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Saturday, December 25, 2010
Christmas in Kolkata isn't about looking at snowclad
landscapes or singing carols by the fireplace or other such things that the images from the West have always haunted us with..... thanks to umpteen films and books and television specials, but Kolkata dazzles and shines in its own way at Christmas.
The Christmas revelries in Kolkata obviously dates back to the colonial past which still makes the citizens nostalgic about many a good thing that has had Kolkata (then called Calcutta) basking in the Yuletide merriments.
In my childhood, I remember some of the traditional centreposts
of the city's British heritage still being there and, despite makeovers and evolutionary changes, decorated rather regally.
I am talking about Park Street and its string of eateries
on both sides of the street, the New Market, the entire stretch
from Lindsay Street to Esplanade, the shops in front of Tiger cinema and the Grand Hotel, used to thrill me with their aura and splendour.
For a young child, the Christmas merriments used to be simple
yet plentiful.... watching a movie at the Lighthouse cinema,
or at Metro, or New Empire....
feasting on the scrumptious delights....
laying hands on some cherished toy-cars.... the list goes on.
But nothing can beat the joy of me and my sister finding our socks filled with goodies galore on the morning of Christmas.
I do not till date know how my mother - a far cry from one who would happily imbibe a a typically Western custom - made my Dad a co-conspirator to play Santa Claus.
Christmas makes most of us relish the days gone by.
For most people childhood remains the best part of their life,
and most have a lot of memories to cherish, wishing they could
revisit their childhood and re-live those moments.
I, however, am not too fond of my childhood per se,
but I surely do miss the Christmas merriments now.
They seem like oases of hope and promise, from afar.