The smell of Boi Para, rain and old books

travel notes

A night in Kolkata

Photo: Tamreen Emdad Kamal

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Photo: Tamreen Emdad Kamal

My uncle and I set foot on the cracked pavement in front of the hotel with trepidation. The weather was less than ideal – the heat was unbearably hot and the humidity was suffocating – and our adventures in Kolkata alone were few and far between.

As avid readers, we ventured into town with a sim card, purchased the night before at a dubious store in an alley, characterized by its unusually cramped size, distinct smell of urine, and the data pack it came with, making us what we’re here for here A pillar of confidence that takes off from a strange city.

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The first stop on our adventure was College Street, as the locals call it boipara. We approached the empty yellow cab at the end of the street with uncertain footsteps. The taxi driver stood in front of his old ambassador’s classic car, munching on a betel leaf with relish. Seeing us coming, he woke up from his coma and enthusiastically agreed to pick us up.

Photo: Tamreen Emdad Kamal

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Photo: Tamreen Emdad Kamal

Contrary to the shabby exterior of the vehicle, the interior is spacious and clean, with the driver pulling the cab into the winding traffic with jerky strides. He assures us that he has brought us to our destination for a considerable period of time using the most obscure paths, knowledge only known when he has spent his whole life on the roads of Calcutta. All the while, he has kept us involved in his family’s fascinating, often dramatic, history going back to the Division.

So, we happily set foot on boipara. Just like Nilkhet, the sidewalks are lined with hawkers selling all types of books. Behind the banners for discounts on medical and engineering books are small shops devoted to academic and non-academic classics.

next to percy beech Shirley’s PoemsBinding in rich green leather, durable over the years, sits on a brand new copy love hypothesis Yellow print from Ali Hazelwood. The shelves below are adorned with Agatha Christie and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and all the books are in some state of decay. It’s weird, but that weirdness can only be considered cute and endearing.

deep inside boipara, we came across one used bookstore after another, each with its own personality.Fiction and poetry books, mathematical theory and old editions Reader’s Digest – These stores boast that they can carry just about anything. The shop took the initiative to wave to us, attracting us with low prices and attractive collections. My uncle and I were both weak-willed and after we had a big hole in our wallets, we decided to get a taxi and ride back after the sun went down.

Photo: Author

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Photo: Author

Our Bengali nature prompts us to complain, and our sweat-soaked state is our main concern.However, our complaints about the sweltering heat were answered by the taxi driver: “Now is the time Pucho. The rain is waiting just around the corner. “

Perhaps invited by his words, the sky seemed to be torn to pieces, responding to the mockery of the heat of the earth in the form of torrential rain.

The familiar smell of old books is stronger than both of us need to buy, the smell of petrichor and the comfort of knowing that an Eden like University Street exists, our 50-year-old through the City of Joy yellow cabs will probably last 50+ years.

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