Kolkata- A City of Glaring Contrasts

Kolkata or the City of Joy as we fondly call it is one of the oldest cities of ancient India. The rich heritage that this city boasts of is unlike any other in present India. Right from the British Raj, this city has been bustling with activities. It was the capital of the British Empire in India until 1911 when the capital was shifted to Delhi. Nationalism and freedom struggle, the streets of Kolkata have seen it all. Netaji Shubhas Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, the game changers in their respective fields,were born in this very city. People from diverse diasporas converge and intermingle effortlessly.
Tastes of this city cannot be categorized. It is a cosmopolitan city and is a home to different cultures not only from India but also abroad. Being a multilingual city, do not be surprised if you are not able to fathom the official language of this city. Bengali,Hindi,English conversations are quite common with a tinge of Chinese,Armenian or French splashed on it at times.
The occupations of Kolkatans are also contrasting. People work in big software companies, government offices, stationery shops, vegetable groceries. You will find them everywhere.
As far as food is concerned Kolkatans are all foodies and their bellies rule their mind. All sorts of food ranging from roadside biryani to chicken rolls and the ever delicious,ever economical Kolkata’s very own phuchka is always welcome at any hour of the day. Big hotels like Taj,Hyatt,ITC are strongly going about their business. Side by side we also have the Arsalan, Trincas, Bhojohori Manna. Kolkata has the perfect mix of eateries.
An array of transports can also be seen in the streets of Kolkata. Mercedes, Sedan, BMW can be seen plying. Next to it only we have the crowded buses with passengers hanging from the gate. There is also the heritage transport-trams.
The constructions across the vast skyline of Kolkata also show contrast. We have the symbolic St.Paul’s cathedral, Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens. The recently built plush shopping malls give an ethnic look to the city.
Kolkata also differs as far as shopping choices are concerned. Some prefer the shopping malls while others might still opt for New Market or Gariahat as the most appropriate place to shop.
The art and culture of this city is also contrasting. Rabindrasangeet, though is the flavour of Kolkata, people do not mind tuning into some of the latest hits of Jeet Ganguly or listening to a Shaan or Sonu album. Ghazals and classical are also listened with great interest.
As far as films are concerned, Kolkata opens up to a packed auditorium for both commercial and art films. While some choose multiplexes, for others it is nothing like watching a film in Nandan.
Festivals celebrated here also show versatility. Though Durga puja is the main festival,it does not mind celebrating Diwali,Eid or Christmas. The ferocity of spirit comes alive in each of them.
Kolkata also show a passionate love for sports. Topics ranging from its very own Dada to the performance of Knight Riders in IPL, the animosity between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, everything is discussed in great detail.
Last but not the least, its the people of Kolkata who make the city work. Kolkata’s heart lies in its people. Each person is different, with different views, different perceptions,different preferences. It crackles with life, bursting with authenticity trying to make their voice project over the din of everyday mundaneness. All Kolkatans are proud of their rich culture and the legacy they have inherited.It is rightly said, you can drive a Kolkatan out of Kolkata but you cannot drive Kolkata out of him.

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