The city of Kolkata!!! It is the City of Joy for some, the Land of Durga Pujo for others, and the City of Rosogolla and Mishti doi for the rest. For all of them, the Capital of West Bengal is a source of pride and emotion, but for Bengalis, it is a source of pride and emotion.
Since the 17th century, India’s cultural capital has been on the globe, and it acted as the heart of the British Raj. Kolkata (then Calcutta) remained the capital of British India after the “Battle of Plassey” until 1911. Kolkata’s rich cultural and architectural heritage can be traced back to this brief struggle with colonialism. Kolkata predates the British Raj’s founding, and it stands as a torchbearer for the city’s rich diversity.
It’s 2021, and India’s ever-expanding metropolitan cities are in a constant sprint. Though cities like Bangalore and Pune are rapidly evolving into urban lifestyle hubs, Kolkata is still known for its ability to hold the hand of tradition while driving through the modernization tunnel.
Kolkata has recently been the subject of heated debates over its job situation and living standards. Although some political factors might have had an unfavourable impact on Kolkata, this does not negate the city’s values. Architectural splendour and a symbol of cultural and social heritage. Kolkata has aged like a fine wine, holding the prime example of “never forgetting the roots”.
For a Kolkatan, the way of life has been a hybrid combination of accepting globalization and enjoying their age-old heritage. A city that preserves its identity and core values while allowing new cultures to spread their wings over its people.
In this city, the time has come to a halt. Kolkata treats every old culture, custom, or structure as if it were gold. Even though it is the most developed city in Eastern India, it retains its colonial roots.
I took a walk around the city and noticed how diverse it is. High skyscrapers can be seen rising above the heritage of British colonial architecture. The skyline is a beautiful combination of incredible architecture and modernism.
While the eastern part of the city is home to Eastern India’s largest IT centre, and South Kolkata is known for its posh and modern way of life, North Kolkata remains the city’s heart and soul. In Kolkata, the new and sophisticated way of life coexists with the old and cosy way of life.
The modes of transportation are also contradictory, with centuries-old hand-pulled rickshaws and trams coexisting with modern rickshaws and electric buses. Even with the world’s largest fleet of E-Buses, Kolkata has managed to keep Trams on track.
CULTURE and Heritage
Yes, Kolkata is India’s cultural hub, and it is the only place where people can experience both Rabindra Sangeet and Heavy Metal at the same time.
Walking down the streets of Kolkata, I can find something to satisfy my thirst for art and culture around every corner. Kolkata keeps us bound to our cultural roots, even as we move closer to British and American realism.
Rabindranath Tagore, Amartya Sen, Satyajit Ray, Swami Vivekananda, SN Bose, and countless others are part of a legacy that spans the globe. Even in 2021, students from Calcutta University, Jadavpur University, and Presidency University devote their time to carrying on long-standing family practices in various art forms.
CITIZENS OF KOLKATA
This is one of the friendliest cities in the country, especially compared to –cough cough- Mumbai and Delhi –cough cough! Leaving aside the shady activities that occur in some areas, Kolkata has consistently been voted the safest city in the world. People are treated with dignity here, regardless of their gender or religion.
Kolkata has taught us how to live in harmony with our differences. Kolkata has been a prime example of communal tolerance that echoes throughout Bengal. Kolkata has a Chinese kali mandir, two Chinatowns, an Anglo-Indian society, and an Armenian Church that screams peace in all directions.
Kolkata is a vibrant combination of countless festivals that turns up to be a Carnival on every occasion.
The entire City gets tangled in the celebration of festivals of multiple religions. We Bengalis know how to throw a proper festival, from the ornate Durga Pujo celebration to the eccentric Christmas, we celebrate it grand!
” Baro mash e Tero parrbon”, we just don’t say it we mean. And in Kolkata, despite being a metropolitan in a fast world, we never forget to experience our happiness like the old days.
Park Street on Christmas, Zakaria Street on Eid, Tangra on Chinese New Year and the entire Kolkata in Durga Pujo, we know where we belong at what time.
FOOD and Cuisine
The food is amazing anywhere you go in India, but the variety in Kolkata is mind-boggling. Kolkata is the absolute paradise for food lovers and there is no end to this.
Puchka, Alu Kabli, Ghooni and Chop still rule Kolkata. Kathi roll and Chow Mein are ahead of Burger and Pizza. We will choose Biriyani any day over pasta. While international food chains have taken over the malls, street food is still the same. We Bengalis love to eat and we have no limit when it comes to eating. Matir Bhar er Cha is still an emotion when everyone is falling for Starbucks,
Though we have wholeheartedly accepted the American and Italian junk foods, we can not part with our lovely home street food. We are bold with our lovely creations close to our heart.
We know-how malls have engulfed metropolitan areas, bringing a variety of solutions together under one roof. While malls are common in Kolkata, street markets are much more popular.
Gariahat, Hatibagan, Esplanade has not seen any decrease in footfall even though malls have started getting crowded. We love to enjoy both destinations as preferred.
We can’t deny that Kolkata has some flaws, especially in the jobs sector, but that doesn’t change the fact that this city has stood the test of time. Where the old and modern collide and time stands still.
Kolkatans enjoy staying in Kolkata. Everyone recognizes the city’s shortcomings, but unlike other megacities, this one makes you feel at ease. You cannot live in any other city after spending time in Kolkata. Kolkata has a lot of interesting stories to tell, and you should pay attention. Kolkata has aged like wine, while the rest of the world has become a pile of modernity.