Between The Bengal Club and The Saturday Club, many a Sunday have been lost. But what to say about Kolkata when the most legendary pub in the city asks you to go Someplace Else. To which I can only ask, Roxy?
From Ballygunge to Burrabazar, you can see the entire spectrum of Kolkata. Especially in the garbage cans. Or Esplanade which is probably short for “Splendid. I’m amazed we managed to get this metro station made at all”.
A ‘kolbalish’ of flaming coals
But the normal thrills of Kolkata pale in comparison to the hell it is in the heatwave. Imagine sitting in Victoria and realising it’s not the couples generating the heat, it is literally the atmosphere. It feels like you’re wrapped in a kolbalish made of flaming coals.
Luckily, this situation was resolved with “Asani” as we went from drenched in non-sweat to drenched.
Kolkata is even more delightful in its torrential downpours. The full artistic aesthetic of the city is on display. Especially in the overflowing gutters. It almost felt like the weather itself was pandal-hopping this year.
Kolkata is delightful in its torrential downpours – the full artistic aesthetic of the city is on displayTT Archives
People say it’s all because of climate change. But if you’re in Kolkata, you are happy at least the climate is changing. Unlike the property prices at Rajar Hot.
The city was steaming up just as the share markets were running out of steam. Which means you have a combination of frayed nerves, rising temperatures and a fuel shortage. What could possibly go wrong? Especially in South 24 Parganas?
I recall fondly the 2007 T20 World Cup final. Not because India won. But because it rained so heavily in Kolkata, we had to be rescued from our hotel by a rickshaw-wallah. And then we were stranded at home with the Tata Sky connection failing in the rain, just as India and Pakistan squared up. We made more speculative losses trying to figure out what was happening in the match than in the market crash of 2008.
Mumbai on the other hand continues to ignore any signs of acknowledging its problems but believes more in a keep-going spirit. A lot like the trams of Kolkata. Delhi has moved miles ahead on infrastructure and even more miles ahead on its claims. Bengaluru on the other hand believes in complete and total surrender in the face of monsoon. Like the Nordic countries in World War II.
But apart from the usual stereotypes of skirmishes over fish, and the monkey cap worn by a stray lunatic even in this blazing heat, Kolkata has its own way of dealing with the weather, come sun or rain. Cha and telebhaja are like Cuticura for the Bengali soul. And they can Telegraph more emotions than can be seen in the times we have in India.
Kolkata has its own way of dealing with the weather, come sun or rain. Cha and telebhaja are like Cuticura for the Bengali soulShutterstock
Now some may accuse me of indulging in fancy word play without addressing any of the real issues. To which I can only return my recently won literature prize in protest. However, I request that you come to my office in South 24 Parganas to collect it. I have to go pick up my children from online school, and wonder if the money I am spending on their education is really adding anything to their Heritage. Between the South Pole and South Point, many an educational dollar has been lost in this online school world, just like teachers kept losing their pupils.
We have brought technology into our lives as a mobile phone replaces a school bell, until someday the school will replace you with a mobile phone, and tell you it was because of climate change.
But let me log out here and log into the My Kolkata daily weather forecast. It tells me today will be a hint of sticky despair drenched in poetic sorrow. Oh, how I wish I was someplace else.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.