The December of last year took me home to Calcutta. Being with Sheetal, the stay in India is divided between Bangalore and Calcutta. When I see images of Calcutta, they have a shabby, fallen look, and it’s so easy to forget that the city is so vibrant. Photos of dusty french windows, vines creeping unbridled across building walls making their way into the frames of the building. Broken brick walled garbage vats letting their contents flow in abandon and so many beautiful homes, that have lost their owners love, sunken in disrepair, their families locked in legal dispute.

And yet, traffic is choc a bloc, people are arguing at every tea stall, loving every cup of saccharine sweet coffee, and lamenting the current state of the nation, sports, the world and the lives of others.

The XPAN is a panoramic camera that shoots 65x24 negatives. I took some Ektar 100 to Calcutta to see it through the XPANS’s eyes. A google search doesn’t turn up much. I wish to leave its mark here and in Google’s forever archive. That the XPAN went to Kolkata and it is very much alive.

Some of these pictures are from Gariahat crossing, others from New Market. The carrom board that is staple of the Calcutta youth. Its abandon a positive sign for the workforce. The tram that refused to move that day and Debuda the lemon tea seller that has remained

I also used the wonderful Plaubel Makina which might even become my camera of choice. The fidelity in these 120 images are breathtaking …

The above photo was taken at Gariahat crossing under the bridge. The market behind is a maze. You’ll come in from entry and find yourself blinded in the sunlight as you exit from a completely different end

The spread of the New Market extends to the horizon. This was taken from the “Blue and Beyond” located at the top of Hotel Lindsay. Views spread the width of Calcutta with the New Market to one side and Park St and beyond to the other. Supposedly a number of tourists come here and the menu has choices from across the world. I still recommend the Indian chinese and a bottle of beer.

It’s easy to forget that a city is alive and pulsates even when it’s walls are crumbling.

As you walkdown Rabindra Sarobar, yours eyes will focus on the beautiful banyan tree that in one gesture manages to loom and grace simultaneously.

Walking Around Calcutta

Ambitiously, I thought I’d take the 29 tram from Kalighat. The 29 meanders it’s way through Calcutta through Chetla, Kidderpore ending at Esplanade after it makes it way through the Maidan. The XPAN called out for a ride but our dear tram driver rushed out to inform me that no trams would drive today. Could I walk the route? Not yet prepared for the dusty walk, I came home to Debuda and his cups of reviving lemon tea at Deshapriya park.