Strike out! One of many strikes in Calcutta!

An evening in Calcutta

Calcutta is known for its strikes. When the Government increases the fuel prices, the public transportation will go on a strike to demand an increase in fares. More often than not, the Government gives in and increases the fare by a few Rupees. I happened to land in Calcutta on one of such days. I didn’t choose this day, I just got to know about the strike when I landed. The taxi counter at the airport was shut, and the private cab had already run out of cabs. With my bags in hand, I walked towards the only bus standing at the airport, already full to the brim with passengers. Just in time, a friendly face popped out of the window and asked me if I needed a ride into  town. This shrewd private driver charged me three times the price to get me to my hotel but then that’s the way it was meant to be.

Walk on!

I didn’t want to complain. This day wasn’t as bad as the day before it. I had booked my hotel through an online web portal http://www.travelguru.com. I usually use another online portal, http://www.makemytrip.com, but this time I made an exception as the hotel I wanted to stay was only available on travelguru. And this experience turned out to be a nightmare. It was by chance, that I called up my hotel to confirm my reservation, to which they replied that there wasnt any reservation in my name! Shocked, I called up the portal, who did listen to me and promised to get back. The problem was, that they never called up! So after numerous calls and emails from my side, they finally admitted that it was a problem from their end and that they will allot me another hotel, which was not to my liking. By the evening I had given up and decided not to ever book with Travelguru and requested a refund. I went to makemytrip.com and found my self a hotel, for which I had to pay a bit more than before. I wasn’t happy at all. Not because of the money, but because of the poor service industry that we have. Travelguru, to problem shuru!

Keeping an eye on violators

My day in Calcutta turned out to be quite nice. Because of the strike, all my meetings got cancelled and I decided to get some sleep ( as I had been unwell for a few days). Around tea, I decided to walk around Calcutta, and believe me, there is no better way to enjoy the city. Walk, have roadside food, wave to the locals- its great! And that’s why I love this city. I walk from Hotel Chrome to Park Street, the hub of all things, be it Flurry’s, Cha Bar, Shopping, this is the epicenter for Calcutta. En route, I stopped at the local bhel-wala to munch on a snack. It was time for people to head home, so the streets were filled with people having a bite before getting home. The cops were busy controlling the traffic.

Waiting for a tram

Monsoon is a great time for photography. The otherwise boring sky becomes alive with clouds that vary in colours depending on the amount of water they hold. The setting sun makes it even more dramatic and then the city itself adds to it.  As there was no other way to get back, I decided to take a tram. Calcutta’s tram service is the oldest in Asia and was started way back in 1902. Though, its losing out on faster modes of transport, it is a part of a heritage and I think they should continue to run. The tram ride from Fort William to Hastings is the most beautiful one, as it passes through the greenest belt of Calcutta, passing Victoria and the Race Course. Its fast enough to get somewhere and slow enough to enjoy the scenery. It’s still the cheapest mode of travel as well!

Its another world in here!

It’s another world inside the tram. Even the people looks like from the yesteryears. The tram transforms you into another world, a dreamy world. I left the fast world outside and managed to enjoy this short ride to Hastings, surrounded by people lost in their own world.

Old world charm

I made it back to my hotel. I had crossed this hotel many times during my previous visits to Calcutta and was always inquisitive to know how it was from the inside. From the outside, it was an artwork, the exterior having many round windows. In the evening, these windows were all lit in different colours, which changed after a few seconds. So at no point of time, the hotel looked the same! The hotel, which features in the Leading Small Hotels of the World, has 60-odd rooms, most of them done thematically. They boast of a sunk in bed that guarantee a great sleep ( and I can vouch for that!).

The Chrome Hotel

I stayed at The Chrome for three days and I can complain of nothing. The concierge made a small blunder but I can pass that. The rooms and the baths are comfortable, the breakfast is lavish and the staff is always smiling. They have a stunning restaurant on the first level (go there in the evening only to enjoy the lighting), and I believe that a new bar is opening up soon. At the price they charge, I recommend this hotel to everyone. Check out their website (it’s really good as well). http://www.chromehotel.in

Reception of the Chrome Hotel

I’m glad the strike happened that day. I walked around 7-8 kilometers, enjoying the evening. It was humid, but a breeze, made the walk wonderful. I wait for the day when I head back to Calcutta and do this all over again. Anyone tagging along?

Going up!

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This entry was published on August 3, 2011 at 04:34. It’s filed under India, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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