Monday, November 22, 2010

City of Joy

On 13th November, I completed my 4th year at Cognizant Kolkata. I started my professional career from this city of joy 4 years back. This city is often called as City of Joy, though I have never really understood if the word ‘Joy’ implies the real joy or it was name of any other person who once lived in this city. Kolkata like any other city of India has its distinct features which strikes your senses the moment you step into the city. There are distinct characteristics for Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, but there is something very unique about Kolkata that puts it just a spot ahead of the other prime metros of the country.
The first distinct feature that struck me the moment I stepped out of the Howrah junction was the authentic cleanliness of the city. I was much excited about seeing the great Howrah Bridge, but the aura and aroma around station just left me spell bounded. The second feature which drew my attention was the long queues; there is a queue for everything in Kolkata, a queue for getting a Cab, for autos, for food and almost every possible thing. I have never found such orderly queues anywhere else in India, though the other cities are surviving without it and surviving well but still they should learn.
In most of the cities I have resided earlier, I found people avoiding confrontations in case a fight like situation was created. They resorted to peaceful settlement of issues with 6, 7 people carrying rods, chains, baseball bat, and hockey sticks just for safety purpose. But in Kolkata I found real brave men they take their battle then and there with high decibel dialogues exchanging on the spot, though most of the times the fight is limited to verbal assault yet it lingers on for good time to be enjoyed, unlike other cities where matters get settled within 10 mins and rest of the issues to be solved at hospital. The men of Kolkata however know how to respect women as they never utter a single word if their wives, girl friends, or moms are present. Chivalry isn’t dead in this country isn’t it? Women’s rights are exercised best in this part of country. It is the women that do most of the talking here in Kolkata.
In our cities we have public holidays and National Holidays, In Kolkata we have Bandh Holidays. Imagine that in a working week day suddenly you do not want to go to office, if your stars are with you and few good men in the town thinks like you, it might be your lucky day to take a nap at home. Where else in world you get free holidays like this? Another very different aspect of the city is efficiency of the local administrative bodies. The works like mending drainage system, construction of roads, fixing of foot paths etc. In order to expedite these tasks they start constructing road on both left and right lanes. Innovative isn’t it?
The best and the most distinct feature is however the food habits of Kolkata. Once a great cook said that food should be surprising and unless you have it in your mouth you should be unable to predict the real taste. I guess he said it when he was visiting Kolkata. The thing which is sold as a sweet is actually not sweet (sandesh), there are only two kind of sweets Rosogolla and others, Pulao will be sweeter then the Sandesh. Biryani will have potato (a full palm sized boiled potato), Non Veg food will be accompanied by Dal, one or two vegetables, sweets, chatni, papads etc. Biryani will be eaten without any side dish. White can be the color of your gravy. All these (I am missing some points: though intentionally) characteristics makes this place unique in one way or the other.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here in Kolkata because I feel myself to be the person in the least tension coz everyone around me says only one thing throughout the day ‘Prochur Chaap Aache’. Even the task like buying a box of 6 tennis balls is tedious here. It is another thing that we get 30 – 40 tennis balls at the nearest grocery store in our towns.