kolkata

Rock

I’ve been living in Kolkata for more than seven years now, and there isn’t a single rock band that I really like. There were a few songs here and there, and that was it. The Bangla rock scene is huge. There is a huge following of loyal fans who attend concerts on the regular. I never could find a band whose sound I could relate to. I didn’t hate the music, but it just wasn’t of my taste. You probably know where this is going. I found a band.

I was taken by surprise, because I had given up on this search long ago. In a first time in a long time, I was excited to discover something new. Yesterday there was a party at work. Some of our new products were being launched, and all of a sudden this insanely tight riff gripped the air. It was like sound coming from space. Very old, yet very fresh. Very new, but if I had a past life I probably listened to these guys. This is the rock equivalent of love at first sight. Only difference is you don’t want to fuck it after. A group of professional, passionate musicians. Their journeys different, but their paths, intertwined. I salute you, Cactus. Thank you for making me happy.

Dry

This is me chasing a dragonfly at Gangani.

If little me saw this and realized I was chasing dragonflies at 32, I would have been proud.

Different rock-formations, formed over years and years of erosion. There once used to be a river here. So it’s basically a river graveyard. When you look at it you see the past. A past when there was a lot less smoke and trash. People in those days probably had interesting things to say to one another. Like, the way they described things would have been so much more elaborate, to give context. The sky was a screen that forecasted the weather, and little children played with bones. I call them little Jeffries.

A gift

Two friends from Kerala came to visit. Today will be my last day with them, and it’s going to be sad. When people from your home town visit you, it’s like they bring a little piece of home to you, and when it goes away it’s painful. You’re so glad they’re here. You love showing them around, but when they leave, it’s heartbreaking. So today I will be getting drunk. Fuck the meds. It’s so good to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with two amazing people. I consider myself very lucky to have them. Imagine listening to a Toto song and dining with your best mates. That’s what it feels like. Pure bliss. For the last day of the tour, we will be covering Belur Math, Dakshineshwar Temple and if possible, the botanical garden. Three big places, with a lot to see. I am already feeling spiritual. The power of meditation within me rises. I feel the need, the need for speed. Let’s Top Gun this.

New hobbies and discoveries

A new hobby of mine is rubbing the dry skin/dirt off of my groin, and smelling it before rolling it into a work of art, and flicking it. I feel like an athlete. I now completely understand why dogs smell the groin. There’s a lot to learn from the scent, however, your mind has to be in tune with nature to really understand what’s going on.

The air quality index on both my home and work computer says “polluted air” and it shows the picture of a brown leaf next to it. This could mean only one thing. It’s the AI’s way of telling us that if we keep doing this to the environment, there will be nothing but brown leaves left to wipe your ass with, unless you are into free-handing, like me.

My friends are coming to visit. I can’t wait to show them around. Mitra cafĂ©, Belur Mutt, my haunted second bedroom, Saldhana bakery, Victoria Memorial, that place where I made out with a girl facing oncoming traffic, sweet shops, and old British-era buildings.

Noodle me this

Today is a beautiful Saturday. Truly beautiful. Not for me, but for the rest of the world. Maybe just a little for me. I set out on a journey yesterday, after reading an article about an authentic Chinese restaurant somewhere in Tangra, and because of that, the world decided to shit on me by making it that one special day when it rains in February. I don’t know how this shit happens to me. Although I did get lucky in finding a direct bus that goes to the place. The trip took about an hour. A guy came sat next to me, which, by the way, struck me as a little odd because 90% of the bus was empty and ma man decided to make me lift my bag so that he can sit next to me, like I’m a lucky charm or something. Now, am I the only one who’s felt this? People have this insatiable need to come seat near me even when the rest of the seats are empty. Not the girls, just guys, which makes it worse. It’s like, in their mind they go “lets all huddle together and keep each other warm”. What in the actual fuck is wrong with these people? Do I exude safety? Fuck no. I’m the first person to ditch your ass if the bus ever gets taken over by terrorists. I am a Ronin bro(don’t judge me).

Right from the get-go you knew he’s one of those types that has absolutely no respect for other human beings. He comes in, earphones blazin, like what even is the point now? You’re using a pair of earphones as a boombox right now. Like, I can almost hear the thoughts in your head. Then he asks me “does this bus go to VIT?”. No “excuse me”, no “do you happen to know”, no “may I fondle your balls?”, no nothing. Straight up asks what he wants, like commando style. I’m sure some women find that attractive but not papa. I was like, isn’t that in Vellore?, which if you don’t know, I live in North East India, and Vellore is down south, like thousands of kilometres away. Then it starts to rain. He, starts to complain TO ME about the rain. I failed to mention that I was listening to music this whole time. So I was just staring at the nonsensical bullshit that was coming out of his mouth. The famous saying “in through one out through the other”, didn’t apply here cos papa was listening to incredible drums in Undertow, by Chroma Key.

As usual, I missed the stop, and I began walking back to the spot. On the way, I pass by a building that looks like it has got gigantism. The ITC ROYAL BENGAL. Here, let me show you a picture:

It’s beautiful. There’s lights everywhere. Like, I can smell the rich people inside. It’s weird because, just down the street, it’s pure poverty. I saw a guy cleaning the inside of his bucket with water from a puddle. There’s puddles everywhere, and since they’re building another gigantic structure right behind this, there’s construction and gooey mud for miles. Yet I power through, because I had read about the great Shingara Chow, served at Ah Leung. Read the article:

https://www.telegraphindia.com/my-kolkata/lifestyle/feasting-on-the-famous-pork-shingara-chow-at-tangras-ah-yung-or-ah-leung/cid/1849390

It’s an expedition to get to this place. Lot of dark alleyways, big street dogs, friendly people. A healthy 40% on the rapometer, which is a device I use to measure my chances of getting raped. Yes, it’s got the BIS, ISO, all them ratings. Finally, after a barrage of twists and turns, I get to the spot, and it’s closed. But the owner was very kind to come outside and explain the situation. In fact he started getting a little too close. Papa’s body has a knee jerk reaction to people not wearing masks. It is a GTFA pose (get the fuck away). For the GTFA, I stretch out both my arms in a warm, welcoming manner, except my palms are facing forward, and I bend my knees a little, as if to do a squat. This sends a clear message to the maskless one, that daddy’s not playin around. After a friendly socially-distanced banter, I went to another restaurant called Kaafu Lok, and I had the best tasting rice noodles I’ve ever had. So kids, life is full of magic. You just have to know, which restaurant to get it from.

Yellow green flying machine

I’m here to speak of the plight of the middleman. Not your usual middleman, the literal person who has to sit in between two people at the back of an auto. The raw hate spewed onto the middleman by the person who gets in last, merely because the person who got in first has a big ass, is simply unjustified. The middleman has to endure a barrage of frowns from countless men and women. Today the driver asked me to pay up in advance to which I replied “it’s too tight right now”. Kids, papa is by no means strapped for cash. Papa is literally stuck in between the ass cheeks of two grown men. So tight, that I can’t pull out my wallet. The driver, who is quite familiar with this pickle of situation, immediately understood my plight, and did not harass me further. He sped on, squeezing though the tiniest gap in between two motorbikes, and intimidating pedestrians. The guy on my left, got out. As I was taking my wallet out, and realizing at the same time, how good it feels to inhale fully, the lady in the front migrated to the back seat, which is understandable right? No one wants to be that close to someone who propels his three-wheeler with spit. If you don’t know, the Indian auto or auto-rickshaw is a small three-wheeler, and in some cities they take up to four passengers. Three at the back, and one sitting next to the driver, like in HIS FACE. So she starts to do this weird thing where she moves to and fro on the seat meanwhile giving me quick glances of hate. This kids, is a sign that the person on your left is not comfortable with their accommodation. Little does she know. the guy on my right has his legs in a ‘V’ shape. Blasphemy. I was about to cry foul when I noticed the backpack inside his ‘V’. I remember once asking somebody to keep their backpack in the boot, to which they replied “there’s food in the bag”. Apparently food goes bad when kept in trunks. Has to be the isolation.

Street sweets

I read somewhere that Omicron will peak mid February. My LIFE hasn’t peaked yet. And yet, a virus has somehow managed to peak twice in a span of two years. In the words of the great Theo Von, ‘my life has been a constant struggle, wrestling with every moment just to feel ok’. All of this spiraled down during the past few weeks, and I finally decided to reach out for help. So I talked to a local therapist, and I kid you not, I felt like she needs therapy. I felt like, if I got to spend a few hours with her every week, I could give her some life-advice, and I’ll do it for free.

Three important things happened in the past month

The legal age of marriage for women was raised from `18 to 21

The stock market saw a dip

And I ate the most delicious Chandrakala the world has to offer. It was from a sweet shop, on the way back from work. Every other sweet shop who claims to know how to make Chandrakala, should get training form this grand maestro. His face looked grumpy as hell, but I did not care, as my focus was on the round delight. He frowned when I gave him a 50 Rupee note. The Chandrakala was 10 Rs. It was oozing with sweet juices. Out-of-the-world ingredients. If I could summarize the taste, I would describe it as pure magic. Not a lot of ghee, nor liquid stuff. Just the right amount. The quality of the sweet made up for the grumpiness. He snatched the eco-friendy plate, as soon as I picked up the Chandrakala. I think I would have been choked if I stayed there any longer. The word Chandrakala has been used 5 times in this post. Was that planned? Absolutely Chandrakala not.

I’m back

I’m back after a year and two months. Back in Kolkata. Did I expect to return? Yes. I can’t leave my headphones behind. That’s plural headphones, like headphonesss. Am I happy about returning? No. It was my only option. So what now? Think. Deeply.

Some things have changed. There are a lot more people selling bananas. I can pickup a banana from literally anywhere. If your’e walking on the street, stretch your hands out. Boom! Banana! There’s a little less traffic. I think it’s partly due to the pandemic, and a bridge being fixed after it collapsed! By the way, remember that rhyme, London bridge is falling down? Yeah. Why?

Oh! here’s something I’ve never seen growing up in little ol Kerala. A fucking kite centre! Absolutely beautiful!

If I had the means, I would give an award to whoever came up with the title for this article:

https://finshots.in/archive/tata-hakuna-matata-and-shitcoins/

and here’s a beautiful song

Podcast episode 5- The Pandemic, Missionaries and Kolkata

Connect with your inner self, feed your soul and eat more bananas. Listen to the latest episode of my humble podcast. Links to the topics of discussion, including videos are provided in the podcast description. To access it, click the (-) icon and go to the relevant podcast episode. Enjoy.

Ep.32 I'm back Next-level Nothing

Me, myself, mine, etc. — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/randomthoughtbeam/message
  1. Ep.32 I'm back
  2. Ep.31 The Batman- Review
  3. Ep.30 Willie Slap
  4. Ep.29 Luxury Vs Functionality
  5. Ep.28 Is this the downfall of Marvel?

Kolkata has been good to me. Although it has made me loose faith in the maintenance of personal hygiene, it has taught me valuable life lessons. One of the habits that I’ve picked up is that I now can’t finish a meal without eating something sweet at the end of it. Like, my hand will start to shiver if I don’t get a treat, rich in protein and diabetes..