Subject: Your feedback from Kiran (the steel guiter guy)
As I am seeing that you already understood that the poor Indians want to offer even a bit goodness to a stranger, if they cannot offer anything else. To them hope is the best (and sometimes only) possession. Poor them, cannot say no or something hopeless, on the face of anybody, in the fear of snatching the last possession from that person! Yours was not the case, but it has become their habit.
Subject: The British
You are right that some Indians would tell me that they liked the British, because they felt they were being polite. I'm sure I returned the favour often; I was always complimentary to the locals about their country, even when I was having a terrible time (though luckily India is full of places I loved, so it wasn't hard to be nice).
However, it is a fact there are Indians in your lovely country who like the British. I find it strange myself - see my piece on Amritsar for my opinions on our colonial past, as well as my piece on Cape Coast in Ghana - but I came across a not insignificant number of pro-British Indians, who genuinely thought that the British legacy of democracy, legal systems and railways was a genuinely good thing. Not everyone in India, it seems, feels that the British were as evil as you say we were, and it's not me you should be arguing with, it's them.
As for Kiran, I've maintained email contact with him since 1997, and I'm happy to say that you are simply wrong about him. He genuinely loves the British legacy, like others in your country. In my piece I am not saying that he is correct or that you are wrong; I am simply reporting one man's opinion, and that is all.
I also don't think what I've written is crap', but perhaps I'm biased! 😀
Thanks for posting.
my sincere apologies. Calcutta being the place where I was born and brought up, your comments touched a raw nerve. Sorry for that. I am well aware of the problems (makes me frustrated). It's mainly because the city had to withstand innumerable waves of millions of homeless and destitutes right from the partition, 1947. Anyway, only thing I can tell you that it's also a city of wonderful people with quest for knowledge and free-thinking. Like, in a crowded bus you may suddenly find two destitute looking men carrying out an in-depth analysis on the works of Camus or Kafka, or a comparative analysis on the works of Bergman and Kurosowa. I don't want to go into more details, but the city is famous for something else, well, if you can ignore the external look!
Following your suggestion, I read few more of your postings, which in fact made me more apologetic. Indeed, I could find the flavour of a true traveller in you. I was wrong. Keep up the wonderful work.
Subject: Thanks for the reply
I am glad! 😁 The last thing I wanted to do was to offend a resident of my favourite travelling destination of all. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
One thing's for sure - I must return to Calcutta one day, preferably in the summer (when I visited it was winter, and rather cold and wet, which didn't help). No doubt second time round I'll be able to see past the initial impressions and discover the real soul of the city...
Thanks for posting again, Abhijit. Much appreciated.