...after a longish break from Calcutta. A near perfect trip, complete with consumption of a few quintals of river fish, lazy afternoons, light shopping, usual family brouhahas and India's World Cup win. The cherry on the cake would have been my very own Amit Trivedi soundtrack to go with it. But then, we never can have it all.
A few observations -
- Calcutta is getting increasingly expensive. I often imagine what life would be should we relocate, and amidst that process tend to over-romanticise the place. But just walk into a shopping mall, or any smaller bazaar for that matter, and the reality of a much higher cost of living hits you fresh in the face. Food, home furnishings, property, domestic help, fuel, utilities, schooling etc. Calculating a monthly expenditure list is, err... scary. Nonetheless, you're better off than folks in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, if that's any comfort.
- India won the World Cup 2011. I was too young to remember the 1983 win, and will savor the image of Dhoni clouting that six over long-on for a long time. The celebrations went on long and hard. In some cases too hard. For a sport that is played seriously in only a dozen countries, the tamasha sometimes seemed way over the top. Some TV pundits compared it with Brazil winning the Soccer World Cup, but really... it isn't the same thing! We need to celebrate, but the tendency of making cricket a metaphor for national pride is dangerous and unnecessary.
- I lost the 'book-shop battle', as I call it, yet again. This basically involves entering and exiting a bookshop without making a purchase. I did end up buying a few items, which is a now a constant source of mild guilt. But one purchase I am entirely 'buh-lah-zay' about, is a 21 DVD limited edition set of the complete adventures of TinTin. My one year old enjoys watching them along with us as well.
- Bengal goes to the hustings soon, in what could be a watershed election. Three decades of red rule could finally be coming to an end. Most people have already written the incumbents off for good. While Mamata Banerjee couldn't do much worse than the current lot, I am generally not entirely convinced Bengal will fly with her at the helm (she is currently not much more than a well meaning rabble rouser... governance will test her capabilities to the hilt). Again, the people of Bengal are faced with a serious paucity of political alternatives, but this time it looks like they just might go with the next best thing.