Hot 'n' Happening Kolkata!
Everything was going on as usual. The same life, the same places to go, the same things to do. But not for long. Suddenly a craze swept the city and Calcutta was 'Gone With The Wind'. Then what remained? Yes, that is the question which most of the people who want to visit Calcutta, ask. Oh! I am sorry! There is no Calcutta that exists any more! Everything is Kolkata now! The answer to the question is:
The remnants of Calcutta and a fresh new Kolkata that emerged out of this craze. While Calcutta was all about tradition and history, Kolkata is all about chic shopping malls, pubs, parties and young hangouts. And this change began just five years back and is still in progress. Luxury cars are the preferred over two-wheelers, one-stop shops are the choice of the people now. Wide roads, flyovers and highrises have done nothing but accelerated this process. A visit to some of the places in the city evidently proves this. Check out places like Camac Street, Shakespeare Sarani, Loudon Street, A.J.C. Bose Road, Gariahat Road, Bullygaunge Circular Road, Russell Street, Park Street and The Chowringhee Road.
Instead of old coffee shops people now prefer to go to hip cafes like Barista, Subway, One Step Up!, or Cafe Coffee Day. There was a time when the entire city used to shut down by 10pm. at night. But now, the day seems to begin at 9pm. - such are the incredible changes that have swept the city completely. Old and boring places have now been transformed so much that they have become some of the hottest areas of the city. For example the building that you can see in the picture belonged to the Uniworth House, which was nothing but an office. But as you can see now, it is not Uniworth House any more - it now houses one of the best Chinese Restaurants in Kolkata, The MAINLAND CHINA and a very cosy, chic cafe, Barista(click on the picture to get a better view).
So, I would like to welcome you to this new Kolkata and oops! I hope you don't mind to be 'Gone With The Wind' ! The best thing about Kolkata is that it can accept changes that are so sudden. When I aksed a few elderly people in the city about what they thought of this change, the answers were mostly positive. They had, or rather, they have no qualms about the recent changes that have swept the city. "Changes are inevitable. If you want to survive in this world, you do need to change yourself with the changing times and be accommodative" - was the answer that I got from one of them. Kolkata! Here we come!
Hilsa Festival on the Ganges-II
It was great day with action packed fun filled program. We gave them presentation on our web based Lakshya Program and as well as complete range of products available on Lakshya Redeemption was displayed in adjoining boat airconditioned hall. The product range was from Laptop, Cameras, LCD TV, Sony Handicam, washing machines, Gold Coins, jewellery and so on.... We also made arrangements of instant redeemption of Lakshya points through wireless internet if someone wished to burn his points earned in liew of gift. Some people actually did burn their points on board.
Our Regional Sales Head, also announced our role in the great national disaster' North Bihar Floods' and how we are helping them to rehabilitate apart from our donation of one day's salary, food camps at 3 places to feed 5000 people every day. He also asked our dealers to come forward and lend a helping hand, which received overwhelming response from all the participating dealers.
Bus Travel Kolkata
I can't begin to describe the experience of riding public transport (the nice, or rather - the wealthy people, just don't do it) Picture as many sweaty, dirty people as you can, crammed into the confines of bus, with people packed into the chairs as tight as is humanly possible and the rest standing, over those who are fortunate enough to be seated, holding onto anything for dear life. The bus drivers are not concerned with the consequences of suddenly jamming on the brakes... and it's overall, a really unpleasant (& not so smart) undertaking. Add to that, the fumes and pollution of everyday life in Kolkata. Are you starting to get the picture? And one has to be really quick & agile. These buses do not pull into a bus-stop in any kind of orderly fashion. They slow down a little and one either jumps on or jumps off... praying that you make it in one piece! I swear, it sometimes feels like I have put in a days work before I have even reached the office! But there is always the journey home in the evening to look forward to!!
Forget taking advantage of being a female in this arena. Never have I appreciated the manners of Western men more (having said that, an Indian man did "allow" me to take a freed-up seat on yesterdays journey) They can be so rude. But the women can be every bit as bad. However, I held my own the other day! I'd been standing for about 20 minutes of the journey home & some Indian woman got on - quite a time after me. It is customary here, that when a person gets up out of a seat, the person standing directly infront of the seat - gets it (if they are fast!) So this Indian woman sees an opportunity arising - and is eyeing the seat infront of me. What followed, was what I can only describe as a "hip-nudging" fight between the two of us. There was no way she was getting my seat! And need I say it - she didn't! They are not going to walk all over us Westerners, Oh no! She wasn't too happy - this was evident in the way that she was glaring at me for the rest of the journey, but hey, such is life.
It may be a tourist haunt, but the food's awesome!
The clientele is a 50/50 mix between locals and foreigners, which is always a good sign. The prices are very reasonable. I'm able to buy an elaborate feast for myself and three different beggars, all for under 200 rupees - $5! I buy way more than I could possibly eat, which allows me to try a little of everything whilst sharing the food with those less fortunate. This place does decent western food too, for those who grow weary of Indian food. Veg MoMos are fantastic, I opted for the fried variety but you can also get them steamed.
This place also does a decent pizza, but it's the snacks and starters that were the real standout for me.
Try Their Dal Makhni & Fish Tikka!!
This place is undoubtedly one of the most famous Dhaba ( Rustic Eatery, where Punjabi or North Indian rustic food is served) of Kolkata city. It is normally frequented by thousands of people. Situated over an acre of land, just opposite the Airport on the main highway no 34. The place has completed more than 25 years and have changed many fold. This is now attracting crowd from Calcutta city who now comes in cars only, drink minarel water or beer( Hard liquor is also served) and does not mind spending Rs.1000 or more for two persons. Naturally, seeing the crowd coming in the Greed of the owner's have creped in, they have Jacked up the prices many fold. Now they have started charging 3-4 star prices for their food. It no longer remains an eatery for the commoner or for the tourists for that matter. The food is very very expensive here and the taste!! Well there are better places in Kolkata serving very tasty food at less than half the prises. I find this is no special place and the prices are higher than Park Street restaurants. They should realize that by putting lots of butter does not make food special. If they are charging star prices then the facilities must also be of star category, crew should be clean , the ambience should be better.
I was surprised to see that one Naan costs here Rs.40 + VAT, Beer Rs.120 +VAT, Dal Makhni Rs. 95 +VAT and the quantity? Very less. In Park street a beer costs Rs. 85-100 with VAT in airconditioned atmosphere with proper service and etiquette. Here the crew behaviour is very very unprofessional. I dont recommend this place to go to eat after driving 37KMs. If they reduce their prices by 30-40% ( Chance is bleak) ten it may be worth. On top of that it has earnedthe ill reputation of being a bar, even their glass, table cloth, napkins are sponsored from liquer companies. We had Naan, Chicken Leg Kebab, Fish Tikka, Dal Makhni, Veg Jhalfrazi & Beer. Fish Tikka is good.