‘Kolkata’, the name conjures up images of the intelligentsia engaged in hastily discussions over endless cups of tea among clouds of smoke, hand pulled rickshaws and lumbering trams. The cultural capital of India has been the breeding ground for renowned bards, economists, beauty queens, famous authors and singers.
Nobel Prize winners like Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen have their roots in this city. The ‘City of Joy’ has myriad nuances and exploring it is a joy in itself. This metro has made an eventful journey from ‘Calcutta’ to ‘Kolkata’. Calcutta was the capital of British India from 1772 to 1912. The city braced up for rechristening in 2000, when the renaming proposal was passed. From 2001 Calcutta became Kolkata.
The city has a rich culture. Traditional songs like ‘Rabindra sangeet’ and ‘Shyama sangeet’ have many patrons across the globe. The city has excellent art and craft to offers ranging from Janini Roy Paintings to traditional ‘tant’ sarees of Bengal. Though a metro, Kolkata is marked by a laid back attitude to life. A ubiquitous desire to excel coexists with a desire for ‘adda’ or catch up with friend over idle chat.
A home to stalwarts like Satyajit Ray, Mother Teresa and Sushmita Sen among others, greatness is but a way of life to the city. Like any other metro, Kolkatta too has plenty of high-end malls, multiplexes, plush hotels and restaurants. It also hosts the prestigious Indian Institute Of Management with the IT sector focusing its attention on West Bengal. Various top notch companies like TCS, CTS and IBM have opened R & D centrals here. It is the first Indian city to have had metro rail service.
Inspite of modern invasions, the city has retained its old world charms. Be it hand pulled rickshaws, trams,’ adda’ ,’mistidoi’ and ‘rosogollah’, Kolkata has it and flaunts it with élan. The narrow streets of New Market still tempt visitors with variety of wares, trinkets and fashionable clothes. The books galore at College Street still draw large number of students, professors and avid readers alike.
The city is also a symbol of religious unity. One can witness Calcutta’s reveling and bedecked alleys of Park Street on Christmas Eve and celebrating Durga Puja with gusto in Shyam Bazaar. Kolkata is a concoction of the old and the new. It has ardently held on to its roots, has donned a new name but retained its old identity.
A city which intrigues visitors but also makes them feel at home. One can only leave the city with sweet memories to cherish and a desire to return.