Sunday, October 20, 2013

College Street on a Sunday

Sunday holds a special day in the life of Raj. It is the day when he thinks everything in the world has stopped and given him the full-fledged freedom to live at his will. It is also the day when the past 6 laborious days in a software company provides respite to his degenerated bones and a sterile rounded back. It is the day of sleep, it is the day of bracing to the warmth of a 'barher chai (tea served in a pot)' and taking a walk in the College Street, the most romantic spot for folks who crave dating a book is much better than making love in a moving car.

Shortly after the 10th cigarette had covered his whole room in a dark shade of cloud Raj switched off his laptop and cuddled in his bed. These days he is short of sleep. It has been a quite a hectic month and he has often slept in the chair of balcony. So much depravity brought an end to his relationship with Yasmin, who never returned his calls nor offered any reasons as to their breakup. Bitch!

The clock struck 11. It always does. Raj took pains to open his eyes and could see the cloud outside his 3-storey house at Tollygung. It may rain. It always does on Sunday. Sometimes it even rains when it is supposed to. He took his mobile phone and unintentionally checked his emails. It is a routine that has become a bad habit. A large pile of emails look garbage to him. He decide to log out and goes to the bathroom.

Shortly the breakfast is done and his clothes are dumped into the washing machine. It takes half an hour for him to do the rest of the remaining choirs before he bolts the lock and takes his car out. But today he does not. He misses Kolkata metros. He decides to take the metro today to Esplande. But being a Sunday the metro would operate only after 2pm. Raj decides to check the newspapers and whole shit of sadness lies before him- some nation is fighting another nation for a piece of land, someone has killed his father for property, some girls have been sold for money and what not. Disgusted he starts his first day with a smoke and checks out the girls passing by. Kolkata has changed. Girls converse more in english than they ever did in Bengali sorry Bong. Nyaka

He walks upto the Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Metro station and takes a look at couple of the legend pictures. Outside the latest Bengali hearthrob Dev's Rongbaz poster looks at him. He goes to the ticket counter and everyone of the 5 is closed except 1. The person over there is busy scratching his loins as he gives the coins and politely tell him to give the exact change the next time he travels.

Inside the hustle and bustle of metro platform he notices that everyone has got a space. All are involved with someone else or with themselves. The train arrives and as he enters he noticed that there is a rush to be the first one to enter. Raj could not hold his smirk- competition here too. Inside with the moving train the discussion on various topics are happening amongst people.

While some are elated that the government is contemplating of having a metro station named after Rituparno Ghosh other want the great Satyajit Ray to be felicitated first. There is another section debating that Sourav Ganguly should have played his last test match at Eden Gardens. Amongst all this activity he could see couple of aged persons doing rhythmic pelvis actions and falling on young girls. Passion!

No sooner he arrives in Esplanade he steps out and takes that walk towards the College Street. College Street is a km long street in central Kolkata and stretches from Bowbazar area to MG Road crossing. It has rained much quicker than he expected but that did not deter from hundreds of book lovers soaking in the rain and going through dozens of books. The Hawkers with their respective stalls and registration#s have been there for ages. Their forefathers may have started the book stalls and they have somehow managed to continue running the shops.

My first visit to the college street was for Tintin comics and we could get it there in cheap. I remember my parents giving me them as birthday presents. Next in the lines were the famous detectives Feluda, Holmes and Keerati collections. College days arrived and brought Raj's brother searching Brilliant Tutorials collections. For his mother he had got dozens of collections of Prasad, Desh and what not.

Raj started looking out for books and magazines on Sylheti culture and discovered quite a bit of materials on it. He took a few of them and sat near the strands. The rain has disappeared and an evening breeze of fragrance surrounded the atmosphere. Sunday being a Sunday allows folks from every corner to assemble together.

Raj knows that he has to get back home before the last metro and as he takes a pile of book on his hands he realizes that time has moved on and he should too. Kolkata has changed but the passion beating inside that heart has not decrement a bit.