Preparations for Travel

Our trip to Kolkata is still months away. We’ve yet to purchase our tickets, and I’m still waiting on my passport that I sent away to renew. In other words, I have time —  a good thing since I’m new to the blogging platform and I’m still looking for the perfect map to chart my route through Kolkata.

When you are planning a project on street food, finding a way to locate the streets is, naturally, a crucial step of the plan. So far, all the maps I’d seen of Kolkata highlighted all the main thoroughfares but neglected to include the whereabouts of avenues and roads that linked most of the city. I tried to make my own map.  About a month ago, with my computer at the ready, a handy screen grabber downloaded onto my hard drive, and my untrustworthy Epson Stylus waiting in the wings, I zoomed in to capture the lost city. Secondary arteries grew to a perceptible size. Dirt side streets suddenly appeared in places that other maps suggested were undeveloped. I cropped and cut a section of Kolkata’s southwest side to test out  a corner of my creation. Then I pressed print.

I spent the rest of the afternoon laying out sheets of paper across my living room floor,  matching up a few streets and part of a river that drifted in and out some of the corners. After adjusting the last sheet, I rocked back on my heels to  take in my map making genius: forty sheets of nearly white paper that somehow missed every single road in Behala. I did manage to capture a good five square miles of undeveloped land, a waste disposal site, and the decommissioned runways of the Behala Flying Club. I’m sure the street food is the bomb over there.

So as not to feed my obsession with mapping the city, I thought I would use the time instead to engage in some writing calisthenics. Nine weeks. Sixty-some odd days. I will give you an A-Z introduction to Kolkata — haphazardly, of course.

Okay. It’s basically a gimmick. I have a feeling as we approach X, Y and Z this will become increasingly hard to fulfill. Stay with me, and once I hit the letter Q you may well see my project take a dive and gasp for air. Pardon, too, any lack of pictures during this segment. I have only those that I snapped long before I conceived this hackneyed idea, and I’m too honest a person to swipe other people’s pictures from the Internet. I even tried once, but that one is still sitting in my download file. I suppose I should delete it sometime.


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