I have always loved Trams, the regal simpletons, chugging along the main lanes,the by-lanes of Calcutta, displaying charm and a life of their own. Trains, buses, speeding autos, arrogant cars with an assertive tone scare me a bit, I find them a bit intrusive. On the contrary, I felt, Trams invite me into their old, charming world where “only basic things were revered as they were created, devoid of unnecessary elements of comfort that pamper one’. I wanted to capture as many Trams as I could, but failed to do so. Since my day was spread amongst cubicles of free-flowing conversations with homemakers, (we term them Consumer research groups), dressed in creamish white lightweight cotton saris adorned in varied designs hued in the vivid colours of life- both simple and sophisticated, jewellery that hug their necks, a large red bhindi made with vermillion powder, flowers in their long and black tresses, who are highly articulate about their lives with apt pauses coming from the “clink-n-clank” of their glass bangles, a blend of reds, creams and whites…I wonder, conversations come to them with so much ease.

Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Prize laureate, wrote in Potisar (Padma, downstream of the Ganges)

….for some time I have been remarking that man is angular and incoherent , women rounded and complete. Woman’s way of speaking, dressing, moving and behaving is an integral harmony with her duties in life. And the main reason is that for ages. Nature has defined these duties and modified these duties and moulded her feelings to fit them. …in all her being and doing she united grace and skill, her nature and her work, like a flower and its scent. She acts without conflict or hesitation….

at the end of the day, I, somehow, found self revived from my sadness as uplifted from these light-hearted interactions (part of consumer research we are doing for our client), yet mentally exhausted due to the suppressing tendency of the humid weather in Calcutta. And my tired eyes were searching for Trams – sluggishly meandering like tapeworms through the streets, oblivious to the cacophony of life littered around. They always seem throbbing with a smooth and silk glide of unread poems …..I finally captured a Tram, almost empty a body on the move  ,{link: but I preferred the first image as captured by the Travelblog}. A gentle talk between a tired day darkened with irritants of many kind {dust, furious sun, sullen mutterings of thin rains leaving a humid layer on the skins} and a fresh night that’s poised to invade homes gathering around the dinner tables, glowed inside the tram. A pair in love – the girl must have met this boy in her neighbourhood, that evening when he came down to his friend’s place, who was about to enter the house, but felt a shadow of glances targeted at him, his eyes must have met her beautiful pair of eyes, and since that moment their lives may have been busy in writing a fresh chapter. I could sense a bit of turmoil in her eyes now, perhaps, the same wave of resistance from her family to her wish to be in a married relationship with him.  There, in that corner, an old gentleman seemed to have lost in a world that was lonelier than mine, more zig-zagged with sagged lines. The whisper of rain accentuated the silence further, fortunately, it was broken by the “ting” of the bell came from some corner of the Tram. I do not know which home was this old gentleman heading to – his home where his wife who has been loyal to him for years, sitting amidst the smells of cooking in a small kitchen – warm with the light from a lantern, the hiss rhythm of vegetables spelling out a heart-warming meal soon- a bit of boiled rice, a pinch of sweet-pickle, a small piece of fish left by their son, previous weekend,  who is currently living separately. Empty trams still thrum around with a few stories that could be read by those who are interested in plain and simple lives. You can also watch them and tell me a story that’s so different from what I understood from.        


I met a Tram around the corner of a by-lane, holding faces that are still, faces that are afresh after a siesta, faces that glow with a desire to fight and survive in this harsh world, faces that hold fast to the way of living that’s become a chapter in books, arranged in organised piles across brightly-lit stores.  I met a tram that called out to me to join lanes, which curved through wrought-iron gates, the high walls, the trees grew taller than the walls, huge bunglows with large rooms where sunlight, breeze heavy with the scents of rain lived with people. Yes, Trams tremble with short stories from the lanes. Like others, I do feel like taking a pause from my life with no meaning and spend an evening with the Trams. I may be moderately rich, I may hesitate to sit in the wooden benches inside the Tram, I may smile at the old conductor, I may stretch my neck to have a glimpse of the Tram driver who stands throughout the journey, with a pace that would never match today’s modes of transportation. But a journey that beckons one into a world, which is not mechanical and efficient, but HUMAN in every aspect.

Talking about a world that is lonelier, that is beyond one’s comprehension, that looks so far away from all of us, that humbles the onlookers with its silence, one treads softly lest one destroys the painful tranquility lingers around….Sadness adds newer supplementary angles on our faces, and which surprisingly elevate the beauty of an ordinary situation.

{My Nokia N-series always come in handy, though I have Sony Digicam. The image of old gentleman was captured when I was driving to Britannia. The images of first batallion of monsoons were also captured through Nokia N-series}