How do Calcuttans make sense of their city?
Here are some (helpful?) visuals that indicate how we try to derive meaning out of chaos and nothingness. Now these deductions are based purely on my observations, and do not intend to offend or ridicule. I cannot afford to offend and ridicule- I am a Calcuttan myself!
First- How do we react to the world around us?
We read the news- not just the news, we read between the lines, we go deeper and deeper till we sometimes lose sight of the line itself, and then, we chew upon it, we muse and ponder…
Second- How do we react to criticism?
We may turn our backs to it and ignore it into oblivion.
Or we can introspect- we deeply introspect, look back into ourselves to pry out the flaws which called for such unwarranted attention.
Third- When faced with a problem, what do we generally do?
Hmm, let’s see…
Yeah that’s it- the ‘lets see’ approach. I will stand around, looking pretty or wise, seemingly prepared to take on the world but secretly hope that the situation gets over-awed by my awesomeness and goes away.
Fourth- Are we materialistic?
Yes, of course, we want to have it all and…
But then, we also believe that unlike the yellow cabs, our Gods are of the ‘No Refusal’ variety. So that helps a lot!
Fifth- Are we obsessive?
Yes we are! About our loose change- a.k.a. khhuchro;
about what is being cooked for lunch in a neighbour’s house or even about whether pubescent Gooplo and Munni are in love… and we stalk our objects of affection with much talent.
Sixth- How do we solve our problems?
We initially bear our burdens with an optimistic approach to making…
If that does not help, we may briefly wallow in melancholia and stare despondently at the Howrah Bridge for what has been and never may be, the ubiquitous black umbrella sheltering us from the rain without.
If that does not help, we look for that beam of light, in the darkest ruins of our former selves and believe everything will be alright! You cannot contest the eternal sunshine of the spotless Calcutta mind!
And then, there is always tea/cha, friends, a walk, an adda or long chat and the return of the Calcutta Zen stance, where the moment is always greater than the sum total of your past.
And once more the Lady atop the iconic marble edifice dedicated to another formidable woman, bugles our entry into the hall of unsung heroes, who smile and struggle through a life called Calcutta!