Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Kolkata

Tomorrow Kolkata will have a new corporation. There is a popular perception about the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) that anything can be done by greasing palms. Even the work which high influence fails to accomplish can be done through petty bribes.
My first visit to the KMC was during the days when it was called Calcutta Municipal Corporation. I was in class 12 (picture) and had gone there to give a cheque to the then Mayor Prashanta Chatterjee for Mayor’s Relief Fund which we had collected by organising a program of Rass Dandiya. I have personally known both the former Mayors of Kolkata Subrata Mukherjee and Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and have shared the dais with them on a number of social occasions. They differ in their styles of functioning and the results they deliver are also very different (pictures).
I met Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya last month in his office and soon thereafter I met Subrata Mukherjee in London at the Harrow Hall where he invited the Mayor of Harrow to Kolkata along with the Chairman of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation Biswajiban Majumdar. However, none of these leaders have contested the mayoral elections and thus would not become the Mayor of Kolkata.
Lots of hopes of Kolkatans rest on the new Mayor. Rajiv Gandhi had once said Calcutta is a dying city. I have never agreed with this view. It is a matter of perception. Many people find Kolkata a dirty city. But those who have seen the film Antaheen would agree how beautiful Kolkata is. I love Kolkata and like staying here. It is in no way a dying city. Sunday evening while having an adda session over dinner at my home with few of my friends including Prasenjit and Tony who directed the film Antaheen. Tony and I agreed that Kolkata is beautiful. It is just the way you see it.
In fact Kolkata is not only beautiful but also has a certain warmth and honesty which you don’t get to see in any other metro. Today afternoon I met a senior journalist friend from Delhi, who specialises in political reporting, at the Flury’s. I have known him for several years and as we came out of the restaurant the steward came out running to inform us that we had left a wallet on the table. My friend realised that he had indeed left his wallet there which had all his credit cards and cash. He picked up the wallet and smiled, “I wouldn’t have got it back had it not been Kolkata,” he said.
That’s my Kolkata.
ess bee

1 comment:

  1. lovely. And so very true. I love my Calcutta, too.