245effadf41c6129f4fe7accc564ef86_LI catch a jeep to New Town with Babu Singh , my brother, friend and guide.

We walk along a long asphalt road, watching a city under a new phase of development creating New Town on the edge of old Calcutta. Hand-painted roadsides, bamboo being stripped one by one to construct roadside barriers, I see concrete everywhere and feel as though we are traversing a concrete desert. There are til now very few people around except those working on the site.

On the other side, I notice through the haze of the winter smog, a lake and further down we come across the beginning of an Eco Park scheme, being funded by the Government, an initiative of the new Chief Minister Mumata Banerjee, already fondly known as Didi (older sister) by her electorate. A large area of land has been dedicated to an environmental theme park, hoping, I imagine, to create an oasis in this vast concrete jungle.

After a few miles of the tarmac, we stop for chai, a quick sugar hit to give us energy for the second half of our morning round. Opposite now, are apartments that have been finished and already inhabited, and along from there we pass the Shopping Mall. Babu is very proud of this new addition for the city’s population and insists on a photo. Korak refers to the Malls as the contemporary temples, and certainly they pull in their believers by the thousands.

It is a relief to break off from the New Town side and get back into the small lanes of cycle rickshaws and market stalls, a Kolkata I am familiar with, and the one I love. Every part of life is shared here on these streets and a spirit remains that transcends the Money God.

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