welcome to Kolkata
We didn’t know much about Kolkata. Our little research told us it used to be the capital of India until the British decided New Delhi was the best choice. Slowly the old spelling of Calcutta is dying out. When I’d told our flight attendant Calcutta was our first destination he looked confused having never heard of the place. Fran in her teacher fashion repeated the name slow and clear and he smiled and said ‘You mean Kolkata’ (emphasis on the o) ‘My home’ and he placed his hand on his heart.
I’d already arranged with BMS guesthouse for someone to pick us up, so when we wheeled our luggage to the exit I spotted a slim Indian man holding a sign with my name in bold letters.
There are many helpful people at airports, so helpful they’d expect money from you. We were just about to throw our bags into the back of the car when some young boys without asking did the task for us. We smiled thinking how kind they were until they thrust out their boney hands. We looked to our driver for assistance and he nodded so we gave over 20 rupees each.
Straight away we realised how England’s roads are nothing compared to the complete chaos of Kolkata. Think thousands of cars ranging in all sorts of forms from retro yellow cabs, pimped up tuk tuks, falling apart tuk tuks and all kinds of other cars. Though they drive on the left like us they do not always keep to this rule. Cars heading straight towards us at top speed would blare their horns expecting you to get out of their way. There is no need for the left wing mirror which most people strip off to make the car narrower. In fact they rarely use any mirror and rely on the use of their horn. Now the art of the horn is something of a speciality whether it’s been pimped to ring out an awful Nokia 3310 style tune or they just blare it so loud you have to cover your ears. All of Kolkata’s craziness just added to the rich and diverse culture of the place and we absolutely fell in love with it.
Check out some of our pictures: