Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Kolkata assaults and delights the senses. Crowding, pollution and poverty make the huge eastern India city a challenge for anyone who wanders its streets. At the same time, the people -- with the exception of the occasional gruff state-bank employee or cheating cabbie -- are most hospitable. And the spice-laden food is mighty tasty. Shops displaying gorgeous saris, gold, bangles and handicrafts entice the middle-class and the wealthy. I've journeyed to Kolkata seven times to visit my wife's family, but this month's trip was the first where I made it a point to snap some pictures.
1. A beggar peers into our cab. We gave her enough money for a cup of tea but she said it was too little and gave it back.
2. A woman dries clothes along Kolkata's well-used rails.
3. and 4. Mutton is fairly pricey and nothing is wasted. A butcher trims a head that will be sold. The buyer will eat the goat's brain. Flies takes their fill of other heads awaiting the knife.
5. The lobby of a door company features a statue honoring a deceased Hindu priest.
6. Two weathered Hindu deities sit at a roadside shrine.
7. At the Gariahat shopping area, a mehndi artisan decorates hands and arms.
8. Gariahat is packed with shoppers on Saturday night.
9. Lakes built during British rule offer serenity in the heart of the city.