"Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it. " ~ Mahatma Gandhi


Kolkata: Character & Charm

Romola Butalia, Editor, India Travelogue, shares her impressions of the city of her birth.

Calcutta, or Kolkata, as it has been re-named, is where it all began for me. It is the city of my birth, my childhood, my school days. For me it will always be a city of warmth, of friendship and of nurturing. I have since been at an objective distance from Calcutta, so neither nostalgia nor unresolved emotions colour my perspective of the city.

It has many flaws, but lack of character and emotions are not among them. It is a giant megapolis that has long struggled to cope with it's economic deficiencies and infra-structural shortcomings. It is not a city of wealth nor even of prosperity. It is the city of the middle-class...of the bhadralok (gentleman).

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Freedom From Fear

In Calcutta, ladies, children, the aged and the infirm are still a privileged class...and in a bus, a conductor will always announce to the driver to take care when one disembarks. People still have the time to give a stranger directions, and the inclination to stop and chat with one. The 'adda' or chat is what the Bengali thrives on. The concept of 'para' or neighbourhood as a focal point of living remains undiminished. The Bengali values intellect before money, and decades after still revels in the glory of it's poet son Rabindranath Tagore while thinking that Satyajit Ray is the only film-maker worth his salt. If Marxism is still alive anywhere, it is in Bengal.

Calcutta is a city of deprivation and of humanity, it is a city of poverty and of warmth ...it is after all where Mother Teresa made her home, among the poorest of the poor. It is a city that pulsates with life, with hope and with a certain sensitivity. It is a city with a heart.

How To Get There

Calcutta is a major railhead and is well-connected to the rest of the country.

An international airport, Calcutta is connected to most parts of the world by several major airlines as well as Air India. Within India, the Indian Airlines and other domestic airlines link the city with other major cities in the country.

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.