Do you know there are unlimited joys of growing up in Kolkata?
Those who live know why it is hard to leave behind the city.
In this blog post, I am going to share why I miss staying in Kolkata and why you should visit Kolkata at least once in your life.
I love being a bong (Bengali); there are so many things I love being a Bengali myself. If you continue to read this article, you will come to know many things about me.
Though financially, Kolkata is way behind the rest of India’s state due to political disorders, which makes thousands of young people migrate out in search of decent jobs.
But historically, the state has so much story to tell. If you read about the history of Bengal, you will be in awe of this state.
I have spent 25 years of my childhood in Bengal; my hometown is situated in a small town outside the city. Even though I am staying out of Bengal for 6 years now, I still miss many things about the city.
The Joys of Growing Up in Kolkata –
There isn’t a person who resides in Kolkata and hasn’t been to Maidan. It is one of the largest open fields/parks located in the heart of the city, stretches along the Hoogly river in the west to Park Street.
It is one of those places where you can spend your long hours uninterrupted hanging out with friends or just sitting alone watching people.
You can get a clear glimpse of Victoria Memorial. Especially if you take an early morning stroll in the park, it feels so great as it cleanses your heart and soul.
If you are a photography enthusiast, you can capture astonishing raw images of Kolkata street and various activities of people.
Maidan can be counted as a favorite spot for the college-goers as they love to hangout and spend time with their friends just by sitting in the ground for hours.
You will see many street food stalls lying across the place and hawkers selling budget-friendly items that will lure you to check out.
I have been to so many places but haven’t found a place to live like Maidan.
Indian Museum is one such great thing in Kolkata of which we are always proud of.
Founded in 1814, it preserves our heritage and has a massive collection of armors, skeletons, Mughal historical facts, paintings, sculptures, ornaments, and much more.
It will take you around 4-5 hours to complete the tour inside the museum.
The museum is very well preserved and maintained by the government and people love to go there during holidays with kids especially.
I went only once, but it is memorable because I went with my whole friend group and I vividly remember how learning the tour was for me.
Puja Hopping During the Grand Durga Puja
Any Bengali individual who resides outside the city will always miss the four days of the Durga Puja celebration terribly.
Durja Puja celebration in Bengal is indescribable. The celebration is massive, and Bengalis can’t dream of a year without the Durga Puja celebration.
The four days of the puja is the busiest of the year, I believe. It’s no work and only fun days for the people like us, and these four days give the best business to all the food and street hawkers.
Been able to celebrate Durga Puja in my hometown is one of the best joys of growing up in Kolkata.
We love buying new clothes for these four auspicious days, we love having street food that rules every Bengali heart, and we love pandal hopping with friends and family.
Digha is a Mandatory Trip for Every Middle-class Family
For every middle-class family in Kolkata, Digha is the most budget-friendly travel destination to go. Since it takes only 4-5 hours, it is the nearest family travel destination.
People usually love taking road trips with family and friends.
Going to college street has always been my favorite thing to do. It’s a huge location for the booklovers. You will get every book on the earth on every subject here in College street.
Even if you don’t buy books, one can roam around the place and check out the small bookstores.
There are a few book stalls that are very old and popular. This is an iconic place indeed, and there is no such place in the entire country like College Street in Kolkata.
The Kolkata Coffee House has a beautiful traditional history that speaks of its people and their stories from the past.
The Coffee house is a beautiful hangout spot for everyone, irrespective of age. They can sit for hours and enjoy authentic Kolkata food.
I remember how I used to love visiting the place with my friends every time I went to College street to buy books.
When someone talks about sweets, it has to be ‘sweets of Bengal.’
Bengal is popular for its amazing collection of sweets. Though people know only about Rosgolla, so many other varieties of sweets are only available in Kolkata.
We Bengalis love having sweets on every occasion. This is something I miss having while staying outside Kolkata.
Jhalmuri & Puchka
When it comes to street food, Kolkata always stands. Jhalmuri and Puchka is something that every Bengali loves to have in the evening.
Jhalmuri is a very basic evening snack served at every household in the evening. Puchka is the most loved street food in Kolkata. It is cheap and extremely delicious to have.
Staying away from hometown makes me miss both the food item. Though Puchka, aka Panipuri, is available at every corner of the country, it tastes different everywhere.
Post-Covid’s situation has changed. People now avoid eating ‘Puchkas’ at the roadside; instead, they prefer to buy the Golgappas from the store and make the stuffing at home.
PC Sorcar’s Magic Show
Almost every kid in Kolkata has visited PC Sorcar’s magic show in awe. Likewise, I have also visited and watched him performing the magic tricks in awe. It made me believe in the existence of magic in the universe as a kid.
Now that I have a toddler, I want him to enjoy the same, but the scenarios aren’t the same. PC Sorcar has taken retirement, and he no longer performs his magic tricks for the audience.
Moreover, it is saddening that kids these days enjoy more playing video games in the digital world.
A Faint Memory of Kohinoor Circus
I have a faint memory of attending the Kohinoor & Gemini Circus in my hometown, where I went with my parents.
I was probably ten years old maybe, and watching a circus in an open field with a massive tent was so astonishing for me.
I remember sitting on the bench beside my mother and watching the animals performing with their masters.
I now feel it was an entirely different world where I grew up. Today, in the 21st century, hardly any kid has ever watched a circus since the government has put banned it.
Adda at the Bank of Ganga Ghat
The word ‘Adda’ means chatting with friends. We Bengalis love ‘adda,’ we can sit and talk for long at any random topic.
All we need is a cup of tea and a few friends to hang out.
Ganga ghat, where the word; ghat’ means ‘bank,’ and the bank of the river is ideal for every youngster to hang out.
My husband and I love sitting at the stairs of the riverside that we have in our hometown. It’s quiet and feels good to be there for an hour or so.
Alipur Zoo is a Must on Every Winter Vacation
Alipur Zoo is the only zoo we have in Kolkata where every year during the winter vacation, i.e., in December, it receives a huge flock of people from distant places.
Usually, for every kid of a middle-class family going to the Alipur Zoo during the winter vacation is a must.
As a kid, I loved going there with my parents every alternate year just to see the animals. But as I grew older, I started disliking the place because of how the zoo authority kept the animals without much care.
Tea in Maatir Bhaar (Tea served in clay cup)
Bengalis are extremely fond of ‘tea’ and ‘sweets.’ Tea is a must beverage to have daily at least twice a day. But when we sip tea from the ‘maatir bhaar,’ i.e., clay cup, it gives different pleasure.
Usually, you can find serving tea in a clay cup at any roadside tea stall.
I have been to so many places in India, never found anyone serving tea in a clay cup. Uniquely it can only be seen in Kolkata, and I terribly miss that feeling sometimes.
People in Kolkata love to have tea from the roadside tea stalls.
Ilish Maach with Khichuri During Rainy Day
The common term for ‘Ilish Maach’ is ‘Hilsa,’ and this fish is specifically can only be seen in the river of Ganges delta in Bengal.
If any Bengali says he/she doesn’t like Hilsa, then that person isn’t a true bong from the heart.
Hilsa has a unique kind of taste and aromatic smell that tastes even better if served with ‘khichdi’ during the rainy season.
The fish is a little expensive as you will find it in the market only during the rainy season. But it’s worth the money.
Arsenal Biryani for all the Biryani Lovers
Kolkata biryani is different from the rest because they add a big piece of potato along with the biryani rice and meat.
There are several old biryani restaurants in Kolkata; each is popular for its unique flavor and taste. You can’t say Arsenal’s Biryani is better than Haji’s; they all are the best and serve the best quality.
Even though I have tasted Lucknowi Biryani, Mughal Biryani, Hydrabadi Biryani, my heart always says ‘Kolkata Biryani is the best.
Undeniable love for Kathi Roll
I have an undeniable love for Kathi roll, and I can’t resist the taste of it. It’s so delicious, and it’s saddening for me that I haven’t tasted a single kathi roll so yummy outside Bengal.
If you really want to have a supreme taste of Kathi Roll, you must check out the roadside stalls in Gariahat.
A Walk Through the Lanes of Kumartoli
Kumartoli is a wonderful place with narrow lanes connecting the main road; if you walk through the lanes, you will see artists making idols from scratch at peace.
This is one of the joys of growing up in Kolkata, where you can see and enjoy the idols in the making. You can also capture the raw images of the art.
I believe idol-making with clay is an extremely talented profession. They deserve much more respect and rewards from the government and community.
I loved going to Kumortoli before the Durga Puja days started. It’s an amazing place to take a stroll; if you ever visit Kolkata, do not skip going there.
Special Sunday Morning Breakfast -Lucchi & Cholar dal
Luchi and Cholar dal cooked by my mother is the most pleasing food item to have on a Sunday morning.
It’s rich, delicious, and filled with mother’s love. Staying out from my hometown makes me miss my mother more, but also, I can’t make this recipe better than her.
Saraswati Puja Vs. Valentine’s Day
Saraswati Puja is also called Vasant Panchami, which is celebrated in different parts of the country.
In Bengal, it is celebrated in honor of the goddess Saraswati when all the youngsters and kids wear traditional clothes and celebrate the day in enjoyment.
In Bengal, we also call it valentine’s Day as young ones propose to their beloved and hope to get accepted.
Overall, it is a day filled with joy and happiness.
Seasonal Biye Bari Khawa (Wedding parties)
I love going to wedding parties, especially Bengali wedding occasions, it is the best for the foodies.
As one can get to eat delicious food items starting from starters to main course and deserts free of cost, as much you want.
I happen to attend a Bengali wedding party in 2015, and it was the last.
Ever since I haven’t had the opportunity to attend one, Bengali wedding parties focus more on following the Bengali traditions and serving the best quality of authentic Bengali dishes.
The above are all the reasons for the joys of growing up in Kolkata for me. I hope I could live in my hometown while continuing with my professional duties.
Unfortunately, the state government isn’t doing anything good for the upliftment of job opportunities in the city.