Thursday, May 10, 2007

Calcutta 700029

I was born in North Calcutta and the years I spent there are the ones before the formation of coherent memory. But I would still be able to walk to my kindergarten school (Montessori Shishu Niketan), the market and most of the houses our friends and relatives stayed in. What I cannot do is to give directions or identify addresses simply because I never went anywhere without my mother or grandmother. So, while I still remember exactly where Jyoti Medico, Kesh Karu Saloon and Madhuban Restaurant are, I have no clue of the names of the roads they are located on.

It was in South Calcutta – where we had moved exactly a quarter century ago and I moved out about seven years ago – that I started navigating for myself. It was where I went to school, college and most of my movies within a span of two pin codes. Actually, I had to go a third one for my college.
I spent an inordinately happy time between the four boundaries of Gurusaday Road, Kasba Bridge, Dhakuria Bridge and Kalighat Metro Station. I ventured only sporadically beyond these to go to ‘shaheb-para’ occasionally and college even more occasionally!

And the memories of this part of Calcutta are endless…
* St Lawrence High School, where I spent 12 years of my life, met some of the most remarkable people I know and have only happy memories of.
* Kookie Jar, which is simply THE best confectionary shop in India.
* Priya Cinema, where I enjoyed watching films the most. Be it a terrible Anjaam or super hit Saajan or art house Titli, Priya was celluloid heaven.
* Bedwin, the roadside stall that expanded into a chain and still serves artery-cloggingly good mutton rolls!
* Dover Lane Music Conference, where I spent the most number of sleepless nights willingly.
* South Pole, a hole in the wall on Gariahat Road, which serves such amazing Mutton Kassa that I have to have it every time I go home.
* Lending libraries near Gol Park, which fed me Archies, Asterix and Ludlum in great quantities and never complained when I read full comic books standing in front of their stalls.
* Gupta Video for their Bud Spencer & Terence Hill collection to start with, for having a copy of Citizen Kane and for letting Dito have the cassette he wanted!
* Maddox Square Durga Puja, where the adda sessions seemed to go on for the entire four days of the Puja.
* Most of my friends' houses (Kochi and Bnaru, for example), where innumerable evenings were spent discussing life, universe and everything.

Pin-code 19 was where it started off and 29 is where we stay right now.
“We stay” can obviously be disputed because in the last four-odd years, I have lived in four cities and have had mailing addresses in nine different pin codes. But my ‘Permanent Address’ is still Calcutta 700029.
Wherever I stay for the rest of my life, that one thing is not going to change. The place I call home.

12 comments:

Ricercar said...

mine too - 700029 :)

Aqua said...

OMG kookie jar is MY fav confectionary shop of all time. i compare every confec shop i go to with kookie jar, and obviously find the other confec shop wanting.

Yr cal related posts are awesome!

Rimi said...

Give directions to South Pole.

P.S: completely agree on Kookie Jar.

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

@ Rimi: South Pole is right next to Bambino (an electronics shop at the junction of Hindustan Road and Gariahat Main Road).

Wow... this is the first time I gave that direction in English!

Beside_Yourself said...

700029 it is for me too !!
you have forgotten Campari - or is it deliberate ? I think I will have to go a long way before find their equal.

Beside_Yourself said...

....sorry-typo-before I find their equal..

Diligent Candy said...

:-) Sigh!

Kookie Jar sounds divine...*double sigh*

dipali said...

I'm very new in Kolkata, but managed to attend much of the Dover Lane conference this year- that alone was worth moving to Kolkata for! Wonderful sleepless nights....
And Kookie Jar is awesome!

wafah said...

If i ever get a genetic test done i'm sure i'll find a Calcutta chromosome in it.I've got no connection with this place as such, apart from few relatives in there and i've lived in Calcutta for just 7 days that too 2 years back, but it looks like i've still a hangover of it.
I was perhaps in a depressive state before going to Cal, but it in just 7 days i became completely normal!!! For I had found my long lost smile over there!
These days i'm searching the matrimonial sites to find a decent guy based in Calcutta for myself:)!!
Strange isnt it? but thats what love is about!

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

"the four boundaries of Gurusaday Road, Kasba Bridge, Dhakuria Bridge and Kalighat Metro Station"

We have the same mental home.

J.A.P.

Meghpeon said...

I agree.

This post made me miss home like anything. Calcuttan forever.

Abhishek Mukherjee, BSc MStat said...

700029 as well. We rock!