Kolkata. A city which has fascinated authors, poets and ordinary people at all times. A city, which exudes warmth and entangles you in a bond you cannot ever forget.
In this session, we had four poets, Joe Dunthorne, Jonathan Edwards, Jeet Thayil and Tishani Doshi, who had toured the city for four days and were going to talk in respect to that.
Walking Cities started on the 4th of February, and they tried to cover a variety of places, moods and environments.
Jonathan says, “For me it’s been an amazing experience”. He finds Kolkata to be a vibrant one, full of different smells and sensual experiences. Joe, who has lived in Calcutta before, found it spectacular every time he visited it. He finds it a “fun place, full of strange and sometimes even frightening things”. He although, feels a little uncomfortable in the loud traffic, but enjoys the bengail food. Tishani, who has performed here before, she sensed a sense of culture and art in the audience. she finds life here to be lively and overpowering, quite in contrast to the isolated beach where she lives. Jeet says, that he has been to the city three times, but this visit was like a milestone for him. He got a collaborative view of the city, and claims to feel “at home” in Calcutta. ”
For Tishani, she remembers, the High Court and one of the sessions they visited concerning dowry death and affected all of them. For Jonathan, he remembers the vibrance of street food, and colourful flowers at the corner of a street. Joe, on the other hand, enjoyed the change of atmosphere in the Park Street Cemetery. They even spent some time on the “nouka” on the Ganga and enjoyed its tranquility and peace.
All the four poets read out a little of their own poetry, which was interesting to listen to. Then, they read out one they had written by themselves, about Calcutta. I shall not write about it, because writing about it. will not do justice to its beauty.
On an extremely personal note, I don’t think the magic of Kolkata can be understood in just four days. You have to stay here and experience life in Kolkata as a resident and not as tourist to capture its charm and to understand its beauty. This city has a story to tell in every street, an adventure in every face and mostly happiness in the eyes.The city changes colour with each season, from the drenched waterclogged rainy season to the colourful vibrant Durga Pujo, the essence of the City of Joy can be truly understood only when you’ve stayed in it for some time.