Somebody Compared Chennai Mornings With Kolkata Mornings And You Will Miss Kolkata More After Reading This
The city I reside in now, is a funny city. You wake up and see the day has already started, there are people on the road, women, decked up already, making designs of white powder outside their homes, and men are already on their bikes, off to their respective workplaces. Women decked in heavy sarees and jewellery, are coming out of the temple, tilaks on their foreheads. Women, running behind the buses, with heavy laptop bags on their back. The flower-seller is done for the day, it took only one hour for her to sell her stock. The cars and buses rush up and down the roads all day. It’s as if the city does not rest. The dosa-maker vigorously rubs in dosa batter onto the flat oven, the man beside him ladles bowls full of sambhar and just beside his stall, the old bakery opens its shutters. The old grandma with wispy hair makes you wonder how she manages to bake so many cookies so early, who helps her. After Kolkata, it seems too fast.
Well, maybe when you grow up in Calcutta, any city would seem funny. You get used to waking up to Rabindrasangeet, which Ma would play as early as 6 in the morning, partially to wake up her family of hibernating grizzly bears and partially to reminisce of her girlhood days, when my Dimma would wake everyone up by playing the same songs. You see the man of the house, or as he believes, embark on a morning walk only to return with paper packets stuffed with ‘kochuri’ and ‘jilipi’, along with the fish and the ‘shaak’, after a debate about how the ‘maachwalla’ cheated him, he retires to the verandah with the newspaper as he waits for his tea. You know that at 7.30, the Dida in the next flat will have completed her puja, with her tiny grand-daughter by her side and her daughter-in-law will soon leave for work, riding pillion on the son’s bike, she will wave a hurried bye to her little daughter, who looks out of the window. You know exactly when the neighbouring Kakima will temper her vegetables and, between cooking and calling out to her husband, warning him, “Ar deri korle kintu bus ta miss hobe!”, she manages to make a quick call to her sister-in-law, to discuss the latest episode of the newest soap on tv and then when Kakima’s husband finally comes for breakfast, late, because he was solving Sudoku or word-puzzles in the bathroom, you know their conversation by heart, where they mock fight and the lady of the house warns him, that one fine morning, she would leave this “shongshar” and only then would he realize her value. However, five minutes later, you hear the same woman call out “dugga dugga” as the husband leaves for work and asks him to remember to have lunch. Slowly, the city comes to life as autos start plying and buses rush off with a whooshing sound. There is something really slow and magical about mornings in Calcutta. No one is in a hurry to start the day. The office-goers walk slowly to board their chosen mode of transport. The vegetable sellers slowly push their carts along the by-lanes, they don’t call out, they ring a bell which somehow fits in with the other morning sounds. It doesn’t seem so out of place. Then you hear the various “Ma aashchi”s, which signify that children are leaving for school and the mothers and the ladies of the house finally have time to eat their own breakfasts and read the newspaper, whose pages have already been messed up. Given another hour, the roads would be silent again and the city would again go to sleep.
— The author wants to stay anonymous
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