Blue sky and green farms, that’s all I was gawking at while getting carried by a moving serpentine: returning back from the city of Joy, Kolkata. Even though I am not grounded to this city, but somehow a string of my soul is still attached to its wind, to its food, to its road, and to its people.

Kolkata seems to be a black and white city to me but with colourful winds. Something like 'vintage city' word would go. From the yellow coloured ambassador taxis to old tea joints with historical wooden benches, from the British influenced architectural buildings to same usual transport fares, from the hand-pulled rickshaws to the music from the tracks of the local trains (Yes, music, it doesn't hurt my ear at all), from the tram track amidst the road to awesome chaa/tea in small earthen pots (called as bhar), from the early morning riyaaz or Rabindra sangeet records played in evening almost from every house to the same puchka taste and same pukur depth, from the continuing trend of putting muffler and monkey caps even in mildest winters to the same old narrow and congested lanes, Kolkata has many reasons to mesmerise you.

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Altogether, it offers a charm and an unusual beauty to this city, a place where you can still taste the history in your present, a perfect blend of ancient and modern times.

Stepped down in Howrah station at around 7:00 pm. It was a picture perfect, illuminated bridge over the Ganges and the cool soft breeze, wow! what a peaceful moment, felt as if Kolkata is welcoming me with open arms. Took a taxi, and must say this is the place where you know you can never be lost, because you are surrounded by enormously helpful people who will always be happy to guide you to your destination.

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Next morning, I was quite surprised to see life starting here at 10. All the shutters are closed till 10 am and then again closed from 12 noon to 5 pm. Wow, when do they work and earn? Here, people do not seem to have any tension in their lives, and the most funny thing is that people of Kolkata do not compromise with a siesta, as if they can’t afford the extra earning over a tight after-food sleep.The famous siesta break: bhaat ghoom, the break which they can't live without.

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PC: Google Image

You will also notice that their day is incomplete without adda. Be it politics, new generation, Mamta Banerjee, football, sports, world cup, Saurav dada, Pujo committee, anything. This adda session goes on till late night as well, since I have seen a bunch of youngsters and elders playing carom-board placed on a pedestal under the street light at 11:30 in night. In a way, you could almost feel the silent roads during afternoon whereas crowded and noisier during evening till night. 

The day started with a brush of light rain. It was 3 in the afternoon and the roads were silent, a rickshaw puller taking nap under the plastic shade, smell of wet mud, youngsters playing football in the ground, all these things made me to feel and touch the rain if it is any tastier than my native, Delhi. I took out my face out of the running taxi window and let the droplets touch my sense. Trust me, the scene was no less than filmy.

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After a long hectic day we reached home: tired and hungry. You know you will find food stalls in almost every corner of the street that too in such an economic price. I was taken aback with ladies preparing and selling atta made rotis worth 50p. Imagine, 50p, do you even have those coins? I can’t believe 50P still runs in this state. And, for obvious reasons, Kolkata is the epitome of good authentic Bengali foods, like Fish Kalayi, Fist Fry, Mughlayi, Egg Roll, Kosha Mangsho-Roti, Shingara, Ghoogni, Aloo Kabli, Chop/Tele-Bhaaja and Moori, along with different and unique sweet delicacies: Roshogolla, Kachagolla, Mishti doi in earthen pots, Shondesh, Langcha, and many more for which I do not even know the names.

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College street: our next day destination, where we couldn't resist ourselves from getting the famous mouthwatering street food: jhaal moori. Guess the price we paid for that, FOUR rupees, that was all.

Daarun”, I said after gulping the first puchka in my mouth, and one of the couples standing beside me said, “See Jyotsna, that’s the word for puchkadaarun.” I grinned looking at them. This is what I really like in this city, you don't feel like a stranger here, be it for the common language or the warmth the people share with each other, everyone seems to know each other, like a big family. Everyone is either dadadidi, maashi, or boudi to each other, which reminded me something really funny said by the great artist Rituporno: "For us, there are no Gujratis, Punjabis, Martahis, it is either Bengalis or Non-Benglais", well absolutely 

I have never been to Kolkata during Durga Pujo, they say if you really want to enjoy it try to come during Pujo. That’s the time when Kolkata celebrates for being Kolkata. 

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Now comes the shopping part, visit Borrobazaar you wont believe you are in Kolkata and trust me, if you do not get it there you will find it nowhere. It is an amazing place to shop with lucrative offers.

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In evening we planned to have tea in Goriyahaat, and the tea vendor was located exactly at the end of the median strip, which was constructed little broader. It had a sitting arrangement, which seems to be a very unique presentation of a tea stall. But what I was amazed to see was the open air chess club on the guard rails for anyone, doesn't matter whether you know the person playing with or not, just play and enjoy. It was the place where you don't hear the traffic or road noise, instead was a place to relax and see some happy faces around. Well I do not find such things anywhere else in this country, including the hand-pulled rickshaws, which was never any less antique-live-piece to my eyes, as if meeting an actor face to face.

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Trust me, in Kolkata, everything seems to be so raw and natural around, I found nothing artificial or flashy in anything around. Simplicity and elegance lies in Kolkata’s people, streets, foods everywhere. I wish Kolkata never changes, let it be for another 60 years, let my child experience the same joy I felt here.

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Because, Kolkata is always more than just Maach and Mishti.
Indeed it is city of joy, where happiness lies in every corner and part.
People here literally believe in Eat, Pray and Love.

Thank you, Koltata for giving me such beautiful experience.

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6 Responses
  1. A great picturesque details you have given. While reading i felt as if i am in kolkata. Superb picturization of the heritage city. Eagerly waiting for some more write ups from you. Keep it up.

  2. Jayanta Bhattacharjee Says:

    I am excited to see that you fell in love with my City. it's unique in its own way like u! Awesome Sala......!

  3. This is some thing that invokes mental images of me being there with you, enjoying the food, roaming around. It is really well written.

  4. Thank you all for your comments :) I am glad you liked it.

  5. Suashree Says:

    Amazing picturization of kolkata. U must visit once in pujo. Literally ma durga comes alive the way ppl celebrate.
    Keep going. Kudos to u. U have eyes who sees people.

  6. Though I didn't get all that Bengali jargon..lovely piece! You gave us a tour to Kolkata..I want to call you Piku :)

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