July 01, 2012

Bonding Roadside In Kolkata




Kolkata’s Madan Street is a busy street, located at an angle from Chittaranjan Avenue and sheltered by old buildings. On this street I saw more shops dealing in Transistor Radios, repairs and sale of new and old radios, than all the radio shops put together in my time on the streets elsewhere. I did not hear any radio playing though, unless I lost it in the sound of the bustling street.

In the shade of Subid Ali Mansion, shops, roadside hawkers, rickshaw pullers, and daily wage labourers throng the street in a maelstrom of activity, in time developing an easy familiarity from seeing one another day after day, year after year.

While contesting common space for survival on the street is a reality, occasionally spilling over into scarcely disguised hostility, it’s not uncommon for bonds to develop among those working the same street in similar or different capacities. Bonds that make them look out for each other.

Through the working day, in brief respites from hauling loads or other exertions, these bonds are renewed in brief encounters roadside where a shared beedi or jovial banter reinforces their sense of belonging to what is in essence an extended family, the ties occasioned for no better reason than that they live and work together on the same street.


17 comments:

Sarah Laurence said...

You seem to have captured their relationship in this photo very well. Nice to reconnect with you!

Upasna said...

bit cities have such innate connectedness at times through these similar streets/ metros/ etc. Makes them so human.

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Very well captured...

Riot Kitty said...

I feel like the people I see at coffee shops, etc., are often part of my extended social family. That is a great analogy.

Beth said...

It's hard not to enter into relationship with those we encounter every day; I'm grateful for this aspect of human social behavior and realize, sadly, it's one reason why Christians, Muslims and Jews co-existed for centuries in old cities like Damascus and Jerusalem.

Daisy said...

There is a sense of community among those who see each other every day. They can't help but become familiar, I think, when they must share the same spaces. Nice post, Anil. I really like the photo you took.

Anil P said...

Sarah Laurence: Thank you. Same here.

Upasna: Absolutely. Big City streets are connectors. I feel, as passageways to conduct city residents through their day, the city streets are instrumental in building camaraderie, fostering familiarity, and eventually 'binding' people.

Vineeta Yashswi: Thank you.

Riot Kitty: Absolutely. And 'familiarity' without active interaction usually survives very long.

Familiarity builds a comfort zone, induces a sense of security, and belonging, and eventually transforms into an extended family.

Beth: Absolutely. Everyday interactions are the basis for eventual acceptance, at least in most cases.

Daisy: True. There is. And like you said, they need to share the same spaces to give adaptability, and hence acceptability a decent chance. Thank you.

s.c said...

Great shot. Love it that you show us a normal streetshot. I don't see them often on a blog from your country. Thanks for showing.

Indian Bazaars said...

Really liked your photograph...i think it was as much the old signage of the shop as the two people in conversation!

marly youmans said...

Lovely warmth to that picture--in the colors as well as in the action... Just followed you on twitter, Anil!

Anil P said...

S.C.: Thank you.

Indian Bazaars: Thank you. That was what I actually aimed at. The Signage is uncommon as in its name, and the way it is spelled, and the two in conversation sounding the familiarity that comes from working the same street..

Marly Youmans: Thank you. It was that sort of a day, light turning golden, street bustling with life.

Shalu Sharma said...

Nice photo.

Coffee Messiah said...

Nice to see you're still sharing your World -
and what a World it is -
Thanks & Cheers!

Anil P said...

Shalu Sharma: Thank you.

Coffee Messiah: Thank you. Like they say The Show Must Go On ..... whether or not there's an audience for it :-)

lgsquirrel said...

Anil,
You probably have more recognition than you would ever need but I left an award for you on my blog. Please come by and pick it up.

Anil P said...

Lgsquirrel: Thank you for the mention, and for sending some sunshine my way. Appreciate it very much.

The best recognition is readers enjoying their time spent here, hopefully brightening their moments further by a bit.

I've never been great in carrying a tag forward, but that's never stopped me from thrilling in any I've received. :-)

S.D. said...

it is really awesome to hear that people in big cities still have time for each other ....:)