Kolkata is full of life; everywhere you look there is a story— every naked red brick wall you see has one, every bus stand, or the bustling subways and trams.
Kolkata gets its intellectual vibe from the charming tales of matinee idols like Uttam Kumar, literary heroes Rabindranath Tagore and and musical geniuses Kishore Kumar and political philosophers and architectural jewels on every street corner.
It is hard to fall in love with Kolkata at first sight; its beauty is scattered, so to say.
It is a city that glimmers during Eid, Durga Puja, Christmas or New Year- festivals are an excuse for us Bengalis to celebrate with friends and family. Park Street, New Market, Hathi Bagan, Esplanade- all these hubs of Kolkata are filled with gregarious Bengalis dressed in suave clothes.
During Durga Puja people jam the streets all day and all night, just so that Bengalis can catch a glimpse of Ma adorned with worshippers festoons. Our White Knights and our traffic constables are scattered throughout Kolkata trying to protect the city from us! To be honest, during Durga Puja Kolkata resembles dystopia- a living nightmare for people who hate large public gatherings, traffic and noise. But Kolkata is alive during this time and it is open for everyone.
Kolkata is in a constant state of Renaissance. Every other movement is born over the tables of coffee house, or in street tea stalls. Streets echo laughter and violent disagreements of groups over politics or football during Sunday morning or evening aḍḍa while tucking into Cholar dal luchi or Beguni and Muṛi. Kolkata appeals to young and old. It caters to tradition and evolution.
There are many things going wrong in the city and when I walk on the streets of Kolkata I see people happy, displeased, annoyed, in awe but if you ask which city is better the only answer you’ll get is, “Dada, ki bolen ” (Dada, what are you saying?) With the undertone of sheer disbelief.
Angira Mitra spoke to Kamna Rishiraj from Travel Secrets Magazine