Friday, July 20, 2007
Hi, got back from “The City of Joy” yesterday. I have not read the book or seen the movie so from what I saw there I am still clueless why Calcutta, oops Kolkota should be called so.
Wiki as always had the answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Joy
I was in Kolkota for my induction having joined my organization only 50days ago. We were in the Tollygunje Club (www.thetollygungeclub.com), one of the top twenty clubs in the world. Unfortunately our programme was structured to stretch over the best part of the three days I spent there and coupled with travel exhaustion left me little time to explore and utilize its many facilities. However life in that club gives a deep insight to the English style of city living.
Being my second trip to Kolkota I had seen a few of the many sights earlier, however to oblige my companion who wanted to go sight seeing and also as he did not speak any Hindi, I did manage to see the two famous bridges and the swanky Park Street. We missed the monuments as invariable we exceeded the visiting hours by a couple of hours everyday. The Howrah bride has always been awe inspiring and though the modern bridge is a magnificent engineering marvel, I couldn’t help admire the predecessor for its majestic presence.
The trams have degenerates since my last visit more than a decade ago, probably with age or more likely poor maintenance. Personally I prefer the Delhi metro for the overhead view it provides compared to this subterranean experience. Sadly we missed out on a tram journey for want of time. Wish Chennai had not retired those.
What enduring memories do I carry from Kolkota?
The horrible drivers of the red private buses, who would put our very own MTC drivers to shame with their recklessness. I have never been overwhelmed by a bigger vehicle bearing down on me but Kolkota brought the fear of the road in me. The cab is was going in was nearly run down on three occasions and the drivers have scant disrespect for the traffic rules or the cops who just stood helplessly nearby. The fact that these buses were so old and rickety and looked ready to fall apart made matters worse as you were left wondering if these monstrosities would have the brakes to stop their motion.
The best journey was at 3.30 AM in the morning on the way to the airport where the empty roads put my fears to rest but not for long. My cab driver either due to sleepy eyes or poor eyesight nearly drove into a stationary truck and his near miss judgment of the roadside medians kept me on tenterhooks till the airport.
City of Joy it may be, but there is no place like home. Like the Maestro’s song, “Sorgame endraalum athu nam ooru pol aagumaa?”
PS: The auto I took on the way home was kissed affectionately by a mini truck pushing us off the road into the stone median. I got off the auto shaken and stirred from my slumber, but thankfully unscratched. The auto was however dented badly. But note the point ladies and gentlemen, it was a LCV and not our bus!!!!