The green flag from the Tikiapara guard room signals the approaching of home, the Howrah Station our destination. Stepping in to Bengal has always been that green paddy, tilted coconut trees, scribbled walls with all the political manifestos and slowly mixing in to the crowd of multiple dialect.
Back on your home ground be like
“Kottodin por, kemon achis? Ki khabi aaj? Dekh kara kara eseche…” these heartwarming welcome defines you are back home and with the topic of food being initiated at the first attempt proves you have landed in Kolkata.
The 163-year-old station never fails to amaze you with hundreds of stories in one frame of porters rushing by, the big fat blades of the fan with their typical noise and from somewhere behind, “ektu side deben dada” along with the regular railway announcements.
Hiring the yellow cab and the sudden feel of cool breeze notifies you that you have rode on to the giant emblem of Kolkata- the Howrah Bridge. Along with the Hoogly, you seem to flow by the nostalgia of the city and you head home just like the boatmen below.
Stirring your senses
“seat khali seat khali- aste ledies “, these continuous creaky shouts of the conductors to collect passengers is one of the oldest traditions. If you have taken a bus ride in this city earlier you must be familiar with the typical impatient body language of the conductors to provoke you to vomit up your bhara as they pass by you. Even after all the hustle bustle of the city, it still creates a still picture worth framing. It’s all like a time lapse video, before you plan, you are already trapped in its rhythm and smothered on its own.
The laid-back feeling in the air (lyaadh)
After a sumptuous lunch of bhaat and the customary maach , it’s time for the famous afternoon nap which controls over you like a drug. Trams sleepily glide along at a glacial pace, seemingly going nowhere and holding up traffic. Even the rickshaw puller makes his rickshaw the sleeping bed by covering up his head with his gamcha. Most of the shops pull down their shutter to peacefully shut their eyes.
The signature dome of Victoria is spotted as horse-drawn tacky silver carriages rattle past and then there are couples who hunt for the most secluded place amidst the bushes for their privacy away from the world. The widely spread Maidan lies over to be the peaceful bed for many. The best football ground for all the football aspirers.
Young boys dive into the Hooghly against the backdrop of the orange and pink streaked sky and come out of the water glistening, while a pair of feet strolls by the placid lake in Rabindra Sarovar under the cover of dappled sunlight.
Adda is the city’s tradition
Although there is no dedicated time for the perfect adda in this city, it just needs a yes and the place is managed with the tea in the kullad and the mandatory smoke but the evening adda is a must, after all the hustle bustle of the day.
A kullad of tea accompanied with muri& telebhaja, carom or cards and yellow light illuminated from the over head bulb makes the perfect ambience for the perfect debate over the latest political conflicts and Mohanbagan- East Bengal riot!
This routine is missing in all other cities as they are scheduled only at work and nothing else. Kolkatans know it right how to bring in the sweetness and stillness in every bit of life to spice up in its own melody.
The foot prints of British Raj through the old colonial buildings
Britishers had a strong hold over the city and it stands clear with the high risers that we still possess in the streets of Kolkata that makes us stand still as if to slowly mixing in to the nostalgic picture of old Kolkata.
North Kolkata & its cultural heritage
The hand pulled rickshaws, the old Rajbaris, the narrowest of narrow lanes create a story that is phenomenal. Hand art and its exclusive live appearance is unique at Kumartuli where a Baul singer adds a cherry on the cake with his enthralling folk song on his Ektara.
The gleaming Park Street
Your party destination, may it be New Year’s Eve or Christmas, this place always shines bright with its ever glamorous pubs and night clubs. Famous for its chello kebabs, rolls Park Street never fails to amaze you with its exclusive dine ins. Moulin Rouge, Mocambo is another name to this place.
Pujo- Pujo bhab
The far sighted kaash phul, the aroma of shiuli phul, and slightly chilly breeze of the autumn stirs your senses immediately and the feel of maa aschen is ready within your nerves the one we count for all the year round.
The bamboo sticks, loud noise of the different music mixed in the air creates an aroma of a different level of energy among everyone. The heavily jammed roads, new clothes, lighted streets all together gives the city a new look of the human happiness and vivacity.
From the early morning chanting of Mahishasurmardini and the thumping of dhaak beats up your dancing talent followed by the dhunuchi naach , an earthen pot with burning coal held by the parar dada onto his mouth .
From sitting down to bhog with the entire neighbourhood to being lost amidst the crowds and the whirl of noise, colour, lights and bubbles while pandal hopping.
Kolkata doesn’t have an end to pull, the spirit, the glamour and the zeal is out of the box and makes you stand still with an inch of cultural heritage from every street of the city.
Let your Kolkata travel plans begin soon