Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As far as improbable connections go, a link between a pizzeria, the Corner Cafe on 500 Mass Ave in Boston and my book-shelf back in Calcutta must be quite high on the list but there is such a connection! "Istanbul", a personal memoir by the Turkish Nobel winning author Orhan Pamuk was one of the first books that I bought with my own money and also one of those books which I have forever wanted to begin and hadn't found the time to begin. It rests like an unopened box of treasures in the small cupboard that I use to keep my books together in Calcutta.

Then four days before I return to Calcutta to pick up this unfinished task of mine, I sell my car to a Turkish guy who is going to use it for pizza deliveries. The pizzeria is run by a Turkish fellow Mehmet, who has two employees both of whom are Turkish again, one of whom bought the car off me. Consequently I spent half a day in company of my Turkish friends answering questions about India and learning about the bridge country between Asia and Europe while we went through the formalities of transferring the car ownership. Though none of them were from Istanbul, the awe with which they described their capital city made the city seem all the more alluring. Maybe someday I'll visit this grand city whose personality is split between wanting to be Asian and wanting to be European. In the meantime, even reading about Istanbul when I get back to Calcutta would have a uniquely personal perspective to it.

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