Saturday, June 7, 2008

quit before the bandh strikes out

Sonar room shadowsKolkata, Wednesday 4th June: Thank goodness for good old British small talk. During pre-meeting nattering this afternoon in Kolkata, we learned that news of impending bandhs had just broken. Bandhs, we discovered are all-out strikes. And thank goodness for cellphones as I was on to my travel agent to rearrange our itinerary and got the last two seats on the last flight to New Delhi before two days of dawn to dusk bandhs ground Kolkata to a complete standstill. We managed to complete all our meetings without undue haste, (sadly) checked out of our rather wonderful hotel (The Sonar), but managed a quick drink before the dry flight across the full width of India.

from TOI,  a very wet KolkataNext day we read about torrential rains flooding in Kolkata’s domestic terminal – made all the more piquant by overflowing toilets. Incredible India, as they like to say!

(image from Times of India, Friday 6th June, shows eerily deserted streets, and that heavy rain - if you've ever been to Cal, you'll be amazed at the absence of vehicles and people...)