8 May 2016

Keep Calm and Walk the Streets .

Kolkata. Summer. Scorching heat . Traffic. Chaotic streets.
Continuous and unnecessary honks. Sweaty stinks. Crowded transport.
What do these pictorial imageries sketch out in your mind?

It pretty much resembles the rigid structure that frames the streets of Kolkata . Such an enclosure (almost on a daily basis) becomes enough to cut short one's temper any time, anywhere. And then along with such displeasures ,there are bitter expressions on display, in every face around you that serves as a rotten tomato on top . Amidst such a predicament , what majorly becomes important is to stay pacified and travel the streets of Kolkata . It has however become a daily practice to run hither and thither in order to catch a bus from the invisible stoppages, which apparently exist anywhere on the whole stretch of the road . 

Then as you board the bus ,the usual tone of the conductor will always guide you to only one direction "Pechon dikey (always go backwards)" and to that people understand the opposite and stubbornly block the door. As your eyes searchingly examine for a vacant seat, first there are little children with the thinnest of butts occupying one fourth of the seat while their parents can provide the same on their laps.

Secondly probably you're trying to fit into the little space on the wide seat while the not so fat lady sits with her haunches far apart, taking a relaxation nap like that of in an arm chair .

Thirdly, what's the most illegal thing to carry on a bus? No not a gun , but a school bag. May God have mercy upon you if your zippers anyhow scrapes off a skin or wrongly blocks the aisle! Fourthly you dare be an injured person asking for the seat for the handicapped, first pass the body scrutinisation, the injury will be spotted and finally you'll be obliged with your seat . 

Needless to say, to have 50+ passengers amassed in a metal can, on a hot day will enhance issues, that need to be calmly endured. What's the situation outside? The auto­rickshaw and the cab trying to over­take each other and they almost hit it. But do they have the slightest realisation of not having done that, do they care about the rest being held up at no fault of theirs? Of course not ,because suddenly they become the sole owners of the road, they stop , take out their heads and your ears are washed with such holy uncomplimentary words . In your mind you've already banged their heads and slit their throats but in reality you're helpless, because this stays unalterable unless another chaos ascends . This is how , majority of our mornings do not kick off well.

On the other footpath while you might be standing in front of a shop, a person will smartly spit or probably beautify it more for you, by spitting out the gutka at just an inch distance away from your feet. Following which, with added reluctance he will stare at your exasperation being oblivious . One wouldn't even darley wish to become a victim of stupefication by trying to make them understand the futility of such insensibility .

You think you alone walk the roads with few terms and conditions? You're mistaking, the rickshawalas surpass your conditions every time! Their fares ar conditioned with every changing weather . Today is too hot , five rupees add on , today is stormy so no passenger, ten rupees extra, the roads are being dug up and too much of dust so eight rupees extra and extra and extra and oh my god if it pours down, empty almost half of your wallet . Seems, we are in more distress ! “দাদা খুচরো দেবেন ! / খুচরো আছে তো ?/ খুচরো নেই তাহলে হবে না " ("Please carry change"). This problem is already enough understood without any mention only . This heads as the Mother of all hitch.

Lastly, the tolerance level is catapulted with the vexatious demands of the police officials. Men ride down the roads without helmets, cars parked anywhere and everywhere, absence of road dividers and the many violations which we all are acquainted of, yet inessentially charges are triggered towards them who all are already adhering to the rules just for the sake of a spot fine! Of course not all the time it is whole heartedly paid and owing to many disagreements there's a legal outbreak but that comes as secondary . What shouldn't happen is what we agree upon, that is the unnecessary trouble shootings on the streets.

We are practically exposed to one of such quotidian occurrences as we step on the streets and we should almost feel used to it .If you get into the spirit to fight back then you must realise it's nearly every now and then you'll find yourself in middle of an argument , because there's no end to idiocy and oblivion outside . Politeness, decency , etiquettes,  respectability degrade once you're counterfeited with obscenities . There's no point in becoming judgemental towards the day-­to-­day unendurable happenings, you're helpless about it as scarcely any will respect your judgement to accept their guilt. Instead you'll burn red at the nasty response which you do not remotely deserve . You're at the wrong place, with the wrong people at the wrong time. Do not follow the footsteps of responding with a curse or kicking a can . Sometimes it's just an innocent mistake for which one is disgraced irrationally . Hold up to yourself by not latching to the unpolished mouth . Be a calm citizen, that works in the best possible way . There's already ample bitterness put on display at every step . Stand high as a polished personality in between the steps . Remember, the streets are filled with idiots ,that's why bliss comes with ignorance.


 Shreya Basak, a first year student pursuing Journalism and Mass communication in Shri Shikshayatan College, Kolkata. This core team member of ExPRESS Magazine is a brilliant dancer for whom all of life is a vibrant stage!

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