An image of Kolkata

Bicycle on a road in Jadavpur

kolkata-bike

I’m briefly in Kolkata on work. It is always interesting to be in this city. There is an initial shock when you come on to the city’s narrow roads: SUVs share the road with rickshaws, bicycles and forty-year old yellow cabs.

But when you think about it, there’s nothing particularly different about this city. The traffic is certainly no worse than in Bangalore, perhaps even slightly better. There is less aggression on the road than in Delhi. Urban decay is no worse than in most parts of Mumbai. There are malls and coffee shops all over town. But there are parts of Kolkata which look the same as they did 30 years back: narrow roads, lines of shops in single story structures. The shops open late, because shop keepers are of the opinion that having a good life is more important than getting richer.

The combination of the bicycle and the locked door of a shop is quintessentially Kolkata.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

8 comments

  1. How fascinating. It was over 30 years when I visited Kolkata – how strange to think that much of it remains as it did then. I remember a peculiar place I visited that had an enormous statue of Queen Victoria in the entrance. I wonder if it is still there?

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