Thursday, July 10, 2008

Recently, when tidying the topmost shelf of my cupboard, I came across a diary I had kept in 1966 (yes I still have it). It was the year I was in the 11th standard in school, the last year of school, when I did my Senior Cambridge exams.
Reading the diary brought back so many memories of school and my growing up days in Calcutta.  It brought back to me so many of my favourite places --School (on Middleton Row), Oxford Book store, which was then a library too and was one of my totally fave places; my piano lessons from a little old Scottish lady, who lived in a small flat near Flury's; the antiques stores on Park Street outside which I window shopped so much; Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, where I sang in the choir; New Market; the Alipore Zoo, so loved, and frequently visited.
Along with these should also be added favourite foods from Cal days--pastries from Flury's; pattice, meat puffs, from Nahum's in New Market; kathi rolls outside New Market; rock candy sticks from New Market (haven't seen them anywhere else); puchhkas from the man outside school or from in front of Victoria Memorial; black salt pieces, carefully wrapped and licked surreptitiously during break; lovely Gujarati food provided by a sweet old couple in school; Kalimpong Dairy farm stuff; Chinese food from somewhere on Park Street or sometimes from Free School Street (still about the best Indian Chinese I've eaten); mishti doi, rasgullas, sandesh, from wherever (can't decide which I like more); what's more here, where I am in Kerala, it's impossible to get authentic versions of any of the above *sigh*.
I was able to go back to Calcutta quite a few times after my children were born, maybe not for the best of reasons (my eldest son used to be taken there to see an orthopaedic doctor), but I still enjoyed myself and my children also got to love some of these foods.  But I haven't been for several years now--maybe around 15 years or more.  I guess I should schedule a trip for myself to see what Kolkata looks like now as against my Calcutta.