We were getting tired of waiting for the elusive W-3. Shall we take the tram? Yes. Why not?
So there I was on a tram after, 20 years! My last tram ride was in '89, that is 1989. But for the fact that this is 2010, I would indeed have thought I was back in 1989. The tram, exterior and interior were unchanged. That included the conductor. The only difference was the price. The fare to Behala was Rs. 4. Expensive compared to 50 paise for first class and 40p for the second, I told N, sounding like you know like one's parents / grandparent or atleast one person per family who ate a rossogolla for one anna / walked several kilometers to school / and had a grand parent who could eat an entire goat. Hmpf.
The ride was tranquil. No hurry, no rush. The tram stopped for ages while people got off or on after chatting with the conductors about the wisdom of doing so at each stop! (Unlike buses which don't stop...slow down fractionally and that too in the middle of the road). No one complained at the slow gait (unlike the smart alecs in slow moving buses). Why didnt we take the tram earlier? It might be stately and slow, but it never gets stuck in the endless jams? We should. We will, we decide.
And if it hadn't happened for that insane auto driver who, speeding on a near empty wintry night, got a wheel onto the tram track and the auto simply toppled over. Did I mention, I was in it, concentraing on wrapping my shawl around me tightly as the chilly wind sliced through me (yes, yes I am talking about Kolkata and not Siberia - its cold in a window / door less auto) when I realised that this auto is toppling over. It might sound mundane written so. It was horrific then. However, the horror was shortlived. I emerged with only a few minor scratches and a good deal of jarring. Within minutes, people came up, straightened the auto, pulled us out, helped us across the road and on to a seat at a roadside stall. Some one even thrust a tea cup in my hand (and no, this person didnt ask me for any money), enquired if I was hurt. And did I mention, that my things were all over the road. Some one collected everything and handed them over to me.
So, I don't take the autos anymore. I have rediscovered trams. And ofcourse, I rediscovered my love for my fellow Kolkatans.