OH Calcutta!

Calcutta Maidan (By Subhasis Chakraborty (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

Back from sweltering, HOT, HUMID, stuffy Calcutta after a couple of weeks. Record temperatures and record humidity left me gasping. Even the locals were crying. However it was definitely not the Calcutta I had expected.

I could see change all around. No sign of the dirty, stinking cesspooled streets, no sign of the broken, moth-eaten street lamps, no sign of the grimy railings, no sign of the pot-holed roads, no sign of the traffic cop whiling time by the roadside. Decorative lamp shades of the road lights, swanky departmental stores and malls. Organized and orderly traffic, taxis with no-refusal signs. They won’t refuse a hire just because the destination does not suit them. Active alert cops, some of them even smart. Yes I am not joking. Active clean-up and concreting ongoing of the various horrid open drains. Large modern residential complexes springing up. No power cuts, not at all, nada – one can take power for granted. Yes the roads are still too narrow, the bylanes are downright claustrophobic, too many people on the roads, many independent houses still being constructed to early 1990’s standards, but still, there was this change. I could feel a wasting giant stirring, rebuilding, repairing, rising phoenix-like brushing aside decades of exploitation, neglect and decay.

The previous time I had visited was almost 2.5 years back. So this coincides with the change in Govt. I am happy to see real impact from the current administration. There is still a long way to go. I am hoping to see more changes the next time I go there.


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