Suhel Banerjee

Enter The Metropolis

Every Kolkata taxi has a personal story to share with you and it does so through the ‘charms’ hanging from the rearview mirror, the miniature statues of idols and other paraphernalia on the dashboard carefully collected over years, and most importantly the cassettes (yes, they continue to live in these vehicles) that introduce you to the driver’s eclectic taste in music. While the scratchy music embraces you for the rest of the journey, the driver engages you with stories from his village or moffusil (a most favourite word in this part of the world) in Bihar, Jharkhand or Orissa. However, there are things that unite all of these black and yellow machines in their shared stories and that’s the unmistakable smell of rexine covered seats as soon as you enter, the rickety sounds the doors make whenever you close them or the taxi goes over a speed bump, the dirtiest piece of torn cloth, which had seen better days as a garment, tucked in the door by the driver’s side, or the ever popular “Jai Maa Kali” written in red letters on the ample behind of the car.

 
 

Taxi & Beyond

For all the talk about the lazy Bangali enjoying life in slow motion with a cup of milky tea and the morning paper, Howrah Station is an anomaly. It is in a perennial state of motion. There's more energy and speed on the platforms than the trains that chug into the terminal. Standing on the platform feels like being in those fast forward scenes in the movies where things around one character seem to move at a much faster, almost cartoon like pace.

 
 

Let the journey begin

"Oh, Bangali? Which part of Kolkata are you from?"

 
 

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