Kolkata, erstwhile Calcutta is one of the Mega metro-cities of India, exactly 40 minutes journey onboard, equivalent to Thimphu-Paro on-road journey. The place is famous for aplenty fish and leather goods. Everywhere, the fish pounds in abundance, the staple menu of the city. The goods made from leathers are seen in every shop. The leather being pure, the prices could be high.
One memorable thing would be our first journey into Kolkata. It was really funny thing that happened on that very day. Our friend, one who was involved in arranging our training and the logistics, after having reached Kolkata Airport decided arranging prepaid taxes where he was required to give the address of the Guest House where we are supposed to go, he provided the details as required. Since we are many, three taxes had to be hired. We got the receipt for the taxi we are in and started our journey, we haven’t enquired the cabbie, and neither did he, about the exact destination. Everyone thought that the cabbie would drop us to the Guest House. We reached Sector-V, Salt Lake, Kolkata, which was written in the receipt. We started reading every details of the receipt and spotted Kestapur, and decided to go ahead to Kestapur but couldn’t find our Guest House. Calling was never a solution as none of us had the Indian Number.
One of our friends could dimly pronounce the name of the Guest House that we had booked as ‘Orinda Guest House’. We started making rounds, browsing every corner of the city, enquiring the people by the roadside about Orinda Guest House. But no one from good number that we interacted could know the hotel or guest house so called ‘Orinda’. This could be true as the city is one of the top listed metropolitan cities of India. On other side, this cannot hold true for we had interacted a good lots of people. At least one of them could have heard of the Guest House and Taxi Drivers ought to know as they are always reaching people to the hotels.
All exhausted and hopeless, after 4 hours blinded search, we decided to find a different hotel to stay for a night. The taxi driver had one hotel address and he took us to the hotel. The hotel rent is exceedingly high, it could deplete fairly adequate coffer. The next decision was proposed, to use the WiFi of the hotel and have address of the Guest House, the address was being shared on mail correspondences that they had before on e-booking. The same was being requested to the hotel owner but he denied that even after convincing him that we pay him the internet charges. Desperate as we were to forward him a lucrative offer, provide us a few minutes access to WiFi internet and we pay him the single hotel room charge. That too didn’t work for him. Fully frustrated, we came out from the hotel, decided we search one internet café to get the address. The cabbie that dropped us there was waiting outside, for commission or a kind of reward from the hotelier, should we finalize to stay in. That is the usual practice, the business tactics of the Indian businesses.
At that very point, I had a realization that if it was in Bhutan, people might have been kind enough helping us out, search for the hotel. This thing is never expected of Indians, at least if those absurd encounter was anything to speak of them. They were rigid and stiff in their decision, the qualities like sympathy, compassion and empathy is not theirs.
Nowadays, finding internet café in India is very difficult as mobile caters to internet, omnipresent whole across India. No slightest of the doubts for Kolkata, being one of the metro cities of India, in this case. However, the time clicked on our favor when we could find one at the suburb of the city. We finally succeeded to spot our Guest House, the address was crystal clear written in the mail correspondence. We told the Cabbie about the address and he knew the same. This was a huge relief.
The Guest House is called Oindrillas, D-225, Salt Lake 2 and not Orinda, Salt Lake V. our friend got to mispronounce it. It was really a funny incident and a memory for all of us. It also lessoned us that we have to be very specific in providing the location address, be it in India or elsewhere abroad. What we do in small Bhutan won’t really serve the need elsewhere. It could probably land up into incident like ours. Be careful next time, if you travel to India or abroad.