Monday, July 04, 2016

Knowing a city

Today, I spent a few hours by the banks of river Hooghly, and then took the local train from Princep Ghat. In those few hours, I saw more of life and everyday living than I have seen in the air-conditioned floors of City Center, South City Mall, Mani Square, or any other mall. People buying and selling. Lovers holding hands. Buyers and sellers negotiating. People playing cards in groups. Devotees offering prayers in the temples by the banks. Families enjoying the sunset on a boat. Friends taking selfies in groups. Commuters waiting for the train. Life in tiny shacks under the Howrah Bridge. I also saw so many photographers with their expensive cameras and gears taking shots of life around the river. Life continued to happen for people as it does everyday while the smell of jhaal muri and phuchka wafted in the air. If you really want to understand even a little bit of a city, and this is true for every city, you need to move out of the usual places and find your own lanes and bylanes where everyday stories happen. And you need to take the train. And walk till you are ready to drop dead.


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