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A hurried visit to Kolkata
I hate mopping – not for the physical workout that it offers, but for the mental workout it does not. Still, it is a chore that’s inevitable – unless I choose to live like Ms. Havisham (the reader is directed to Great Expectations for more information on the lady and her slovenly (if grandiose) quarters). Since I do not, Saturday, was spent putting my house in order.

I traveled to Kolkata this Sunday. What I had thought to be a 12:55 flight, turned out to be a 9:55 one. One effect of this sudden realization was the sudden start with which I left for the airport – the evacuation was so rapid and so complete, that people in my apartment complex would have thought that my house must’ve shaken under a tremor and would have wondered, why didn’t they feel it.

The same evening, I managed some time out for a quick drive to Vidyasagar Setu.

Setu

Next morning, before hitting Kolkata airport, I could stop at Victoria Memorial – thanks to its proximity to our office. The visit turned out to be a damp squib – the memorial is undergoing renovation and is closed to general public. Thankfully, they let you stroll and click in the surrounding lawns.

VictoriaMemorial

The traffic police constables there, in their quaint white liveries, looked like they had been carved out of same stone as the statue of Lord Curzon at the memorial lawns.

Curzon

The flight back on Monday, for reasons best left to Airlines Gods alone, comes via Hyderabad. I spent over 3 hours 40 minutes inside the plane – the most I’ve ever spent onboard a domestic flight. Dickens’ Great Expectations was to be my in-flight reading material. Incidentally, these lines struck a chord:

“Buried how long”
“Almost eighteen years.”
“You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?”
“Long ago.”

The words were still in his hearing as just spoken – distinctly in his hearing as ever spoken words had been in his life – when the weary passenger started to the consciousness of daylight, and found that the shadows of the night were gone.




“Eighteen years!” said the passenger, looking at the sun, “Gracious Creator of the day! To be buried alive for eighteen years!”.

My version:

“Stuck for how long”
“Almost four hours”
“You had abandoned all hope of being let out?”
“Long ago.”

The words were still in his hearing as just spoken – distinctly in his hearing as ever spoken words had been in his life – when the weary passenger started to the consciousness of Bangalore airport, and found that the shadow of the portly gentleman sitting next to him was gone.





“Four hours!” said the passenger, looking at the setting sun, “Gracious Creator of the dusk! To be buried alive in a narrow aluminum tube for four hours!”.
posted: 19.5.05

6 Comments

Your pics of Kolkata portray it in a very unusual light, a far cry from the "poor and famished India" pics one gets to see from the city.
Kudos!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20.5.05  



The Victoria Memorial looks more beautiful than I imagined it to be!

By Blogger ash, at 20.5.05  



Thanks Anonymous. Forget Kolkata, even India after all is a bundle of such extreme contrasts and guess what - no one side is true :-)

Thanks Ash, I cannot wait for the renovation work to finish!

By Blogger Deepak, at 20.5.05  



well, Kolkata is like any other place, you'll get places which look "poor and famished..", but you'll also get places which are better.

As usual, Deepak frames things well and Victoria and Vidyasagar Setu[aka. Howrah Bridge II] looks really nice.

By Blogger Richard Hsu, at 24.5.05  



Your rush for the flight reminded me of another time you played absent-minded genius and left your baggage in the hotel when returning to Bglr from some place ;-)Great pics as always Deepak!

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 25.5.05  



Thanks Richard. I agree with you, as much as we might hate, it is the clichés that usually get projected more often.

Thanks Geetanjali! I didn't forget anything this time (at least haven't realized it yet :))

By Blogger Deepak, at 26.5.05  


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