Don’t blame me for this delay in posting: blame it on Kolkata.
When I set foot in this city after spending a year and a half in Chennai and Hyderabad, the first thing that struck me as odd was that there were too few cars on the road and they were moving way too slowly. I later realized that the latter part of that observation sums up life in Kolkata almost perfectly.
Here everything moves too slowly. Nobody seems to be in hurry, and what’s worse, nobody is expected to be in a hurry either. On top of that, everybody talks, behaves, acts in a very very amateurish way.
Take the example of house brokers. I was desperately trying to find a rented house in Kolkata, preferably in
Which brings us to the amateurish attitudes of the house owners themselves. Since a lot of people from
For shifting my luggage I needed a vehicle, and I asked a rickshaw van to come and pick up my luggage. He promised to come the next day, and naturally didn’t turn up until four days had passed. He was visibly hurt when my aunt told him that I had already shifted as he had come too early for his assignment.
There’s really no point in explaining each and every experience that I had here. But every person here, be it the Airtel executives who came to fit my broadband, the Hutch executives who told me to go to Hyderabad to disconnect my Hyderabad cell phone connection and pay the last bill, the men who manage the cash transactions in our office cafeteria, the auto drivers, shopkeepers, bus drivers, or policemen, all seem to be somewhat more amateurish than their counterparts in the South.
One thing that immediately becomes apparent is that here businessmen don’t really care for business. The reason for this has been discussed beautifully by Greatbong in his blog here.
Does that mean I don’t like Kolkata? Not at all! True, Kolkata is very different from the other Indian metros, but not all of this difference is bad. It is city with a heart. That very amateur attitude that I have written against above often becomes a boon and prevents people from becoming robots hurrying around to earn money (as Dipta puts it nicely here). When I see the IT professionals in my office bring jhalmuri from outside the gate in the evenings and indulge in a nice adda with tea inside the cubicles, I realize that it wouldn’t have been possible elsewhere. Similarly, the big manager who spends half the year abroad hates to work on weekends here. The reason? He must cycle to the old playground in his small suburban town and spend the evening chatting and playing with his childhood friends. As I wrote in my previous post, there are people who try to earn a living by selling the books they write, and even though it is clearly a loss making business, they do not forfeit their love of writing. Work still comes to a standstill (or at least takes a backseat) during cricket or football matches. Speaking of football, almost the whole of Kolkata can be split into two teams: Mohunbagan and
And arguments! Let it be the question of Sourav becoming the captain again, or the land acquisition at Singur, everyone is ready to argue about it in such a way as if their life depended on it. Outsiders soon become part of this spirit. The other day I saw two Bihari gentlemen debating animatedly on the road about whether
But there’s a personal touch to many things which I could not imagine in Chennai or
So what is my final verdict? Do I like it here?
That is why I say don’t hold me responsible for this long gap in posting. It is due to the Kolkata spirit that has got into me.