Why are these songs so slow and sound so sad I asked my father, he was listening to the newly purchased double cassette album which was a collection of Ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh. He was so deeply engrossed that he almost missed my question and only on my second attempt did he reply that these were a collection of Ghalib. For years I had imagined Mirza Ghalib to be the one featured on the cassette cover which later when I grew up realized that it was, in reality, the photo of the actor Nasiruddin Shah. Little did I realize that one day I would roam around the streets of old Delhi and Kolkata just to trace Ghalib.
It all started during a recent trip to New Delhi and since I am working with a book retailing company I am privileged to be surrounded by books and literature lovers all the time. My visit to Delhi was nearly after a five-year gap thus there was lot to catch up when meeting old friends and one of them was Vijay Kumar Sharma who has been a regular follower of my blogs and travel tales. During one of our conversations, I had mentioned to him that somewhere I had read that the house of Mirza Ghalib was very near to Connaught Place. Next day he presented me with a book which talked about forgotten heritage places around Delhi and in there was a mention about Ballimaran (Gali Qasim Jan) which was quite near to Chawri Bazar Metro station. This place was just three metro stops from Connaught Place and during a weekend managed to track this place.
Kolkata or rather I should say Calcutta since this blog is basically on a subject which is more Calcutta than Kolkata. As a tourist, if you are coming to this city then the chances of visiting this church is very high since this would form a part of the European Heritage of the city. Since there is scattered information about this church across the net thus I have decided to bring it all together along with a short history of the church. This blog will mainly focus on the different structures and the important tablets and cenotaphs present inside the church as well as outside around the church compound. I have made an audacious attempt for the first time to cover each and every important object within the church compound.
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.
“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.
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.
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.