The city of Calcutta, now Kolkata, is said to be have been made of three villages – Sutanati, Govindapur and Kalikata. Calcutta was one of the favourite establishments during the time of the British Raj, and was the capital of British India till 1911, ‘ after which the capital was shifted to Delhi.
The impact of the British Rule isn’t only evident in what people jokingly term as the ‘babu’ culture but in the very wind of change that had swept through this city, post independence, making it as sought after a city to be in, as Mumbai stands today. This was mainly due to the storm that had blown here not only in terms of the partition of Bengal, but also the active participation of its people in the freedom struggle. As expected, most of the intellectual protests against the English were borne out of the soil here – be it in the form of pamphlets or songs or literature.
Bangia rock is as much Kolkata as is Rabindra Sangeer. No offence meant, this is mentioned to drive home the point that be it anything – an, drama, literature, we bongs know how to innovate. Performances during the Durga Puja are as important as any serious performance on the stage. It is as important as the Pujas itself, that time of the year when the city is at its best – weather wise and unwise. This continues till the New Year a time when the revelries on Park Street don’t seem to be anywhere near stopping. The club Parties of the sports clubs around the Red Road are a much desired invitation for all.
Any bandh sees armies of kids and grown ups alike enjoying a game of football or cricket. The para culture, as it is called, is not limited to football games in the rain (which is almost a religion here), but extends to strong community feelings and heated discussions about the desirably of the girls in the next Para!
A Bengali is all out for some fun and lots of good food. This is as common as the ubiquitous yellow and black ambassador taxis and the pleasure of strolling down Chowringhee. A Calcuttan may take a bandh very seriously and not venture out, but travels all the way to Tangra, which boasts of a strong Chinese community, to binge on the authentic Chinese cuisine.
Watching the best of the movies at the cheapest possible rates at Nandan, eating chicken roll and walking into Flury’s for baked beans on toast. Oh Calcutta, if only your children were to return to you, if only it was possible, then the pain that you feel of having been abandoned, or the pain that we feel of having no choice but to leave, would end, Amar Kolkata.