Somini Sengupta’s written a heart warming piece in the New York Times about revisiting Calcutta (or Kolkata as it is officially known now). She’s spot on about so many things that make us love Calcutta: the architecture, the green shutters, the addas around Presidency, the second hand book stores in College Street, the rock and jazz music that’s still authentic and true to the roots, the Chinese food, Tolly club.
One could gripe that she missed the Bose Institute of J.C. Bose, one of India’s greatest modern scientists, the puchka-jhaal-moori-chicken egg roll triad that makes up Calcutta street food, the wonderful but crumbling architecture of the old mansions in North Calcutta, the fabulous classical music events such as the legendary Dover Lane music conference, watching a game at the Eden Gardens, and walking by the Lakes in south Calcutta.
But Calcutta is a city that cannot be covered in 5000 words in a magazine spread, or a full length novel. It’s a place that one may hate in the beginning, especially after living in cities that work more efficiently. Live there long enough, and it grows on you, and then you love it even as you despair and moan and grumble. Calcutta has a way of charming you slowly, and pulling you in. Before you know it, you’re calling it your city for the rest of your life, even if you may never live there again.