Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Yesterday Was Christmas

Yesterday was Christmas. Well ok, of course you know that.

I went wandering hither and thither along Park Street, watching the lights and the festivities. The whole city descending down to one thoroughfare, to absorb the spirit of Christmas. The roads were packed stiff with cars, and taxis and autos. The pavements were packed stiff with people. Typical everyday families of one moderately frustrated parent, one jolly skipping-like-the-high-heels type and a little tyke being pulled in this direction and that to see the collective humanity of Kolkata out in their best. There were couples, finally being able to walk hand in hand without everyone else staring (hand in hand walking became quite a necessity really, seeing how easy it was to be carried away elsewhere in the crowd).

You could start off walking from Chowringhee towards Flury’s and not make any progress even after 10 minutes. The waves of people walking the other way simply took you in their flow. Atleast that’s what happens to me. I usually look at people. When I’m walking down a street, instead of buildings or the cars, I like to see the people going to work, or play in groups or alone. Its an observational musing sort of thing. I saw innocent happiness, and an unblemished contented joy in the throng. And that seeped into me.

I went to the New Market area, looking beautiful and decorous inspite of filth and dirt on the roads. I walked around Scoop, and saw it filled, all families inside. A band was playing popular music outside in an alley, with a large growing circle of people gathering around. The vocalist appropriately took on Phiriye Dao, and charged the crowd upto near madness. In no time, everyone was jumping up and down and singing in chorus.

The city was…resonating. Resonating with the sights and sounds of Christmas being celebrated in a primarily non-Christian city, solely for the joy of celebration and as an excuse to holiday and rejoice. Resonating with excited, laughing, squealing, happy voices absorbed in a million conversations or in wondrous amazement at the lights and decorations garlanding the pavements. I made my way through the throng in a happy warm daze.

Park Street was glowing with lights hung above. Flury’s was overcrowded with a queue extending outwards in double form. The pavements were packed to capacity. It was all a bit like Brigade Road in Bangalore on any goddamn day (I swear those Bangaloreans have nothing to do), but so much better. This mighty throng here was not a posh crowd of disco-goers or barstoolers. These were all kinds of people here. Rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, tall and short. There were families of different sizes, couples of all age-groups, friends, loners. All happy, smiling and content.

I basked in a strange alien feeling the few minutes I spent on Park Street. All of us who choose to gyrate at discotheques and inane parties instead don’t know what we’re missing. It’s the spirit of Christmas. I wish someone was singing carols somewhere. I would have sung right along.


Note (31/12/2006): But I bow to this tribute here.


Dhruv said...

What a fantastic capture.. Of events with words..

Is this the same Flury's that was mentioned in Parineeta?

Confused & Baffled said...

@dhruv: yes man, the same. flury's has been around for years and years.

Dhruv said...

Or should we say decades and decades?

Wow! How amazing! A bar that Lalita actually went to herself!

Is that where they shot the film as well?
And do they still have Rekha type dancers dancing inside?

Vipul Chhajer said...

I was doing Bhavikaati. How bad can life get ?

Dhruv said...

That's the best it can get, idiot! Try doing the questions from our study material.. That too isn't the worst..

The worst would have to be physics..

Ashi said...

and then there were all those people on the street moving and not knowing where they will land. i intended to go to magnolia from flurys couldnt reach it. i still love the city

kyra said...

i never liked flury's while i was in cal. i thought it was horribly dingy, but when i went back to the city last year i was amazed at how much it had changed.
yes, cal's beautiful during christmas. that would be an understatement, actually.