Kolkata: Victoria Memorial & Science City

For the first time ever, someone smiled back at me in the elevator of our flat!!! So I took the opportunity to chat with her but to my dismay, I found out that she was a visitor and not a neighbor. That said, it gave me hope that there will be another person who’d return my smile again, instead of staring at me from top to toe like everyone else.

Anyway, Azri and I have explored more of the vibrant city. We’ve met new friends, found new favourite cafes and restaurants, and oh, did a number of touristy stuffs! One of it was to visit Victoria Memorial.

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Both of us don’t know how to appreciate architecture much, but the white marble structure looked magnificent before us! It’s definitely one of the most well maintained buildings here. Its pureness masked the fact that it was fully constructed in 1921, almost a century ago! Plus, restoration was happening while we were there so it is undeniable that the government takes care of this memorial in the honour of Queen Victoria really well.

Fun fact: Calcutta was once India’s capital under British ruling, before they moved the capital to New Delhi. This is why Victoria Memorial was built in this city.

Left: Queen Victoria; Right: George Curzon, the one who suggested to have Queen Victoria’s memorial when she died. God knows why his statue is there though. Okay, maybe ’cause he was the Viceroy of India. But still.

Unfortunately, because of the repair works, we were barred from entering the building. So what we did instead was to walk around and observe the locals. Two social patterns were noticed:

  1. When taking selfies, men do not smile. At all. Okay, maybe two or three did and they had sweet smiles. But others, nope. How serious one looks is probably tied to the meaning of masculinity here. Reminds me of the now non-existent Mat Reps and their truckers cap and their step fierce faces.
  2. No matter how ungraceful a woman acts, she still looks elegant when she’s wearing a saree. She may cangkung or duduk terkangkang, but she looks ladylike nonetheless. There’s something magical about the attire, no matter how simple it is. I should get one for myself, especially to wear on days when I don’t want embody the social norms of being a woman but still look like one.

Also, there were some families having picnic at the park nearby and it seemed so fun! We shall come again and have a picnic soon 🙂

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Another touristy place that we ventured to was Science City. Exhibitions were not very impressive but I had fun at a particular one, ‘Mirror Magic’. It was basically a room full of mirrors of various dimensions, and each one created a unique optical illusion. Some of them were mind-boggling, especially this one:

Left: Azri taking photo of himself; Right: Me taking photo of Azri and his reflection

How did the mirror that Azri was facing reflect his back? The mystery science behind this has yet been solved by me…

I learned a few other things here, and the most interesting one is that piranhas do not look as scary as they are portrayed in the movies. They actually look normal.

Clockwise: Dark-banded piranha; Spotted piranha; Red piranha

I mean, I wouldn’t dare to dip my finger into the fish tank but these fish have deceivingly innocent faces. Maybe if they start baring their teeth, they will look evil and mean. Otherwise, they look like any other fish I wouldn’t mind buying at the market.

There were a few other spots which we’ve checked out, but I’ll reserve them for another post… In a non-related news, I’ll be back in Singapore sooner than I thought and hehe, can’t wait to be back with family and friends!