Sunday, 12 December 2010

On the larger picture.

I've shifted homes within the city quite often. In my earliest days when I'd generally spend my time staring, crying and pooping, I lived in a place where Job Charnock first landed when he came to this side of the world. It was a locality of composite people: fallen aristocracies still clinging half- heartedly to older glories, and families stepping on to the middle- class ladder.


I then shifted to a nearby locality which stands out for it's cultural diversity. There's the families of respected professionals, a predominantly Christian setting with a fair amount of Muslim population and a respectable number of Jewish families as well. This is where my grandparents lived and I believe that their liberal outlook suited the locality well.

Then unfortunately from the heart of the city I had to shift to what I thought then was a concrete jungle adjacent to Kolkata. However, Salt lake is now quite the hub of all things that's quite advanced in the city, being new and organised. I used to live in government quarters and my neighbourhood was pretty much egalitarian, and even if ostensibly, they weren't too conservative. After staying there for nearly thirteen years and making friends that would last a lifetime and more, I shifted to a new place about nine months ago.

My neighbourhood now is pretty interesting. Neighbours wanting to borrow stuff firstly asks if they've ever been contaminated by meat or not. They apologetically say that they are without a maid, unfortunately because they obviously had to get rid of the previous one because she made the mistake of being born as a Muslim. I remember, when my grandparents used to live in this same place (after they had shifted from Central Kolkata), I went to a birthday party. We were all around 10 years old, and a girl innocently asked me 'what are you?' I was to young for some good sarcasm and hence I was just plainly wondering whether she wanted to ask me if I were a girl or a boy. Of course she clarified, wanting to know not my gender (thankfully she figured that out herself. Smart kid.) but my caste. She seemed satisfied with my answer.

And I wonder. All the glorified things about the country sometimes seem like such a big sham. We aren't really a nation and yet we expect everyone to have nationalistic feelings. My new locality has been quite different from all the apparently progressive localities in Kolkata I've lived in. And yet I have this uneasy feeling that this is closer to reality.

6 comments:

Aditya said...

A sad reality. Cant do away with that ever...

Lost within myself said...

it is as true now as it was long back...in some localities people just mask it better..this still is the face of our nation. And it exists abroad too...not only in ours. Grand reality of modern times.

Caveman said...

Piggy, you must read 'Somebody Else's Century: East and West in a Post-Western World' by Patrick Smith :)

Olive Oyl said...

@Caveman: Okie. I'll look up :)

Lucia de Gracia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucia de Gracia said...

hi. im a lonesome hobo.