Culture & Society

Poem: Kolkata Hangover

The poet finds Kolkata as a lingering taste in her dreams.

A local train speeding past in Kolkata.

There is something addictive about Kolkata that I will never find anywhere
else. Is it your unforgiving rain, or your scent of cigarette fog merged in
a woody cologne? The murals on the dilapidated walls that discarnate
memories or the perpetual salts hanging in the air dripping through eccrine
glands? Is it your half-baked stories or the half open cafes? Or, the
snafu of politics and campaigns ? Is it the Durga puja *Dhak* and
the *dhunuchi naach* or the peaceful placidity of *Belur Math*?
Is it the sloth, the rage, the godforsaken traffic or the indomitable
passion for life?

Is it the bygone spent with loved ones that still breathes in the fragile
eidolon of asthmatic air, or, it is the way your night spreads a glittery
duvet in the balcony of my granny’s Salt Lake house where we would sing
Rabindra Sangeet in unison, with siblings? Is it the dim glow of the light
fleetingly blinking from afar, and the clanking of the wrought iron gate
swaddled between the lines of our turbulent goodbyes and joyful hellos, or,
it is the parched sun that sinks into the serene Ganges, and the breeze
wrapping us in a warm comfort of a Kashmiri duvet akin to the warmth of the
friend I walked to school with?


A graffiti in Kolkata. Sanidpan Chatterjee

Is it the sun drenched timeworn houses on the verge of collapsing or the
snazzy housing complexes ? Is it the early morning squawking of our
fishmonger uncle “ *machh neben machh*” or the vegetable vendor selling
greens and yellows, reds and oranges on the* thela *like a painter's colour
palette? Is it the nostalgic remnants of yesterdays, todays, and Those
days, or, the memory of a long lost lover I never met in real time, as time
trailed through jagged, craggy, potholed colonnades! Is it the effervescent
Park Street that lights up my sky in confetti and fireworks, or, the way I
whisper in monotones, painting an invisible rainbow every time I visit

Is it the hostile *kalbaishakhi* that bangs on the windowpane like an
uninvited visitor desperate to barge in?
Or it’s the janky hanging lights on the yawning alleys where I love to
Is it the remnants of tram lines in Maidan that wear loss on its face? For
they once hopped and pranced through the zigzagging lanes on the city’s
breast! Thousand memories flash past in metaphors and how the heaviness of
the day that I wrapped in my pleated skirt was shouldered by the familiar
zephyr! Is it the Aurobindo Sarani where memories parted ways and the
dichotomy of Then and Now bangs at my ribcage. Or, it is the delirious
crowd at the new market that thrills me to this day! Is it the diaphanous
milieu of *Nalban *on an autumn evening or the numbing nostalgia
punctuating my breaths in College Street and Coffee House?


Streets of Kolkata. Sandipan Chatterjee

There is something about you Kolkata that pulls me back to you!
There IS something about you Kolkata that every single time I leave the
city, I feel a stinging pain in my throat and my heart hurts beyond what I
can express in words!
Every time I leave Kolkata I stare back and try to find the pieces of my
heart that I’ve lost here in this city of joy and I try to rearrange them
in different patterns.
There IS something that makes me long for this place despite the fact that
I was born and raised elsewhere!

(Mahua Sen is a multiple award winning Poet/Author/Editor from Hyderabad.)