Morning Chai in Kolkata

IMG_00003571There is no sidewalk worth walking even at 7am and so I stepped on the road along with the ever honking Kolkata buses, walking briskly to avoid getting caught in the whirlpool of the early morning Kolkatans going to the markets, don’t think they go to work this early.

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I was watching this paradoxical mix of old and new, where the street dwellers with their quiet determination to survive in this huge metropolis walked next to the dapper Bengali babu frequenting their grand gentleman’s club, bet on their horses in the racecourse or tee off in style in the many swish golf holes.

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Kolkata moves at its own sweet pace and is widely regarded and rightly so as the intellectual and cultural capital of India. Afterall this is the place where icons like Tagore and Satyajit Ray lived.

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As the former capital of British India, everywhere Kolkata retains a feast of colonial era architecture contrasting starkly with urban slums and dynamic new town suburbs with their air-conditioned shopping malls.

This is a city I felt more by walking the chaotic back alleys and after a ride on the Hooghly ferry I understood why its said to be impossible to remove Kolkata from a Bengali.

 

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