Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bong Connection Blues...


Well, this was originaly written in Bengali during my recent vacation in Kolkata and was intended to be posted from the Bong Land but then procstination took over along with other tasks which gained priority and blogging per se took a back seat.. I mean complete back seat.

It was while sipping a cup of caffiene on a cloudy afternoon at Flurys on Park Street, I noticed the stark difference in the world I was sucked in and the one that was raced by to its tasks for the day. As the aroma of the coffee seeped in to cloud the mind I bit into the sandwich in front of me and glanced over at the obviously well-to-do group of people around me. The antecedents of everyone seemed to be very different. There was a group which was definitely on a business breakfast, a group of friends (I believe from St. Xaviers), a south-east Asian group happily tucking into a breakfast of toast and eggs. And then, stared out from the glass - the traffic was breezing by, people were walking in a hurry, a hawker stood there at the MusicWorld corner and was trying to make a living of selling his wares. I say, an excellent setting for the start of a good plot. Anywyz, before I digress I shall move ahead. What really struck me was nothing I saw surprised me, it was as if this is exactly how I expect Kolkata to be. Having spent a better part of my life outside Bengal and terming myself a nomad, despite the heat and humidity, the icky politics of the land and god knows what not, I keep returning to this city. I used to say, that's because my entire family is in Kolkata, now I beg to differ. As I prepare myself to embark on a journey to a far-off land, I slowly realised why I've been coming back to this city for better part of the last decade. I guess it was Dominique Lappierre (pardon me, if I'm mistaken) who said one may hate Kolkata or love Kolkata, but no matter what Kolkata grows on you... and soon has you a slave to her irresistible charms.

When I look back at the times I've spent here - bunking school, the metro rides, the long adda sessions at the Presidency college canteen, the Kobiraji at Dilkhusha (A non-veg preparation where a piece of fish, chicken or mutton if deep fried with a thick coating of egg adn bread crumbs, while Dilkhusha is popular amongst the college kids - just off College Street on MG Road, it is very close to the famous Coffee House.), roaming about at Esplanade and doing some impulsive shopping, gorging Kulfi at Ralli's, the fuchkas at just about every sundry spot that we could manage and then rating them, the road side stalls which would sell some of the most mouth watering snacks at ridiculously low prizes - I realise I shall never get these anywhere else. One might find bits and pieces of Kolkata in other cities as Bengalis in other parts of the world try and set up their own corner, but never Kolkata.

The stream of thoughts that started at Flurys probably won't end here and I doubt if I would ever be able to capture them perfectly with words, but somehow now I understand the underlying theme of Jhumpa Lahiri's stories, I understand what movies like Anuranan and Bong Connection talk in a subtle or overt manner.

I guess it's the Bong Connection Blues!!


10 comments:

phoenix said...

aww :)

im so sorry sam da...my cell phone fell in the tub of water and got ruined couldnt see the sms's u sent at all, the circuit was totaly burnt, just got it fixed so got the sms's im so sorry i couldnt meet you.please forgive me :(

Solitaire said...

Aah nostalgia!! Jaane kaha gaye woh din...

ad libber said...

The very fact that you mentioned presidency makes this post amazingly lovable :P
Do you mean you were a student at Presi?

pseudo intellectual said...

that was a wonderful post! our thoughts on kolkata are really similar; i crib about the city all the time but i miss it. a fair bit.
all the best with the new phase in your life!

Vandita said...

i cant believe ive seen so less relatively, ive never been to so many nice places and i badly want to travel...

Sam said...

@phoenix: its ok...

@solitaire: i knw!! :)

@ad libber: not at all!! but have spent hrs in the canteen...

@psuedo: thnx.. and i do agree with u der... :)

@vands: ummm... catch 22 it seems!!

ad libber said...

Hmm, plt er thik pechone, there is a veranda, from there.
I always make it a point to answer Presi questions :P

burf said...

is it a high end cafe?

Sam said...

@ad: dhush!! dhorte parlam na... plt bolte??

@burf: a lil bit... a cup of coffee wud cost around 60/-
and a regular chicken sandwich something like 100/-

ad libber said...

physics lecture theatre, arre botany dept er corridor er pechone, jeta thik school ta ke face kore