Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the City of Joy (Mukherjee) ;-)

I wrote a longer post but lost it as the power got out! Anyway, I reached Kolkata yesterday afternoon. After checking in at Astor Hotel, I went out to take a stroll. First I went to check out the US Consulate, it was at 5 mins walking distance from hotel (I had to come to Kolkata consulate as I didn't get any early date's appointment at Chennai/Delhi consulates.). The consulate is at the Ho Chi Minh Sarini, which is in turn near to Park Street. The entire area has an unique air of antiquity to it. Some very old buildings (Kothis or havelis) were now in tatters, but it's not very hard to imagine the glorious times they have had. The Astor hotel's building is also 100 years old.

The traffic is as chaotic as in any other city in India. The narrow lanes near Park Street were dingy and clumsy. The feeling of antiquity has spilled on the roads too. I haven't seen as many Ambassadors in my life as many I've seen here in one day! Firstly, color them yellow and you've a Kolkata cab. Even otherwise many people were having ambassadors. I tried my hands at the Metro while coming to IIMC. It was much better than the Mumbai local experience. It wasn't crowded that much, mainly because the covreage is not extensive, I'm told. But it was cleaner. Even the platforms were better. I liked the use of punchcards, it makes it virtually impossible to travel without tickets. I'm yet to travel on tram, should be fun!

I didn't get any chance to try my limited Bangla (Aami Bangla bolte paari na, tumi Hindi bolte jano ki? Kemon acche?) as everyone understands and talks in Hindi. For any Hindi speaking person, Bangla is not a hard to understand language, if spoken slowly :). Even the script seems vaguely similar. I've yet to spot any junta from Bipasha Basu & Rani Mukherjee cadre, but US consulate is not the right place to expect them, I guess. This evening perhaps we'll go out for dinner or a movie, hoping for the best ;-).

The visa interview was smooth, I should get my passport back in few days. Right now I'm at Pankaj Jain's room at IIMC. This place seems good. The campus has two small lakes, the hostels are nice, rooms are big. The weather is a bit of bother though. It's humid big time and though it's not hot, humidity is tough to bear. Pankaj says it's the best weather of year though :-/. I already miss Bangalore weather!

1 comment:

Reshma Sanyal said...

Hmm. Interesting but I'm not feeling nostalgic. Looking forward to more Calcutta posts.

P.S = Please do not try sizzlers at The Astor. You may not come back alive.