I don’t need any introduction, because you know me. I am just another face among the crowd, plenty among the lot. You call me ‘the stranger’, because I am you or most of you. It’s not been long since I came to this place, trying to fit in. Most of you will say you don’t need to fit in but well that’s what everybody does, the laws of existence is what we call, cycle of life. Not complaining, I chose this life.
The rapid pace of the city, reminds me how quiet it used to be at my place back home. People are always on a run here. I wonder if they are running after something, or running from. Well such things make you scratch your head. I have never been out of my town, all alone, in a city. Honestly the first thought of that was scary. But with time that turned into excitement. New people, new place, so much to explore and how difficult it would actually be for a Bengali to adjust in Kolkata? Eventually I get to know that I was wrong, I knew nothing about this place.
The usual summer vacations at my ‘Mashi’s’ place didn’t help much. Somehow the people here say I have a weird Bengali accent. Now I know how being away from Bengal as a Bengali had developed some speech impediment in me. Yes I am more comfortable in speaking Hindi than in Bengali, but that doesn’t make me any less Bengali.
Somehow with time, I feel my life was getting more mechanical. Yes, I love what I do but that can’t be me. There is, or at least was so much to me before I came here. So I decided to explore Kolkata on my weekends. I believed just like what I do is just what I am, Kolkata can’t be just the noise, the usually crowded metros, the oh so shiny malls. There was something missing. The essence of the city was somehow overshowed in the daily run.
I did my homework well and started from North Kolkata. In the humid and scorching heat of city, I walked around the lanes of Bagbazar, Hatibagan, and Shyambazar. To the Kumartuli, which has always captivated the photographers. Riding the hand rickshaw, to the trams. Eating the tastiest street food to the small yet amazing cafes. It was tiring in the heat but I was experiencing the glory and heritage which was once the jewel on the country. From the historic dwelling in the city of joy for several weekends, my location finally arrived to the cosmopolitan area of the city. The salt lake stadium, to the salt lake central park, the Bengal handicraft museum.
I was walking by sector 5 on a weekday, fortunately a holiday when it started to rain and all I could admire was my very first monsoon rain in the city. Until I realised, I do want to go to office tomorrow. Anyway it was 3:30 in the afternoon and I could have my lunch till the rain stops. Google took me to a place nearby, famous for its food and drinks. It was one of the few microbreweries that the city possesses, Raize the Bar.
As I enter the pub, I was triggered with a feeling of a Country escape in old Indiana Jones movies. The vintage feels can produce a 90’s nostalgia to anyone. The barrel shaped tables, those wooden rustic furniture, and the plush cushiony couches. Yet the place has this sharp contrast of contemporary among all. The colourful multi-coloured stools, the doodling on the wall, the very modern and edgy bar counter justifies the place’s popularity among many other.
Since it was a rainy afternoon, and I wanted to relish the weather outside, I chose the place next to the glass window facing the street outside. To my right I can see the brewery which has a reputation of the city’s favourite beer being brewed. After a few moments, the waiter came for my order and I asked him if he could suggest something, to which he suggested a Sarson Mahi tikka and Grilled Chicken Breast along with freshly brewed beer would compliment the weather. Well I couldn’t agree more.
And as I sip in my English Beard with the Sarson Mahi Tikka, and Grilled Chicken Breast. Coldplay’s ‘Fix you’ playing in the background, I watch the drenched people on the streets enjoying the monsoon. Penning this down sitting here was maybe destined. The ambiance of the place actually fixed something today. With the season even life changes are equally important. The first rain brought something beautiful with it. Acceptance. Finally I accepted the city as it.