Friday, March 27, 2009

From Calcutta to Kolkata

I was born in a city that was called Calcutta. When I left the city more than a decade ago it had a strange old world charm about it and I thought that there can never be another city like it.

12 years later when I returned to the city of my birth I realized that the city had changed. It had gone back to its native name - Kolkata. The occasion was the sacred thread ceremony of my cousin.

A trip on the Coromandal Express with my parents and my uncle, aunt and their son. The trip was delightful as the other passengers in our compartment included two kids aged three years old. It was fascinating to look at them play, fight, eat, sing and dance. It was truly a memorable journey.

We reached Kolkata at around 12:30 in the afternoon. A Bolero was hired after much haggling over fares and we reached our hotel-Komala Vilas. A quick bath to wash away the grime and sweat of the long journey and we visited the restaurant to have a sumptuous lunch.

Later in the evening I went around the city and was fascinated by the changes that had taken place. Huge malls have come up in places that were vast plots and closed factories. The traffic has increased with bikes, cars and pedestrians jostling for space. The popular tram service has been relegated to a bare minimum because of road-work. The locals say that the trams will be fully operational soon.

I visited Esplanade, New Market and College Road revisiting my memories of a childhood when Sundays meant going shopping on Mirza Ghalib Street for second-hand books, sampling "jhaal muri" and "puchka" ended by a glass of fresh orange juice.
I travelled by the underground train service-the Metro. The system is efficient and well maintained. The service is well used and the trains are crowded. The girls look beautiful and one can see a fashion parade with the bevy of beauties outdoing one another with their elegance, grace and make-up.

Also managed to visit the Kalighat temple and seek the blessings of the all powerful Mother Goddess. The temple was thankfully not crowded and we had a good "darshan." I also visited the South City Mall on Prince Anwar Shah Street and was amazed by the design of the building and the facilities and range of products/shops in the mall. Spencers' and Citi Centre can learn a lot from this mall in Kolkata.

The ceremony went well and I returned to Chennai with a multitude of memories and thoughts about the city. One more update could be a possible bride for yours truly from Kolkata. Nothing is being finalized and I don't know any details but if the horoscopes match well it will be Mr & Mrs. Iyer.

So folks wish me luck!


Aswin Kini said...

A very good article! Even my Uncle hailed from Kolkata. Heard that they celebrate Kali Puja like anything over there! Did you ever happen to taste those delicious Bengali sweets over there :)

Rashmi said...

Heyy Mahesh,

Most of ur posts reflect that you are quite desperste to get married.. Why is it so?
Enjoy being Single.. Sooner or later u will rear a family.. Mr and Mrs. Iyer ?? Have u seen that movie?? Beautiful.. Konkana and Rahul at their best as usual..

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