I grew up in Kolkata.Rather still Calcutta to many of us.My memories of Kolkata has para cricket, picnics, and the pandal hopping during Pujo.
From having phuchka religiously every evening, to visiting the neighborhood temple.Childhood memories are wrapped in myriad sounds and tastes.
My home in South Kolkata has some of the most tree lined houses you will find in this city.With old and new houses jostling for space, this part of Kolkata still has its green lungs.
The lake nearby and the well-paved footpaths, made for pleasant evening strolls with friends We still heeded all the warnings about wandering too far and strangers but the neighborhood was safe.
Shopping for household necessities, the best fruits veggies or my favorite fish, Lake market was a stone throws away.
Lake market now has a mall, The Lake mall. It’s cool, swanky with its own multiplex and BigBazaar..But the grocery shops in the main market, the fish market, and the local shops have survived.Because they too have learned the art of selling from the big businesses.It’s a beautiful amalgam of the old and new making a social tapestry.
The Gariahat market is where I went with my sister, for buying all the goodies for sale just before Nabo Barsho(Bengali New Year). I remember the many times we walked back home chatting and licking an ice cream cone, as the line at the auto stand was too long !.
We thought we were strong enough to tackle a few roadside Romeos.
I remember the time we all went for the late night show at Priya. Then scared to walk back home at one at night.Our home is 10 minutes away from Priya, but one am is not safe for walking!
Luckily we survived our stupidity.
Summer holidays meant going to moms office near Newmarket.The highlight was mom took us shopping and restaurant hopping.Some of my best memories are full of window shopping activities.That’s when I knew I have a shopaholics heart.Not having extra money helped me learn to rein it in and save for things that really mattered.I now window shop online too!It’s one of the best way to lift up my mood.
Visits to Nahoums in Newmarket, Mamma Mia the gelato heaven at Ballygunge circular road.The Biriyani at Arsalan, Golbarir Kashamangsho, prawn cocktail at Mocambo, Chelo kabab at Peter Cat, breakfast at Flurys and picnics at Victoria! That’s the food map of Kolkata.
While in Calcutta Medical College we used to haunt the Coffee house, Paramount (delicious coco malai sarbot, a mix of milk, malai, cashews, ice, cocoa and God knows what .But it was lip smackingly delicious).Don’t ask about calories or nutrition facts though.Some things are beyond that.
The famous sweet shop Putiram had crisply fried karaishootir kachori (Puri stuffed with peas) and an array of Sandesh and fried sweets which made snacking as important as dissection classes.
Having daab(green coconut) from the kaku in front of the college or cooling down with an ice lolly all was part of days work.
The cityscape has changed.People are grappling with air and sound pollution .joblessness and increasing immigration problems.The education and healthcare system is being challenged by exploding population, lawlessness and violence every other day I left Kolkata in 2007 for Delhi.Then came back again.Left again.
Kolkata is where I became a doctor.
Kolkata is where I got married and my darling daughter was born.Kolkata is witness to many joys and heartbreaks.It’s still my city.Wherever I go my heart will always beat for this city of joy.
Now living with my hubby and baby in a small town, but a Kolkata girl at heart.Show me the phuchka and promise a good adda and I will forget everything else.
Writing this for Write over weekends by Blogadda.
I am Thankful for being a Kolkata girl forever.
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