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July 2024

3. Kolkata fifth and sixth weeks


Wednesday 9 January 2019
Again visit to Tala Park, because Marie had problems with her computer, Banjul helped her to get it repaired.
Lunch at Romu’s place, excellent prepared. Cycle riksha from Tala Park, walking back.
Called Mattias Lindberg and could also talk to Karin, giving condolences.
Posted a collage with Staffan photos on Facebook.
Johanna Sommansson asked me for a text on Staffan’s life for SYDASIEN.

Thursday 10 January 2019
In the afternoon invited for tea and snacks at dear friend Champa’s flat on Broad Street. Bubu, Marie and myself went by Uber taxi, and had a great time with interesting discussions. Champas daughter (one of them) was also present and had a lot to tell abut her work in Nepal and most recently in Malaysia.

Friday 11 January 2019

Packed our bags for Varanasi trip tomorrow. Only hand luggage.

Saturday 12 January 2019
Spicejet flight to Varanasi, scheduled departure from Kolkata at 16.55, small propeller plane, in Varanasi 18.30. Boni and Rana with Bubu, Marie and myself. Rana’s eminent driver drove us to the airport in Kolkata.
Once in Varanasi we hired a large airport taxi for 1 000 rupees to take us to the fantastic heritage hotel Ganga View Hotel by Assi Ghat, the same hotel where I also stayed at my 2001 visit on recommendation from Karlstad researcher Marc Katz.
First class buffer dinner, and after that Bubu and I went out to experience Assi ghat by night. So many beggars, come specifically for the religious festibal Monday-Tuesday.

Sunday 13 January 2019
Varanasi. My sixth visit to this Hindu holy city of Kashi. First visit was in 1975, just an overnight stay in a cheap hotel om way from Delhi to Pokhara/Nepal. Then came a SASNET visit in 2001 when I had a chance to visit the ghats and see some sights, even though the main mission was to meet researchers at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and also Karlstad University’s study centre in the Ganga Mahal palace at Assi ghat. Third visit in late 2010 as tour guide for a group of Swedish tourists on an all-India tour, that turned into a nighmare for me in the end. Fourth visit in 2012 again on a SASNET mission, and then a fifth visit in 2017 when I was joining the Centre for Indian Languages and Culture (INLANSO) to develop its web pages.
Bubu and Marie + Boni and Rana visited the Viswanath Temple and the Hanuman temple, I waited outrside witgh the long line of pilgrims to Viswanath temple, but stayed home at hotel for Hanuman temple.

Monday 14 January 2019
Sankar Makranti festival first day of two. Coinciding with the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj – from January 2019 the new name for the city of Allahabad (the name change reflects the strong Hindutva policy the Uttar Pradesh BJP state government stands for. Everything connected to the Muslim rule in India they try to eradicate.
Up before 6 along with Bubu watching the amazing events at Assi ghat with many people taking bath. (Same day in Prayagraj 22 million people bathed during Kumb Mela according to newspaper report.)
Morning beautiful boat ride. Bubu and Boni sang, and Bubu and Marie offered flowers. Passed Munshighat… Nice photos posted on Facebook.

Afternoon lunch at INLANSO with Miriyam and Dipak. He came to pick us up at the hotel with his car.
First day of the spring semester at INLANSO, a group of new students had arrived from Uppsala, Oslo and Aarhus, including Per Eliasson from Uppsala, whom I last met at the ECSAS conference in Paris last year.
Bubu coughed blood, we were worried, Reba Dey at INLANSO took her to doctor.

Evening interesting visit to Kabir Math with Dipak who drove us there, had a chance to meet the mahant.

Tuesday 15 January 2019
Flight back to Kolkata with Air India.
Early morning up with Marie to see the festival events, many more bathing people today.


Wednesday 16 January 2019
Visited homeopatic medical clinic, Dr Batra’s at Minto Park, to discuss alternative/complimentary medication for my Parkinson.
Evening dinner at Marco Polo with Marie.

Thursday 17 January 2019
Klar med artikeln om mina år med Staffan, kände mig nöjd med resultatet. Publicerades på nätet på kvällen svensk tid

Friday 18 January 2019
Väntade på Venkateshs synpunkter på affischen för Chennai-seminariet. Oroande avhopp av deltagande talare.

Saturday 19 January 2019 Mamata Bannerjee invited representatives of 28 opposition parties in a giant manifestation against Prime Minister Modi’s anti-popular policy. At Brigade Ground near Fort William. Power gathering for the parliamentary elections to take place this spring.
I took the subway to the city center, bought the ticket to the Esplanade for 10 rps. The train moderately full from Kalighat but from the Rabindra Sadan station it poured people into the train, people who participated in the demonstrations, and even more at the Maidan, and at Park Street I tried to get out just but the pressure from those who wanted to enter was for big, totally impossible to get out. The esplanade station, if possible, even worse, we were pressed as herring in the carriage, extremely unpleasant. At Chandni Chowk I finally came out.
Met large groups on their way home along Chittaranjan Avenue, I took the opportunity to go to a full-fledged Indian Coffee House and drank a coffee for 20 rps, then I walked fast and in a lovely Swedish summer weather down to Park Street. For a beer, I found that the Park Hotel opened a small bar that serves draft beer, although old ordinary dreary lager Kingfischer, but still a bit more delicious to get it from barrels than from bottle, the price 299 rps for a small glass though took too expensive!
Then I went all the way home to Sardar Sankar Rd, came home just in the sunset, and looked at my health app that I walked 12,700 steps, 7.5km.
Boni and Rana were at the wedding party in Barackpur on the floor, we sat in their apartment. Munjini and Buku came and greeted me, and to my delight Munjini ordered china food – chowmein and chili chicken from the simple restaurant in the ground floor of our house (a restaurant I never used, something my friend Lars Gerdmar did when he borrowed our apartment in December 2017). The food was delivered to the door and it was very good. As I misjudged that jam until now!

Sunday 20 January 2019

Programmet  för Chennai spikat och Venkatesh skickade korr på mitt affischförslag så jag gjorde det färdigt och lade ut på Facebook.
På kvällen tog jag en 4 km promenad til Systembolaget vid Gariahat och köpte två flaskor kingfisher öl.
Bubu är dålig. Fortsatt blod i slemmet när hon hostar. Oroväckande.

Monday 21 January 2019

Bubu has got a strange medical problem, something called Bell’s Pallsy (Bells pares), a partial paralysis of the face. Harmless, probably caused by a virus but a major problem till it subsides. She went to a doctor known to Rana and next day to a neurological specialist and got some medications. Affects one side of the mouth, looking worse than it is, and she cannot sing! Marie helps with keeping control of her intake of medicines, and Bonie took her a physiotherapist.

My prepaid Jio internet device needs recharge, after 28 days with 5 GB per day I went to the Reliance store and its Jionet office and bought a long-term subscription 125 GB valid for 6 months. It will last some time for us. Cost 2000 rps.

Evening concert at ICCR Tagore Cnere Ho Chi Min hSarani. Kul svenska inslag i konsert med Odissi-dans. Filip Magnusson – i Kolkata för att lära sig spela tabla – spelade här läckert fiol i orkestern och Ulrika Larsen stod som gästartist från Stockholm för en ypperlig Durga-dansuppvisning.
Metron till Maidan, promenad hem till Lake Market, 7,5 km enligt min hälso-app. Öl och crispy chicken på enkel bar i Bhowanipur på vägen.
Dansskola i stan arrangerade evenemanget med superduktiga tjejer I 15-årsåldern som var proffsiga in o minsta detalj när de dansade Odissi. På väg ut efter en timme hör lag någon ropa mitt namn. Av en händelse är min journalisten Abhijit Ganguly också på konserten. Vi pratar lite innan jag börjar min långpromenad.
Hela dagen därutöver var jag hemma. Läste klart Ghoshs spännande roman om Sundarbans som särskilt tilltalade mig då jag och Kumkum rest just på de bebodda platser där entreprenören och välgöraren Hamilton anlade kooperativ för inflyttade fattiga småbönder, åkt med cykelvagnar  över öarna ovh vi har övernattat i Hamilton Lodge i Gosaba.  Och med Johny och Eva har vi åkt med liten båt i mangrovedeltats vindlande kanaler och i fjol reste vårt kompisgäng med Mridul, Johan och Lars G med tåget till Canning precis som romanens huvudpersoner och sedan med hyrd båt spanande efter tigrar, krokodiler och fåglar i nationalparken.

Tuesday 22 January

Bought a new phone, replacing my 9 years old one. Now a Samsung J6 smart phone for 11 000 rps. At Reliance store. Learnt the new things with the phone but problem with downloading apps. Tried and tried in vain. On Internet common question how to solve this problem. No recommendations worked until I finally got hold of a youtube instruction film providing the one extra solution.

Evening, down to ground floor Chopstick restaurant and ate a delicious Indian pizza with chicken. Wow. 169 rps only.