Back to work place after a brief sojourn at Lakshmi Dutta Lane, Kolkata. I walked down the memory lane and I found the surrounding, culture and people were very much reminiscent of earlier days. People are still very simple, receptive and retentive. I met some childhood acquaintances and friends. Still they felt sad knowing that I would be there for a couple of days only. Nowadays we find people simply say good bye and at times enquire about the next visit. Personal touch and longer association have very limited value in this present materialistic world. I met Govinda. He has not aged; still thin and lanky. His simple eyes and innocent smile has not changed even though I could find some traces of grey hair on this head and beard. My childhood friend Puklu was as effervescent as ever, bubbling with energy and youthful vitality. I repent that I could not meet others like Bansi etc due to paucity of time.
The local shops where I used to visit regularly are still there and doing same type of business. They still continue to greet every customer with the same age old smiling gesture and demeanour. I was really touched the way people behaved and greeted me. The addas, for which North Kolkata is famous for, is still there. It is quite surprising due to the fact that present generation is always glued to the screen- whether mobile or laptop. Small tea shanties were still bustling with customers. Still we can get good Tawa Roti at Padma’s shop for Rs2 only. Unbelievable indeed!! Babusona is no less than up market Malls like ‘More’ or ‘Spensors’! He keeps everything a family need for a daily square meal. Customer satisfaction is his prime motto. Smile always dwells on his lips. Old Pintu shop “North Point Café” is still thronged by customers of all age. The news paper seller Ratan appeared so happy that initially I could not make out that his son was bed ridden with some accidental injury. This shows what value he assigns to the relationship with old acquaintances. I never did anything for him but he honors relationship. Great!
After returning from Kolkata, sitting on the terrace with a big Coffee Mug, I was contemplating whether we have changed a lot or not. My para at Lakshmi Dutta Lane is an exception in the modern world. The shadow of opulence, luxury, extravaganza and show-off did not dare to tread there. It was a world within this world, yet untouched by the modern time indulgences and gratification. We who came out of that area due to better job prospects etc are perhaps more exposed to complex world- a world of suspicion, speculation, skepticism and qualm.