Sunday, 1 September 2013

Of Park Street and late nights

Late nights? Not really 11:30 at night will not really be considered ‘late’ by many, but well my story has always been quite different from what always is to ‘many’. 
To come back to ‘late night at Park Street’...I might have looked ‘about to topple over’ the edge for some time, when one of my flamboyant and well known colleagues decided to ruffle my feathers up a bit.

‘Mohua, let’s hit Park Street- Someplace Else, good music good fun’ that was what she said, and yes, it was a ‘she’ and that was a mild crisis. However, I decided that enough was enough and I should let my hair (or whatever is left of it) down and paint the town red (or green, one is rather confused nowadays as to which colour should be picked from our city’s different colour codes).

So there I was, in Kolkata at Park Street at Someplace Else. Yes, you have the right picture. Loud music, low light, few scattered heads in the shadow , 2 LED screens with mismatched views (this is an irritating speciality which comes with CCD type set up) and the glittering bar, with a small side dais for performers to churn out soulful music as the evening gets drunk with an intoxicated  will to ‘enjoy life’.

The place has ambience, yes, it decidedly has an ambience. So in keeping with the image of what you should be when you visit a place with ‘ambience’ , I whisked out my Aparna Sen glasses( unless she has decided to change her ‘I am impressive’ style) and pretended to be someone of importance as everyone around tried to do just the same.

My distinguished colleague looked just as important and impressive, and that set the theme of the evening errr......night, ‘to be distinguished and impressive’. Now it is quite a different story when one is trying ‘to be and not to be’ different and distinguished when almost 80% of the gatherers are trying to be just that and wearing different and almost same versions of the colour black with black heads (Indians),black eyes, black glasses, black stockings/socks, and albeit black shoes. I realised that we indeed had really set a very tough task for ourselves.

I just loved the music as I recognised almost all the pieces that they played. You see, that’s one of my worst fears- not being able to recognise the music at a party....psssst( I do lie at times and pretend that I am a regular ‘Linkin Park, Justin Bieber and Spice Girl’ stuff, and try to look suitably interested when my teenage children are talking to the ‘Yo, Mummy’ image of mine), and here it was, right in midst of Park Street, they played Glen Campbell, Pete Sieger, Eric Clapton and I knew those lyrics) It is an intoxicating feeling without  any true source, when you can sing as you please without being corrected about the lyrics or the notes (who would bother, above all that din!). But I sung my heart out , swayed with the beat as there never is much space to do more, and just let myself go with the flow, incognito.

Well that was just going great and I did great until  my well known colleague was identified by couple of other well known people around, there was nothing really  I could do except smile an enigmatic smile and tried to look suitably impressed by their round of chit chats or bang bangs (over the din dins J). I happened to notice few activities around me and almost banged against a ‘phorener’ standing still as a wall with a tablet written ‘Passion Lemon Drink’. I asked for her forgiveness , as she was really doing her job well standing on  6.5inch stilettos, and in pins and toes about the ‘Passion’   bit.

And then there was this aged man who was quite ‘high’ & mistook me for his ‘girl’ couple of times, and tried to be familiar but again one glance at my ‘holier than thou’ looks and he did an 80 degree turn and took after someone else. Well, that is me, even when I chill out people call me ‘Ma’am’.

Well the night wore on with lots of photographs of my colleague and her old flames and new patients, a well known doc with his latest IPhone and new car (this particular doc I know well is also a ‘Motivational Speaker’, who charges quite high for his ‘motivational Public Performance’). To give him some credit, he did look well motivated and quite willing to motivate others with this other way of life. In front of me, there was one very tall guy blocking my view of Nondon Bagchi performing on dais, three well rounded ladies giggling on top of three not so well rounded lads, a mixture of young and old, fearful and bold, kind souls and all with an unified feeling of ‘let it flow’. Mast !

I did enjoy my time thoroughly, and just flew with the rhythm, with lot of calls and FB updates. My distinguished companies were clicking photos and telling to no one in particular that those pics should never go to FB, how nobody should know, as they were so well known and how people would talk if they knew how ‘well known’ people chill and no journalist should get a whiff of how well they looked as well known people and on and on and on...........

As I was coming out of the hotel, I noticed the completely silent Park Street and my favourite places with their shutters down. The city had always carried an aura with its unique combination of tradition and modernity and wrapped in lamp lights and starlight, it just reminded me of a very old song:

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free 
They did not listen, They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

As my car crawled into the night, I just relaxed and stared at the road ahead. A bustling city by day ,put to slumber, a few cars here and there, the street dwellers rolled up in bed covers rested in front of the closed shutters, a few dogs keeping a strict vigil over the city streets, and the hoardings with bright lights superimposed over the narrow shops,I whizzed past the roll shops, CCDs, bedding stores,restaurants, malls, cafes,offices,showrooms, houses,flats... and clean and silent street, I just fell in love..........


  1. I am glad you had a good time. :)

    1. Thanks Diptee. I did after a long time.

  2. 1. Echoing Diptee's line.
    2. You write quite well: I wish you wrote more.
    3. An eighty-degree turn? Are you sure about the angle?

  3. Thank you. I started writing before Diptee did her post,but was left behind in the race.
    80 degree approx. It was actually 90 degree,as the other woman was standing at my right at about an arm's distance.

  4. Bhalo laglo! You should write more. You narrate things from a very interesting point of view. Waiting for your next post