Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kolkata, India: 14Aug07

The Beauty and The Melanchody

i thought India won't give me anymore shock now, but i still feel so when i saw the human-pulled riskshaw and the poorest one just stay outside around the museum wall with merely a piece of canvas as roof and an iron bed.
However, in some way, in fact i like this place if compare with other Indian cities such as Chenai or Delhi.
Unfortunately, the reason is i could enjoy some modern facilities here (eg. REAL coffee with air-con, although the air-con is not really cold and modern CD shops... at least something quite similar back home) while seeing something different, something that i won't see back home (eg. the typical noisy and crowded Indian bazaar).
i tried to get a few days of volunteer work at Mother's House (Mother Therisa's Charity organization) but they only work on Wednesday and Friday and tomorrow is the national day of India. So no chance, as i am likely to leave on Friday.
Mother House is the first place i went in Kolkata. i sitted in front of Mother Theresa's tomb and saw people came to pray to her. The place has a peaceful feeling despite the honk and noise from just outside. This is the place where a human with great love and compassion once lead her life and took her last breath. For no reason, i just feel touched and there were moisture in my eyes.
As i roamed around the ex-British goverment area later, the buildings are impressively beautiful in the colonial style. This very much reminded me of Bombay and its beautiful buildings.
However in compare with Bombay, the poor and the rich in Kolkata is even more obvious. At least in Bombay, the slum is outskirt away from the city centre but in Kolkata, slums are around the crowded city area.
May be, it is about the time to go back home now, just another ten days. i found the heat , the flood and the annoying Indian young men are not as unbearable. The not so good side is, i don't put efforts to make friend now, since it is not as easy to find someone heading East and then South together with me. I do talk to people, but most of the time i don't even bother to ask where they come from or what is their name. Why bother to do so since i am not likely to see them again? :)

Human powered rickshaw ( 人力车). i have only seen this in the Singapore TV drama which featured the live of the immigrants from China when they came to Singapore. Many of them work as rickshaw driver at that time. So i was rather shock to see this in Kolkata. I did not sit on this. Even sitting on a cycle rickshaw was making me feel bad. In Lonely Planet, they said: "You may find it morally unacceptable to have a man pulling you around in a carriage; the only compensation is knowing that you are supporting someone's livelihood." This is exactly how i feel when i hired a cycle rickshaw. This human powered rickshaw is just too much to me.

It is common in Kolkata that the street got flooded when during monsoon. i had to walk in one of the street like this too. It is gross as the street is always with human/animals waste and rubbish. So i know i am walking in the very dirty water.

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