For the second consecutive year now I am here in Kolkata for the Puja eve, a whole week to be correct.Actually a whole month.I just saw the whole thing unfurl in front of my eyes. Last week there was this Vishwakarma puja thatg we were talking about, all I could notice was that the standards have gone up. Rickshwawallahs here in Kolkata now charge more than many meterd cabs all around the country. I found out that a rickshaw stand here in has an average of 20-35 pullers, and they fetch in about 700-800 rs per head and zoom, they have a budget of 20-25 k to talk of. In that amount they can do a pandal, the lighting for the day or two , the pujari , the flower decorations, the fruits and the vegetables given to the lord are also theirs, since they got the money now, the dance floors are ready , speakers blast, and these guys who are sort of means to move from point A to point B for many people , come out in the open, They show out their talents. The second night they all celebrate, and trust me half the money collected goes for this bonanza of a night, where they bring their families, share the booze and take home a happy family.
Heads high, all paid from money that was converted from their sweat and hard work. I liked it here. Well that was the last week, now it is already Mahalaya and done, All I could remember of that day was phut......
over in a flash , and another Puja is upfront,
Just the last whole week went in a frenzy of office work. I tend to speak about office almost all the time, Thanks to a second life which I devote for my fiancée and towards some books I can speak at times, when needed, about matters that concern the world and in general our Bengal
Yes our Bengal, the news programmes, some politically biased and some not spew out some oneliners day in out “Patha abarodh “, that is one of the most common things that I can hear whenever he or she turns on the television here. I usually have my physio therapy sessions here at home. When the TENS ( transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation ) thingy keeps tickling my arms and shoulders, I can as well spend some free time to listen to the news. So I put on the new channels, invariably for the last 20 odd days I have started to see a pattern in almost all the news channels,
Somewhere or the other, we have a patha oborodh, or what you can literally put as Road block. Road block , not by any natural cause, not by any accident, not by any wild herd of elephants, who usually don’t come into city though, they prefer to stay out of politics I think. Yes, after years of adventurous stories about elephants keeping people stranded on the roads , they have decided to retire. They decided to give this sole responsibility to the people of Kolkata. Here they do patha oborodh, whenever they feel like doing it, Mostly during the early morning hours when other people who may not wililngly want to do path oborodh, may have to unwillingly become spectators.
One can see the ecstasy in a Lionel Messi, once he scores a goal, in front of a huge crowd, or a rare century from any of the new comers in Indian cricket, able to show off his helmet or his bat. This same, ingenuine ecstasy in the face of the ones here, and the television their way to reach to all the homes. Most of them don’t even know what is the purpose of the block but they submit humbly, some have no work to do ,
Once in a while I do turn on to BBC to find out whether it is a natural phenomenon here, or is it found all around the world, is it the whim of some DNA concoction here in the people , or is it something to do with stopping people from going to any productive work. Some people have no work to do here, it is true and so there are phrases and proverbs that come cheap here “ nei kaaj to khoi bhaaj” which is a small kick in the butt, to save yourself some more offensive language . It generally means that when you have nothing else to do , you will be doing something so useless that would sum up to something less than nothing. Negative energy pent up with years of frustration,
and that seems to be increasing in this city more than ever, the youth is frustrated with lack to income opportunity , the world is really flat and flatness first started within the nation,
Many in Kolkata don’t dream about a decent living in a country abroad, they are genuinely lazy at times and don’t think a need to fight in a visa line. Maybe not lazy but have an ego that says, we have a Subhash Chandra Bose, Amrtya Sen, we are the grand children of Rabindranath Tagore, we have Jagadish Chandra Bose to commemorate ,sitting here, Brave fighters of the independence that india won, we have stories to tell our coming generations, show them how the 25 th of Baishakh has to come and go, where and how the Borsho and Borsha boron to take place, we are neck deep in literature,
Immigration to Canada and then cleaning a Canadian store and become slaves for the second time, nope that is not the thing that they want. But access to some other cities within the nation and friends and relatives with more talent and those who could make use of the subsisdized education programs here in Kolkata, believe some of the engineering fees in Kolkata are 16 -18 dollars a years and they produce talent that will go and eat some major jobs all around the world, Jadavpur has each years some students who started with going to school for a mere mid day meal , today they take decisions that will make or break millions of lives,
Great is this city and great is the humiliation that one has , when he goes to other places only to realize that no if you don’t make a move fast you are gone,
Deng Xiaoping also made a decision years back and that was progressive and that caught today America in the the wrong footing, as slowly China has now risen the Olympics tally of gold to be the number sportws country in the world, they have now more PhD s than any other country in the world, they don’t want to be the number one exporter to America any more, now they have seen a chance, they want to be the next America all together,
They are the next big thing,
And similarly, Kolkata that used to be the genius, the center of all administrative reforms, all great work , and great minds is now losing to other cities in terms of living conditions , in terms of management. Sorry to say that, but all these good for nothing generations sitting on the walls and thinking only about the darkness ahead, and spending time thinking about how to stop it, or to choose the path of crime is not generated by a inner will or a nature or history of crime. It is generated by the lack of opportunities created in the last few years, Why is it happening,
the thing to wonder is that, more than 50 % of the talented students and almost all the good toppers, the meritorious are not even fighting for a job here . They are all gone to Bangalore, or to Hyderabad, to Bombay or to Delhi,
you can find them all the way in Coimbatore, Kochi, Rameshwaram. They have an allergy towards coming back , all they want to do is visit once in a while and return back before the allergy hits back. So many creative people, (see the pandals ) , so much talent, but the city cannot give enough back , Why is it so?
Is this just a political ideology that could become all of a sudden non meritocratic, I don’t know, there is some major demographical handicap , which is the pain here.
I have no idea!!!