Tag Archives: Kolkata

Little sisters and the chief

11 Feb, 2011

16:30hrs: Its 28’c – not really pleasant – and we’re headed to one of India oldest & busiest railway stations: Howrah. Oh, by the way, I’m in Kolkata and Pranab Mukherjee & Rahul Gandhi are all over the place. While my colleagues enjoyed their tea with some local biscuits (which in total cost Rs.5 for 2 persons), I had my eyes elsewhere: on gol gappe (pani puri) & momos selling on the local thelas. Sometimes I appreciate the clarity I possess: I denied tea because I doubted its quality, but I was willing to risk my life for pani puri – as if it was prepared using Aquafina. As we listen to our taxi driver share his political views, we’ve passed Rajarhat (where real estate is booming) & Salt Lake City (where my friends Panda & Sanjay work). Our driver just mentioned that his ‘fabharit leadar‘ (favorite leader) is Narendra Modi and he’s impressed with his work and the ‘Golden Gujarat’ campaign. His take on the nation: ‘Yeh bahut difficult India hai‘.

19:03 hrs: Just realized the importance of 3 minutes and how far I can run when I have been slowed down. The story starts with some useless waiting at Park Street for a cab,  after which we took a local bus over Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) which actually moved faster than other cars. Then we just ran the entire width of Howrah station from platform 1 to 23 (which happens to be on the other half of the station), only to find the guard, ironically, waving the green flag at us and the train showing its @$$.

21:30 hrs: After hours of driving (& waiting in hope) we finally reached Sher-e-Punjab, a notable dhaba on the road to Mumbai (which is still 1900 kms away). The menu card was exemplar for creativity; receipe groups were named like: Bakre Ke Nakhre (Mutton), Sleeping in the night/Morning is the tight (curd/raitas), Continue reading Little sisters and the chief

Bhutan Diaries – Day 1: Thimpu

15:30hrs, Thimpu

Night stay at Kolkata was decent; we ordered chicken noodles in the middle of the night. The city is still as unclean as it was 10 years back, accompanied by very high entropy. The airport is medieval (note: aviation history starts much after Christ) & even Emirates does not get an aero-bridge. Took an early morning Druk Air flight to Paro; the airline operates a fleet of 2 A319s. I was sitting next to Pema Tshering, a unique scholar who teaches History to MA students & Geography to BA students. He was kind enough to offer me his window seat & introduce me to the Himalayas. The approach to Paro requires a 90 degree turn between the Paro valley to show way to a really small runway; surprisingly there are no taxiways either.

Paro Airport
Paro Airport

At the airport, everyone from ground-staff to policemen were wearing something very close to knee-length bathing robes; little later we realized this was Gho, the national dress. My parents were telling us the story of a man before them who was about to be sent back for some reason. I think, unless you’re travelling on business, you can’t enter Bhutan without a package tour. Out of immigration & customs, we were welcomed by our tour guide Kinley Tensin (right! Same as the mineral water brand Continue reading Bhutan Diaries – Day 1: Thimpu