I have been travelling for quite some time now and every time I visit a new destination I make sure to check out the possible scamming and ripping activity which usually takes place in that city or place. This way I am well aware of the possibilities and take enough precautions making my trip relative safe. This, however, does not mean that I totally depend on my self-awareness I do take precautions such as hiding my passport or valuable beyond the reach or sometimes divide cash in different places just as a precautionary measure that in case I lose some I do have backups.
There is something called the Murphy’s Law which roughly states that if something were to get wrong it will get wrong no matter how well prepared you are. Something similar happened to me which till date is the only time Indian Vagabond that is me got scammed during a trip and to top it off it happened in my own city of Kolkata.
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“That’s Mother out there” my mother whispered in my ear, it was in the year 1988 and she had come to our school as the chief guest for the school’s annual sports day. With everyone standing in front of me I could hardly see so my mother lifted me up and made me stand on the chair. In the distance I see a frail old lady bending forward slightly with hand folded accepting the standing ovation that she was receiving. Coincidentally I was wearing deep blue shorts and light blue almost white t-shirt and this was the same color that Mother Teresa was wearing. This was the first and last time that I had seen Mother Teresa up close.
Continue reading “Mother Teresa – Retracing Her Footsteps in Calcutta”
It’s 2 AM in the morning and the bus rolls down the highway crossing Vidyasagar Setu towards Satragachi, our bus driver Sydney, as the name suggest is half Australian and yes it’s his real name drives to our next destination. A big “thud” and Sydney slams the brake to a stop. “Tyre Puncture” he exclaims creating the perfect climax to the night Kolkata Heritage Night Bus Tour.
This is not how it all started but let me wind back 12 hours exactly, returning back from office I chanced upon Anthony who asked me to accompany him for the very first Kolkata Heritage Night Bus Tour – exploring the heritage of Kolkata on a bus at night. I have been to quite a few heritage locations around the town and also been to many of the Ghost Walks but never ever been to any night bus tour. This was something I would never want to miss.
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The day started real early, even though it was a Sunday the work at home was no less. It started with a heritage walk at around 7.30 in the morning followed by other engagements and finally it came to Jane’s Walk. By now I was really tired but I somehow convinced myself to push on for the day as I knew it would be something really different.
The walk on this evening the 8th of May 2016 was in memory of Jane Jacobs. Before we go any further it’s important to get some details about her and why was this walk dedicated to her. Jane Jacobs (1916 – 2006) was a very famous Canadian / American journalist but apart from this, she was an activist. Throughout her life, she fought for the life of a neighbourhood. She believed in the essence of every neighbourhood and its own uniqueness that it holds on its own along with its people.
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Every Chinese New Year the city of Kolkata gears up to an extravaganza which can hardly be described with words and can only be witnessed by seeing with your own eyes. This city is lucky to have a good number of Chinese families who call City of Joy their home. Most of us are aware of the many Chinese restaurants, shoe shops, beauty parlour or dry cleaning shops that dot the city streets are managed and run by the Indian Chinese community.
During Chinese New Year the streets around Tangra (New Chinatown) and Tiretti Bazar (Old Chinatown) start resonating to the sounds of drums and the footsteps of the Lion Dancers. Managed by different groups they roam from house to house performing the famous lion dance. Each house hangs a bunch of lettuce leaves at a height which the lions must grab and throw back at the occupants of the house as blessings. The lions in return receive red envelopes with money known as Hong Bao.
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