Mother Teresa called Calcutta the “city of joy”.
When Mother Teresa came to Calcutta, the city’s poor still had smiles on their faces. But now the transformation of the city to ‘Kolkata’ has made this city a dump, ruled by the filthy rich and a few thousand hooligans, who are being used by the present government to help them cling to power.
Whether one lands in Kolkata via an aeroplane or by train at Howrah station, they have to manoeuvre their way through masses conversing loudly on their phones. Gokhale once said, “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.” This was true except Bengalis are now using their intelligence to cheat their own people. The so-called smart Bengalis are using their brain cells to lead us to unlimited inflation and bankruptcy.
It has become such a vicious circle – they cannot get out of this.
The city is booming with skyscrapers, leaving no open breathing space. Streets used to be washed daily in the morning through water hoses and household remains were collected promptly and hygienically on a daily basis. Now the practice is still there, but the habits of individuals have not changed. They nonchalantly throw anything anywhere. When women have the decency of using latrines, men have not discarded their habit of urinating in public.
The air is always heavy with smog all through the day.
Days are reigned by the flies, while the evenings belong to the mosquitos.
While our youth are busy earning more and more, the older generation spends its time playing carrom and reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ while taking no action for fear of bodily harm.
There are however a few breathing spaces still left in Kolkata, where people go and relax and exercise, seeking good health at old age.
People used to earlier only live to reach 50 but nowadays, due to improved medical science, people live till their 90s. Perhaps we’ll also cross 100 soon. So, there are many who go to these parks for games, exercises and yoga.
These parks are also the melting pots of Kolkata, where people from all walks of life and from all classes come to exercise or to find a quiet place to spend time or chat with their partners, away from the prying eyes and ears of their parents.
I happen to live close to one such park, named CK/CL park and marvel at the joy of it all – the children who come for fresh air and to play football, volleyball and cricket. There are also a few exercise machines provided in the park.
Unfortunately, all are not lucky to have the best possible parks or swimming pools in their area. The quality of the park and its features depend on the mercy of the present local government. They promise in their election campaigns to shower us with favours if we elect them to power.
Unfortunately, the CK/CL park has not seen such favours. Consequently, this park has been neglected unlike other parks, which even have ‘fountains with music’.
So, I am also appealing to the present government so that I can enjoy life once I reach the age of 100.