Of all the cities in the world, perhaps there exists not one as queer as Calcutta. Queer not in the sense of planning or design, but queer as to its ability to stay in two worlds at once. Calcutta which, for centuries has been adamant , unmoving, persistent and reclusive, continues to exist as it was. But what is truly special about this city is that the people who reside here and call her their home, are some of the most eccentric people anywhere on the planet.
The Calcutta of old it seems is not too old for them and they watch the world and everything in it change with an air of disaffection while they remain rooted in their ancestral way of living. Some of this is attributed to the fact that Calcutta grew intellectually and physically long before the rest of India did.
When the country was being conquered far and wide and kingdoms were being overthrown by Her Majesty’s countrymen, it was the Calcutta clerks who ran her empire in india. When the time came for the good ol’ english to leave, Calcutta was where the first seeds of independence were laid.
The modern world for some time now has regarded Calcutta as the epitome of all the ills of our urban culture ,poverty, pollution, pestilence (forgive my alliteration, you could stick to that letter of the english lexicon and still have no trouble summarising Calcutta’s woes, power cuts, potholes, political violence, paralysed industry, you name it).
The city with a soul has endured and has fought, against invading armies in the past, and invading thoughts in the present. The eccentric calcuttan is the only species in the world who encourages a random stranger to stop him in the middle of the road for a chat. This kind of insouciance is fast disappearing even in Calcutta. But even still the Calcuttans of old still exist.
But enough about Calcutta for now, after all where’s Calcutta running away to?