Noise of his running feet was piercing my ears. Looking at the almost skeleton man, wearing half lungi, who was driving my hand-rickshaw made me stop him.
Me: Thamo. Aami cab niye chole jabo (Stop. I will go by cab).
Rickshaw driver (smiling back at me): Aami rickshaw chaliye bhat khaye. (I drive rickshaw to earn my bread).
His smile made me realize that I am in the “city of joy”
Being a Bengali, I had never been to Kolkata. One fine Morning, while going to office I realized I shall once visit my home land. The land of Tagore and Satyajit Roy and my favourite character Byomcase Bakshi. Then, I took a flight from Mumbai to Kolkata on January 16. In Mumbai that’s a pleasant weather but in Kolkata that’s a chilling time with Temperature 12’ to 26’ that’s also a best time to be in town as from November to February the city is free from scorching heat of summers and the water logging issues of rain, just that if you are from Mumbai carry some warm cloth or if you are from a cool corner of world can survive in shirts!
After landing at Netaji Subhas Chndra Bose International Airport, I decided to take the yellow cab till my hotel The Park. I chose this particular hotel in the heart of the city at Park Street, where my family once lived!
I had a wish list for roaming around in the city. Which started with hand pulled rickshaw and trams were my next target. I also roamed over the howrah bridge. The magnificent victoria palace is the pleasure of eyes of the tourists. The next day I left from Kolkata to see the royal bengal tiger and the delta of the great Indian river ganga.
But Kolkata is not just about the places, it’s also about cuisines like sandesh, rosolugga, jhaal mudhi, pani-puri, fish fry, beguni bhaja and many more. For girls, it’s more than the city and the cuisines. Being in Kolkata and returning without Bengali taat saree and jute handbags for your collection is like a forbidden crime.
I enjoyed my hometown. The city of joy and returned humming the song of Mr. Tagore :
Aamar sonaar baangla, aami tomay bhalobasi.
Chirodin tomar aakash, tomar baatas, ogo aamar praane baajay baanshi.
O ma, Phaagune tor aamer bone ghraane paagol kore,
Mori haay, haay re
O ma, Oghrane tor bhora khete aami ki dekhechi modhur haasi.
(My glittering golden Bengal I love you.
The ambience of your air and sky seems like playing a flute in my heart.
The aroma of the mango orchard in the spring time drives me crazy,
O mother dear.
Autumn time sees smiles all through mature fields of paddy.)