Holidays in Kolkata

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The laughter, fun and excitement filled the air when I arrived at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport at Kolkata. I was glad to be home on Diwali.. the prayers, diyas, decorations and people - all seemed to be in sync with the festivities. Suddenly there was a gush of noise, relatives, activities and it felt good to be amidst the humdrum.

Kolkata has not changed. Its as noisy as ever with people blaring on the loudspeakers, hoardings screaming at every inch and in every direction, everyone clothed in their best attire showing off their gold and diamonds, people trying hard to meet social obligations hoping desperately to find a few minutes of solace, people cursing at the traffic-filled roads hoping to reach the 2 km length in the next half hour, kids trying to fit into a "metropolitan" setup and portraying their coolness at various coffee joints.

There I was in the middle of it all having a great time with my family and friends. I had no time to breathe and I was busy all day doing nothing! It was a great feeling .. to be eating (yah lot of people admitted that I have grown fatter!), partying and socializing without any consequence. Although I am glad I don't have to do it everyday.

9 days in Kolkata did not even seem like 9 minutes.. it was like a clock ticking so fast that I was wishing that I could break it and stop the time from rushing past. It felt like a dream to be with my parents, my cousins and friends, sleep on the same bed, walk the same floor. I felt like I was in a trance on my return from my house to the airport. I couldn't believe that I was driving past the same road and my vacation was over. Just when I started wishing that I'd stayed longer there was a sudden split that ran across the dream.

At 7 am in the airport there was a huge queue in the entrance of the airport. Patiently crossing that I reached the "baggage-screening" area which was filled with people screaming and arguing, educated people cutting across lines and slyly trying to overcome the one in the front while others took pleasure in pushing another. Next, I went to the check-in counter where I again observed the bus-stop like attitude where there was no difference between a professional, businessman, housewife and a child. Suddenly I heard a scream saying "Move forward".. I looked here and there only to realise that I was to move half an inch forward as the person in front decided to shift his feet!

The journey had just begun.. I had yet to survive the security check.. the 4 hour flight.. the rush to office and I couldn't wait for the day to get over. It was a rude awakening but I think it was important. Made me thank my stars once again!