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Kolkata – Essay

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The City of Joy as has been named by Dominique La Pierre has many different histories surrounding its birth.The theory that says that Job Charnok an English man was the father of Kolkata, changed with a high court ruling stating that Kolkata existed from the times of Mansa Mangal Kabya and Saborno Raychaudhuri one of the rich Babus of Kolkata.Some say that Kolkata got its name from the activities that the place was famous for.The place was famous for its Lime Kilns and the local name for the lime kilns was Koli and Kata and these two names joined to give us the name Kolkata.The English named it Calcutta and we renamed it Kolkata very recently.

Whatever be the history, Kolkata has evolved and re evolved.Just as Rome was not built in a day, Kolkata took more than 300 years to become the city as we see it now.

Kolkatans claim that ADDA is their copyrighted invention. The ADDA has no definite nature. It is a discussion of anything and everything. These Adddas are spread allover-in trams and in buses amongst commuters, in colleges and schools among students, in houses, in roadside teashops, office and college canteens and the local clubs.

Club culture brought in by the British has managed to stay on in Kolkata.Be it the local clubs which is sweeter than home for the local unemployed youths or the elite social clubs for the rich .The city is a foodie’s delight from the tasty and cheap street food to the various restaurants. The city also has food for an intellectual mind with the theatres, musical conferences, art exhibitions and the meaningful Bengali cinema. The city has the largest book market in the country. The College Street book bazaar is a book lover’s delight housing hundreds of bookshops. The Annual Book Fair is the city’s major attraction for international visitors too. The city is intellectual and has been the home for famous people like the brave Netaji, noble laureate Tagore and Amartya Sen, the famous scientist Acharya Jagadish Ch.Bose, OSCAR winning film director Satyajit Ray and many more.

The city has evolved from being the British headquarters, the heart of the naxal revolution, to the modern metropolis. Now the city houses the biggest shopping malls, the multinational brands, exclusive housing facilities and the most developed infrastructure. The trams still exist winding their way through the city along with the super fast metro

My city of joy is also the most politically opinionated city in India. The interesting aspect of this opinionated city is that the people opine on anything .Be it the recession in the global economy, the share market crisis, US policy on Asian nations and so on and so forth. We have enough knowledge to discuss football, films, economy, politics and everything. This shows the world that we are a city with our eyes and ears open. In short we are the enlightened ones.

My city exudes a warmth where caste, creed, colour, nationality, religion don’t matter.Biryani, chowmein and dosas are as popular as fish curry .Id, Christmas and Durgapuja are celebrated with equal zeal. So secular is our city that the city is always in a celebration mood just as the saying goes 13 festivals in twelve months. The city seems to be blessed by all gods and goddesses who help the city to accept life as a blessing. It lives up to its name given by Dominique La Pierre THE CITY OF JOY where problems take a back seat and the people are always ready for another celebration. This is the only city which has packed stadiums during football or cricket matches. The city never belonged to the Bengalis only. The Marwaris, the Gujaratis, the Punjabis, the Muslims, the AngloIndians, the South Indians all live here in perfect harmony and peace.

When talking about my city of joy I always tend to be carried away .Its vastness in every aspect, its antiquity, its intellect and its slow staggered gait always fascinates me. I often fail to classify this unique city under a particular genre. It is to me like the recipe of a Chinese dish cooked in the streets of Kolkata. It is perhaps this uniqueness which makes it poetic and artistic and almost theatrical with its histrionics. The City is a mixture of sweet and sour. You can hate it, love it but never be indifferent towards it. It is truly the place to stay in as it has a brilliant mix of tradition and modernism. To me it is like my grandfather who loves to shop in Reebok and ADIDAS but prefers girls to get married and stay at home. It is like having SUSHI; you will have to acquire a taste for it to like it. Nevertheless, it will forever remain My City of Joy.

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