Friday, March 03, 2006

Tap Water Cure For Kolkata Smells and Mosquitoes

After a thumping trip to China, I returned to India via the sewer gate of Kolkata. In a charitable mood, I gloss over a black-and-white low quality paper poster of Subhas Chandra Bose presaging trite nothings: "Give me yo' blood and I'll give ya'll niggas freedom". Clearly, even the mosquitoes - the real ones, not the people - of Kolkata have taken Bose to their hearts. The dilapitated airport, indistinguishable from a mosquito-breeding farm with some conveyor belts thrown in, is now the scene of blood-thirsty rites celebrated by these putrid Leftist mosquitoes. Over the 40-minute wait for my luggage, I study the mosquitoes - this time both kinds. There are baby mosquitoes, blood-fattened mosquitoes, anopheles, and some shrivelled mosquitoes that look like Jyoti Basu. There was one outcaste and overweight mosquito with a particularly annoying upper-octave buzz. Suddenly she angrily walked out on this revelry. I call her the Mamata mosquito.

Kolkata odiously reveals its essence to every visitor on the way back from the airport. In an unbroken tradition ever since I first came here, a noisome odor assaults my nose - an odor unsurpassed in acridity, comparable only to the smell that rides on the Bengali's breath after a hearty helping of fish. Utterly dejected at the state of this mahanagar, my mind browses over ways to kill myself. I decide on drinking Kolkata tap water.

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