Volunteer in Kolkata :Blog

November 21, 2021 | Teaching

This is PART 2 of a 2 Part Blog.

An update from Calcutta and beyond………..

On Saturday, I went on my travels to Sundarban (south of Calcutta). The journey itself was an experience. At this point, I should let you know that I’ve since made a discovery about the roads here in Calcutta. Pedestrians have as much right to the roads as cars, as do animals. 80% of Indians are Hindus who believe that animals are sacred. As a result, animals seem to be spared at all expense, I even saw a rat running in the middle of the road recently and the cars were swerving to avoid it! Back to my mini-bus journey, I saw in the distance a cow in the middle of the road (cows are the most sacred of animals in Hindu religion-not sure why, does anyone have an answer?) so an emergency stop had to be made for the cow and we all fell off our seats! The next mode of transport was a flat boat, I was glad I had been practicing Yoga for the last 2 years as my body had to make some difficult maneuvers. On the flat boat I had to sit on a bar measuring about 5cm! Next, was a trip on on a motorised Rickshaw. I had to sit looking out of the back, holding on for dear life. The roads at this stretch made the Hamlet’s farm track seem like the M1 (sorry Tracy!). After the Rickshaw bumpy ride, it was another flat boat trip sitting on another 5cm bar. We eventually got to our destination which was an eco-village – lovely.

Unfortunately we didn’t see any tigers, but did see some monkeys, crocodiles and exotic birds. There was great excitement at one stage, I ran to join the crowd, pushed through in anticipation, to see………………………………..a deer (not so exciting)!

Other sights in India continue to enthrall. I no longer feel conscious of my colour, after walking through the slum streets, I’m ready for anything! The slum streets are even busier with industrious people, goats, cows and rats……..

I’ll leave you all with a quote from Tagore’s (the equivalent of our Robbie Burns) poem, ‘A Strange Dream’;

One night I dream a strange dream
Binu was calling to me, “wake up and see what is happening”
I sat up and saw Calcutta shuffling along with uncertain steps.

Share this Post