Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kolkata: This weekend

Ok, I want to write something in my blog. I want to write something, anything. There are many topics in my head [knock knock… yes they are there]. But it is always hard to break the silence. Forget all this… there are many issues like.. I know I have to change my blog template.. I want to write about my final days at Kharagpur, my childhood and about beginning of this new phase in my life. Instead of all this I am writing about two general things. First about Kolkata [there is better sites to get information about this city] and second about my this weekend [there is no twist and turn in my life and here in this city I have spend most of the time at three vertices of a triangle- Office, Flat and City Centre].

This is my 7th year and second innings in Kolkata. These two phases are completely different. Only thing in common is me… ok two things Kolkata. Enough about Kolkata, lets talk about my weekend. Saturday “Lage Raho Munnabhai” then lunch then afternoon nap, evening tv, computer games and then dinner and then finally at 2.30 am to bed. Good night. [what!! This much only.. nothing special]. I told you, I am writing about two general things. Ok now back to Kolkata. Many people don’t like Kolkata. Some think that Kolkata does not deserve to be a Metropolitan. For me I like Kolkata most among all the metros and A1 cities [why??? Err… I have never been to any other metro]. Kolkata once called “City of Joy” is now considered to be a dying city by many.

Like all other metro, it has a lot of shopping complexes and multiplexes, science city, aquatica and many other fun joints. I feel what makes Kolkata different than other cities is its culture and its people… BENGALIS. Now I am not a believer of fact that “Bengalis are more affable” nor I believe that they are “annoying and argumentative”. I just think [being a good student of statistics ..Ahem Ahem] that like any random population it is a mix of good and bad people. But their love for their culture is amazing and Kolkata can never be a dying city because Bengali carry this city in their hearts.

City Centre is the best multiplex as per me. It is has lots of space, some good snack joints and one Inox. Food in pizza hut, kfc, restaurants is all same as other places but food in road side is definitely bong’s favorite and I like Bengali food. I like fish, I like rice. [fish and rice comprises half of Bengali menu]. Transport is cheaper in Kolkata than other places and working class in ruder [both thanks to government]. Huge traffic, but at least a bit saner [only somewhat]. Saltlake, where I live, is a newly developed suburb of Kolkata. Now many companies are opening up offices here - fuelling a demand for more residential and office space and with constant pace this city is also growing [So no scene of dying city anyway]. The heart of city is the older part of the city that is central Kolkata. Oh I almost forgot about my weekend. Ok so Sunday. No movie.. nothing special to do. My flat mates Biswadeep and Javed were planning to go out with Reecha and Madhurima [same company]. Apparently they all had some work and they asked me care to come.. I said “Why not”. In spite of my long stay at Kolkata I have never seen much of it. Kolkata and my weekend are coming together.

Now I have heard and read about girl’s shopping, and I always thought that guys exaggerate this. But sadly I was going to know this in hard way that not all hearsay is an overstatement. We three guys were as usual a little late and girls were on time [after all we are talking about shopping]. So they move ahead and we planned to meet them at Crossword [suggested by Madhurima]. It was nearly 12 and we three were very hungry. Crossword seems to be a strange name for a restaurant but I am already been deceived once [there is one restaurant named caught and bowled and I thought it is a bowling alley]. Taxi, in Sunday traffic took about 50 minutes to reach Crossword from city centre. Javed spotted Reecha in Crossword [certainly it does not look like a restaurant]. All I can see, were books but I don’t loose hope that easily. There must be place to sit and eat inside. Just my worst fears [ok I exaggerated] come true when I stepped inside and realized this is actually a book store. But, actually a very good bookstore. Nice collection, great ambience and some cute faces around. But still I am hungry. I pleaded to Reecha “Jaldi karo”. Her reply was “ Aise bologe to kaise chalega … abhi to aye hai” [remember this dialogue.. you all be hearing this a lot in your lifetime]. Even hungry bhav liked that place. So many good books. Biswa bought a book for his mother [he hardly took 10 mins]. Reecha and Madhurima took another hour to select their books.

Well by this time, all were hungry and we were looking for restaurant. It is said a desperate being usually make a bad decision. We did the same mistake. We ushered into the first restaurant we were able to see. Not so good food [End of story].

It was a fine sunny day. But suddenly rain started and we went inside one posh saree store. I took Biswa’s mobile and started playing car race. Yupiee I made two new records and the girls find nothing good enough to buy. By now it was raining hard and it was decided that we to go Metro-Plaza [another shopping mall]. I was amazed how quickly girls collect information about the shopping centers. In 20 minutes we reach there.

Time nearly 3 pm. One hour passed. By this time I have seen the entire metro plaza. I came back to my group. Reecha was looking for a pair of shoes. She was all alone and yet unaware of that [because she was totally engrossed in shopping]. She tried all the shops in the shopping center and she liked just one pair of shoe. But it was not available in her size. She tried many [in which I also suggested some], but she was saying this is not perfect [how come only girls know what is perfect, how they realize the perfection]. I was surprised to see that girls actually see in mirror that how the shoe fits. C’mon! You can see how the shoes in your feet look by our own eyes. Just to help Reecha I said that I have been working with you for 80 days now and I have never noticed your shoe or sandals [Encouraging words… still they were not enough]. Meanwhile I liked one Greek Goddess type dress which on display outside a store and I made 2 new records [car race]. Madhurima has bought something.

So finally at 5 pm we were leaving around 500 pairs of unwanted shoes and metro plaza. Javed left at this time, and we four head to Esplande. We took Metro. Now metro is something which is pride of Kolkata. Delhi has metro too but Kolkata metro being the first metro is India was built with love and pride and it can be seen too. Esplanade is always crowded but today it was much more than the usual. Ohh. We forgot that Puja is coming. Another thing, which makes Kolkata special in this time. Bata now and once again Bata failed to please Reecha. Madhurima was looking for Shirts. Rain was making things more difficult. Madhurima bought a couple of shirts on Biswa’s suggestion. I think she was getting tired now, so she was quick.

Then we moved for Shreeleathers store. My god!! There is a queue outside this store and a very long one. People are entering in a queue. Strangle me to death but I won’t enter this store. Then we entered a smaller shopping complex. This place is also too crowded. It was hard to breathe there but the usually slow girls were really fast and I and Biswa were the one who were lagging behind. Finally we found a shoe store there too. Reecha was finally found her perfect pair of shoes [really strange how these girls realize that is something is perfect]. It was 6.30 pm now but totally worth it. Reecha was explaining to me that her why she took so much time in selecting one shoe [incomprehensible for me]. Really Girls have perfected the art of shopping and they are the best. BEST. [in shopping]. All were very tired by now. We decided to return [Oh! I now remember.. why I came today with Biswa. He told me this place called “Coffee house” serves some great chicken sandwiches]. So after all this I am not getting the sandwich. I don’t like this majority wins rule.

Near Sovabazar, while waiting for auto, I saw one an old house. That house made me think. What this house must have seen in all these years. 50 years back it must have seen that broad road being built [which is now not all able to sustain all the traffic at rush hours]. Kids at that time must have clapped when they used to see a car from their windows and now people living in this house must have got the habit of hearing loud because of the traffic noises. Anyway, we got auto soon. Like this Kolkata, this world, even the universe [see what happened to Pluto] and our lives are changing.

If you still reading this line --> Thank you. And I had a great day thanks to Madhurima, Reecha, Biswa and Javed.