Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back to Bangalore

We left from Darjeeling after breakfast at 9am, and thoroughly enjoyed the 3 hour drive back to Siliguri, along the curving roads, and the breathtaking views. Had a very light lunch at Siliguri, and took a cab to Baghdogra airport, which we reached at 1 pm itself. Baghdogra airport has only 10-12 flights landing/flying from there everyday, so the ground staff has a lot of time on their hands. So they ensure that your hand baggage doesn't have liquids, or umbrellas, or fake knives, and start security check 2 hours before the flight arrival, and even visit the restaurant insie the terminal to ensure that none of the passengers are hanging around there, instead of doing security check. :)

We spent an hour at the airport, cheking out more tea and souvenir shops, and eating some more so that we could hang out in the AC restaurant (the airport itself was not air-conditioned). My flight from Baghdogra to Kolkatta was on time, and uneventful, lasting only 45 minutes, but my onwards flight from Kolkatta to Bangalore was delayed by 2 hours, so I had 4 hours to kill in Kolkata. Everyone I called warned me about the notorious Kolkatta traffic jams, and asked me not ro risk going into the city itself, so I ended up taking a rickshaw to the nearest market, where I roamed around for 30 minutes, before starting to stop passers-by asking them to recommend a restaurant. The first 2 recommendations were really bad, the kind of place where 2 people could have a meal for 30 Rs, till eventually a lady recommended I take a rick to "Gora road, Debonair restaurant", which ended up being airconditioned, and having a band playing live old hindi music.

After a light dinner of just soup, I wandered the markets, and what struck me was that the language barrier was even worse in Kolkata than in Bangalore. In Bangalore, either people speak Kannada, and you know that they are speaking Kannada, or they speak good Hindi/English, which is easy to understand. On the other hand, while talking to people in Kolkata, I couldn't even understand that they were speaking in Hindi, their accent was really bad. I had difficulty even understanding what was the figure quoted by the rickshaw guy to take me back to the airport, and I had to ask him to repeat it 3 times before realizing that he was talking in Hindi after all. The same thing was true for the waiter in the restaurant, the shopkeeper where I tried to buy some jewellery, and the people on the street.

Eventually, I had spent enough time roaming around, and it was time to go back to the airport, and back to Bangalore at 1:30 am, my present home. The holiday was over, but I hope the memories remain.

1 comment:

  1. I liked your blog. You're better off than me....i'm still foggy about what I'm not too