March 23. The big fire.

Fire in a Calcutta hotel

On the day we leave, a thick cloud of smoke colors the sky of Calcutta. Sadly, a short circuit has caused a big fire in the same building as where Flurrys is located, the grand café where we had treated ourselves to our morning day just hours ago. Given the seperatist struggles in the provinces, we first think of terrorism, but as we see the building and the flames bursting out of the upper floor windows, we realize what this is. More than twenty people die in this fire, I read in the newspaper later, and this could have been prevented if the municipal officials wouldn’t take bribes from contractors and house owners that want to avoid making buildings safe. A huge crowd has gathered and people are staring at the smoke, giving way to the fire trucks that start arriving to the scene. It’s time for us to go.
We get ourselves to the train station and board the A/C class train we have booked to Delhi. The air conditioning is cold and stupid, but A/C also means they provide linen and meals. And they feed us well for the luxury surcharge.

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