Kolkata – a word woven with mystery. A city with as many unique interpretations as its people. It always remained at the center of our curiosities and discussions. There is one more Kolkata which is being passed over to us through stories and tales from our grandparents –the yesteryear’s Kolkata. A city, where one could take a tram ride with mere 2 paisa. A raise of one paisa in fare would put the city roads on fire and bring life to a standstill. This very characteristic also gave the city a unique distinction of being the city of revolution/protest.
I Arup Lodh, am a budding artist of today’s Kolkata. Like many of you, I have also learnt about the yesteryear’s Kolkata through those enchanting endless stories and tales from my family, through books, through journals and write ups from that era. However, a lot has changed from what the city used to be to what it is now.
Definitely, one of the notable changes is – it is no longer the crowned capital of India. But neither it is has dampen the joyous mood of the city nor of its people. The society has changed so as the era. Out of many reasons for this change, one is the dot com era. This 21st century phenomenon has brought the city close not only to the other parts of the country but to the western world. And the influence of this closeness can be seen in every walk of life. This closeness has drawn more attention to the city from people within our country as well as outside; this resulted in over influx of people who accepted the city as their new home.
Multiplexes, shopping malls, high rise buildings and larger than life billboards are covering the entire city skylight. But surprisingly one more Kolkata co-exists alongside this booming modern Kolkata; it exists in suffocating dilapidated slums, it exists in narrow stinky lanes and it exists amongst those unruly street hawkers. On one side, the city depicts extremely busy life and a crop of people who are fiercely competitive; however, on the other side it eats, lives, breathes in litter, pollution and garbage.