to to know what Kolkata is all about. You just have to walk in the real lanes where real people live. From this internet shop, I can see the lane on which trams run. A tram just passed by. I don’t feel like waiting any more.
PS: This post marks the beginning of a new category: travel.