Howrah aha!

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Time for that detour from regular Bangalore and developmental posts. Enter Howrah, station area. The place seems so orderly from a distance. A nice looking shining bridge. Neatly lined up yellow painted Ambassadors. A postcard worthy historic station building.

But you must get closer to witness the colorful chaos. Enter the station hall and you shall observe. Not enough seats for the waiting public (Kolkata airport has more chairs to offer than this station). Massive ‘troop’ movements resulting from last minute announcements about change of departure platforms. Cleaners attacking your feet in their constant bids to sweep the floors. Some railway trade union putting up flags and decorations with their next set of demands.

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And Howrah bridge. Looks good till you get to drive on it :)

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Regardless, I love visiting the area. So much activity, so much happening around you, so much to observe, its like being in a sociology lab. Kind of like sitting on a beach for ever waiting to get bored of the waves. You never can.

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7 Responses

  1. Interesting:)
    Howrah rlwy stn always reminded me of this word: chaos.

    Almost never failed to see these:
    “Some railway trade union putting up flags and decorations..”

    “The place seems so orderly from a distance..”
    Very true – only from a distance.

    The chaos at Howrah rlwy stn.. is similar to Chennai rlwy stn.. only a little bigger perhaps.

    Colorful pics man…keep posting more pics.

    Another feature consistent across rlwy stns in most part of india:
    – the dirtiest and most crime prone areas are found right outside rlwy stns.
    – provides shelter to the homeless and the lost!
    – mineral water sells like hot cakes ! not becz people want minerals ! becz people do not trust the so called drinking water that the dear govt. depts. supply.

  2. Truth be told, even in the “far away shot” that you took, the little stalls on the right corner of the photo are the sort of things that you can use to distinguish this as an “indian setting”. hmm… I said “indian setting”, and what I really meant was “haphazard and not-quite pristine” :-(. But I guess it has a sort of old world charm… sort of reminds me of my days at boarding school… that sense of having your own particular… “ruralized” version of modernity, if such terms could be applied :-).

  3. Thanks AKD

    Neel, there is nothing wrong with the “Indian setting” if small shops in the corner is what creates one. Our cities have that colorful, chaotic look that is unique to us. If we could just take the trash and mud out, make the pavements walkable, and manage the increasing number of vehicles, we can create developed yet ‘Indian’ cities. I know I am dreaming. But in order to get something, you get to dream it first :)

  4. SB: Very nice pics – brought back a lot of nostalgic thoughts. Did you try the “jhaal moodi”, “singaras” and “googhni” in Kolkata?

  5. Thanks Ram. Yes, I had Jhaal Moodhi, and Singharas (I call them Samosas), and Rosogullas there. BTW, they now have a nice and clean restaurant inside the station now (Plaza) that serves good fast food in cleaner surroundings. Its like the Matrix, you can switch between the Air conditioned world and good old crowds in a few seconds. Some contrast!

  6. This is the largest station in India and despite getting flooded with migrant workers from Bihar, UP, MP, Maharashtra, Orrissa, and Nepal, the management has done a great job keeping the fluidity, commercial ability, and aesthetics of the interior alive.

    btw, for anyone who didn’t know, Howrah Grand will soon be getting an overhaul from a joint Indo-British firm that will reinstate the edifice and its surrounding back to its original tender.

    this means: underground parking; elevated ramps; internal bus corridor; prepaid taxi counters(already established); double decker train platforms; and a riverfront garden.

  7. Thanks Ram. Yes, I had Jhaal Moodhi, and Singharas (I call them Samosas), and Rosogullas there. BTW, they now have a nice and clean restaurant inside the station now (Plaza) that serves good fast food in cleaner surroundings. Its like the Matrix, you can switch between the Air conditioned world and good old crowds in a few seconds. Some contrast!

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