All posts tagged: Calcutá

Kolkata, What does it mean to be from kolkata?

Someone once told me that he did not understand what kept India united as a nation. There was some lack of patriotic identity in a country this size with a multitude of dialects, religions and social classes. So what” glues” India together as a nation? I think that in order to answer this question would have to spend at least a few good months in India, traveling from the Himalayas to the Andaman Nicobar Islands – This country is huge. I talked to some friends who live here, or that are working in Europe and want to come back here – because home is where your family lives. I tried to understand the identity of Kolkatá: “- We love food. Not only to eat but to talk about food, thoroughly describing each flavour and texture.” – “We love to talk, “Adda” about worldly affairs, or on topics of current political, science, religion, food (it had been said, but I reinforce it).” – “We love to travel and to experience other cultures as well as to …

(Português) A viagem a Calcutá. Insónia.

  Hoje não consigo dormir. É uma daquelas noites em que o calor, a humidade, a roupa colada ao corpo e o barulho do ar condicionado se tornam intoleráveis. Depois há as imagens que me varrem os pensamentos… O olhar vazio daquela menina no orfanato, a criança descalça cujas pernas arqueadas gritavam subnutrição, o cão que me lambeu a mão e tinha um corte profundo na sobrancelha, a vaca que caminhava perdida por entre os carros, os macaquinho bébé agarrado à sua mãe acorrentada e o barulho que não quer sair dos meus ouvidos do trânsito nesta terra. Calcutá é para os fortes, os que perante o desespero não desistem, (hoje após 20 minutos a tentar apanhar um taxi, apeteceu-me desistir e voltar para casa) para os que batem o pé e regateiam, para os que empurram com mais força para entrar no metro, para os que mesmo suando em bica conseguem fazer o seu trabalho com um sorriso. São milhões, 35 milhões? Nem sei ao certo. São muitos, não há ruas vazias, nem espaços …

Kolkata, today.

Today, I will not paint a pretty picture of Calcutta. This is not a dream holiday nor a dream. I’ve never been so aware of the impact that the colour of our skin can have in society, as here. On the one hand, everyone here wants fair skin. We put self-tanning creams, they put creams to make the skin whiter. The darker the skin of a person the lesser the status. Even in ads that come in the newspaper on Sunday, it is notorious. “28 y old Woman, fair-skinned, Scorpion sign, Brahman, is looking for a, Dr. or Eng., sign sagitarius, brahman to get married”. There are pages of these ads, for him and her. A different version of dating.com. After the skin colour, the horoscope sign is the most important feature, followed by caste. Caste defines the origin and the destination. There are four castes, from the priests / teachers to the servants / attendants who must maintain family traditions marrying people from the same caste. I spoke to people who got married in …