Anyway, during the second week of my stay in India, I had to go to Calcutta for my Visa work. I went with my parents, my brother and a cousin. My brother, having studied there, loves the city. For me, I never had a great impression about the place. But this time, I have to admit, I loved it! I had fun shopping, enjoyed the crowd, the road conditions had improved considerably but of course the traffic experience was as harrowing as ever! While travelling around Sikkim, most of the times I had my heart in my mouth. I still shudder to think the way the drivers speed through narrow winding roads. Traffic in Calcutta was no less. I had been warned by many people who 'returned' to India on how they had reacted to the traffic there. However, in spite of being mentally prepared, the moment I was on the roads, I forgot everything and each time another car used to come close to our car, I had to take a sharp breath!
After the cold of Sikkim, the warm weather in Calcutta was a welcome break. I did loads of shopping from New Market to West Side to Shoppers Stop. I was delighted to see how the malls have evolved when I visited the City Centre Mall. But then again was disappointed with my once favorite Sriram Arcade. The ambience and quality of clothes had gegraded horribly! The Swabhumi Heritage Park, which demonstrates arts and crafts of various regions of India, was a treat. The way it had been setup is truly wonderful and I urge everyone in the city to visit it once. It reminded me of the American Native Indian's Cliff Dwellings that I had visited in Colarado. Another wonderful shop that I went to is Sasha. As they have aptly mentioned, it is a shop that offers craft for contemporary living. Though a bit steeply priced, the items they have are truly worth browsing as they have handicrafts from all over the world including India.
Foodwise too I had great time...from Bengali machli to tandoori chicken pizza at Pizza Hut...I had great food all the way with my brother acting as the guide to various authentic bengali food. We spent two days in Calcutta and from there we flew to Kathmandu.
Book read during this period...John Grisham's The Testament