KPR's Blog

Oh, Calcutta

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on June 13, 2021

In our decade old life in Calcutta in 70s/80s the following features of Calcutta have fascinated us.

  • Calcuttans were quite hospitable and warm. Unlike the other metros the people in Calcutta used to come forward and welcome new comers. Our  neibhours were always at our beck and call. Wherever we lived we were comfortable due to this attitude of Calcuttans.
  • Another unique of Calcutta is the electric tram which used to be a convenient transport at low fares. You can board a running tram with ease. There used to be first class and second class compartments. Trams used to be very ideal transport to get familiarize with the places.
  • The new market in the central Calcutta was similar to the shopping mall of today. Everything under one roof. When we enter the new market some labourers with big basket on their shoulders used to follow us ( reminding us the railway coolies coming around us when train stops at a major station.) Once we select a fellow, we can put the items we buy in the basket. He will carry and follow us while we move. Finally these goods would be loaded in our vehicle for a paltry sum.
  •  When we go to parks to unwind we see young boys approaching with box of candies ( home made fruit lozenges of different shapes). They deliver candies for a small sum  in a piece of paper for nibbling . This is similar to the peanuts we see anywhere.
  • Another unique and heart wrenching scene was the hand pulled rikshaws being used every where. Auto rikshaw was not available in the Calcutta city on those days and people used to avail these rikshaws for small distance travel. We could see lot of such rikshaws in railway/bus stations, markets etc. They used to charge only Re.0.75 to Rs.1.25 depending on the distance. On rainy days they were more popular as these rikshaws moved with ease in water logged roads.
  • The street food used to be very tasty and hygienic in Calcutta and most of the people used to come and eat these from street vendors in the evenings. Many big people used to enjoy these chats, made hygienically in front of them.

Even after four decades we fondly remember these specialties of Calcutta. Calcutta gave us lot of fond memories/experiences.

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