This really happened:
My design teacher walked in for his second period and asked "How many of you are from West Bengal?
Most hands went up. The only exceptions were a foreign student from Bhutan, a half-Telugu half-Bengali girl from Arunachal Pradesh and of course, me, because as I mentioned at the very beginning of. Kolkata Chronicles, I don't consider myself someone who's from this city or even this state for that matter
My design teacher then asked, "And how many if you believe this state has some of the most talented people in the country?"
Once again, most hands went up, but they went up faster this time. Plus there were lots of self-satisfied half-smiles.
Then came the third question, "And how many if you know that Kolkata is not the most developed city in the country?"
This time, no smiles. Just a whole lot of hands going up.
Now would be the right time to tell you my design teacher is known for his quirkiness. Right then, his expression changed and he shot, "That's because we talk too much".
We all laughed but only because we,all know there's sine truth to this. It's like one of those truths that're inferred from experience, like 'People gain weight after they get married' or 'Hot girls are mean' and so on.
Of all the cities I'very seen so far, Kolkata is by far the most talkative. Within five minutes of knowing someone, you can know someone better than you know your regrets. On my second day here, I went to an advocate to get an affidavit signed and ended up finding out his name, age, work experience, family relations, how the biggest lawyers look up to him, his opinions in ragging and the college I was set to go to and God only remembers what else. On a rickshaw, a puller heard me speaking English and familiarized me with his heartbreaking story of wanting to study English but having to quit his education the year they were to start reading English. A lady I shared an auto-rickshaw with told me all about her daughter and then went on to tell me how she was born less than a year after her twin brothers, how she was practically raised by her aunt and how she wishes to have spent more time with her mother.
That's not all. This city functions on 'adda', the conversational forum for friend circles. Basically its a practice as old as the city in which friends or even acquaintances get together to discuss all things big, small, good, bad, entertaining or boring but ultimately always inconsequential. In fact, during pujas, there,s a pandal in Maddox Square where thousands of people gather just for 'adda'. They sit on newspapers in big circles or sometines on benches and the whole point of being there is not so much enjoy the festival of Durga Puja as it is to celebrate the biggest 'adda' festival of the year.
Is all this talking a waste of time? I have to stay here for five years so I'll reserve my comments opon that. All I'll say is that this is just how the city is and without so much of talking, Kolkata just wouldn't be Kolkata anymore, be it good or bad. Yes, I do wish people would express their opinions through actions than they do vocally. But in your life, if you ever crave stimulating conversation full of hyperboles, metaphors, exclaimations and Tagore quotations, come to Kolkata and you won't be disappointed.