Friday, January 26, 2007

India Day in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Sixty years ago India gained her independence from the British. Here in Kolkata we witnessed parades, family outings, as well as many rituals and ceremonies. The most intense for me was witnessing a baby goat being sacrificed at the Kali Temple which is near Mother Theresa's hospital/infirmary. The little goat squealed as it was hoisted into a press and then with one swift whack of a hatchet it was split in two...the back half continued to thrash....

The culture here is quite different from the heavily vegetarian Northern areas we visited. Rather than seeing cows wandering the streets (and even on the train station platforms), here they're served for dinner (and breakfast). Beggars abound...and its a city rich in culture. There are no bicycle rickshaws nor auto rickshaws, but there are human ones! Strong barefoot men tow riders by walking...We dropped by an art opening...witnessed families picnicking in the parks, and likenesses of Saraswati ( goddess of education) being hoist into the Houllihy (part of the Ganges) River.

Yesterday I decided it was high time to start dressing more Indian and purchased the making for the typical woman's dress...leggings, top and shawl. Dropped them by a tailor and tomorrow morning I should be set!