Life and Kolkata

Food Stops

Dine on Roof-Top

Winter has finally arrived. The nip is in the air. The strains of Jingle Bells can be heard. Undoubtedly, Kolkata is in her best moods. It is definitely pleasant to be outdoors and enjoy but if the crowd and the dust mak

Culture

First Widow Remarriage

It was December 7, 1856. The Sepoy Mutiny was still some months away. But another revolution was brewing in the neighbourhoods of native Calcutta. On that day (12 Agrahayan, 1263, according to Bengali calendar) every roa

Food Stops

Authentic Chinese

Team WHEELS undertook a mission to discover restaurants serving authentic Chinese dishes in the city. We asked around, particularly those of Chinese origin during our forays to Territi (Tiretta Bazaar) and Tangra. It was

Food Stops

Best 5 Biryanis of Kolkata

Team WHEELS traversed through the length and breadth of the city to rate the best biryanis of Kolkata. The challenging task though came later when the team sat down to shortlist the best five. Team WHEELS chose New Aliah

Culture

Flying High with Kites

It is interesting to note that even early colonial officers recorded about kite flying as a common amusement in their gazette books Vo-katta!” Even a few decades back, this was a familiar cry of exultation break

Nostalgia

Manna Dey City’s balladeer

In the past few decades Kolkata has changed beyond recognition. New glitzy coffee shops have sprung up in shopping malls and among highrises which have replaced the shabby market places, single or double storeyed residen

Food Stops

Bengali food that cuts across borders

Till the 1990s, Bengali food – cooked just like home – was sold by restaurants that were all located in north Kolkata. These restaurants were small (15-40 seaters), close to medical or general colleges (which tradit

Culture

Cinema: When silence was golden

It was July 7, 1896. The people of Bombay woke up to a classified advertisement in the Times of India. Lumière Brothers (Auguste and Louis Lumière) were all set for a show of their Cinmatographe, a collection of snippe

Nostalgia

RODDA CASE – A DARING ROBBERY

Every day hundreds and thousands of people thronging Ganesh Chandra Avenue come across four half bust statues installed opposite Hind Cinema. But they seldom ever pause to think whom these belong to. The busts are of fou

Food Stops

Mocambo: Where nostalgia meets excellence

The Nordmanns – Derek and Angelina – visit Kolkata every autumn and stay at the best hotels in the city, but when it comes to their meals, they prefer not the 5-star-fare but the unique cuisine of Mocambo. It is not

Nostalgia

TAGORE & SWAMIJI – A Bond Hitherto Unknown

The Dutta-household at Simla and Tagore's ancestral residence at Jorasanko were within a short distance but the two illustrious personalities – Rabindranath and Swami Vivekananda - despite growing up in such close prox

Nostalgia

Poila Baisakh

Poila Baisakh is primarily a festivity once associated with the business class among the Bengalis. It was the benias of the foreign rulers who celebrated the Bengali New Year with pomp and gaiety. During the early days o

Culture

Not A Petty Affair

Pets continue to fascinate Kolkatans. Every year dog shows are held at Salt Lake Stadium, Deshbandhu Park and Maidan’s Kennel Club where canines of various sizes take part. Bigger dogs like Great Dane, Mastiff, Afgan H

Nostalgia

FESTIVAL OF COLOURS IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA

Holi or Dol is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun, going by the Bengali calendar. It assumed a greater significance in Bengal since it is also the birthday of the Vaishnava saint, Sri Chaitanya. In B

Nostalgia

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA’S Ties with Kolkata

Swami Vivekananda, another prodigious son of Kolkata spent his whole childhood and youth in the lanes and bylanes of this city which shaped him for his future calling. Not unlike Tagore he was born in an affluent family

Nostalgia

BODY BUILDING: A THING OF PAST?

In one of the most remarkable scenes from Jai Baba Felunath by iconic director, Satyajit Ray, a body builder displayed his muscles to the ace detective and his companions at a hotel in Kashi. It was really funny to watch

Food Stops

Anglo-Indian fare: Colonial Cousins

The Anglo-Indian community is an integral part of Calcutta's cultural heritage. This community is two hundred years old with origins dating back to the arrival of Europeans in India for trade and commerce. A concentratio

Food Stops

Breakfast at Kolkata’s Chinaland

Kolkatans swear by Chinese cuisine and I am no exception to this rule nurturing a fetish for authentic Chinese delicacies since my college days. It was this passion that led me one fine Sunday morning through the bylanes

Culture

REVELRY – The Babu Way

estivities including Durga Puja in the houses of businessmen or neo rich traders in the city in the 18th and 19 century were incomplete without night long shows of kabigan, akhrai, half akhrai, tarja, tappa, kirtan, jatr

Culture

Durga Puja in ‘Babu’ Calcuta

Durga Puja owes its popularity in and around Calcutta to the coming of the British and the advent of Babu Culture in the city. Though it all begun by Laxmikanta Mazumder of Barisha in 1610, the opulence associated with t

Culture

A rocking Adda

Noted British philosopher Bertrand Russell had once described social gossip as comprising “two or three people, usually like minded, discussing anything under the sun and completely ignorant of time, cause and effect.

Food Stops

KITCHENS OF BENGAL THE ART OF ZEMINDARI CUISINE

It is often said while others eat to live, Bengalis live to eat. The heart and soul of Bengali cuisine are of course, fish and rice - two auspicious elements which are not only part of the daily fare but also of our life

Nostalgia

TAGORE & THE TEST OF TIME

On 13 March Rabindranath wrote: "Aji hote satabarsha pore ke tumi poricho boshi mor kabitakhani koutuhal bhore (A hundred years hence, who are you reading my poem with such inquisitiveness?)" The poet was only 35 years o

Culture

Bengali Calendar: A THING OF PAST?

In the past Poila Baishak or Bengali New Year was more associated with traders who wished to begin the year on an auspicious note and definitely, with a new ledger book. However, with changing times Kolkatans have begun

Culture

Before The Pigeons Fled

Baiting, bird fighting and kite flying had once been the fashionable leisure pursuits of the Babus of Calcutta who showcased their wealth shamelessly while pursuing their pastimes. Bulbul fights and pigeon races were par

Nostalgia

A Season for Music

Kolkata's winter cultural calendar is incomplete without nightlong Classical music conferences. The city does boast of a rich heritage as Calcutta was the only place where men from different walks of life could listen to

Nostalgia

Re-making Music

Purists often frown at the ongoing trend of “remake” and “remix” of original popular songs but its exponents are even tinkering with Rabindrasangeet. The public has not been particularly aghast. Tarun Goswami del

Nostalgia

Melodies of the Past

The fifties and the sixties were truly the golden era of music in Bengal. Television was still some years away and musical soirees and live concerts were the popular source of entertainment. Music lovers eagerly waited f

Communities

Crossing the line

Leila and Bano have been on the dance floor for the last couple of hours, dressed in ghagra choli and salwar kameez respectively. They have garish make-up on and have been gyrating to the beats of popular Hindi and Bhojp

Culture

Celestial Monologues

Few Bengalis can imagine life without a ‘panjika'. The pink book has ruled heads and hearts alike from time immemorial. Team Wheels delves deep into the Bengali psyche and its association with the 'panjika’ Almost e



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