Bouquets of Saris

In each train car in the Kolkata Metro, there is a section for Ladies where the women huddle together. On Saturday night, the train was too crowded and I could only really see faces and I marveled that even in this heat and humidity, the ladies wore their makeup and weren’t streaky blurs. I’m not wearing any makeup and my sweaty pink face is definitely a blurry damp blotch in every photo.

Today, we took the train around 7 on a Sunday night, which I assume is a semi-indecent time to be cavorting about the streets and trains in this society. The train cars were much emptier and thus I was able to enjoy the Ladies’ section and leisurely gaze at the marvelous details on the saris and jewelry of my fellow metro ladies. Sari next to sari, the women did not crush their dresses or sit hip to hip, they took the space their garb required. Such lovely colors and patterns and contrasts: a sky blue sari over a wine red top caught my eye.

Our modest evening plans were totally thwarted by an unexpected rain. At first it looked like a quick rain, but it turned out to be a 40 minute downpour, with thunder and lightning, the streets quickly flooding. We walked through ankle-deep water home. I’m glad I brought some plastic shoes, unfortunately these were not on my feet during the rain.

I’m getting accustomed to the different flavors of inquiring stares I meet whenever I am out and about: curious glances, mild distaste, intense probing… It’s all part of the Kolkata experience.

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