Many cities in the world lack the breathing space. Calcutta is more polluted than its' European/ American or even southeast Asian counter parts. However, Kolkata was built by the British on the bank of river Ganges on the pattern of London as exact replica but over the years, the city has grown leaps and bounds creating more problem and pollution. While govt. regulates and regularly fines the cars with EUROIII emission even at the slightest fault. It has never really done anything the monoxide emitting buses (both govt. & private) and the diesel taxis. So by evening Calcutta air become highly polluted. People from the city flock in the maidan and near the Ganges for fresh air and for nostalgia. It is almost a regular feature of Kolkata, try this to visit near the Victoria in the evening, you will realize why. The Maidan area , Victoria memorial, the fort William, the Baboo Ghat, Outram Jetty the Eden gardens, the princep jetty and the lawn itself are enough to bring nostalgia to Bengalis and non - Bengalis. The serenity, the people, the culture is unique in nature and found nowhere in the country. Ask any young or old who has lived in Kolkata, will share the same experience. The famous Nandan, the art gallery, the Ravindra Sadan, Indian Museum all located in the same area.
Hilsa Festival on the Ganges
Recently on 4th September, we organised Hilsa Festival for our dealers of Kolkata region. We hired two boats, joined them and sailed for 6 hrs from 3PM to 9PM. Hilsa fish is a favourite dish of Bengalies and generally savoured in monsoon only. There were three preparations of Hilsa fish besides several other dishes. We also organised orchestra for three hours with singers belting out melodious songs and we danced to their tunes ( see video, I am trying to load it for the last several days) It was great event and the singers were superb. One boat has airconditioned conference hall, which we used for product display of our Lakshya Program,( where dealer earns and burns points like air travel or credit card points, which is fully redeemable) and press conference by our Regional Sales Head, Mr.V.K.Agnihotri.
The day was complete with torrential rains and the program was big hit!!!
A FORM OF TRANSPORT TO PLEASE AVOID
I may be old fashioned-I may be naive. But I find the sight of another human being-barefoot,undernourished and often elderly, dragging a rickshaw around with more fortunate and prosperous people aboard , quite repulsive and sad. There has been much controversy about this form of transport in India, and I believe that Kolkata is the one city wherin it still flourishes. There are thousands in Kolkata.
I realise that this is a much needed job for thousands of Rickshaw-wallahs, and they are certainly the only form of transport during the monsoon, when Kolkatas streets become rivers.
These men are however, often exploited by the conglomorates that own the rickshaws.They are paid a pittance for a ride, and then have to pay the owners of the rickshaws so much per day for the use of the rickshaw.
I therfeore implore you- if you feel the necessity to use one- give a good tip, and do not wrangle about the cost. Its only a few rupees anyway. It is very hard work to drag people around the streets of Kolkata.
Calcutta Ferry rides are very popular not only with the tourists but also among the local populace. They are cheap, very much typical Kolkatan and takes you for a fresh and scenic beauty across the hooghly river, underneath the Howrah bridge, Vidyasagar setu and Vivekananda setu. The ride is really awesome. Not to be missed
Roadside Eatery of Kolkata!!!!
Well we Calcuttans know about this joints, they are more than 70 years old. Can you believe this!! During British days ( Dalhousie is office district) the Indians were not allowed to enter into the Restaurants near Dalhousie as it was Red area. So where the Babus ( the Bengali Clarks/ Junior employe) will eat during lunch period. During early 20th century Toast, Omlette, Stew, Chicken, Mutton cutlet, Fish Fry were totally unknown menu for Bengali Babus. These were available but at posh restaurants like Metropol, Firpos, Great Eastern Hotel where entry was restricted and money was too much for the Babus.
Then came people like Chitta Ranjan Das, who started roadside eatery, without any name just on the footpath, where Babus will come during lunch time to have their dream menu of Chicken Stew, Cutlets, Toast, Omlette and all those Englishmen used to have. Easy on stomach, digestable, great taste. Soon it will be famous like fire and it still is as famous as in pre Independence day! Believe me a very few Westerners know about this but this how it all started. The taste of the food and price both remains very resonable till day. Now the place is run by Chitta Babu's grandsons and his Nephew. It is true that we Bengalies learnt to taste the English dishes thru' people like Chitta Ranjan Das and others. My tribute to them. The all time favourite Mutton and Chicken Stew with toasted pound bread is still very popular and shall remain popular as it has remained for 70 years! Now they have added Chilli chicken, Fried Rice, Cutlets etc to their short menu. It runs only during the day and the crowd is still uncontrolable. They must be serving about 3000 persons during lunch time from 11AM to 4PM( Lunch time?) everyday.
Rakhi took our VT friends from Kathmandu, Urvashi, Husband Dibya and brother Arjun to experience this unsual place. My suggestion to anybody visiting Kolkata, to at least visit this place for once. My guarantee you will remember your day. You may carry your own water. A lifetime experience in itself!!