I paid a brief visit to the toilet, where two airline staff were busy drying a saree beneath the automatic hand dryer. No one minded. No one cared. We just washed our hands, shook the water droplets off and left.
It always takes a few days to reconcile to the immense contradictions of this city. If it were possible to run a city entirely on temperament, the Bangali would gladly do so. As of now, I suppose it runs partly because of the large number of (despised) immigrants from other states. But the Bangali temperament is what provides the charm and the spirit of unpredictability to this city.
It is only here that the American embassy has been assigned a prominent place on Ho Chi Minh Sarani (lane), an eternal reminder of a lost war. The Zambian consulate happily faces a 100% eggless pastry shop.
British remnants are strewn all over and have acquired, over time, their own Indian interpretations. Park Street, not quite what it was, still has a number of fascinating shops. Flury's- the European style tea room is going strong and just outside it squats a villager who has brought an exotic range of cacti and orchid-like plants to the city to sell.
|Pavement outside Flury's|
Food is of overwhelming importance as almost every street in the city indicates. It may be in the form of posters, restaurants, sweet shops or immensely popular, little pavement stalls. This is the season of ilish- the highly prized fish equated to salmon (but much superior) that swims upstream from the Bengal estuary towards fresh water, to spawn. The city is overflowing with it - it's in markets, restaurants, houses. I even saw a bus carrying a huge poster of delicious ilish.
|Passionfruit mousse cake from Flury's|