Saturday, 22 April 2017

Earth Day, 2017

A visit to the blog after ages and what better day to re-vist it, than Earth Day.

OK, Earth Day just happened to happen today. What really prompted the visit and the desire to write here again on a regular basis (fingers crossed, it is such a discipline that I am clearly not disciplined enough for that, nor prolific a writer to able to churn out so much content) was this absolutely wonderful discussion I had this morning with a guest from Italy - who was excited enough to start soaking in the city, that she and her husband chose to start their Calcutta experience from the airport itself.

Well, in all honesty it was a special conversation because English wasn’t her strength and my Italian was limited to Google translate and an occasional “si”, “bellissimo” “bella” but there was so much to be discussed, so much to share, such cultural exchanges to be made.

What prompted this particular discussion was this sight - and me uttering the words “urban decay” as we photographers usually refer to stuff like this.


On hearing this, what she said made me stand in my path, listen to her beautiful, eloquent thoughts in broken, borrowed English. She said, this wasn’t urban decay. Or maybe this was urban decay, but this was NOT what SHE knows as urban decay - degrado urbano. The urban decay back in Italy was stuff that is dead, stuff that will just lie there for years without changing much. But the urban decay here, this wasn’t decay, this was life. It was alive, changing everyday. The urban decay here was natural which was constantly evolving while that in the western world was plastic and stuff that would stay the same for hundreds of years, not changing, not “living”. And all those who have not been to India, cannot comprehend what this country is. It has its highs and lows, its saffron and sewers, but the only way to experience it, is to get “both feet in it”.

What she said, lingered for the whole day and I thought I should put this down. And what better day, than Earth Day.

Let’s hold on this place, this place we call home, because if we don’t, the Earth won’t become extinct. We will. It was here before us. It will stay. After us too!

22nd April, 2017
Earth Day.
Kumartuli, Calcutta.
In conversation with Giovanna Motisi from Italy on the Goddess Beckons Tour