Chandni Chowk to Rashbehari

17 Dec

Kolkata has a Chandni Chowk too. I wish I could tell you more about it’s delicious little secrets, but I’ve only passed through here on work. It certainly looks interesting. It’s got long streets, old buildings and the charm of an old world business district. It also houses Khadi Gram Udyog (right opposite the Chandni Chowk metro station), which is always worth a visit.

The metro is a very business like mode of transport. I’m grateful it exists, and I will use it everytime I’m in a hurry, but there is no better way to soak up the flavour of a city than by bus. In Delhi and Mumbai, I navigate buses by their numbers. In Kolkata, buses have two conductors who are nearly always near the open doorways, so it’s just so easy to ask if the bus is going where you are going. I love that. I love being able to hop on buses blind, on the basis of personally relayed information. It makes me feel very welcome on the bus system. Ofcourse, I’m Bengali and I speak the language. It would be amusing to see hindi speakers try their luck at the same method: I’m willing to bet there would be more than just a few exchanges that would be lost in translation. PLEASE hear a native Bong speak Hindi. It’s really very funny, it somehow turns into a whole different language that smacks suspiciously of…Bengali.

I took a bus from Chandni Chowk today afternoon. And bought three packets of Amla (Rs.5) from a bus vendor. While the bus meandered through Maiden, Park Street, Birla Planetarium, Rabindra Sadan, Bhowanipore, I sat by a window seat, eating metallic tasting slices of salted amla, falling in love with the white Victorian structures, the passing art galleries and the general pace and cheer of a Saturday afternoon. I simply have to come back and walk this stretch while it is still winter. I also have to do a tram ride on this stretch.

Oh. And my throat is being stupidly scratchy. That’s why I bought the Amla. Go away, scratchy throat, heed the Vitamin C (all three packets of it).


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