The pre-monsoons are here in Kolkata
That surely had me fooled
Sharmila and I were enjoying the various artifacts that have been put up outside of Kolkata Street Food (opposite the Eco Park outside the Wax Museum) reminiscent of Kolkata a few decades back. There is the tram car, the double decker bus, the yellow Ambassador Taxi, old movie posters (like Sholay) etc. There is even a statue of Tintin!
While going around and admiring the set up, I was very aware of a quintessential walking hazard in India. That being – getting dropped on by all those birds on the electric wires above who somehow have an uncanny ability to induce bowel movements when and only when there is a human being below. Specially if they are not wearing a hat.
Accordingly, I was keeping an eye on the birds on the wires as I moved around. After sometime I realized that these birds were particularly lazy. Not only were they not flying away when I was nearby, they did not even attempt to look here and there foraging for food.
And then I got it! In an effort to create a replica of Kolkata of the yesteryears, the authorities had spared no effort. Those electric wires were not real ones and neither were the birds. Those were life-like statues of crows and pigeons and what have you!!
I do not believe I have seen this anywhere else in this world! I was totally fooled. Sharmila would not even believe me at first!
6K walk with Sharmila this morning
Sharmila poring thru the papers of my parents.
This is the first time she is visiting India after my parents died. Last time she saw them was actually AFTER I saw them laat (about two weeks later) – merely a few days before India shut down in March 2020 due to Covid.
Note the interesting filing system my parents had. All important papers were impaled into a thin iron rod with a hook and then later hung from a coat rack. The coat rack had multiple hooks to keep the files organized!!!!
Nikita trying to re-light an unfinished pack of incense sticks my mom had left
Nikita at the sanctum sanctorum of this house
Surrounded by emptiness
Nikita sitting on the same chair at the same spot she did with her grandparents back in 2018. In a matter of two and a half years, we lost three of them. Now that she is headed to college and independent life, I am fairly sure this is the last time she is visiting what used to be her grandparents’ place in Kalyani.
Next stop – an empty house
After saying goodbye to my mother in law, we headed straight to my parents’ place. We have not yet sold the place after they transitioned. Sharmila and Nikita both wanted to visit the place that used to be their home. As the car drove thru the by-now-much-familiar path between Durgapur and Kalyani, it took a final turn at Pannalal Road and the flat (right top corner) became visible. Usually, this is the exact time that I would spot my dad sitting in the balcony waiting for me.
That has surely become a thing of the past. This is the fourth time I am visiting what used to be their home in a year or so. Still have not gotten used to they being not there.
The big things get easy. It is the small things – the only shoe he had that has not been worn ever since, the unfinished incense stick she had lit that evening, the watch that has stopped, the calendar that is still stuck in December 2020, the glasses lying around unused, the half finished soap in the bathroom… they are the ones that torment the most.