Nigh on fifty years ago, the world was young, rich, and on the whole, tax-free according to Douglas Adams. Yours truly used to go to school and then to college extremely bright-eyed and seriously bushy-tailed. About forty-five years ago, perhaps to the day, he checked into the pleasant hostelry at Emerald Bower, which then housed the IIM Calcutta, near Sinthi More in Calcutta (that’s how it was spelt those days) and met with a bunch of similar kids who have played a huge role in making sure that this writer has remained, at least at heart, very bright-eyed and really bushy-tailed. This post and others of this ilk to follow are tributes to those days and certainly a celebration of the group of friends that I made all those years ago. As and when a wave of nostalgia hits this scribe, he will post reminiscences which will, hopefully, bring out big happy smiles all round.
Of my earliest memories as a child, two things stick out – early in the mornings, people from the Corporation would come and clean the streets with water, with long hosepipes connecting into water hydrants sticking out of footpaths; and, many houses had piped gas. The latter is, of course, now quite common in many cities – but, I wonder why it was done away with, when in the 1950s and 1960s – in my memory at least – Calcutta and perhaps other cities had piped gas connections.
Another memory is getting home from school riding a rickshaw crawling through water-logged streets. I guess this is a reality even today, as this photo shows.
(Source: Hindustan Times, Sep 07, 2016 – http://www.hindustantimes.com/kolkata/cloud-cover-moves-north-expect-some-relief-in-kolkata/story-RgdLhfY49evv2ke7wUxNfL.html)
When I was at the IIM, I used to go home to Ballygunge for weekends, and every Monday morning I used to board the L9 bus from Gol Park to Dunlop Bridge, and get dropped off just outside the gate of the IIM. The bus used to look something like this.
A classmate from my IIMC days sent me this photo – route no. 2 from Kalighat to Shyambazar.
(Probable source: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vintage-cars-classics-india/31848-classic-commercial-vehicles-bus-trucks-etc-thread-67.html)
The reader will note that the Calcutta of this photo must have fairly sparsely populated – the number of people on board are surely in single digits. Not the Calcutta/Kolkata I’ve known from my infancy!