Friday, March 2, 2012

The city of JOY – Kolkata!!!

When I got to know that I will be visiting Kolkata, I was super duper excited!! The first thing that came to mind was – Yellow Taxis and of course Sourav Ganguly J

As I was sharing it with my friends how excited I was, they joined in the excitement and a day before I was to leave for Kolkata, I had a long list of – things I must do, must see, must eat and shopJ

The moment I stepped out of the airport, felt the air and looked around…I felt beautiful not because I saw a great view but because of the way the city felt.  The last I had felt the same was when I was in Hyderabad…it’s not possible to express in words but in the middle of the chaos and traffic at North 24 Parganas, I was seeing the life lived by people on the street and felt calm and peaceful.

We were put up at Gariahat Road, which is one of the happening areas of Kolkata with shopping malls, university, Ram Krishna Mission and lots of good places around it. The evening when I went for a walk, one of the things that struck me was – NO ONE WAS RUNNING…THERE WAS NO RUSH!! People were taking their time to walk, talk, share a laugh…the city gives a space just to ‘BE’ and unlike Mumbai, people were not very keen on ‘BECOMING’!!

One of the most amazing things was on the National Bandh Day, in the night at 8-8.30 the roads were empty with very few vehicles, but the cars stopped at the red light, in spite of no traffic from the other side! For that one minute when the signal was red, I felt so awesome…vow!!!

So the first day, I found myself under a lot of pressure of seeing those ‘must see’ places, eating ‘must eat’ food and shopping but when I went for a walk alone in the evening, I let go of all that and decided to go with the flow and what followed was some beautiful conversations with strangers, sharing a laugh with kids, randomly smiling at people on the street…and seeing confused reactions and sometimes beautiful smiles JJ
If you don't play with me, I won't talk to you!!

Next day onwards, I spent the evenings on the street, talking to street side vendors, listening to their stories, helping the rag-picker carry the rags, playing carom and marbles with kids on the street, watching people play chess with so much intensity and concentration in the middle of the street and smiling and talking to anyone I felt like!!

It’s so beautiful…Life is!! Isn’t itJ
Somitro, Shibu and Me :-)!!

One of the co-participants at the workshop, Sr. Clara jokingly asked me, where you are going to keep all these beautiful memories that you are collecting and I happen to answer – In my heart! We have a big big heart, which can be filled with so much love and compassion, but it’s interesting to see how lot of time we use the heart space to store feelings like insecurity, ego, ambitions, arrogance, worry and thus are left with very little space for love and compassionJ As I was talking to those people, playing with kids, hugging them, it was beautiful to feel that I wasn’t thinking of when will I get to meet them again, the desire to spend more time with both me and that man/ woman/ kid were spending those moments by completely being in ‘NOW’ and the relationship we shared for those moments was so pure and wasn’t clouded with attachments, expectations…I felt beautiful to be able to live life like that…in that moment with my heart and soul!!
Komal with her Granny. The entire family migrated from a village near Jaipur to Kolkata  in search of livelihood

We all our treading a different path…some with the same destination or goal or a purpose. I don’t see myself giving more importance to the destination as it’s the journey which makes it worthwhile!! And on this journey, when I meet different people whose paths are crossing mine, it’s not important for me how much of their struggle I will be able to be part of, what is important is how I can give my heart and soul and love and compassion to everyone I meet…for everyone of us is the most beautiful person!! J
So after spending 4 days in Kolkata, I did not see any of the ‘must see’ places or ate any ‘must eat’ food (did shop a lot though!), but I met some most amazingly awesomely beautiful people and smiled and laughed a lotJ!!!

This feeling of being able to love and be loved is joyful!!

Thanks Kolkata for bringing me closer to LifeJ!!!