22 July 2006

Life between meals

Mumbai problems aren’t matters of great concern for Kolkata. And, why should they be? Kolkata has a life of its own. It’s a place far removed from the hassles of Mumbai such as those faced by Mumbaikars everyday (for instance, distance), or those faced by Mumbaikars every now and then (disturbance due to bomb blasts). Kolkata is a closely-knit peaceful congregation of (mostly) Bengalis relaxing over cups of tea, until it’s time for lunch or dinner – whichever comes first, or next. Yes sir, Kolkata is a relaxed life between meals.

Kolkata loves to eat – and it shows. Meet a friend from Kolkata and before you know it, you’re enjoying a snack or a meal with him or her. Originally a Bengali from Kolkata, I already shared this appetite for life that people of Kolkata have. But, I was re-introduced to its overwhelming power this week when I returned to this city after eleven odd years. Ever since I arrived, I’ve been eating and eating. My friends are glad to have me on board and treat me to a huge gourmet spread of the best Bengali cuisine – and along with it, Bengali culture and hospitality.

So much so that I’ve actually had to rearrange my work schedule around meals and mealtimes. It’s quite amazing really. I now realise what I had been missing for so many years.

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