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Jontonas and more...

Bah. Holidays are over. I have so much to write about the Kolkata trip but all of a sudden I am blank. Its like tabula rasa, blank slate! I had great fun though and learnt a lot of new bong words like-niramisi which means vegetarian food, jontonas which means suffering [I think!] and sabooj which means the color green.

I had a gala time traveling in the metros and the antique tram. I had my fill of puchchkas, chur-mur and jhalmuris. If you are in Kolkata you just cannot miss the street food there. Its just yummm... and don't even think of the hygiene [much better than Mumbai]. Every city has its flavor and charm. But the soul of Kolkata is different. It let's you fit in, doesn't push you around like Mumbai and you don't have to ape anybody. Here life goes on in its own pace. Nobody seems to be in a hurry. Life in general is not about money. The old heritage buildings in the heart of the city stand there sleepily and they look like they have many tales to tell.

The Indian Coffee House at College street is the hub for the now pseudo-intelligent crowd. But it had it's days as the only place where the thinkers from the Renaissance era gathered to ponder upon life in general. The Paramount juice house gives you the old world charm again. But it was the College street that I loved the best! Books and so many books...I could spend days and days going through them. It is like a haven for book lovers. You name the book and they might have it. [I bought English translations of the Gitanjali and Sesher Kobita by Rabindranath Tagore.]

Another plus point about Kolkata is that the cost of living here is cheap. Food is cheap and the quantity is more. The Magnolia and the BBQ at Park Street reminded me of one of the Colaba Cafes. Shopping is brilliant here if you love saris. Beginning at Rs 250, saris at Adi Dhakeshwari,  will get you practically any type of cotton and silk under one roof. [I bought 15 sarees in total]

Places of worship like Kalighat and Dhakhineshwar lend you an experience that are calm and serene. Once you are done with th darshan at Dhakhineshwar, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset at the Ganga ghat near by. If you have the time you can take a ride across the Hoogli river.

This was my second trip to Kolkata [I went way back in 2001] and I was to tour the city. The climate was amazing and the wedding was awesome fun.

My cousin had a traditional bong wedding along with a church wedding. For the church wedding we traveled to Asansol but did not see anything there as the wedding kept us busy.

Now everything mentioned above reads very smooth but I do have a few funny things to share:

I met this pishima [aunt] who is really old. My mother had told me stories about her from her last visit but I forgot. She is nice in general this old lady, but weird. When you wake up in the morning, she asks you about lunch. During lunch she would ask you about dinner and to add to our woes, during dinner she would ask everyone that in the morning whoever wants to go to the loo must do so as soon as possible. WTF!

Being old she dozed off during the wedding ceremony. Soon we realised that she was mumbling in her sleep and that she would topple off the chair anytime. But she woke up before that and yelled asking.. "khe nao baba, ko nau...[ eat child eat!]". Bah.

Worst was what happened in Asansol! Old pishima and her daughter were on the stage. Suddenly her grandson came and she caught hold of his hand and yelled, "Aee bathroom kore eli?" [Did you go to the loo?]. The poor boy never came near her the whole night. 

I had the opportunity to watch Patolbabu Filmstar by Purba Paschim, a play based on Satyajit Ray's short story. [I shall upload the review soon] 

I had so much of luchi-torkari each morning that I cannot think of it eating it anytime soon. It is almost the staple diet [breakfast] for people there!

More updates later!

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