Posted on Monday, Aug 20, 2018
Author: River Ganges
I flow through a few cities of various shapes and sizes, being the source of life for them and their crops. I enjoy watching people, buildings, and monuments, places of prayer and sculpture of different shapes, color and taste everything ephemeral compared to my existence. Among these places, Kolkata fascinates me immensely. I have seen this city grow, stagnate and decay over many years. I hear people talking about cleaning me up, while that would be nice, I think the need of the hour is that the city needs to be cleaned up, and the minds of the people need to be cleaned up to bring back the rich cultural tradition it had once boasted of.
In the past many poets, writers, singers have sat on the banks, dipping their feet into me and finding inspiration creating meaningful poems and melodious music. Rabindranath Tagore’s lyrics still gives me goose bumps. I thank him for including me and my sister the Yamuna in the National Anthem of this great country.
Where are such people today?
On this day in August 2018 I can feel the fine weather. It is not raining and there is a mild aroma of mud wafting in the air. The bridge looks dazzling after being washed by the rains else it too smells of decay. I like the relaxed atmosphere of the city. I can see the young and the old in colorful dresses from dazzling red sarees to checkered shirts. The satisfied look on some women with large bindis, flowers on their braided hair suggests that they may have just finished a sumptuous meal made of fish probably taken out from my waters.
The men are busy transporting the goods and people as the bus stand is close to the banks. There are some lovers in their static bikes looking at me. Sad to see them looking at their mobiles and not talking to each other.
Where has romance gone?
Some kids are playing in the garden while others are on a boat. I am in a playful mood. I heave to the left bank and drench the couple who are sitting there. They look sad and I can sense them whispering. The man is saying “When will our son get a job? We spent so much on his education”. The other couple is seriously discussing the cost of living although Kolkata is not one of those expensive cities which makes it impossible for some families to live.
The buggy wallas look tired but are enjoying the mild sun and waiting on my banks. I have not been to Mumbai. Delhi or Bangalore, but the relatives (my sisters) connected to me say that people in these cities are always busy and running around. That to me appears a waste of life – is this what living has become? I like the fact that in Kolkata in the afternoon the shops are closed and people go home for lunch and come back relaxed. Wish they use the relaxed mind to discuss more on creativity, poems, designs rather than just on politics. I can see that there are too many cars and small vans that are not well maintained. They leave an obscene amount of dust and pollution that has started to choke me.
Oh there I can see the sweet shop. To make sweets is a work of art. They come in different colors and designs. Some are hard and some are juicy and soft. This is the only city where I can see moving carts with a variety of sweets being sold. I am glad that these street vendors sell food at reasonable prices. Even my buggy Walla is able to enjoy a juicy dessert.
I look in a different direction and see that despite the monsoons the Sun is mildly visible. It is slowly setting with a sitar being played somewhere in the nearby houses. Nature today is giving me a treat with an orange hue spread far and wide and the dark clouds slowly getting formed in some spots. What a panorama of colors with the rainbow clearly visible. Wish that the people on the streets would take the time to appreciate this natural treat. I wish they could just take a deep breath, stop worrying about the future so much and sing a song or pen an ode to nature. Alas it is human nature to worry about job opportunities in India and the ability to earn higher income to compensate for the rising cost of living. I wish we find a solution to this and also inspire the population to be creative.
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