Sunday, May 1, 2011

Calcutta In Technicolor

Calcutta, I won’t lie is beautiful. It was drizzling in the afternoon when I sat on the greens of University. The wind troubled the trees and they shed bright yellow flowers on me: a few fell on my head, a few on my lap and a few elsewhere. Later, a walk tricked me to chance upon my heaped set of amours in a span of two years. They are all unforgettable in their own ways. The evening was spent at Barista, Southern Avenue listening to old time favourites from Nirvana while munching on chicken sandwiches and flirting with mango mousse. The lake called me thereafter-the trees, the sidewalks, the poor old women, the not-so-old women, the hijdas, the benches, those kids who ask for money, the boats, the sea-pirate-coffee-seller and his portable radio, memories from fresh February days, memories of bonding over a cheap yellow packet of filter-less cigarettes called me back. Cobain’s voice from Barista’s play list lingered and merged with the whispers of the water. They asked me to Come As I Am. Lime and Cola Slush at Fillers followed. I had the usual Classic company sitting high on a bare sill. Young beggar boys came to say hello. I talked to them. They lingered for a while after which each of the four took turns to do street b-boying for me. The entertainment was surprising and quite coming of age. There was an absolute absence of those carefully chosen Hindi/Bengali songs sung in distinct nasal ways. After having my fill, a bus ride through Golpark, Gariahat and elsewhere tickled the sense of intense longing for the only place I have known inside out in twenty years, not that I was given a choice to discover and love any other. But Calcutta (if any of you have known it the way I do) is so sharp that it cuts you and so deep that it drowns you.

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