Kolkata lost its last smidgen of self-respect.
What does a city convey to you? Its people? Assorted cultures? Or memories? For me, no city is mine and all the cities are mine & only mine. I do not feel the urge to delineate any city as my home. Yet Kolkata granted me memories; him and his stark nakedness. This is the city where friends gathered to share jhaal muri and papdi chaat, where youngsters fell in love with winds messing up their buns; whose every bit we digested like hungry prisoners. But a city is not just about evocative memories but mostly allows for its people. Memories are such an individualistic approach! Each diverse face and alluring heart form a universal picture. People and their decayed footprints. An ideal city is where you can fabricate your wings. A lemon sky brimful of birds.
So, the headline of today’s The Times of India came with a dreadful shock: beaten for ‘standing too close’ inside Kolkata metro. A young couple was beaten wickedly for putting their bodies a little bit closer to each other. A pack of wolves, fancily known as citizens of the so-called ‘city of joy’, pushed the boy off metro and punched him in a frenzy. A round of applause, ladies and gentlemen, for the eighth wonder of the world. Public display of affection is looked upon as no less than a felony here. But there’s a fine line between condemning something and crossing the ultimate bounds of sanity. I’ve seen mothers holding their babies close to their breasts, beggars holding food alongside their bosoms, children clutching the loose drape of their mothers’ saree; but it was beyond my knowledge that a young man and a young woman who are in an ‘illegitimate’ relationship can produce sexual friction simply by standing intimately! Fuck you, biology!
Eternal death is hurriedly approaching with its gigantic paws and eating up the era of civilization. The city is dying inside of me every day. Whether its in the form of uncouth infants with small steel bowls in their hands or in the spirit of a 4-year-old searching for food inside a food cart named dustbin. And I keep on hoping that all the ‘goods’ would outweigh the ‘bads’ and would break the curse of bad omens. Yet through some unexplored path, the ‘bads’ always find their way back into my heart. My city, my love, you tore up the lost thread of adulation.
Shame is a five-letter word.