As though dropped from the sky on to little people and their miniature world. Howrah Bridge. Ant like pedestrians crawling somewhere within the lower half of the girders. Going underneath it, and looking at it, floating on the river calls back memory of an illustration from Gulliver’s Travels. This city has a striking sense of human impact, more than any other. Several parts of it lie in decay, and several forming new, coming alive. That wave of thinking in Urban Studies of cities as organism feels true of Kolkata. This sure is an organism. If one were to think of the closest that it resembles, this would be a cockroach. It survives the decay. It thrives in the squalor. It breeds the poor and the pauper ceaselessly. And like an infestation, left alone by those who can abandon.
The new parts are not Kolkata. They’d be better off finding a new name for it. The older however will continue to be romanticised. It won’t die! It’ll be written about and photographed adorably, and kept alive, lock stock and barrel with its rottenness and attractiveness.