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    All These Colors Tour: India Part 3

    Sunday, September 16, 2012
    Kolkata, India

    The dapper doorman at Peter Cat in Kolkata, India.

    The dimly-lit interior of Peter Cat in Kolkata, India.

    I started off the day by walking over to another posh Indian food place called Peter Cat for a late lunch. On the way there, a young man in his twenties with short hair started talking to me while I waited to cross Park Street. I thought he was just being friendly, and he didn’t necessarily look like a beggar, so I obliged him. He started with all of the usual basic questions, then, a block later, started talking about his life. As my attention started to wane, he got down to the brass tacks and asked me to buy him some food. At this point, I started to completely ignore him and kept searching for Peter Cat. I walked down and back up a couple of blocks, and around a whole other giant block, with the beggar trailing me the whole way, intoning the phrase, “Please buy me food. Come on, you’re a nice man.” over and over again. After a while, I really grew weary of it and just pressed my earlobes closed with my fingers. At that point, he finally stopped following me and left me alone.

    Aloo Mutter and naan at Peter Cat in Kolkata, India.

    Close-up of a typical colorful bus in Kolkata, India.

    I schlepped back in the opposite direction around the same huge block and up and down the same street again until I finally found Peter Cat, but only after I asked directions. Man, I’m such a bloomin’ idiot. Then a dapper old doorman showed me inside, where a dark, vintage steakhouse vibe enveloped me. The waiter, who was all dressed up in a regal, white Rajasthani costume, exuded a really serious air as I ordered a bowl of aloo mutter (potatoes and peas in a spicy orange sauce) and the obligatory naan bread. It was pretty dang tasty, but it took 10 or 15 minutes to get my check, and I had to ask twice.

    Next, I walked around the Chowringhee area on a photo mission. My first subject was the really picturesque city buses, some of which are painted up in a colorful psychedelic motif with old time circus lettering. They look so amazing. Next, I strolled along the outskirts of the giant Maidan city park for a few blocks. The strip of the park that I saw right next to the street was filled with all kinds of garbage and funny little scrapwood huts and lean-tos. Entering a long sidewalk market across the street, I bought a big bottle of cold water and pounded half of it right there on the spot.

    A fine collection of peeled flyer remnants on Park Street in Kolkata, India.

    A shopping frenzy on Lindsay Street in Kolkata, India.

    After a few blocks, I ended up on Lindsay Street out in front of New Market. I whipped out the camera and recorded video of the massive crush of humans who were walking to and fro, squeezing around cars and heading in and out of all of the shops. There was such a crazy amount of people, I wondered if it was this crowded every day. A bit later, as I sat on a blue tile wall to rest, I got my answer. A man sat next to me and started to chat me up, and after I asked, he explained that it’s normally a lot less crowded around here, but many more people than usual will be shopping for the next week or two in preparation for Durga Puja, an annual festival that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga.

    Get your cancer medicine here! The Blueprint on Lindsay Street in Kolkata, India.

    A seriously thick crowd shops on Lindsay Street in Kolkata, India for the upcoming Durga Puja festival.

    While we were talking, amid a bunch of snack and coffee / tea vendors, I noticed a man blowing bubbles in the middle of a bustling open area in front of New Market. He was like the calm in the eye of a hurricane, setting aloft fragile little orbs of beauty that gently floated out into a harsh and chaotic world. It was a beautiful scene. Occasionally, little kids would show up and frolic around, trying to clap out of existence as many bubbles as they could. After I had my fill of the madding crowd, I ended the night with a visit to Blue Sky Cafe, a greasy spoon if there ever was one, and downed a veggie burger, a plate of gooey, dark brown French fries and a chocolate shake.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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