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    All These Colors Tour: India Part 14

    Thursday, September 27, 2012
    Kolkata, India

    Colorful buses on Bipin Behari Ganguly Street in Kolkata, India.

    Some vivid signs on Bipin Behari Ganguly Street in Kolkata, India.

    As I walked down Park Street this afternoon to jump on the subway, I noticed a bunch of police and military lining both sides of Chowringhee Road, which runs along the Eastern edge of Maidan Park. Apparently, some kind of political event was going on, and the dudes in uniform were there to quell any possible violence that might break out. I just avoided it and descended into the bowels of the city to ride the rails up to the Central stop. I stepped out there to take a stroll, I mean to do battle with the onslaught on the sidewalks and streets of the BBD Bagh district, where I shot a few photos of colorful signs, buses, etc. down Bipin Behari Ganguly Street. At the next main intersection, I couldn’t figure out where I was due to a lack of street signs, so an old man looked at my map and helped me get my bearings.

    Scrapwood and refuse homes on Lushun Saran Street in Kolkata, India.

    I headed up Lower Chitpur Road, where, as I stopped to get something out of my bag, three different guys stared at me at the same time. One was standing to my left, the other was in front of me sitting in a truck, and the third was standing to my right. That’s just the way it is here, so you can’t let it bother you. You just have to shrug it off. After hanging a right on Lushun Saran, I passed by a row of homes that were built into piles of scrapwood and other refuse. A lot of people were milling in and around them, so I found one off on the side with no one around where I discreetly snapped a photo. Right when I did, a lady passed by and grumpily muttered something to me then walked inside the heap.

    An epic distressed wall in a back alley in BBD Bagh, Kolkata, India.

    At this point, I headed North into some winding back alleys to look for an old Chinese temple. I never did find it, but I got a swell consolation prize in the form of some incredibly picturesque scenery, where daily life goes on in the quaint yet harsh conditions. Exiting the alleys, I headed West on Colootola Road for about a quarter of a mile until it intersected Lower Chitpur Road, where there was a serious traffic quagmire in progress. I was so amazed by the density of it, I stood and shot a video clip that panned over three quarters of the area. As I looked down and reviewed the footage in my camera, an angry man walked up from behind and yelled at me. I’m not sure exactly what he was saying. I think he didn’t want me to stand in front of his rickshaw, even though I wasn’t blocking him from doing anything, and he didn’t even have a passenger. I just glanced at him and walked away to the nearest corner of the intersection.

    An ashen corner on Colootola Road in Kolkata, India.

    Man, that situation was kind of stale and a little bit intimidating. Maybe he just resented having a white tourist invade what he perceived to be his space. Or maybe he’s just a really pissed off dude in general. This intersection was such a massive, broiling carnival of slowly-moving commotion that I couldn’t help but throw myself into the mix, bobbing through the chaotic currents, popping off still pics and video clips the whole way. After I had floated around full circle, I tried to walk back East on Colotoola Road the way I had come, but got blocked by another rickshaw. Wouldn’t you know it? I was standing right next to the “problem” rickshaw, and the grumpy owner once again laid into me, but this time I told him I was trying to walk, and pointed to the rickshaw blocking me. Luckily, traffic started moving again, and I was off on my merry way.

    Crossroads confusion on Colootola Road in Kolkata, India.

    The rush hour subway heading South was packed so tight, I couldn’t disembark at Esplanade because I was on the opposite side of the opening doors. So, I had to get back on a Northbound train at Park Street and try again. Success! As I climbed up outside, I felt amazed as I was greeted by a vast, dusty area where two roads intersected at an angle, huge loud buses banged by and swarms of people milled around. By this time, the political rally was winding down and the authorities were packing up as I crossed over the massively wide Chowringhee Road. A veggie burger and fries had my name on them over at you-know-which cafe.

    A yoga center in BBD Bagh, Kolkata, India.

    A chalk artist whips up a Hindu dream on Chowringhee Road in Kolkata, India.

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

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