Sunday, September 26

Foreigners on a tram ride soak in Kolkata heritage

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A tram ride on a cloudy Sunday morning turned out to be an exciting affair for some foreigners, who explored the city’s rich heritage while sipping tea from earthen cups.

A group of 40 foreigners, comprising students and professionals, gathered in front of KC Das, Esplanade, impatient for the ride — organised by ICCR in association with Force for Rural Empowerment and Economic Development (Freed). Their excitement knew no bounds as they clicked away tons of pictures of both the interiors of the tram — a heritage in itself — and the city streets.

The first thing that Frank and Molly, who came with their seven-month-old boy Wilson from California, wanted to do in Kolkata was experience a tram ride. “It is our first visit to Kolkata. We heard about the tram from a friend and did not want to miss this,” said Frank, as the tram chugged through Wellington towards College Street.

Alessa, a student of economics in Italy, found resemblance between the old trams of Milan and Kolkata. “Now, though, the trams back home are modernized,” said Alessa. She takes trams regularly from her university to home. “There isn’t much difference between the rides,” she said. Her friend Laura said that this tram ride was a “must-do” on her list as she missed it the last time she visited Kolkata in 2012.

When the tram halted in front of Presidency, Shania from New York said that there is something beautiful about the way a tram crawls past the city’s maddening crowd. Shaina, who studied in Varanasi, finds similarities between the two old cities of India. “Yahan tram chalne ke liye jagah hai. Benaras mein toh hum gai ke saath chalte thay,” she said fluently.

Deputy director of American Centre, Kolkata, Jay B Treloar, loves north Kolkata. He felt nostalgic about Europe and plans to take another ride along Maidan soon.

Chittagong resident Ruhina, who is a student at Rabindra Bharati University said, “I had only read about the trams. Today, being in one feels great.”

Somenath Pyne of Freed said, “Through this ride, we want to promote our heritage as well as connect people.”

Source: Times of India

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