Wednesday, November 24, 2004

oh calcutta!

Pardon me for sticking to the past.one might say i am a diehard.but then,calcutta is past and kolkata is present!.i am back in my born and brought up place.practically so.only that i was born in villupuram,about 100 miles from chennai and after a few months cam along with my mom to calcutta.we lived in 150 rashbehari avenue.and then when we moved to then bombay 15 years later,the address was 150 queen's road.is that a coincidence are the play of numerology.that is a different subject which i shall deal in this blog some other day.
the flight last night was delayed by three and a half hours thanks to the fog.and this morning i was pleasantly surrised when i read an ad in the 'statesman' put up by indian airlines saying that don't worry if your flight is delayed due to fog,we will keep in touch with you on your mobile!.indian airlines in a new avatar!.i don't normally eat in the plane because i just don't like the food that they give.and my wife loves it.we discussed it this morning and laughed it off.we have been together for 35 years and this is one more uncommonality.i knew mushtaq and nirmal would have taken pains to keep the food for me which i found when i landed in 60 ballygunge circular road.the khana was warmed up,hot thick phulkas were dished out and the meal was heavenly.the right recipe for a good night's sleep.calcutta has changed in many ways.the city has become cleaner.lot of new highrise apartments have mushroomed.flyovers have reduced travelling time.and i always do my shopping for clothes when i am in kolkata.i don't know why.i drive down to the 'new market'and buy all the stuff that i want.i am always reminded of the old days whem my dad and mom took us to new market for the diwali shopping.this market was gutted ina fire many many years ago,but then it has again risen like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes.so,a quick trip to nm is due today.i need a lot of trousers.after having lost 50% of my clothes on iberian flight,i am going back to my old peter england shop for a replenishment!
and the i will have my favourite luchi and aaloodum for lunch with mishteydoi and sandesh.and then when i sit back late in the office,tomorrow being a board meeting day,my office boy will bring me nice and spicy mudi(puffed rice with a dash of mustard oil and green chillies).a rather royal dinner will await me in the guest house.
thanks to my reliance mobile with a fantastic moden 152kbps,i am on the internet using my laptop and blogging away.

13 comments:

Lulu said...

loved your post on calcutta! i remember my first and only visit to this city many years back for devjani's wedding. i really enjoyed getting to know the city where you gre up and adding to the coincidences, she happened to also live at 150 rashbehari avenue!

i'm very happy to see that you are blogging from calcutta as well. do you have photo capability on your cellphone? the new thing these days is moblogging where you can post to your blog from the cellphone and attach a photo!

gs said...

thanks very much lulu for your comments.adding to the coincidences,when i landed in our guest house on wednesday night at about 11pm(the ia flight was delayed by 3 hours),i heard a cacophony of noises,which emanated from a house nearby where a pandal erection was going on for a forthcoming marriage.i immediately thought of devjani's wedding in calcutta in the december of 1997,right?.yday i went to new market and bought myself 4 peter england trousers.some indulgence.hoping all the time that i will get my reimbursement from iberian airways or from the insurance company.it was 5pm,already dark and the whole area-lindsay street,russell street,park street,camac street,et al- all were glittering in their neon lights on their facelifted shops.a flyover is coming on the chowringhee road and an underground carpark in new market.it is unbelievable,the retail boom.and what it has done to kolkata.rejuvenated the city and it is now becoming an it destination.wipro have set up shop and many more are to follow.chingdi maach(prawns) and rosogolla/sandesh make a heady combination and produce good brains!

gs said...

no lulu,i don't have picture capability in my cell phone.moblogging is a fantastic concept.i am using a cell phone for my internet surfing in kolkata and it would have been great fun to moblog! yes,i need to upgrade my cellphone.there is this motorola version-sleek and sexy,that is what the ad says which is being advertised heavily and then the omnipresent samsung.you may be knowing that some 5 star hotels in mumbai have banned the use of these cellphones as cellhappy mumbaikars seem to be having great fun shooting their favourite cinestars in compromising positions!

rums said...

I came back from Cal a couple of weeks back. My parents and in-laws live there. I have lived there for three years and almost all my vacations in school involved at least one trip to Cal.
I agree with you that Cal has changed but I don't know if it's for the better. The flyovers look like they are built with hobbits in mind and many of those multi-story buildings are being built after razing some of the most beautiful colonial bunglows, it breaks my heart to see how many bunglows seem to have just disappeared. Cal also had so many water bodies, mainly ponds. You can't see them anymore, because land sharks have filled most of them up and sold them at very steep prices. This practice is now leading to large scale water contamination in Cal. I hear they are now trying to build a mega city in the sundarbans. I wonder if our greedy politicians and their cronies will leave anything unspoilt for the next generation to enjoy. Inter-generational equity is an un-heard of concept here, it's become an grab-all-you-can culture.
Btw, my husband grew up in Rashbehari Avenue as well!

gs said...

yes,it is true that kolakata has lost that character that it had many many years ago.though in the initial days we lived in rb avenue,later on we moved to loudon street.there were a few parks and three ponds between my home,school and tennis club.and then there was the huge paddapukur tank en route to ballygunge from loudon street.i think that pukur has disappeared or shall we say swallowed up by the sharks.that is the big downside to rapid growth of cities.unless it is a singapore.the politician-landdeveloper nexus leaves no extra space.
in spite of these aberrations,kolkata is still an attractive and lively city.cleanliness had gone to the dogs,but there appears to be some revival and civic consciousness among people.of course gone are the days when roads used to be washed.
i think even now men stand up and make room for women in buses.and the crime rate is much lower than in other cities.last year we were seriously considering buying a flat in kolkata.luckily,my job takes me to kolkata atleast once a month and that is a great bonus for me.

rums said...

you are right about the quaintness of cal. i was there couple of weeks back and was amazed to see cars stop to let pedestrians pass. in delhi or b'bay that kind of stuff is unheard of! i have seen this only in european cities and on Bourbon street in New Orleans in the US.

gs said...

bengal has an enviable heritage.it has produced outstanding people in all walks of life.
as the hq of the then east india company,calcutta was modelled on the lines of london.the decay set in after independence and one of the main reasons was the large influx of refugees from east pakistan.and calcutta as a city was written off.calcutta is dead said rajiv gandhi.and as if with a vengeance to disprove him the first metro in the country came up in calcutta.it even won a prize for the best maintained metro.and the vidyasagar setu(the second howrah bridge),is an outstanding engineering marvel.justifiably,the calcuttans are proud of these two achievements.

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

I have some(free)time before I head back to the grind and thought I'd browse through some of your older posts.

...a Board meeting in Kol, do I sense a Birla connection? My FIL recently started working for one of the Birlas..once again!

Loved the Ballygunge area...did you know Haldirams has a 7 storey anchor store around there? The food was good (but very spicy) tried it a couple of times and the whole pattalam liked it..excepting for my little picchu who liked the store for its many levels of escalators!

I LOVED shopping in Kolkata, and I can't wait to replenish stock, sadly I have to wait until next year!

gs said...

hello AVV
thanks for looking into an old post.that gave me an opportunity to go through what i had posted when i had started blogging.you are right and wrong. don't they say some have a sixth sense? i did work for three years for kkb but that was in goa.i now work for another kkb. they are hqd in kol. actually,i landed here last night for a board mtg! i might be knowing your fil.
recently i had taken some pictures of ballygunge.komala vilas,national high school,rb avenue,kali temple etc.i have not seen the 7 storey haldiram at ballygunge but i have several times dropped in at haldirams en route to the airport on the airport road.thanks to the flyover,that has gone a bit out of reach.i used to pick up traditional bengali sweets in a jiffy from haldirams.kolkata is a great place to shop.and you get great bargains too.

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

No sixth sense here...just common sense.

My fil retired from AVB and now works for MPB group and is based in the Birla Bldg. My hubby, son and FIL/MIL are returning from the grand Rajasthan tour and I think FIL will be in the offices tomorrow, do call on him, I think he will be pleased. His name is G Jayaraman...I will tell him about you as well...GS-(Gopal?)

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

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gs said...

hello AVV
thanks for sharing the info.i am not sure whether i will have the time during this visit.i am already getting the creeps that i might miss the evening flight.thanks to mamata and the ruckus over nano and singur. there is a big 'juloos' this evening. your fil's name sounds familiar. and your common sense is correct sense.
gopal srinivasan

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