Monday, January 22, 2007

Spring Time In Kolkata

Stuck In The Middle

I was driving back home at some godforsaken hour of the night, as usual and I spotted this truck, perched on the divider in the middle of the road. I’m guessing its going to be quite a task for the tow truck to get this one out in a jiffy!

Joining Corporate India

I got a great deal on these suits and surprised myself firstly by wearing them to office. So you can imagine what kind of shock I sent my colleagues into.

Strange Shop

I was walking back home and came across this shop on Bright Street. Bright "Kafan" Shop. Yes, Yes! It’s a Muslim shop that sells Coffins. And I thought I had seen everything!

All That Jazz

The greats were performing at The Dalhousie Institute and I managed to get passes to the event. Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, two of the greatest Jazz Musicians in Kolkata; I’m actually amazed that they’d make a stop in the city. I guess people around the world know that Kolkata has taste and appreciation for great music.

Extortion @ Mandarmani

Story to follow shortly.

Mandarmani Trip...More Pics

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

China Town

Last evening, much to the disappointment of my aunt that I was going out with some 'guy' friends in the evening, I headed out to China Town (Tangra). Tangra used to be the mecca of Leather. All the tanneries were located here till several years ago. they were all moved out due to the Metropolitan Development Plan and non existence of Polluting Industries with the Metropolitan Municipal Limits. The only poullution I remeber is the stench that used to emanate from here.

Ofcourse with the exodus of the tanneries, which incidentally were all owned by Chinese people, the place has now become a mecca for Chinese food. Practically all the buildings on the main road in Tangra have been converted to restaurants.

What's amazing is that it is also a watering hole for most Calcuttans. The Alchohol menu offers options of 30ml, 60ml, 180ml (nip), 375ml (pint), or then 750ml (botlle). So depends on how much drinking one intends to engage in, just place the order. We decided to go with a pint of Smirnoiff. Add to that a half plate of Crispy Fried Chicken, Schezwan dry Chicken and Fried Fish each and we were set for the evening.

While we were halfway through the evening, we got chatting with the blokes on the table beside us. Sure enough, out of towners. We guessed so, because we were all laughing at the silly behaviour of some inebriated Bengali chaps on the table acroos the room. That was the starting point of our conversation. One of the chaps was from Mumbai and had been lured into Kolkata by the IT Sector. He was a software guy with Wipro. It was fun chatting with someone from out of town and though references were made to how happening Mumbai was, strangely I felt the need to convince the bloke that Kolkata was also a rocking place. Infact I felt some sort of pride in the fact that I was defending Kolkata and the good life it offers. Yeah, OK! I know I still feel strongly about the pollution and the lack of will to work here, but hell it's changing.

That said, they left and we carried on into the night. Well 11pm to be precise. After that I drove down to Shothpur, which is way past Dum Dum, a bit beyond Dunlop Bridge on B.T. Road. I quite enjoyed the midnight drive to the northern most part of Kolkata. Once back home, I ended up chatting till about 2am with my aunt. Finally she chased me off to bed, lest I keep her up all night.

Cause and Effect: Getting up this morning was painful!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pedestrians Are Really Blind In Kolkata

OK. That's it. I've concluded that pedestrians are really blind in Kolkata. This morning I was coming out of the house. While I was looking to my right at the oncoming traffic and waiting for it to fly by just outside the gate, so I could get onto the road, I suddenly felt a bump from the left. The next thing I see is a young fellow clutching his leg and looking at me in disdain. He had just walked into my front wheel. Hullo, how could you see a bright red bike in front of you chappy? That too when it is standing stationery for a good 5 minutes.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Pedestrians Are Blind In Kolkata

OK to start with, when you come to Kolkata, ensure that your vehicle has a speed governor. Limit it to 20 kmph. This is not a rule, but my advise for your own safety as a driver of an automobile.

Firstly the roads are narrow, add to that the manholes which though covered are a usually 6 inches to a foot below the tarmac and they run down virtually every road in Kolkata.

Secondly, though cabs are a boon to the public transport system here, they just stop anywhere, anytime and without warning.

Thirdly, pedestrians and believe me there are millions and millions of them, occupy the pavements and usually spill over onto the roads. The concept of pedestrian (zebra) crossings is virtually Greek to them. So you have people dashing across the roads any and everywhere. And if they do be using a zebra crossing, they consider their right of way, whether the signal be it red or green.

And here's the killer, most people cross the road, with their backs to the direction from which the traffic is flowing. I guess they believe that if they don't see the vehicles they aren't there, and if they aren't there, they won't run them over.

Such was the case this morning. I was riding down Darga Road and three people decided to dash across the road. Seeing me approaching at a fairly good speed, two of the stepped back. The third gentlemen just carried on with his leisurely walk across the road with his back towards me, even though he had seen me approaching. I had to slam the brakes, send the bike into a skid and recover, just to ride past him abusing and in shock. Our jay walker seemed unfazed by the incident and just carried on across the road as I watched him in my rear view mirrors.

Man these Kolkatan's are crazy.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Guess what? I've managed to bring KAMAKAZE-II up-to-date.

So all further posts about my exploits and expeditions on my Karizma will be up on that blog.

Hopefully, soon there will be pics of places to visit when in Kolkata. Have already got my map of bengal out and am scoping places to visit on my bike. KAZI 1, seems to have gone the SWIFT way.

Bro, don't live life "watching the Movie", live life "being in the Movie".