Oh! Kolkata

We’re going to be arriving in Sealdah station in Kolkata at 6:00 AM on the morning of Wednesday 2nd March (or may be 2 days earlier if we decide to move forward the 48 hours which are currently being discussed). The city should be just pulling itself together after the India V England Cricket World Cup match held there at the weekend. After a quick wash and brush up (or in other words the three sh’s ) at a nearby hotel  we’ll then be getting the below tram, perhaps this very one, to the “Esplanade” area .

Photo by Nicolas Holzheu

This is one of the best areas to eat in what is reputed to be the food capital of India. We’ll probably make camp at a place called Amenia which has been highly recommended and has hosted IndiaMike meet-ups in the past, provided it’s open early enough. Amongst the many regional delicacies to chose from, one particular circular delight to be located is “kisorisutir kachuri”, and I’ll also be on the hunt for  “chanar payas” from K.C Das, and a bowl of the wonderfully named “misti doi” for afters. We’ll then recharge the tiffin boxes before making our way to Babughat to say high to the sadus. We’ll then catch the ferry across the Hooghly  river to Howrah and one of India’s most famous stations.

Photo by Dougie Brown

From there we’ll be catching the Coromandal Express down to Bhubaneswar for the Sun Temple.

8 hours isn’t enough time to do justice to any great city, certainly not one with the gastronomic reputation that the City of Joy holds. But we’ll do the best we can in the time we’ve got.

Quota Complications

One of the issues that has erupted over the last few days in the planning process is the quota system and what this is going to mean for anyone wanting to join in who wants to bag the best seats in the house. I was hoping to keep the entire trip as an exercise in anarchic social networking, but it seems that the bureaucratic seeds laid down by someone else’s illustrious/oppressive ancestors (my elders were digging coal in a hole somewhere in Oldham, or working for a pittance in some mill, in the 19th century)  have grown a forest of complications for the GCIRC  hoi palloi of doctors, solicitors, psychiatrists and “been there, done that, I’m retired now and too fat for serious extended discomfort”  members of our “executive club”.

Photo by Bertrand Celce, celce.net

“We” (that’s the people I’ve teamed up with who have more than the slightest idea on how to do any of this) are now working out how we maximise our capacity in the posh end of the train, but I foresee something of a shit fight breaking out amongst the more dignified members of the tribe in the comfy seats

My cheridy work has gone on the back burner of late, I’m focusing on getting the actual trip “in the can” as it were. But “I’ll be back”. Once we’ve got over the next 6 weeks or so I’ll be switching tack and bugging the living daylights out everyone who is up for this to raise the price of a decent curry or two for the benefit of the needy.



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4 responses to “Oh! Kolkata

  1. Colin Mathura-Jeffree

    Its a long time dream to be free on trains like what youre doing…
    I hope to catch you on this journey!

  2. Lester

    Thanks Colin. Have a groovy day.

  3. skk

    Well, I have a friend who’s sis is a manager ( ex-basketball star who played for Indian Railways and more once upon a time ) at IR in the Expenses section of the HR department – expense disbursement at that, geddit. So the pull she has can only be imagined. So, I’m alright Jack :-).

    Seriously – I’ve been expecting this problem and have planned in solutions – After all, this is only a problem of success. Here are my solutions:
    1. If we get really big – then heck, they’ll put on additional coaches – given enough notice I don’t see why not, but heck there’s my dream of an entire freakin’ train at that.
    2. We’ll have to split up into separate groups – say one lot doing the trip mid-Feb to end-Feb, another setting off a week later, a third perhaps traveling a week earlier etc etc..

    It will be a great coup if we can go for solution #1. That will be a cool.


  4. Lester

    We’re going to be somewhere in the 30 region, too small to get any coach sorted out (that would require some serious sorting btw) but big enough to mean there could be issues on some trains. But if you lot arent phased by this then it just leaves me two guys to sort out.
    I’ve recently pinged everyone who I’m not in regular contact with, and I got the grand total of 2 responses. I expect a few more to roll up but still. I think 20s is probably more likely.
    The logistics, specifically timetabling, are hard enough for one go at this. If we are full I cant see anyone else even attempting to work that out in sufficient detail, let alone actually turn up and do it.
    We’ve got the Darjeeling train to do also, I’ve mailed you about that. I’ll post something about that next, or may be one on bridges.

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