Kolkata- India’s Petrichor

Kolkata. The name says it all. The city of dreams, the city of love, the city where everyone feels at home, and where “kêmon achhen?” is the best “how are you” I have ever heard. The pen is mightier than the sword here, and what better place can one find to write than in this rustic, mystical place that is so ruminantly stimulating?

Waking up to a breakfast in under Rs.20, complete with stuffed loochi and aaloo (hot fried amazing stuff with amazing potato curry on the side), the buttery soft potato-stuffed shingada (the best-tasting Samosa in the world) finished with a mattka (earthen pot) of garam chai (hot tea) can make one rediscover paradise. From a sprawling skyline with beautiful gardens and lakes, to the simple enigmatic humdrum of how things work here, my nostalgia gets a makeover with every visit. Having visited Kolkata (the then Calcutta) where my uncle and aunt have lived for over 30 years, I always had a certain belonging with the food which has tied me to the very spirit of the city. I can’t forget all the puchkas and dum aloos that have cheered me up from whatever doldrums that life has to throw at me. I can’t recollect the last time I heard the English All India Radio news in a tea shop serving chaai in a mattka.

Mattka Chaai (Tea in an earthen pot)

Kolkata’s innate fiery feminism is never subtle- it is big, loud and beautiful. The women love to feel pretty being round (a huge compliment!), sharp and are completely at peace with themselves, and this is one of the reasons I’ve always felt welcome and comfortable in my skin. The city tugs at my heart where the hardworking baabus and daadas are courteous, responsible and treat the goddess in you, the way you’re meant to be. The city that accommodates everything and everybody, where everyone has a place to call their own, whether it’s on the platform adjoining the lake or in a multi-storeyed villa is always that special place in this country that has an opinion on everything and has been quick to judge.

I’ve dearly missed Kolkata in the last few hours I’ve been home, and this post was the first thing I wanted to do. Kolkata is the warm petrichor to a starved life and brings out the existential living in one. I need to pen this down as a ritual to preserve my jar of memories. Someday, when life hits me hard, the aroma emanating from this jar would be enough to satiate and provide a blanket-like comfort. A toast is in order to the Shangri-la of India, which will never cease to amaze me. Everyday is Sindhur khela here, a celebration of every part of goodness in everything. Aami shotti bolchi (I’m speaking the truth) that this is the best democracy in communism, best spirit in sportsmanship, and luxury in simplicity, that I’ve seen in any place. EVER.


54 thoughts on “Kolkata- India’s Petrichor

    1. Dada is special, a sigil and an insignia of sorts. However, this post is about my connection with the city and I chose not to make that point here. Thanks for dropping by, anyway!

  1. Kolkata, generally known as the city of joy, where people are considered to be one of the unique humans who believe in enjoying life over anything else in life. Though, it is the capital and financial city of West Bengal people still carry the traditional lifestyle of the Old School era.

  2. Terrific one. The way you’ve blended the sights, sounds and smells of the city in your words and written why exactly is Kolkata peerless is a delight to read. 🙂

      1. You’re welcome! All the other metros and big cities sure have their own flavours, but Kolkata is on a whole different level! Aami shotti bolchi. 😀

  3. Your descriptive writing drew me in. I looked at the picture of the bowl though and thought it would make a beautiful coffee cup for me to use for my morning coffee. 🙂
    And thanks for visiting my book review blog.

    1. Thank you loads and Yaay! You definitely will feel that warmth, I’m sure. That place will make you feel like you belong there, and offer a fuzzy sense of contentment. Would love to hear from you again 🙂
      Oodles of love and cheers!

  4. mine and my son’s choice would always be sweet for breakfast so this kind of recommendation would be no way appealing to us, but your writing is absolutely exquisite. Lovely post 🙂

  5. For some reason, I awoke at 2:30 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. Being tied to social media as a writer, the hashtag “#amwriting” instantly flashed into my mind…which naturally led me to fire up my laptop, pull up my book ms files and open tabs to WP, FB and Twitter! On WP, it’s “Notifications” first, which is, of course, where I found PotatoPen!

    As much as I would have loved to go back to sleep, the beautiful daydream this post inspired was far more calming and soothing than another 4 hours of broken night-dreams could offer…thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories!

    And thank you for visiting and following “The Old Fossil Writes” 🙂

    1. That’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard (Sorry about your sleep though, Pearl) and I’m beaming from ear to ear. Thanks a ton for making my day. Means so much to me 🙂 Do drop by more often. Hugs and cheers!

    1. Oh my. Your comment went unnoticed until today. I really apologize for not having replied earlier. It’s wonderful of you to have dropped by and left your footprint here. Thank you so very much 🙂

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