Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oh Kolkata !

The thud of the wheels touching down woke me up from my early morning slumber.The flght was on time and very soon I was standing in the queue for getting a pre-paid taxi .I am coming to Kolkata after a good 6 months and I was looking around for some signs of changes. The Airport looked pretty much the same.Of course there is evidence of some constructions/extensions happening.The typical "government" look was a contrast to the swanky looks of the Delhi Airport.Of course, the "swankiness" of the Delhi airport gets exposed after a good rain, but nonetheless, it looks less "sarkari".

After having hollered my destination to a booking clerk whom I rememeber seeing in the same counter for as long as I can remember, I was thrust a piece of paper which was my ticket to my home. I came out looking for my cab and very soon hopped into one.

The Kolkata taxi is an unique piece of machinary. Some might say that it is not really a machine- it has a life of its own .By make , they are Ambassador cars, made by Hindustan Motors ,and Kolkata is its homeground,so to speak.The Kolkata ambassadors however, are unique that they probabaly are the oldest running fleet of these fine creations by Hindustan Motors. As soon as the engine starts, you get a free session of fat removal by vibration. You are transported into a vibratory world where no two parts of your body are ever moving in the same direction or sequence.Your OSIM massage equipments pale in comparision when considering the vivacity, frequency and effectiveness of the massage thus rendered.

It takes a while to realize that one is still alive, despite the cataclysm ongoing, when one realizes that the term "noise" has altogether a new meaning when you sit inside these taxis.Here you are ungulfed in noise that is alll pervading. Your audimetry test is also done for free, thus, and you could of course sing along just to make sure that your ears are indeed functional.

But they do also transport you from point A to point B, besides the other freebies mentioned above. Alongwith the ride, you also get to see extreme accelartion,braking, honking,manual honking ( Dada..sorben ??) , free racing events where your armourded vehicle overakes a bulbous city bus bursting at its seams and veering at impossible angles.Your adrenalin runs faster than Pink Panther and normally your eyeballs are found to be almost popping out while your bones does the samba with gusto .

Of course, if you survive the above, you also get to see the City and it's denizens. The ultra chic vye for attention with the 18th century and you are never at a point where you do not stay bemused,shocked, happy, angry,frustrated, meditated or simply wonderstruck .

And then you start marvelling at life...


  1. 'while your bones does the samba with gusto'

    Wow, you're an awesome writer! What a great imagination and captivating narration! Keep writing.

  2. Chow - you can become a columnist. I was transported to Kolkatta when I read this. I remember I took a taxi there in heavy monsoon and the car had no wipers, until the driver bent down and got them from under the seat and started wiping the windscreen while driving. This is innovation.

  3. Where in Kolkata is your home ? I thought that was Shillong still.

    Gaurav Dey Purkayastha