When I left Calcutta for good, I knew about all the things I’d never miss about the city. The never-ending traffic jams, the sticky cheep-cheep weather, the grime and filth that cake the city and the chaotic streets belching smoke and squalor. What a relief it was to escape this veritable madhouse! But in a few years, I was yearning for the gob-smacking Bong food, the laidback adda and its crumbling buildings that speak of a dying glory. And there started my love-hate relationship with Cal.
I love how time slows down
|A tram groaning to a stop|
|Baghbazar, North Calcutta|
People don’t gossip. They have adda
|Coffee House, College Street|
Ok, enough talk. When does the lunch break get over? - Aarey chap niyo na dada (don’t stress about it brother!)
I love...Nom nom nom nom!
|Malancho: One of my favourite telebhaja (a deep fried snack) joints in Hatibagan|
Something old, something new, something blue
Littered with simple joys across the city, Calcutta is never in dearth of unique experiences. As the erstwhile capital of British ruled India, Cal is the home to some of the most beautiful Victorian era architecture accentuated with touches of Gothic styles.
|The Bartaman Patrika office|
While most of these buildings have been renovated over the years, you can’t say the same for the old forgotten Calcutta that has its own charm of decay. Lost in a labyrinth of bylanes these crumbling bungalows speak of bygone wealth and glory. Falling from disrepair and disregard, you wonder how the tables were turned on these families over the decades.
|Exploriing College Street|
|Old rundown bungalow in the depths of Girish Park|
|Somewhere in the bylanes of Hatibagan|
I believe I’m not the only one with mixed feelings about Calcutta. The first time I went to Delhi, I was awed by its infrastructure; in Bombay I was taken by how everything moved faster – the people, traffic, work, you name it. But in Calcutta, you feel the city throbbing around you with every heartbeat. Anything but peaceful and yet within its veins runs this quiet complacency amidst a city thrown into perpetual chaos. You either love it or hate it or accept it for what it is; a melting pot of conflicting emotions.
Do you have such a love-hate relationship with any other cities? Would love to hear all about it.