Trip to Kolkata-1

The Bong girl (i.e. me) visited her matribhoomi (as per my relatives. Sigh! that is India for you. Our states are our homelands not the country) after 12 years. I was actually looking forward to the trip as I have started liking visiting different places πŸ™‚ I made Dad promise to take me out roaming in Kolkata atleast one day during our 5 day trip. Otherwise our schedule was just full of meeting friends and relatives. So here is an account of my trip.

# Day 1 – 13th Aug :- Mumbai Howrah Mail reaches Howrah at 5.50 am as per Indian Railways. But the moment it entered Howrah’sΒ  nearby region, there was no line clearance and the train started moving at snail’s pace. We reached at 8.30 am!! πŸ‘Ώ Then there was the long queue at the prepaid taxi booth. (If you don’t go by prepaid, the taxi drivers will fleece you).


That is a view of the red building of Howrah Station and The Howrah Bridge

Then we went on our way to my maternal uncle’s home in Salt Lake. The first thing I noticed that there were no traffic jams..there was heavy traffic but no jams for long durations which used to get me queasy 12 yrs ago and used to make me vomit in taxi cab due to the smell of diesel all around. Or maybe I was lucky? Some familiar views were still present even after a supposed ban.

I am talking about the infamous hand pulled rickshaws of Kolkata. Kolkata is the last city on earth to use enormous Chinese-style rickshaws pulled by men on foot. The rickshaws were introduced in the 19th century by Chinese traders and the British made it a legal form of transportation in 1919. The Communist government of West Bengalβ€”concerned about its image as it positions Kolkata as a technology hubβ€”placed a ban on the human-powered vehicles in late 2006.Β  Yet one can see these rickshaws still very much present in the suburbs of Kolkata. Here is a National Geographic article on the same.:- India’s Rickshaws


Salt Lake is a wonderful area of Kolkata…It reminds me of IITK in Kanpur..Seems a totally different place from the rest of the dirty, dusty,brown and congested city. Maternal uncle’s home was a madhouse. My rant on that would make another long post. My cousin sister has the rudest, most arrogant and most spoilt kids you and I have ever seen in life. There is just so much unhappiness in that house.

Later in the afternoon we went to meet some relatives at Shodepur. Kolkata unlike Mumbai has lots of space to expand and new areas like Rajarhaat are coming up. The roads have definitely improved too. But the weather is as humid as ever. 😦


All of us were to go to see a prospective bride’s home (for my cousin brother) for final talk. It was a strange feeling to be on the “ladke wale” side i.e. on the groom’s side. The poor girl came and sat while her in laws to be watched her like hawks, scrutinizing her from head to toe. She must have been feeling like she is under a microscope. More rant about arranged marriages on some other post. πŸ™‚

After that we proceeded to do some shopping and came back to the chaos.

To my horror I discovered that GPRS wasn’t working in Kolkata!! 😦 I was in a state of panic. But after playing around with settings, I was finally able to connect on the next day.

# Day 2 – Aug 14 :- My parents and I went to visit another family at Barasat. In the interior areas of the suburbs of Kolkata, people have a transportation called – Van. Actually it is a sort of rickshaw with a flat cart as the seat. Sadly I couldn’t take a pic of it. 😦 People look funny riding that!! πŸ™‚

It was late evening by the time we came back. Went to bed early as I knew that the next day was going to be a long one.

71 thoughts on “Trip to Kolkata-1

  1. aah…. the good ol’ Kolkata !!!
    Lots of memories are associated with the city from college days and here I have met some very good friends hailing from Kolkata.
    It is a little high on the noise side, though πŸ˜›

  2. Hi:-),

    I have read in your other post that you are born and brought up in Chattishgarh, so in that sense Kolkata is not your home town. But how are feeling after going to that place after 12 long years? Are you feeling better? worse? or feeling nothing at all, because after all it is not your home town, so it is not mandatory that you have to feel for Kolkata πŸ™‚

    BTW, which place did you visit in Barsat? That is my home town, so did you ride those “Van”s? But i don’t think people look that funny, also? I think you have never visited any suburb or villages of WB, otherwise it is very common mode of transporation and damn cheap, too.

    Keep writing…

    • welcome to my blog. well I felt better as I didnt face any traffic jams or any motion sickness problem. And I have visited villages of WB when I used to go to WB ever year. But I dont remember seeing or knowing vans then. And I dont think visiting any place makes a common sight any less humorous. Its a difference of perspective.

  3. I liked the narration of your trip to Kolkata plus the pictures. Didn’t know rickshaws were of Chinese origin. ‘Watched her like hawks’: I liked that and I can well picture it in my mind. Looking forward to your personal (i.e. linked to your relatives) story about arranged marriages. Thanks for popping up at my blog.


  4. your blog is very interesting.I like to add you in my blog roll
    I welcome you to my blog,leave your valuable comments and your link back is welcomed……….

  5. aaah I know what u mean when u stay in India our states are the matr bhoomi’s sigh

    Frankly china should not bother to break us up we have done it ourselves

    lovely photos, I have always wanted to visit Cal sometime

  6. Aaaaah… Im a die-hard ‘Calcuttan’ … and those pics are making me miss the city now!

    Amazing.. and I LOOOVE the pictures you have put up on this post!

  7. Your homeland would be your hometown in Chhattisgarh as you were born & brought up there. Kolkata/WB would be called your forefather’s native land. πŸ™‚

    As for humidity, I guess its because of it being a seaport. Just like one can feel it in Mumbai & other seaports. πŸ™‚

  8. hey πŸ™‚ after reading the post, I am reminded of my “matrabhoomi” too. Yeah i wonder when we will stop breaking up our nation.
    Kolkata is one city i want to see. Lets see when it happens

  9. I love the word combination – bong-girl. two reasons:
    1. sounds cool. something like bond-girl from 007.
    2. bong-girl is like “amar sonar bong-gal” πŸ™‚
    Any ways I love to crack horrible p.j.s. excuse me πŸ™‚

    Yes Salt lake is a brilliant place. I had been to S.N. Bose Science Institute once. It changed my opinion every since: “Kolkata. chee! ekdam darty place” to “Salt lake samnar kicho noi”

    But I am not bong. I know enough to get my nose into trouble πŸ™‚

    And yes – one thing I always love about Kolkata is: Street Food!

    IIT K makes me curious.(which year? which branch? where are you now… hehe I have more questions too πŸ™‚ )

    Happy blogging! \m/

    • Welcome to my blog. LOL You are excused πŸ™‚ I never dare to try street food in Kolkata. I had fallen sick once. No I havent not studied in IITK. I have gone there a number of times. Keep visiting!

  10. Thanks for the pictures, I have never been to Kolkatta so they are even more exciting for me πŸ™‚

    I have read about these rikshaws in Pearl S Buck’s novels…it is difficult to simply ban something unless the users are provided with alternatives.

  11. I agree with dinu, the quality and beauty of the photos has remarkably improved! πŸ™‚

    I hope your maternal uncle does not read this post πŸ˜€

    Anyway, it’s great to have you back, waiting for the next part of your trip now! πŸ™‚

  12. “My cousin sister has the rudest, most arrogant and most spoilt kids you and I have ever seen in life. There is just so much unhappiness in that house.”

    Reema, are you sure that your cousin sister will never read this blog? πŸ˜‰ Or you dont care?

    Nice description of your trip btw.

  13. Kolkata – I go there because my parents live there now although I wasn’t born or brought up there and yet, when people ask me where I am from unless I say Kolkata they don’t shut up…”Where is your native place?” – native place, who knows…

    Kolkata has improved in the sense that there are more things to do but there has been a demographic change since a lot of the young people have left/are leaving due to the lack of good jobs…

  14. Thank God this time you enjoyed your trip… that street ligh pic looks nice (even though its hazzy, its nice nonetheless!)

    I have been to that arrange marriage thing only once and I remember hating it from the core of my heart. One good point was that we had to go to the boy’s place so it save me from the tea tray and bowed head routine… πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†

    Looking forward to your remaining days at kolkatta! πŸ™‚ and of course the posts on arranged marriage and your uncle’s place too (about those bratty kids! πŸ™‚ )

    LOL @ Dev

  15. I loved your pictures! The first picture of the Howrah station and the Howrah Bridge reminds me of all those many times I have passed through that very spot!

    Loved the post – brought back many memories for me πŸ™‚

    Since you have titled this Trip to Kolkata -1 – waiting for the next installment πŸ™‚

  16. Thats the case with taxi wallas almost all over India.

    Sach Sach Bata, why this trip after 12 years? I guess that prospective bride was u…. Tell the truth now… Lolz…

  17. Your post made me nostalgic … I too call Kolkata – my hometown as I was raised there and its true that the traffic jams have reduced but its still there very much….

    Coming to Van rickshaw its a very cost effective mode of transport which people outside Bengal can’t imagine of it… it can double up as a goods and people carrier and beware of your sari pallu or dupatta or muffler which do get entangled in the hind wheels at times …. I have seen it happening….

    And going back after 12 years to any Indian city will mean a sea of change …. I visit once a year and I see so many changes…..

    will be looking for other parts as well πŸ˜€ ….

  18. Nice pics…haven’t seen Kolkata till now.
    But I wish that I can add that city to my target of completing 100 Indian cities.. πŸ™‚

  19. Nice post, Nice contents, Nice photos…….
    Thanks Reema for your nice contribution for readers like us, the innovative ideas as the topics in these days.

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