I don’t know for nuts when I’ll learn to find me way to some place in this city. Kolkata’s city plan looks like one of those super-incomprehensible maps for treasure hunts which you can never decipher completely logically and have to use a solid solid amount of intuition. And my instincts are generally always wrong when it comes to Kolkata streets. I am directionally-challenged. Jadavpur and Park Street are the only two areas I know like the back of my hand.The former because I live there and the latter I need not explain to a Calcuttan(and if you are not a Calcuttan do come and visit Park Street for once 🙂 )
Yesterday I had to go to Bhawanipore College to attend a seminar. Now,tell me something,when we say Jadavpur University it implies the university is situated inJadavpure right? Hence my logic that Bhawanipore College is somewhere near Bhawanipore is by no means completely asinine. I got down from the bus as soon as I spotted the Netaji Bhavan Metro Station(having been taught that Netaji Bhavan=Bhawanipore blah blah) and looked arou.d No.No sign of the famous Bhaggu(that’s the college). I asked a couple of random passersby whi gave me weird looks and walked away muttering “No No I don’t know..new here…blah blah”. Then I found a Messiah-in-White(the traffic police that is) who looked at me like a strict maths teacher(the kind who punishes you when you drink water without taking permission) and told me that Bhawanipore College is quite far far away near Elgin Road and his looks registered the fact that I am a classic ignorant fool.
Elgin Road sounded familiar entirely because of Forum. Or Belle Vue Hospital(which by the way is located at Minto Park..these names are hell confusing and the roads are parallel which adds to the confusion). The problem,I have come to these places only by car and you absolutely cannot know the city’s geometry,trigonometry,mensuration from a car. I had a vague idea that Elgin Road is somewhere near La Martinere(boy/girl same thing) School. But how to reach Bhaggu???
Then I remembered Shray Kandoi-my friend from school currently studying in Bhaggu. One ring woke up the poor guy and he sounded so groggy that I felt pity to have frantically shouted at him “Where is Bhaggu yaar??? ”
SK -“Bhaggu?? tu Bhaggu jake kya karegi?? ” (What will you do there?? )
YT-“Seminar hai! Bolna kaise jaye?? ” (there’s a seminar.tell me no how to go)
SK-“Forum se sidha ja. Left mein Bhaggu”
Apparently my friend has no sense of coordinate geometry and forgot to mention the origin and well ‘sidha’ can be in any direction.But YT is too dignified to show that she doesn’t know her way to Forum and hangs up.
Ring two: Mommy dearest
MD: “Hullo! janish Tapasya Veer ke divorce diye dilo! ” (you know Tapasya divorced Veer. Go get a life and watch Uttaran)
YT: “Accha! Ma…”
MD:Ar Ichha kichhu bollo o na” (Ichha didnt say anything)
YT: “MA! Forum ki kore jabo?? ” (how do I go to Forum)
MD: “Maane?? Kothay achho tumi?”
YT:”Ki ekta Ashutosh Mukherjee Road e”
MD:”okhane ki korchho?? Elgin e namoni kano?? Tomay jete hobe na.Ekkhuni bari esho”
YT explains to her why she got down at Netaji Bhavan and imagined herself earning severe “when-will-you-learn” looks from the other side of the phone.
MD: “Your dad has spoilt you completely.Now you don’t even know how to go to Forum but you’ve been there several times…….”
YT is frantic because her cellphone is being rapidly and methodically depleted of balance.
MD: “AMi bolbo na. Ask the police and figure out.Bye”
A kindly passerby asked me to walk straight(and had the sense to explain directions) towards Rabindra Sadan Metro Station and Elgin will be on my way.Elgin Road comes and still no sign of Bhaggu.
Enter fuchka-chewing,paan-spitting,pot-bellied man who tells me to walk straight and “You’ll find a red building. big one okay? turn left and walk sttaight.then a crossroad.turn right.then another crossroad.turn left…….”. I threw at him my best possible cold stares which he blissfully ignored in a series of satisfied belches.
“Big red building” turns out to be some Laxmi Narayan and Sons Chandiwallah. From there I had to call Shray once again.
YT:”kya reached?? laxmi narayan building ke samne hoon.ab kahan jau??”
SK:”kya?? kahan hai tu?? what is laxmi narayan??”
YT:”it’s your college you should know” (two minutes away from all-out tantrum)
SK:”mere college ke aas pass koi aisa building nahin hai”
YT:”hah”…went on for some minutes.
One kindly lady asked me to find Rabindra Sadan Metro nearest to some Merlin Park and cross the road and walk straight.I nearly yelped in joy on finding the station which though turned out to be a Rotary CLub made public toilet(in my defense: I saw it at a distance and the motiffs on it where exactly like those foudn in metro stations)
Many bad turns and tries later,I found a policeman who explained ” Shambhunath Pandit er paash diye shoja hato.dekhbe ba dike Forum.”. Hence agenda # 423 was to find Shambhunath Pandit Hospital.
Finally YT arrived at the seminar,worn-out,refused to smile at people who welcomes her at the entrance (for no fault of theirs though).
But the rest of the afternoon was fun when she sat on a comfortable bean bag at Crossword and finished reading Two States,laughed like a maniac-on-the-run and scared kids and potential customers and had a blissful time.
I figured out a way and drew a map(no I don’t have retrograde amnesia but still).