In her brush with the City of Joy, a teenager narrates why Durga Puja and Kolkata stand out in her being with a unique stamp despite some shortcomings
When we hear ‘Kolkata’, the ﬁrst thing that comes to our mind is, Durga Puja.
Durga Puja is not just an event that coincidentally happens with grandeur in Kolkata and throughout West Bengal. To me, it is something that succinctly describes Kolkata to be what it is.
Durga Puja is the religious period during which we worship goddess Durga for her strength, power and her motherhood with which she fought and brought victory not only to herself, but also to those who put their utmost faith in her.
Kolkata, to me, means a lot more …….
Kolkata is the mother that birthed so many treasures that make her proud. Of course, children are among them. As there is good, there is bad also, and like any other Mother, Kolkata gives home to a lot of rising dangers as well.
Just like a Mother who is an assembly of qualities, her values and her developed ideals, the people of this city serve the same for Kolkata.
Kolkata is not only home to foodies, bookworms and ardent football fans but also to various cultures, religions, races and beliefs. The city is made of some of the oldest architectures, some of the oldest restaurants, some of the most famous dishes, roshogolla being one of our favourites.
It is home to the world’s largest tree, The Great Banyan tree; it is home to the nation’s largest public library—The National Library – which also has a reputation of being one of the most haunted places in the city.
Kolkata prides itself in having the ﬁrst Western-style varsity for imparting secular education in Asia—the University of Calcutta. Its streets, the modes of transport still have their old charm and the effort of the people to keep them original and true adds hugely to what Kolkata is still today.
Evidently, there are various things that make Kolkata famous, which every one visiting the city has on one’s itinerary to put a tick across. Another aspect that makes this city very hard to forget and makes it one of my favourites, is the “adda”.
Undeterred by the busy life, there will always be people to be found in the streets who, regardless of day or time, stop for a little tittle-tattle. It is one of the rare threads that binds the residents of the city, specially Bengalis.
“Adda’’ , otherwise also known as “Goppo” , is something that comes naturally to Bengalis. Nobody cares whether you know someone or not, the only essential requirement during this session, is to have something to munch or slurp.
It starts right at the beginning of the day, when you see some of the early risers going for a walk, some young, some old. Some old timers may love setting their old radio sets at the right volume, taking a seat and smilingly wave to all the recognizable faces.
Some may be found to be cleaning up their shops while common friends vie for grabbing the best seat on the bench to get the day’s ﬁrst cup of tea to trigger the morning “adda”.
Some could be seen waiting for buses or taxis in order to hop into the hustle and bustle of the day, even trying to steal a little chit-chat done in a hurry.
Regardless of how busy the streets start to become, no matter how joyous or gloomy someone is, no matter whether someone has found love or not, you will always ﬁnd someone or the other, making an attempt to have a little chat.
That’s the true index of people when they let go of all facade and turn to candour. Whoever has said “humans are social animals”, must have probably seen Kolkata before coming to that conclusion !!!
The people play a very interestingly intricate role in sustaining Kolkata, the mother, and like a mother, she keeps what she has close to her heart and keeps us warm.
She proudly upholds her tradition, her various cultures and most importantly what makes her so unique and memorable. She makes us proud to be a part of her creation.
Photographs by Arunita Ganguly
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Arunita is a curious teenager who takes a keen interest in photography, music and technology. She values knowledge and loves analyzing to form opinions. She sticks to her values and ethics but likes getting to know more perspectives to ensure proper progress. She loves her country and her people and strives to create a better and successful self so that she can help society and her people in the right way.