You don’t stay at Kolkata, you absorb it. It is one with you in thoughts just like a loved one. You have your tussle with the city, have bitter arguments, but like a strong relationship you never leave it. One who has stayed in Kolkata, will never forget it even when he/she is not there anymore. What connects you with the city so much? It is the raw appeal which stumps you at first then bowls you over.
Kolkata is arty, it is creative but there is down to earth feel about it. The rustic charm in spite of being a metro. Where else will you find people eager to help you if you have lost your way? They would make sure you have reached your destination and even confirm with you later on if you faced any other problem. Yes, you would find the same in the rural belts, the people there are known to be simple and very helpful.
Kolkata is not formal. It never was. You will be addressed as dada (big brother), didi, bou di(sister-in-law) kaku (uncle) kakima, mashi ma ( maternal aunt) and pishi ma (paternal aunt) but rarely you would be addressed just by your name. And all this happens even though you are a stranger. Some people who arrive at the city get a little confused with this, but there lies the fact that the city comes close to you, embraces you, before you even attempt to do that.
Kolkata is heaven for foodies. Start from the street food to the eminent eateries, restaurants, dhabas, you are spoiled for choice. If the mouthwatering phuchka does not impress you, then you can try out the food which has got the stamp of Kolkata, the rolls. Rolls (or wraps) are one thing you cannot miss here and there are huge debates on which outlet serves the best roll. Kolkata style noodles and sweets are also there to tempt you. For all this you have to be street-food lover. If not, then try out other more sophisticated options but rarely you would like to miss the huge array of food here.
Kolkata celebrates and celebrates well. Be it Durga Puja, when the entire city soaks up in festivities or Saraswati Puja which many term as Bengali Valentine’s day or be it the East Bengal win over Mohun Bagan or the vice versa, in football, Kolkata knows how to celebrate. It can teach the other cities a thing or two about that. If you want to feel the pulse of the city when it celebrates, then land up at Park Street on Christmas day or New Year’s eve, you would know what celebration is all about.
Kolkata reads. The people here would frown, if you say you don’t like books. Go to college street, come to Oxford Bookstore or Crosswords or spend the day at book fair(an annual event), you will find the young Kolkatans searching the world in the books.
Kolkata meets. People like to come together and so they have addas( meetups) theks (place/rendezvous point where they meet), sammilanis (much larger meetup held on special occasions). Kolkata likes to debate over tea as the adage goes. People here will discuss about anything and everything under the sun, and yes everyone have their viewpoint about almost any issue.
Kolkata is unique on the roads, you have the trams, the hand drawn rickshaws, the shared autos, the blue private buses and the brown-yellow mini buses all creating havoc on the roads apart from course the Porsche, the Lamborghini, the Audis, the BMWs and the Mercs. Yes there is a wholesome contrast complete with the thela-wala as well on the streets.
What is the most amazing fact is that you belong to Kolkata even though you originally are from some other city/state. That is the most unique thing about this city. It makes you forget your home-town.
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