As I am shooting for a number of short documentary films at Kolkata for the last one month, I had to travel length n breath of the city.
A thought came to my mind, let’s share a fact of value about the city of joy which is also a heritage to the city & has lot of close memories of my childhood days.
So let’s begin with my city-Kolkata as I get into the topic,
“The City of Joy” – as the name signifies it’s a city with a soul and unmatched liveliness and the best part is the people live here, they often find joy in everything as because they see the brighter part of life in spite of many odds in their day to day life.
Kolkata is a heritage city, having being ruled over 200 years by British, you can see lot of Victorian entities all across the city like old buildings and offices, old street names and most especially the means of communication which really inspires me, alongside yellow-taxi or hand pulling rickshaws there is another heritage entity, the Kolkata Tram which is the centre of this topic.
Yes, we often forget the existence of Kolkata Tram Service, the slowest among all the other modern transporter which are racing as fast as our modern-day life, but can we actually forget? Well if you ask me it’s tough to ignore my childhood memories linked with this entity.
At times, I also feel the Kolkata Tram somehow resembles the nature of mankind, as this quote says.
“There is always something sad about the trams, may be because they are like our lives: They appear from nothingness and disappear in the horizon of the crowds.”
– Mehmet Murat ildan.
Being a lad from this city I know, Kolkata feels proud of this slow yet steady vehicle called Calcutta Tram. Many of you may not know that this is the city that ran it’s very first electric tram in Asia, in the year 1902 it ran from Esplanade to Kidderpore and later that year from Esplanade to Kalighat.
Why do I think Kolkata Tram Service is still significant in 2016:
- #1. Can you ever recall a good Kolkata documentary without tram as an establishment just like Howrah bridge or Victoria Memorial, I bet you didn’t. It is one of such face of Kolkata which glorifies the city.
- #2. I feel safe travelling in this automotive, still. It may be slow in movement but steady as a rock.
- #3. Its zigzag movement that’s to me seems very interesting, and I believe this movement often captures attention which you can’t ignore.
- #4. The Kolkata’s tram has its own uniqueness and vintage charm which often attracts foreign tourists, they say “a trip remains incomplete without a ride on a tram at Kolkata and it can’t be a better way to witness Maidan without a tram ride” – unnamed Holland tourist who visited India a year ago.
- #5. This is one of such rare transport service which is still very pocket-friendly in comparison to many other modern day services from Ola cabs to AC Volvo buses.
- #6. Don’t you think we feel worried these days for global warming! And pollution being one such reason for it, Tram play a significant role here being eco-friendly.
My friend next door might feel that I am little biassed (laughs…) but to assure him that am not, I will rightfully list down the downside of the heritage express as well:
- #1. It is undoubtedly the slowest vehicle you find on today’s road, and especially often at the peak hours of traffic, it causes unnecessary clutter in between high-speed cars or buses.
- #2. The tram tracks that run on both side of the roads at times cause two-wheeler accident by skidding or the tyres get stuck in between the un-maintained grooves(tram rails).
- #3. For a newbie rider, it often causes confusion to find destination stoppage or halts as there is no signboard to show the stoppage they are looking for.
- #4. Due to lack of sophistication(in most of the earlier made trams), it hardly attracts the new generation, along with that the seats are also not as comfortable as the modern day transport services like cabs, metro rails, Volvo buses to name few.
- #5. It doesn’t have an air conditioning facility alike AC metro’s, AC buses or even app-based Uber or Ola services so the journey is not as comfortable in comparison.
Although the open air natural conditioning will always have a different set of experience, isn’t it, because riding in between the lush green Maidan or the unique site of Victoria Memorial one can witness sitting inside a tram is always special.
Scope of Improvement & Current State Gov’t Initiatives
I would like to appreciate the work of present gov’t lead by our chief minister for their initiative to reform or modify the look n feel which was missing earlier.
The recent changes that are made includes:
#1. The introduction of a newly reformed single couch tram car, which is also a new concept of its kind.
#2. As I was discussing above, complaining about the early made tram’s uncomfortable seats, has now been rebuilt to give a comfortable cushion based seats along with stylish tinted glass panes which to my opinions worth appreciation.
#3. The Blue coloured look of the newly built trams definitely gave a cool and refreshing feeling at one glance.
If such initiative carries on with modern ideas I feel it will definitely attract new generation rider in the tram as well.
You will also find a related topic (A Story on our Heritage Asset calls Kolkata Tram) as a documentary film format(an initiative by Sumanta my associate) very soon as we launch it on youtube, be the first to see it live as we publish, so subscribe to my www.youtube/channel/abhirupsvlog .
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