Usually I have a vision regarding what to do upon visiting a different place. Being a sucker for exploring new things, I plan new ways to enjoy my home town too, every time I go back there. That is the enigma of Kolkata, you can never run out of new places to explore. My homies are so creative and inspirational that they always manage to surprise me. Seeing as this blog is named VIBES OF A CALCUTTAN, I should definitely pen down the vibes I am getting right now for my city!
Will you judge me if I say I have not been to it yet? 😅 It is one of my shameful secrets. Being from the homeland of Tagore, I haven’t even been to the place where the man himself was born, grew up and died at the age of 80. I know very little about what to expect, but I will definitely make some video when I go there. Upon calling them, they told they would be closed on 14-15th April, but will be open on the 16th!
The history of Jorasanko Thakur Bari goes back to 1784 when a piece of land was gifted to Nilmoni Tagore on the east side of Chitpur Road after he left his family home. Nilmoni Tagore built a small house at Jorasanko. The house was later expanded by Prince Dwarakanath Tagore, and now it is world-renowned for the contributions of his grandson, Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore. But besides him, there are several illustrious members of the Tagore family, or as we Bengalis say ঠাকুরবাড়ি। I am pretty excited to go and learn firsthand about all of them! There is also a museum on their family history, and how they contributed to the enrichment of our homeland.
OLD CHINA TOWN (TIRETTI BAZAAR)
Apparently the blogs say “You’ll need to get there early as it’s only on from 5.30 a.m. until around 8 a.m. Most of the action happens on Sunday mornings.” I haven’t been there, although I have been in the area for more than 5 years. This only happens with medicos, I tell ya! But now that I know this, Sunday morning itinerary is fixed for Tiretti Bazaar ❤️ Cannot wait to eat the authentic oriental dishes for breakfast! Kolkata has two China Towns, the old one and the new one at Tangra. Many migrants had come from China in the late 18th century to work at the old Calcutta port, because it was a booming trade depot. Gone are those days of entrepreneurship but the culture they brought with them, remained ingrained in the etchings of the old city canvas.
The silence at Tiretti Bazar breaks and comes to life in early morning and satiates the carving for those hot, juicy Chicken Momos, Pork Momos, Shu Mei, Sausages, Prawn wafers…the list goes on endlessly. When in Kolkata, you never run out of food to try, until you get stomach cramps so bad, you are running to the bathroom every 5 minutes! Jokes aside, I look enthusiastically forward to this venture.
I have one destination in mind this time, Fabbrica Della Pizza. You can visit the link here: https://www.zomato.com/kolkata/fabbrica-elgin
The place is well rated and well renowned for all the Italian dishes like Pollo Picante and Neapolitan Style Pizza, Tiramisu Shake, Pepperoni and other dishes whose name I won’t even dare to pronounce. I am planning to take a family member with me to enjoy the best of Italian magic. I would love to make this particular vlog because a lot of you may like seeing the new side of the city, besides the old winding lanes. I have not made one yet, so will need good luck 😇 but this plan can change drastically too, considering I am going to Kolkata in the midst of Bengali New Year and Good Friday. Here’s hoping for it to become a successful endeavour.
BENGALI NEW YEAR OR NOBOBORSHO
The Bengali New Year is on 15th April this year. Typically it is the lunar calendar we follow, and we have 12 ritus throughout the year. Right now, we are in the ritu or season of Basanta (Spring). The year starts with a sweaty Boishakh and that is when I will totally be on board with celebrating the occasion with my family! 15th April will be what we call Poila Boishakh (পয়লা বৈশাখ) or The First Day of Boishakh (Summer). West Bengal follows its traditional Bengali calendar, which adjusts for solar cycle differently than the one used in Bangladesh where the festival falls on 14 April. From childhood, we received new clothes and accessories as part of the ritual. The festival is celebrated with processions, fairs and family time. Notable events include the early morning cultural processions called Prabhat Pheri. These processions see dance troupes and children dressed up with floats, displaying their performance arts to songs of Rabindranath Tagore. The traditional greeting in the New Year is শুভ নববর্ষ (Shubho Noboborsho) which literally means Happy New Year! Also, there is the Panta Bhat, which is a rice-based dish prepared by soaking rice, generally leftovers, in water overnight. It is popularly eaten with Hilsha Fish and other curries, and it is a symbol of the start of the harvest year.
Which brings me to this: Happy New Year to everyone, my friends and followers, my fellow bloggers all over the world! As a Calcuttan, I think it’s long due on my part to show how a Bengali lives and breathes! See you next weekend right here on my blog, with more adventures and storytelling. Keep watching this space!