Most of us grew up when Kolkata was still called Calcutta. A lot of the things that made our childhood in the city legendary have been lost to time & modernity. Here we reminisce about the Calcutta of the 90s where we grew up into the Bongs of today!
1. We all knew “Ikir Mikir Cham Chikir” by heart and loved playing this finger game with anybody and everybody.
2. A regular day was incomplete without the “bishesh bishesh songbad” – the local Bengali news at 7:00 pm sharp on Regional Doordarshan (DD7)
3. “ Loadshedding ” was a state of emergency in every household especially during the summers and the sole rescuer was “Hurricane” kerosene lamp
4. “Anandamela” was our Bible, we eagerly waited for ‘Archies, Gablu,Tintin, Kaka-Babu, Pandab Goyenda’ and many more.
5. Every neighbourhood “Para” had a club whose members were always at your door asking for donations (chanda) to organize an endless list of activities.
6. The one advice that every parent gave to their kids when they came up with petty troubles “Bhalo kore pora-shona koro, sab thik hoye jabe” ,(Study hard every thing else will fall into place).
7. The most coveted shopping destination was New Market, Treasure Island and Shriram Arcade & we loved to take a ride in the transparent capsule lift.
8. There was a constant debate between Khadim’s Vs Sreeleathers for winning the title of the most fashionable footwear brand. But school shoes were always from Bata (Naughty Boy anyone?).
9. The coolest hangout for after school pizza and ice creams was Scoop by the Hooghly river.
10. FLURYS & NAHOUM’S were the meccas for pastries, cream rolls and birthday cakes. Monginis and Sugar N Spice were the cheaper alternatives.
11. We all loved travelling by Metro and go up and down the escalators multiple times.
12. The two most prominent contenders for your dad’s attention on Sunday mornings were ‘The Statesman‘ and ‘The Teleghraph‘.
13. On an average Sunday morning if you asked any kid ‘Where’s your father?’. The most common answer was “Baba Bajare Gechhe, Ekkhuni chole ashbe”
14. Your Mom looked forward to trips to Dhakshineshwar or Kalighat. These trips were a must before the all important exams.
15. We loved traveling by Trams and equally despised getting into a minibus, where finding a seat was much like a game of rugby.
16. The month of December and January were very hectic since we attended picnics almost every weekend, “Parar picnic, Family picnic, Dad’s office picnic, School picnic…….Phew!”.
17. NICCO PARK and AQUATICA were the definitions of fun filled summer vacations. And if you had the annual membership card, you were literally a celebrity in your school!
18. Puri and Digha were like second homes to us since no vacation ended without a visit to either of the two.
19. We loved going to College Street to buy second hand books (Fiction/Classics/syllabus, you just name it) which were damn cheap (e.g.. – a little thumbed Sidney Sheldon would cost 50 & a little more haggling could take it down to 40!).
20. New Empire, Metro, Lighthouse & Globe were the theaters we all visited to watch the latest Hollywood flick.
21. It was an annual ritual to visit the “Book fair” in Maidan.
22. We were never bored of the Victoria Memorial or Birla Planetarium or watching the light and sound shows over and over and over again.
23. There was this lady who was called “BASHUN-WALI” (Utensil wali) who came to your place from time to time to sell utensils in exchange of old clothes & what followed was a passionate haggling match with your mum.
24. And finally, KOLKATA was still called CALCUTTA…Oh Calcutta!
These were the few of our favorites things from the Calcutta of the 90s. Tell us yours.
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