01 August, 2021

Subcutaneous City

Calcutta’s Metro, a totem, followed years of disembowelled sorrow

Subcutaneous City

I am taking a ride in the Calcutta Metro a month before its 25th anniversary. It is the first day of the Durga Puja festivities, a tremendous pulse of energy and colour that electrifies the metropolis each year. The train is full to the brim. Vehicular traffic is severely restricted on Puja days to accommodate the millions of revellers on foot. So, everyone prefers the Metro. Around me are Calcuttans from all walks of life, resplendent in Puja finery. The car is abuzz with laughter, anticipation, rustling new cotton and jingling jewellery. I am riding end to end, from the Kavi Nazrul station in the deep southern suburbs to Dum Dum in the far north, all 22 km of Calcutta Metro’s sole line along the city’s north-south axis.

Main man: Ashok Sengupta, chief engineer of the Calcutta Metro in 1984

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