So we finally made it to our Kolkata Vacation with my folks â€“ something that has been pending (and getting cancelled) for one reason or the other since the last three years.
We took a SpiceJet flight from Pune to Kolkata (via Delhi).
The flight was okay but I somehow felt that the seats were slightly congested. Also noticed the abundance of toddlers and children in the plane which made it a pretty eventful and noisy ride
The flight leaves Pune at 11:15 am â€“ but was 30 minutes late and after an hour and a half stoppage at Delhi which passed quickly â€“ thanks to the â€œThat 70s Show DVDâ€ that Pritika packed in, we were in Kolkatta by 5:30.
The first thing that hits you when you step out of the airport â€“ besides the chilly December wind is the colour of the Taxis! They are all yellow â€“ a kind of ochreâ€™ â€“ which adds charm to the city. Other things that you will noticed in the first 30 minutes of landing in the city will be the famous cycle rickshaws, cycle vans â€“ which are largish platforms on wheels (something like the vegetable vendorâ€™s cart) â€“ but which ferries people and is driven by a person riding a cycle in front.
The other thing which you will probably notice will be the number of sirens. I counted 6 sirens in 30 minutes of landing â€“ 2 for ambulances and 4 for police and â€œbabuâ€ vehicles. Babus here use their lal battis and sirens to very good effect â€“ something which was completely new to me and something which doesnâ€™t happen that often in Maharashtra.
If you are in Kolkata, you just need to taste all the awesome sweets. Kolkata is heaven for sweet lovers and the fare you are promised here will make all the â€œBengali sweetâ€ shops in your non bengali state fade and flicker in comparison. Since landing, I have savoured three types of awesome sweets â€“ something that my youngest aunt had told me to expect. We had a longish, white, dry rosogulla which was as fluffly as clouds. Then later had khejure gude sondesh (sondesh made out of jaggery which is made from dates) and finally some kheer! And this is just the beginning I hear.
Took a walk around the society where my uncle stays and took a picture next to Netaji Subhash Chandra Boseâ€™s bust. Netaji is to West Bengal what Shivaji is to Maharashtra.
PS: Kolkata should be pronounced as Coal-kaaa-taa (with the stress on the kaa instead of the Kol). Most Indians get it wrong. Something I learnt today.