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The North Calcuttan Euphoria – Chop, Muri, Cha, Hoyejak Adda!

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My grandpa says, North Calcutta has its own essence, smell, glamour, charm, that adds up to a cosy feeling. Trust me, being a typical modern Bengali girl raised in Jadavpur, I didn’t believe it. To me, it was always like more of a nostalgic feeling usually portrayed in the old Bengali movies.

Most of the times, I see dadu (grandpa) spending lone time glancing through the old photographs. He’s always enthusiastic to speak of his college days, dalan addas, chayer dokane bheer, mess-bari fun etc. Sometimes I wonder what is so attractive about those days that he keeps on discussing them every time.

Dadu’s 85th birthday was just a week later and I got busy planning a surprise. Suddenly, an idea flashed my mind. I wanted to make him relive the moments that he has immortalized in his memoryscape. To get ideas, I decided to binge watch some old cinematic classics.

Image Courtesy: Chitro

Till date, when we try to find a Bengali movie online, especially the old ones, even torrents fail. Hence, one of my friends suggested Hoichoi TV. Oh! I forgot to mention, like most of the population, I’m a Netflix devotee. As soon as I subscribed Hoichoi, I was like – wow! What an extensive collection of movies, songs, series’, shorts, etc. It helped me execute the golden plan for my golden-ager.

I started with Sare Chuattor and ended up watching Basanta Bilap, Chaarmurti, Indrani, Saptapadi, etc., one after the other. It was worth-watching a generation so vibrant and vivacious. Next day, my main job began. I invited all the close friends of dadu, finalised the venue – an old house with dalan or a rock in North Calcutta, arranged for telebhaja, muri, cha, old magazines, pictures, and was eagerly waiting for his birthday.

Finally, the day arrived and as usual, Dadu wasn’t ready to travel. On much request, he agreed but wasn’t interested at all in learning where we were going. Gradually when we crossed Central Calcutta and took a turn towards college street, his eyes brightened. We halted near an old house and he shouted, ‘areh eto Shotyokinkarer dera’. He rushed inside like a 5-year kid to find all his favourites clapping to greet him. Baffled with emotion, dadu started dancing some typical move and everybody joined. I’ve never seen the golden-agers being so cool.

Old memories mixed with emotions, tears, fun was just like #majormissing. No phones required, no guitars to add charm, no play-station games, no alcohol to seep in the mood. All that enlivened the adda was the awe-inspiring bond and love for each other that all of them had within. The open-throat singing, the loud laughs, the romantic stories made me connect to the scenes of the movies that I had watched a week before in Hoichoi.

Everything seemed so real, so fresh, so charming, so cosy. I’m thankful to my dadu to help me be an awesome witness to the bygone era. Did you ever get a glimpse of the past? We’re eager to listen to your story…

Feature Image Courtesy: Outlook India

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16 Thoughts to “The North Calcuttan Euphoria – Chop, Muri, Cha, Hoyejak Adda!”

  1. Mohana

    Nice one…Wish we could relive those beautiful moments 🙂

    1. Lekhon

      Absolutely! Wish we seriously could.

  2. Sourav Barui

    Nicely written. As if Walking down the streets of that old Calcutta that I have always known…Elegance, Flavour, Romanticism of Calcutta, for me, is resricted only to the Uttar Kolkata.

    1. Lekhon

      Indeed it is, even for me it is restricted to Uttar Kolkata and its Shohortoli

  3. Sandip Barui

    A collage of narrow dimly lit lanes, balconies with red-white stripped towels hanging on wires, hand-pulled ricksaw, kids playing cricket with rubber-deuce ball and a youth with jhhola-bag (presumably a mastermoshai) wearing kurta and glasses just flashed in front of my eyes while reading this as if I am peeping into a Kaleidoscope. I really appreciate this great piece of writing that made me revisit my past momentarily. Please keep up the good work.

    1. Lekhon

      So beautifully expressed. Thank you so much. Feel free to share your thoughts and emotions related to Kolkata as well. We would love to publish your writeup.

  4. There’s uncertainty in life, but nothing beats the essence of your hometown. Most definitely not mine, but home to many, Kolkata will always be the backdrop of a million tales ready to strike to our emotions at all times.

    1. Lekhon

      Of course, it is. I’m sure you feel the same for your hometown.

  5. Indrani Banerjee

    Beautifully written ! Captured the essence of Kolkata in it’s truest form ! A perfect blend of traditions and modernism, that’s how we Bengalis identify ourselves !! I used to live in South Kolkata and study in a North Calcutta college so I visualized the shift or the transition vividly on a regular basis !!

    1. Lekhon

      Thank you. Feeling good that we could connect with you emotionally.

  6. Suvajit

    Excellent piece! A major throwback to the era of Marx, Lenin, Satyajit, adda, cha and a social consciousness that allowed human beings to care for each other without being pretentious or cynical and to find unadulterated fun even in the simple pleasures of life.

    1. Lekhon

      Thank you. Even your write up evokes that wistful nostalgia related to our city. Feel free to share your views, writeups, thoughts with us. We would love to read and publish it as well.

  7. S Ghosh

    In north calcutta people r so friendly I have seen many of them have meet each other in a cha r dokan regularly just to give adda. many people outside of bengal think that we people waste our precious time in adda. I have told them u people wl never understand value of life and moments comes from an adda if u hv never given adda..

    1. Lekhon

      Adda is life! Cheers to all we Bengalis!

  8. Gourab Bhattacharya

    Every city has it’s own charisma and without doubt Kolkata has it’s too. I feel it’s our generation’s responsibility to highlight those charms of our city which makes it unique and we are blessed to be grown up in such a city which posses so many uniqueness.
    Thus I feel you have portrayed it very well and I hope you will continue to do so because it’s important for us and the upcoming generations to understand the fact that for a true kolkatan, a “matir bharer cha” is far more close to heart than a selfie in CCD.
    Cheers!

    1. Lekhon

      So true! Would love to see a write-up from your end related to your beloved city.

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