Kolkata revisited

Dear Alyssa,

You won’t believe the day I’ve had. I can’t stress to you how beautiful Kolkata is. Today me and a bunch of other students went site seeing! First we saw some place called the Writer’s Building, apparently it has some historical importance behind it (like from India’s colonization times) but I don’t really know I didn’t pay much attention I just noticed that it’s a huge red building and was super crowded inside, it seemed pretty boring. But I don’t understand why the writer’s in Kolkata would need so much space? Anyways next we saw Fort Williams; which also has some connection to British colonization (again I was wasn’t really paying attention). But boy is this place huge!! I’ll share an album on Facebook when I get the chance. But this building looks like a cross breed of state capital building in Sacramento with the White House. That’s the best that I can describe it its huge, white, pillars and has like a dome in the center. But there was pretty creepy story the tour guide gave us about the guard room (AKA the Black Hole) in Fort Williams. (*activates spooky voice*) So the way it goes is that during a battle in 1756 there were 145 soldiers and civilians that were captured and kept in this tiny room and only 23 survived (the rest died from heat and suffocation), and legend has it that if you go to Fort Williams at night you can hear the cries of the prisoners begging to be let out!!!!!(*oooooh*) After a whole day of walking we chilled at this really cool café by the river (seriously they have THE BEST chai ever plus I spotted some cuties as well lol). I got some nice candid pics of myself too catch them on my Insta!!! Until next time

-ILY Rav 😀




This letter is meant to parody Hartley House, Calcutta with a modern twist. I specifically choose to recreate letter nine because it talks about certain places that Sophia discovers around Calcutta. Some of these that still exist today, like the Writers’ Building and Fort Williams. Instead of a 16 year old girl I, the author, am a college student who is studying abroad in India. The reason I choose to recreate the scenario this way is because I have personally noticed that people who have traveled abroad try to make it seem like a big deal, like they have a certain (higher) privilege of being there. This same attitude parallels with Sophia’s tone in Hartly House. In the book, Sophia explains events and places in aloof manner, where all the attention of an event is directed toward her.  Even though there is some political importance going on behind the actual place or event (For example when she sees the Nabob’s procession passing by). I exhibit the same aloofness in my letter by giving vague descriptions of the places ‘I visit’, even though they have an important historical background to the city. The Writers’ Building I mention is now a government office where all of Kolkata’s major political decisions are made. I describe Fort Williams just as a huge white building but there are thousands of buildings around the world that look the same white, pillars, and dome in the middle. Why this is important because it represents the democratic and republican power that has spread by English colonization through history. Another place I mention is the Black Hole. The Black Hole was a result of political differences between the Nawab of Bengal and the East India Company, but in my letter I brush it off as historical monument with a scary story. All these places are earliest reminders of East India Company’s oppression on the natives, but now they have become nothing more than a list of places to see in Kolkata.



-Ravneet Dhillon


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