It's amazing how life not only spills on to the streets of Kolkata, but happens almost entirely on the footpaths. Every act of existence happens 24 hours a day for thousands of mostly men who appear to live with no roof over their heads. The city has water fountains and tubewells flowing with water 24 hours a day for them and most of the life revolves around it. The taxis and the hand rickshaws are their beds.
I'm from Mumbai and I'm no stranger to such sights but here in Kolkata it takes on a whole new rhythm that is worth observing.
The Perfume Seller.
I was waiting for a bus to go to Ernakulam and this travelling perfume seller at the bus stand was catering to his customers, the others in the bus stop. It was interesting to see how people select the different perfumes he had and how he was making his sale.
Little did I know at that time there was a beautiful movie by the name of "Adaminte Magan Abu" in Malayalam that tells the story of travelling attar seller.
Watch the movie here:
Location: Kayamkulam, Kerala, India
Fossils in the Indian Museum, Kolkata.
East Bengal Club, Kolkata.
A casual glance at Indian advertising in the past few months will reveal that cricket has reached a saturation point and football is the emerging hero. But in Kolkata, in every ground and street, football is King.
These images are from the home ground of the East Bengal Football Club supported by Kingfisher. However, it's the football jerseys of International clubs and teams that people prefer to wear and show off. But you do get unofficial East Bengal jerseys. They cost Rs.90 each. I couldn't find jerseys of their arch rivals Mohun Bagan or India's oldest club Mohamaddan Sporting.
The fake international ones cost Rs 150 and above. That's half of what it costs in Bandra. The official Chelsea jersey costs about Rs. 3,300.
Do women need to protect their....?
The beer of Bangalore supports this Bengal team but it's Bengal sweets that's the players seem to prefer during the practice session.
Sweet Bengal indeed.
The stands are open for public who want to watch their favourite team practice.
A foreign player with the club watches the proceedings.
Inside on what's on the clothesline and outside, the cars of the football club members reveal their support for Kolkata's favourite teams - Man U and Chelsea.
And next door, is a Club named The Aryan Club. With a name like that it's not surprising that it's for members only.
They asked for Pariborton or Change and got another petty regional party.
Like Huxley said in the Brave New World, "All that is needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look sincere; political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance. The personality of the candidate, the way he is projected by the advertising experts, are the things that really matter."
Location: Elgin, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
The Smoking Room at Kolkata Airport.
Kolkata's airport is named after Netaji. If he survived the air crash and is still alive, like some people liked to believe for a long time, he would come back and land in an airport named after him.
This airport, has a large smoking room. In fact, when you land here from places where there are restrictions for smokers almost everywhere, you will be surprised by the amount of tobacco smoked and paan chewed in the city. The reason for the room to stay is supposed to be because the earlier Chief Minister was a chain smoker and that this city is the home of ITC. But I'm sure that when the new terminal comes up, it's unlikely to have a place for smokers.
Meanwhile, at the traffic signals, along with flowers, smokeless carcinogens with the brand name Tiranga seems to be the favourite among the ones that are sold.
Wishing well at Akloli Kund.
Akloli Kund Hot Water Springs. Next to Vajreshwari
Not too far from the city of Bhiwandi, the industrial city, north of Mumbai you will find a small village filled with sanatoriums. They are mostly run by and for Gujarati and Kutchi communities. That's because this village on a bend of the Tansa River that supplies water to Greater Mumbai and has bubbling hot springs. The water from the main spring is channeled into three large tiled ponds that you can see in these images. You can't jump into the bubbling spring but the it spills over into three ponds with different degrees of temperature. I could stand in the hottest one pretty comfortably and I must confess that my feet never felt better! But most people seemed to prefer the cooler ones. Here are some girls in hot water wearing India's national dress - the nightie.
Like all good geographical features that are occupied by people who cannot look behind worshiping some hidden power they imagine behind it, this place is dedicated to the down to earth Shiva and shared by the atheistic Jain Tirtankaras and the ashram of a Godman. They do a good job at keeping the place holy and therefore clean. Or we would have people washing their bums in hot water here after a good crap out in the open.
Here's the man who kept shooing away people who walked in with their muddy slippers. May Shiva bless him.
There are two shrines here. The older one shown above to the west of the spring and a more recent one to the North. On the Southern side is an ashram of this godman.
To the east is this wonderful old lamp post, tree and a road that went to the Tansa river front.
Here's a useful list of Hot Springs in India (and around the world)
Location: Palsai Rd, Maharashtra, India
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