Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Vacation of Sorts in The City of Joy

An absence of 10 days from the blogosphere needs an explanation, no doubt.This time around I vacationed in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, the eastern state of India.What greets you the moment you step into the streets of Kolkata are the hopelessly intimidating throngs of people everywhere, so much so that you almost always feel as if you are in some political meeting!!!The streets are loaded with buses, three wheelers, vans and countless number of yellow cabs all so diligently spewing acrimonious pollutants into the air, that your eyes start watering copiously the moment fumes from vehicle exhaust pipes hits your face.Despite these short comings, the city does have a plethora of great restaurants notable among them being those on Park Street.If ever you happen to be there do try out the Chinese fare coughed up by the likes of Mainland China, Tung Fong and Marco Polo, the kebabs and biryanis served by Flame and Grill and the yummy deserts of KC Das.For the best cakes and bread in town try Flurys, though be wary of what you pay for and what you get.Some billed items may not finally be delivered to you.

The people of Kolkata are very frugal about spending on their commute within the city.Its a common sight to find people ganging up and sharing a cab ride.I got into one such cab, wanting to check out the local transportation.The fare was fixed at 0.4 cents and a passenger was hell bent on paying only .3 cents, a scuffle broke out and then lo behold the guy pulls a gun from behind his back!!!I tried to get out of the cab but couldn't because of the car parked right next to the cab.Somehow managed to jump out of the car, and boy did I run for my life and thank god I was in comfortable boots.For the life of me, I'm not going anywhere near those cabs again!!!

Now on the shopping front, well being a developing country there isn't much in terms of fashion, though the city is home to some eminent designers like Satya Paul, Sabyasachi Mukerjee and Dev R Nil.The shoe freak that I am, I decided to check out what the city had to offer for my pretty feet.There were a lot of local brands like Inc, Catwalk etc but unfortunately you cannot wear a single piece of them for more than 2 minutes.The best shoe shop that I could find was the good old Bata selling some stylish shoes at reasonable pieces, apart from GUESS which sells pieces from their previous seasons at exorbitant prices, what is street fashion in America and Europe is high end fashion in India.The clothes were all poorly cut and nothing worth mentioning about.

Verdict:Go if you must experience dirt, grime and hordes of people everywhere!!! Definitely not a place for a fashionista!!!

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