I am here in the stereotypical "hell hole" of cities. When people talk of Kolkata (Calcutta), minds run wild with images of poverty, hunger and desolation. And objectively I can understand these thoughts. For someone who has not spent the last nine months living in the Indian sub-continent, the city of Kolkata would be limited to sights of poverty and sadness. But that is not the Kolkata I see.
Kolkata is a menagerie of diverse people, situations, buildings, smells and realities. This city has history and it has modernity, it has class and it has craziness, Kolkata has life. Located in West Bengal, whose counterpart is East Bengal (Bangladesh), the way of life in Kolkata is very similar to that of Bangladesh, but Kolkata has more class, more pizzazz. The city streets bring you back to the good old days (eg. before my time), the taxis and buses are Indian through and through. The streetcars were made in some bygone era but seem to run with efficient creaking and groaning. But the buildings and construction of Kolkata have been the real draw for me.
Kolkata is an old capital. A remnant of British ruled India, with a modern face. Deteriorating buildings, architecturally stunning, intricate arches and pillars splashed across buildings in need of a fresh coat of paint. Reminders of the rich history Kolkata has to offer. And there, under this historical facade is the face of the new India. (excerpt)