City of Kolkata is unique compared to all other metro cities in India. There are fond memories of the place and also memories of life on pavement.
In chilly winter, late in the evening rather night around 10:00pm – 11:00pm the voices around almost comes to zero decibels. On pavement and three wheel cycles for transporting goods, you will find rows of blankets covering human figures. As the day dawns, people come out of these blankets fold them up and rush to the nearest toilet. A small kid always has the luxury of using side paths as toilet (this is in most cities). A guy wanting to take a leak would not rush to the toilet but use the pavement itself (this is not generic case, but mostly). Its time to bath this is done in the open before 7:00am, before the traffic starts and they also need to get to work.
By then the tea shops also open and thats their next stop. But the visit to tea shop is mandatory for everyone in the vicinity. A tea would be accompanied with biscuit. All done now they are off to work. The work involves heavy manual labour for the men. They need to lift big big loads of material of all kinds and transfer to another area/shop. Some who have the three-wheel cycle use it others just carry it on their head or on their back. They make few bucks out of this.
Lunch is not difficult to find and neither is it expensive affair. There are so many lines of eat-outs on the pavement that you got a choice to choose which shop and what you want to eat. Noodles, rice, roll, fish, chicken you name it you get it. The prices are constant across all these eat-outs. Of course they got benches for sitting down too.
Some get back to their rest area after lunch for siesta some continue work. Evening goes by, night sets in the work is the same. Carry load and off-load.
Some get to cook in the eat-outs, some others do different kind of job. Some are the most commonly found, the beggars. The professions are different but lifestyle is same. Some manage to find life partners or brief partners. The routine is the same and it goes around like a clock. When they make enough money they move over to different location.
Its very interesting to observe the life of these guys on the pavement. The world around them celebrates new year or any other occasion, they enjoy in their own way. They are there to make money and thats their motto. Anything excess would cost some money so better to be away from it. They have their network and their community. Life revolves around this.
Next post: Life on other side.