- Victoria’s badamvaja – You do not quite get romance unless you have eaten badam vaja(peanuts fried) together at Victoria
- A ride to remember– Try taking a boat ride on the ganga. Yes a row boat. And watch the sun slowly rise. You will believe in god
- The Kumartuli magic – God exists in the details. In the wrinkled hand of the old artisan. Visit this village when they are putting finishing touches to the goddess. As close as you can get to divinity.
- The Durga Puja carnival – Everyone heading to Rio, we have a carnival here. Fiery. Loud. Divine. Magical. Raunchy. Feisty.
- The long list of other pujas – No, we are not really religious. We just have that one trait called ‘Hujug’. (Enthusiasm is the less profane translation)
- Hujug – The birthright of the city. The city gets the Hujug attack over everything – including Iran scoring a goal against USA in Brazil. Do not sneer. We also know Brazil, Iran and USA’s capitals.
- Football – We play it rough. We play it tough. We play football. It is more than a game. It is war.
- Eden Gardens – Dada may have taken his shirt off at Lord’s but it is Eden that is his home-ground. No one cheers like Eden
- The Rock Stars – Nothing to do with WWF. Or Ranvir Kapoor. Rock is where Kolkata solves all of the global problems. Who should be the next president of USA? How can Messi score? Ask the Rock-star
- Bumba da – The man who has played a college kid far longer than half of Kokata’s population has gone to college. Jokes apart, he is not just one of Bengali cinema’s but India’s finest actor.
- Mrs Sen – She still gives teenaged boys butterflies in their stomachs. The daughters have gone places but it is the mom you should still meet
- The Ray legacy – Calcutta (and West Bengal) have given some of India’s finest film makers – Satyajit ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghotok, Rituparno Ghosh, Aparna Sen. Cinema happens here. The rest try.
- Aba(ng)la nari – Abala, did you say? The bong girls are a total antithesis. They are hot, intelligent and keep you guessing. As your mother would warn you ‘Stay Away’.
- Cholchena Cholbena – Kolkata is rebel at heart. It takes a very low trigger to get us on the streets. Yeah not the best work culture but perfects your ability to think of impromptu slogans. And shout ‘Big Brother’ or ‘Big Sister’ down
- The mush – The city cries easily. It takes little to make us sentimental. Tell a kolkatan an emotional story about your dog running away with your neighbour’s. And he will be your friend for life
- Retro Metro – Most people in Delhi and Mumbai were not even born when we rolled our first metro. Grow up, boys!
- Telebhaja – The Kolkata’s street food will keep you shamelessly salivating. And begging for more. We understand.
- The sucrose overdose – The mishtis come in all shapes and sizes. And assault your senses. Combine the lankar boda with the roshogolla. And watch your taste buds go on wild swings!
- The hawkers of gariahat – You will need a bottle of Bisleri and a hat pakha to cool you down after the haggling. But nothing beats the satisfaction as haggling successfully with the hawkers of Gariahat
- Bishleri. Coco Cola – That’s how we pronounce things. We add the h’s and the o’s and make even Shhokti Kopoor sound sweet
- The hippies of Park Street – Punk. Rock. Blues. They don’t sing or swing like this anywhere else
- The jholas of college street – Complemented by thick glasses. And endless bhars of cha. The city stamps its claim on intellect. Almost
- Fuchka – If you conduct a tax raid at these fuchkawalla’s home, you may have a Reliance Fuchka equivalent. If you can beat the queues, you can taste manna.
- The cultural mash-up – The city for all its failings is a warm host. You co-exist for ages without being asked your religion or caste.
- Dada ektu chapun – The city’s capacity for adjustment is legendary. The ‘Ektu Chapun dada’ can pack a football team into an ambassador. Along with the extras.
There are 2 things that the country runs on – josh and padosh. Imagine how dreary our existence would have been if we had no padosi or padosan. No peeping into their homes. No fighting over whose kid is the best. No competition on who has the biggest TV. No wake-up call at midnight asking for shoe polish. And though these may be neighbours from hell, there needs to be a ‘Save the neighbors’ movement. To preserve the last desi thing standing after globalization. Life is dull unless you have neighbours like this
Chand Ka Tukda – The hot girl or boy who lives in the house opposite. Who as part of their teasing game does the morning push-ups or brushes the hair on the balcony. But trust me, they will always like your best friend who just dropped in your place for a day. And you have to spend the rest of your life wat chingyour best friend and the ‘chand ka tukda’ romance on the balcony opposite.
The Sakkar wali aunty – There will always be that one aunty who runs out of sakkar every other day. You are never sure if she really needs the sugar or is again making sure your TV is 1 and a 1/2 inches smaller than hers. Either way your sugar bill beats the electricity bill. Like god said ‘Love your neighbours’.
The sak-karne wali aunty (or uncle) – The species that puts most conspiracy theorists to shame. They spend considerable amount of time snooping on their spouses and Mrs Khanna. Their houses are heavily curtained with a small opening from where they train their periscope and no body steps out of their house without a black tika
The spy kids – The well-informed family that always knows whats happening in the padosh. And keep everyone else informed. If only Mr Singh had listened to their friendly warnings, Humpty would not have eloped with Dumpty. They will know more about you, your non-existent love life, your job, your boss than the NSA could ever know about people on their list.
The naughty kid and the screaming parents – Every moholla has that absolutely intolerable kid who breaks windows, trips people and says ‘Boo’, scares away the chowkidaar and beats up all other kids. You may have forgiven this kid if not for the parents. The thumb rule is the loudness of the parents is exponentially proportional to the naughtiness of the kid. Which will make sure that no one dares point a finger at Babloo.
The ‘Bhrastologer’ – Every padosh has an amateur astrologer who claims to predict your fate with a near perfect accuracy. You hate him from the day he predicted that you will be passed over for promotion again and there is no immediate yog for marriage. You think his is only an act to get the women drooling over him.
The peace-maker – The one elderly ‘sarpanch’ who brokers peace between Baloo’s amma and Guddi’s papa. He is a valuable asset to any padosh- there would have been pitched battles in every moholla otherwise severely straining our inadequate police-force. You would have liked the self-appointed sarpanch if you did not have to endure his sermon on declining values after every fight.
The hell-raiser – The macho boy who raises hell every morning as he starts his new bike. This is after you could not sleep last night because the ‘kewl’ party at his home
The Fling-stones – The grumpy neighbours who are perennially annoyed and are thin-skinned enough to get disturbed by anything.. They will knock your doors loudly at 2 am. And declared they are getting disturbed. By you watching TV on the mute.
The neighborhood romance – The lovey-dovey couple. Who surprises you at the unlikeliest places. The dimly lit parking lot. The terrace. The neighborhood park. You would have endured their ‘coochie-coos’ if your love life did not suck as much.
The ‘Chance pe Dance’ – That one super-enthusiastic man or woman who was born to sing and dance. She will scoop you off your bed on holi, insist you go berserk on Diwali and make sure you dance in each moholla function despite looking ridiculous.
The curious cat – ‘Why haven’t you got married yet?’ ‘When will you get kids?’ ‘How much does your son earn?’ Facing the FBI will be cake-walk after facing your nosey-neighbors.
The cat-owner- – Yes, of course. You love animals too. But hate the large log being late lose you decided to take the rare stroll around the park. Or tripping over the dozen cats who give you nasty grins. All in front of your own front-door.
The ‘Mere paas bangla hai, car hai’ – And you cannot even respond with a ‘Mere paas ma hai’ because that pompous idiot has a pompous mom who goes about decked in diamonds. You suspect those are all artificial diamonds and the money is all black money. Yeah, grapes are sour!