Far in the eastern part of India, after 14 trips to Bharat Mata I finally see Calcutta… Kolkata. “Ohh, you’re going to Calcutta! Why? It’s so dirty, scarey, etc.” Well, it is an amazing city. We are staying in the south part, near the Kali temple (which we have yet to visit.) Martin’s first comment on our neighborhood near Lake Market: “It’s so clean, it feels like Brooklyn!” Brooklyn + New Orleans + India. Old shuttered buildings, no glass in the windows (only bars… good for rope yoga!). Wide, wide streets, British influence, amazing park space, nice people generally, high speed internet, and yes LOTS of people living on the street. The street poverty isn’t what gets me, it’s just the mass of humanity around MG Road, the markets, loud and busy. And mostly the men (and women) with the parcels on their heads. Think sirsasana (headstand). Think about when you really WANT to come out, but are determined to stay until the teacher says it’s time to come down. Think about what your eyes and face looks like then, the strain on the body, mind, spine. Then, do all of that, with a 50-100 pound parcel on your head, navigating masses of people while you walk across the Howrah Bridge over the Hoogly River. Think 30 minutes of this at least. Think LOTS of these guys (and women). Masses of them. Think Seventh Avenue, NYC, Fashion District, the guys with the racks of clothes and multiply the intensity by a thousand or so. That’s Calcutta. That was yesterday. After a session of that, walking across the bridge with our little bag… we ended at a sweet Hanuman Temple. There I had a bit of a melt down, it was all too much for me, so we taxied home. Great taxis in Calcutta, with meters that work and no hassle. Yellow Ambassadors. The pollution is rough. phew. But after a bucket bath, a very good cry, and a deep deep nap I was nearly as good as new. Big thunderstorm happened, I watched the Holi edition of KBC with SRK, Rani Mukherjee and Priety Zinta and that’s that. Another day in India.
March 2, 2007