Calcutta Streets

You cannot truly enjoy the essence of Kolkata if you do not take to the streets of this city. The City of Joy has more to offer to those travelling on their feet and exploring the city than it can offer to anyone sitting inside their air conditioned cars and driving away to glory through the roads. The City wakes up as early as 4 am . Though not many people can be seen on the roads at that time save those who are regular train commuters and morning walkers , by 6 :30 business resumes with full force.If you go out for  a morning walk you will get to see some beautiful and unusual sights. People feeding pigeons on their rooftops or in the streets is an age old practice which  have been kept alive. Thus it is common to see a little child with his / her grandparents feeding lots of pigeons in the morning.

FEEDING PIGEONS ON ROOFTOPS
Animals have a special connection with sunrise. No sooner does dawn approach than all the cocks start crowing, the birds chirp and sing their own melodies , the dog starts attending to its masters orders and occasionally a cat can be seen outside its masters doorstep waiting to be let in and cuddled with love and affection.


The footpaths are mostly occupied by those without whom a morning in this city is incomplete- whether it be a weekday or the weekends.  A tea stall with the vendor going haywire listening to the many orders that comes pouring in is a regular sight.Often little boys also help their fathers and brothers in serving the customers.Men can be seen waiting in queues to get their beards shaved and hairs cut from the barber, who quickly  tends to the demands of each of his customers. The cobbler sitting at a distance too seems to be very busy mending the soles and stitching the shoes that have been given to him.All these people fight against time as their customers come with very little time in hand and it is up to them to work fast and well lest they loose a customer and fees! 

PHOTO COURTESY: PRAGATI GUPTA AND GARIMA JHAWAR

PHOTO COURTESY: PRAGATI GUPTA AND GARIMA JHAWAR

Varieties of transport can be spotted on the streets.Cars driven by the morning walkers fill in every inch of the roadside parking space; Buses and trams carrying people to their office or work place ; hand pulled rickshaws , though on a verge of extinction can be seen carrying elderly people mostly women for their daily marketing to the local markets.


The local markets are the busiest places in the mornings apart from the parks and gardens where there is a crowd of morning walkers. In the market there is a crowd of morning shoppers. Every direction one looks there are vendors howling on top of their voices to attract customers; the regular buyers bargaining to get their stuffs at cheaper rates; vendors fighting among themselves, sharing the newest joke, discussing politics and games and most importantly trying to make the maximum profit.

Chawls are a common aspect in Kolkata.Though not as famous as the Dharavi in Mumbai, there still exist a few and exhibit the same qualities as of the chawls of Mumbai and other places. Work for them begins as usual by collecting and storing water which comes only for two hours. The endless line and women folk fighting for their turn is an everyday affair. The kids help their mothers in doing the household chores. The men relax in the morning by playing cards or getting up late as they have a tiring day ahead. 

Education in India plays a very important role in securing the future of a child.Thus mostly every child goes to school either early in the morning, or in the afternoon after finishing off with their household chores or attend night schools especially run for those children who work during the day and help in the family income.

Mending of roads, bridges and other construction works in Kolkata are not new to the eye. In many places one can see tents being put up by the workers and their work begins as early as dawn. They work through the whole day to speed up the process of repair or building so that the people can use it to their welfare.

Mark my words, by the time you come back from your walk no matter which ever road you take you can hear the horns of the cars, see the dust emitted by cars in the air and notice parents dragging their willing or unwilling children to make them catch their buses to school(except on a Saturday or Sunday). The traffic guards and policemen are on their duties and the famous traffic jam has already affected the streets.

When in Kolkata you simply cannot miss out these small experiences which define the city itself. Even under such tension, pressure and hastiness one never fails to stop by and see the smiling faces of the people or the many stories that these faces tell or the spark in the eyes of the people. These are the things which truly gives the city its name- The City of Joy as the people are happy and positive no matter what the circumstances are.


72 Replies to “Calcutta Streets”

    1. So, Calcutta was what it was called earlier and the new name is Kolkata. We use the names interchangeably but they refer to the same place. Its the same way many other cities have been given a new name in India like Bangalore and Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Gurugram etc.

      Like

  1. I love the chaos that is Kolkata, but I have to confess that my favourite place is to go to Victoria Gardens in the early morning before the city is wide awake. It is so serene and beautiful…a wonderful respite from the buzz of the city. I guess the beauty of Kolkata is that it has something for everyone…whether in search of peace, buzz, gastronomy, retail therapy or a good game of cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Victoria Gardens is beautiful. It is always best to see the place in the early morning before the office rush and the crowds engulf it. Then again, it becomes really serene in the evenings but I would not advise you to wander in the streets out alone at night . It might not be very safe.

      Like

  2. I was always amazed by the streets of India and the amount of interesting things you can find on them. I remember my first trip to Delhi, where I’ve seen similar sights as the one you did in Calcutta. And then, heading towards Jaipur, where the street life became even more interesting, with monkeys jumping from one tree to another, while children were playing in the streets, near fathers who were making chai.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Calcutta is an enigmatic city. It is, like most cities of India, a city of contrasts. A city that seamlessly holds in its folds, the poshest of hotels and the most decrepit slums. The chic and fashionable as well as the miserable. Quite a candid post minus the floss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You. 🙂 I try to portray the touristy and the not so touristy attractions through my post. We often hear and say that to know a place its best to connect with the locals. I guess, I was just trying to do that with my post.

      Like

    1. India, is a huge place. Calcutta is only a small part of it. even within India, different cities have different lifestyles. Its really to explore those. And do try to visit India in future at least for the Taj Mahal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great insight into everyday life in Calcutta. I know exactly what you mean about taking a walk in a city. There is nothing like it as it exposes you to the same sights, sounds and smells that locals experience daily. Sounds like a walk in Calcutta is definitely a must for any visitor.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So well covered. I love the sights and sounds that you have described. The first time I went to Kolkata, I was a little appalled but the city grew on me as I stayed there for a day or so. The people there have a smile on their face no matter what and that is what makes this city so endearing. Loved this piece

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a nice account of Calcutta – you really captured the nitty-gritty of the street life and I think this is how someone who has a great understanding of the place would see it, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, pigeon feeding is like an age old tradition where the elders of the house used to go up to their terraces and feed them with little pieces of bread. But in Manchester too, I have seen it happening. Parents and their little ones feeding pigeons , though its not that common here.

      Like

  7. Exploring Kolkatta especially the durga festival has been our dream hopefully some day soon. Agree a great way to explore any city is to look at small things and experience life like the locals. Loved the way you have captured little things around the amazing city.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve seen Calcutta only in Bollywood movies and when I saw ‘Kahani’ starring Vidya Balan, I got scared with old town look and mysterious narrow roads! Though I’d love to visit Calcutta someday in my life during Durga Puga. Loved your street photography and few of your shots are absolutely incredible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Calcutta used to be the Capital during th British Raj. so some of the buildings especially in Noth Calcutta have the old world charm. theres a blend of old and contemporary both in Calcutta. Its a lovely place and if you can , you must come visit it sometime.

      Like

    1. No. Mumbai is bigger than Kolkata. It is much vast a city. And the lifestyle there is quite rushed. I was born in Mumbai but left it at a young age. I plan to go sometime soon and cover their lifestyle too. Its very different from what I have grown up in Kolkata/ Calcutta.

      Like

  9. What an interesting day to have in Calcutta with all of those people going about their business on a busy street. This is a real life take on what transpires on the streets of Calcutta. I find it wonderful and highly illuminating!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A very interesting place and a city with lots of hustle and bustle. I love the pictures and how they capture the reality of the lifestyle over there. We could all learn so much from different cultures and traditions, as well as being more grateful for all we have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Calcutta in very interesting. there are more shades to it. I could only capture morning. I currently do not reside their anymore but my plan is to go back and capture scenes of night time as well.

      Like

  11. Calcutta seems like a very interesting city that’s worth visiting! It would be a great experience; it has such unique character! Thank you for this great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s