Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kolkata Kaleidoscope

I know Bombay is the city that enamors me- six years in the city that never sleeps, and am already seduced into making a lifelong commitment to it: it is the city where I want to live, where I want to work, where I want to settle down, where I want to bring up my kids and where I want to die! But today as I sit alone by the window, staring into the gloomy dark night to the sound of the drizzle outside, I can’t help going back in time, the 18 long years which charted out my happy childhood, my rebellious teen years and my struggle for an identity. It’s been over a year since I went to Kolkata, but today, suddenly I miss it…

I miss our small two roomed apartment overlooking the slum in Chetla, I miss our rowdy games of kit-kit, pittu, kabaddi, kumir-danga, lukochudi…
I miss running for dance classes twice a week, cursing my mom for enrolling me such a sad course (really who learns classical dance these days?) which makes me miss my above mentioned games with my friends…
I miss getting up at 5 in the morning for swimming lessons, praying that they won’t force me to the deep end today…
I miss my school (infamous for being in the guiness book of world records for being the most overpopulated school in Asia), the cramped classrooms, and the recurrent feedback of my exasperated teachers regarding my communication skills (my report card was permanently inked with the statement: “should learn to converse more fluently in English”)…
I miss the street food: the puchka, the shingara, the potato roll on my way back from dance class (because my mom said we cannot afford the chicken roll twice a week)…
I miss Chetla Park where my parents would take me in the evening, they would sit on the grass with badam and chat while I would show off my running skills…
I miss the predictable unpredictability of Kolkata: the sudden bandhs leading to surprise holidays, the “rainy days”, the addas, the loadsheddings…
I miss waiting for my dad at 1:30 in the morning, me and my mom staring out of the window in the dark…
I miss our short trips during vacations, my dad’s enthusiastic plans and my mom’s insistence on “getting some rest”…
I miss watching cricket and tennis matches and Chitrahaar and Tehkikaat at my friend’s place and the excitement when we finally bought a TV…
I miss the festivals that make Kolkata what it is: the 5 days of Durga Puja (when my dad will panic if I don’t have 10 new dresses), the bhai-phota, the saraswati puja…
I miss my obsession with Satyajit Ray and Enid Blyton and the annual boimela (book fair) where I was allowed unbridled indulgence…
I miss my family: the motorcycle riding young handsome uncle who was so great with kids, my 10 cousin brothers who grudgingly conceded that “I wasn’t like other girls” and let me play cricket with them, my aunts making fun of me, and my thamma who never approved of my ways…
Yeah, I even miss my mom and dad, the way they were then: my mom still studying for her PhD and juggling two part- time jobs, her obsession with electricity bills, hair (both mine and hers) and extra-curricular activities; my dad working 12 hours a day, coming home late and then waking me up much to my mom’s annoyance, reading me bedtime stories, taking random snaps of me and my mom, writing long letters to his boss when he was angry, shouting “I will quit my job” while in the bathroom while I banged on the door because I was getting late for school…

8 comments:

ashwin said...

by far the best of the lot

Shevaita said...

Fantastic read! You are going from strength to strength specilly since July morning!! Keep it up

Shimonti said...

@ashwin
:) tht's uncharacteristically charitable of u...

@shevaita
mad roomie, get over july morning!

usha said...

i can see the lil girl in pigtails...beautiful.keep it u

zimmerman said...

hey,

Been reading your blog for a while now..
Probably your best post till date..
keep it up!

Shimonti said...

@ usha aunty
:) how did u knw i had pigtails back then? may b i shd strt wearng my hair like tht again! but thnks 4 readng...

@zimmerman
welcome 2 my life...hnks 4 visiting, n keep visitng

devdutt said...

Really amazing!! We have CRA test and inspite of my efforts i m glued to your blog :) plz kp writing.

Mishra!!! said...

I live in kolkata and i have been reading your bolgs for the last few days. This one is awsome. Although my chidhood was a bit different, i am a boy, my mum is home maker and dad works less than 12 hours, but i still felt as if this was my story...sketches came running in my head!!