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Bengali Belles, Balle! Balle!

Just completed a two day stay at Kolkata, the so called “uber-conservative”, “stuck in time” capital of West Bengal (a state in eastern India). The city seemed lot cleaner that what I remember from a decade ago but retains the essential spirit of a market place that somehow got too big and had to be called a city!

I was coming into Kolkatta from a place that had below par road and rail connectivity and was quite tired from all the traveling through the labyrinthine intestines of India, but the belles of Kolkata changed it all. This is my tribute to some of the most beautiful women to populate this universe, the women of Kolkata!
Early into the day, I was waiting somewhere near a Metro (tube) station near Central Avenue for a business associate to pick me up when my eyes first popped out. There was this beautiful Goddess Durga-looking female crossing the crowded street full of rickshaws, yellow taxis and pot bellied traffic policemen. It was a typical freeze frame moment, every other vision crowded out and it was only her crossing the street with absolute nonchalance… in slow motion… eastman color. I kept gawking at her (I am sure I would have had my eyes popping out like you see in cartoons) as time crawled down to a micro seconds! Everything about her had a bounce (yeah! go on …  imagine!), the straight cut hair bounced, and so did the pallu (the free end of a saree) and I guess the eyelashes bounced too. The universe was in perfect harmony with the bounce in the gaits of this Bengali belle! But it is when she crossed me that the best part came! She crossed the street and moved into an alley full old Raj era mansions which had probably lost its plot in the ever changing script of time. My gaze involuntarily (I now know what being a zombie means!) followed her and then I knew that the best comes last. My lady was wearing a blouse that left nothing, I repeat, nothing to imagination from behind. A helicopter could have landed where the blouse should have been, and was not! Expensive lingerie in black ran riot with gay abandon on an awfully fair skin, and then she turned the corner…and was lost! I looked around to see if anybody else had caught me gawking at her all this while and the realization struck me cold! In any other part of the country, traffic would have come to a halt, and mobile phone conversations would have stopped until this lady crossed the street, but not in Kolkata. In Kolkata I formed the grand minority of one; I seemed to be the only guy interested in women, no one else even noticed. If Bengali men did not have time to enjoy this, pray tell me what they spend their time on… discussing politics!

Cheers to Bengali belles. Men… grow up! In this era of denim clad tomboys passing off as women, you have no clue what you are missing, living among the saree clad Bengali women!


  1. Rajesh,
    This BLOG writing and the two before it all together and separately are beautiful, meaningful poetry. Your description of Kolkata women is perfect. The Sari is a magical invention. How could any woman not want to wear it, and how could any man not look at a woman wearing one.
    "And the Wind Blows" with line breaks is a wonderful, meaning poem also.
    The relative who sent you the "Indian spirituality" lines shares great wisdom. Thanks.

  2. So beautifully written. You had me enthralled with your descriptions. :-)

  3. Raj-this was so funny and candid. Love all your colorful descriptions, your use of imagery and metaphor. Really, I say, what's the world coming to, when men don't notice a beautiful woman passing by?

  4. This post reminds me of the American writer Hemmingway - that is a compliment.

    Thanks for dropping by.


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