Monday, April 18, 2011

Mother Teresa

once made me cry. The year was 1988 - I was on one of my frequent holidays or visits to Calcutta from Britain, where I had moved to in 1985. I was standing by the kerb-side in Gariahat Morr, munching on a famous 'mutton roll'. I was looking at scenes I had grown up with - pavements almost obliterated by shops, people having to weave their way through hawkers peddling their fares; buses tilted to one side by the sheer weight of passengers and belching out black diesel smoke, trams waiting for a manual change of tracks before they could turn, the familiar neon sign of an astrologer.

In the midst of all this I remembered the 'Calcutta' of the West - Calcutta the metaphor, not the city. In my three years in the West I had come to realise that the city had become synonymous with the worst of human suffering and degradation in the eyes of the world. I read and heard again and again that Calcutta contained an endless number of 'sewers and gutters' where an endless number of dead and dying people lay - but not for long - as 'roving angels' in the shape of the followers of a certain nun would come along looking for them. Then they would whisk them away in their smart ambulances. As in my twenty-seven years in Calcutta I had never seen such a scene, (and neither have I met a Calcuttan who has), it hurt me deeply that such a wrong stereotype had become permanently ingrained in world psyche. I felt suddenly overwhelmingly sad that a city, indeed an entire culture should be continuously insulted in this way........see link

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