Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bong Connection

Her name is Calcutta. Does the word conjure images of quintessential intellectuals, the juicy Roshogolla and mishti doi? No. Calcutta has grown far beyond that. It’s the Calcutta of the tech savvy, swanky mall hopping and hip swinging generation. It’s a new Calcutta which has shrugged off its images of “bangaliana”.

Let’s talk about a different breed of Kolkatans. The “Sector 5” Kolkatans or do I say the new age Kolkatans. Every morning as I start for sector 5, I get to see a new Calcutta. The shuttle takes us to this “Land of Oz:” where you can get to see all of them everywhere.

They come out in the morning wearing their tags heading for the never land. The car halts in Sector 5. And bingo here you are…. is it Dallas, Bangalore or Hyderabad? No it’s our very own Kolkata. All over its swanky plush high-rises, smart tech savvy office goers and everywhere there’s an expression of monotony. Actually “being formal” is the code.

Throughout the day they spend their “Microsoft” lives in front of that big fat box. As the day gets over the techies come out. Waiting for the shuttles they have their earplugs on so that the voices don’t reach out to them.

In the weekend you can get to see the new age Kolkatans. It’s not the Flury’s or Nandan for them. It’s the Inox and the City Centre. Come to any of these glittering malls and multiplexes you can spot them. Food tastes better if it’s Mc. Donald’s, KFC or Pizza Hut. And if you wish to try out some “Bengali” stuff, well you can trust the master chef Bhojhohori and Oh Calcutta to bring in that “Bengali” flavor in to your lives.

Junk food movies disc and then back home. They buy the tickets; watch a film head for a nightclub and the weekend is over again. Literature and Bongs have a close association. They display dusty Tagore on their book shelves, read One Night at a call center and praise Chetan Bhagat as the world’s best author. Movies appeal to them only if it’s fast and programmed. Murder scores over Motorcycle Diaries and Golmaal scores over Ganashatru. They also go for shopping the daily groceries at C3 or food mart. From branded vegetables to branded emotions, they have it all.

Somewhere this Calcutta seems more like Bangalore, Hyderabad or Mumbai. It’s not about spending your days over cups of coffee and raising a storm. It’s not about strumming the guitar at the Jhilpar or just taking a walk through the by lanes of Shyambazzar it’s all about joining the bandwagon.

Coffee House is still there only carrying its age old but ‘better-forgotten’ legacy. CCD is the new mantra. The cobwebs of 36 Chowringhhee Lanes and the rooms in Bow Barracks lie deserted as it’s totally ‘down-market’. Nahoums is a passé and Biscotti has taken over. The city does not wake up to the age old Akasvani tune but it’s the new age “good morning Calcutta” from the over friendly RJs who have taken up the job.

Welcome to this new city which swears by pizzas and not mishti doi, by sushi and not Ilish Mach and by Inox and not Nandan. The city has gone through a magic makeover in just a few years. From the Bangali Babuana it now boasts of a Bong Connection.

Somebody had said variety is the spice of life. And voila we are all spiced up right now. And infact I love every bit of it, I love every change but desperately cling on to every passing memory as this is the place which I call home. And wherever I am in this world I wish “the country road always takes me to my Home My Calcutta”.


Bogged said...

I agree with the every bit...sitting here in a corner in london ... with the cold wind by my side in this "shorot kaal! "i feel like going home to Kolkata....and you are making me home-sick lady!!!

Desire to be a blue stocking! said...

"From branded vegetables to branded emotions, they have it all," great, awesome, amazing! Seems that you have captured the thoughts and put it on paper which conservative and true Kolkata lovers have it in their mind. This is a "masterpiece" as I call it!