Sunday, October 17, 2010

nostalgia. after all it is the season dude.

I was eighteen when I landed in Calcutta. Actually landed is a fancy word. I took an army truck from Kharagpur to Calcutta. Most of my journey was spent sitting on my black trunk with my name stencilled on the side.

I knew no one. Not even the aunt I was supposed to stay with. I had been to Calcutta once before that. For a day, and totally hated it.

I have no idea why I wasn’t scared. Or even worried. I had been thrown out of the house. My sweet loving father was pissed as hell with me, because I refused to go back to architecture college in Bombay.

I had no idea what I was going to do. Or study.

I ended up staying for years. My dad’s family turned out to be mad. And sweet. I met cousins I never even knew existed. They got me admission forms, stood in line with me, showed me the city.

Then I made friends. K and P. One who smoked incessantly, the other who popped painkillers for recreation purposes. Classmates, benchmates. Guides through unfamiliar lanes, languages, dadas, didis, college politics, bus routes.

And then S. Love. College fests. Cards. Band rehearsals. Hanging out. Studying together. Walking around. Smoking up. Love letters.

Then I started working. More friends. Another PG. And then A.

HM Road. Bondel Road. Ballygunge Circular Road. Him and me. Walking. Talking. Drinking. Dancing. And the trips. Lots of them. To the sea. To anywhere.

And before you knew it, the city became mine.

And this time of the year, even if I’m miles away from Cal, I get all excited. Not because it’s Pujas. But because the smells and sounds of the city that gave me so much, will get transported to a little pandal five minutes from my house.

And I’ll stand there. And wonder how, without a clue of where and what I was doing, Calcutta just took my hand and planned my life out for me.

picture credit @


S said...

Apologies for this off-topic comment, but this is the second time in a month (and independent of the first source) that I've come across a photograph by Prantik Mazumder. Found it to be an interesting co-incidence. Do you happen to know him?

Aneela Z said...

Calcutta was my ' girl goes abraad. Comes of age' as well. They should write that somewhere, that its not all a Devdas, big bindi, silk dhotis, film set.

Shreya said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you...I live in the city... and still... your post filled me with a strange nostalgia... from my childhood... specially in this time of the year... with a pandal in the very lane that we lived in, with speakers booming the latest bollywood hits and loads of friends... Our current residence is filled with pin drop silence with no pandal within eyesight...

Shubho Bijoya AGG :)

Prateek Sur said...

this is gr8 yaar!!i jst am missing the pooja's here in Chennai..
try checking out my blog and commenting on the following u for a long tym so now i can expect that u'll return the favour!!

Prateek Sur said...

nd yeah Subho Bijoya btw to u and all ur readers!!

Eveline said...

You aren't alone.. I had a similar childhood.. and the acting thing for sure.. along with some damn good blocking out techniques.. But I too found a wonderful new city and the extended family and new friends I met seemed so strangely "normal" compared to mine.. loving, thoughtful and kind and I love them so much.. though they constantly stun me with their sincerity.

Jil Jil Ramamani said...

One city that has eluded me. How much I've wanted to go there ever since I was a little girl! Oh Calcutta.

Tamanna said...

I spent many summer vacations in Calcutta, and while my experiences weren't half as exciting and awesomrye as yours, I love that city! China Town, Park Street, Christmas in the The Real Flury's in the 90's. Oxford. Earl Street. The old houses. That park in front of my uncle's house. Long walks for the dog and early teenage ogling for me.. Nizam's. AND Puja! Man! I am all nostalgic now!

Tamanna said...

Shilpa Chitre said...

completely off the tangent, but doesn't peter need any advice any more? why have you girls left him in the lurch like that?

agent green glass said...

@S: no, i don't. Though after i found this picture, and saw some of his work, I googled him. i thought he'd be some old bong guy, but was totally wrong. in case you like his work.

@aneelaZ: i agree. had the same conversation with someone on saturday. so did ya study in cal as well?

@shreya: thank you.

@choco: shubho bijoya to you too :) i hope u get a nice padar pandal in your area next year. i miss the sound of the dhakis when i wake up.

@prateek: shubho bijoya to you too. lol. will surely drop by at your blog.

@eve: enjoy your friends, and your city. you deserve them eve :)

@jil jil: if you ever go, contact me in advance. shall draw you a map on calcutta. where to go, what phrases to learn. that sort of thing. made one for a friend, who never went and instead stuck it on her fridge. its time the map did some work :)

@tamanna: read ur post. and wondered if cal was so small. or we share the same memories. how?

@shilpa chitre: haha. just that we seem to be meeting older peters. maybe we should start posting as notes to the middle aged man about town :)
but yeah, will post today itself :) just for ms shilpa chitre, lady who made my trip from delhi to mumbai so easy :)))) heh heh.

Pinku said...

lovely post....

bombay is the city I associate with that kind of kindness, love and nostalgia.. :)

shubho Bijoya to u and A

Aneela Z said...

Nopes, good Pakistani girl grows up reading Tagore and dreaming of A Suitable (Bong) Boy of Her Own. Travels to Calcutta and the rest is her-story.

Nitika said...

I think I'm one of the few who never got the whole Calcutta charm.
Cal was always a pit stop on our annual summer break from the numerous North-East tenures my dad did. While the tram rides were fun as young kids, the excitement of reaching Delhi was more.

And when you say Army truck you mean a 3 ton/Shaktiman right? Army truck sounds so civilian, no? :p

agent green glass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
agent green glass said...

@pinku: shubho bijoya back to ya. yep, i guess it's true for different cities. eve said she felt like that about bangalore. me, i don't know. cal for coming of age. but delhi and mumbai feature on the same page.

@aneela_Z: see, this really is a story. last time i said if i ever write a book. i think u shd.

@nitika: yeah. I know what u mean. cal was like that for me. quick halt on the way to bagdogra, siliguri, alipore dwar, guwahati. till i went there, hoping to find something to do.
yeah. 3 tonne. like the school bus :)

ani_aset said...

:) nice and another normal post from you i'm so glad you write some normal stuff too :D