Kolkata sleeps early. So when by chance I met a certain gentleman (whom the local newspaper later reported was a Mr. Poddar) at around 9.00 pm somewhere on the street, we were intrigued by his car.
“It’s a custom made car….” He said. The vehicle was a twin seater with huge wheels resembling a Go-karting sportster. We were amazed at the unusual vehicle. What we didn’t know that he was probably just returning from an exhibition of these jet setting beauties at a prominent mall.
Fast forward to Chetla market. Nestled at the backside of the outrageously priced Alipore Road is this humble settlement on both sides of the road. Gracious local shopkeepers invited me to view their merchandise.
“No, I’m not interested in the fishing nets, but can I stand here and wait for my cab?” They seemed surprisingly courteous.
The road was lined with buses. Tomorrow is Election Day. Cars are moving at snail’s pace. Its takes us 45 minutes to cross a 2 km stretch. Somewhere in a building nearby, a supervisor seems to be giving instructions to party workers in Bengali. A hand cart vendor tries to negotiate the road. A pedestrian tries his luck as well in an attempt to board his bus. Among this chaos, a premium styled Jaguar is also stuck with the same fate. With traffic, it equalizes the rich and the poor. No one furthers faster.
Who knew that a visit to the corner bakery would be an event in itself. On display today nearby was a fleet of cars lit by overhead lights. With my bakery package in one hand and the camera in another, I managed to get some pictures just before the show was wrapped up. There were a dozen of them. A 1947 Singer Roadster, all shining and gleaming. A 1951 Jaguar which looked as if it was born to rule the road. A 1969 Alpha Romeo. A 1967 Pontiac Firebird. And many more.It was a 1960’s-1970’s nostalgia journey. Event? A Classic Racing Auto Display. Thank God for good coincidences like this, I got much more than cream buns back tonight.