|From top going clockwise: Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Central Kolkata, Howrah Bridge, Kolkata tram, Vidyasagar Setu Bridge|
Kolkata (also known as Calcutta) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly river, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port as well as its sole major riverine port.The word Kolkata derives from the Bengali term Kolikata, the name of one of three villages that predated the arrival of the British, in the area where the city eventually was to be established; the other two villages were Sutanuti and Govindapur. While the city's name has always been pronounced Kolkata or Kolikata in Bengali, the anglicised form Calcutta was the official name until 2001, when it was changed to Kolkata in order to match Bengali pronunciation. Kolkata is also nicknamed as "The City of Joy" and "The Cultural Capital of India".
Kolkata was the first time I was away from home. After completing my twelfth standard, I went away to Kolkata for my undergraduate course. It was also the first time I stayed in a hostel. I spent four years in the city. Studied for three years and worked for another.
Kolkata is a city for every strata of the society. It has something to offer to everyone. It is a city of food. I did not used to like sweets. But in Kolkata I developed a slight sweet tooth. Among all biriyani, Kolkata biriyani is the best. Chinese food and rolls are available there in all nooks and corners. And they taste yum everywhere. Kolkata golgappas (also known as pani puri and phuchka) are the best. Kolkata is quite green as a city. In summer, even if the days are very hot and humid, there is a guaranteed breeze in the evenings. Kolkata is a historically and culturally vibrant city.
I shall always be partial to Kolkata, for it has given me uncountable good memories, experiences and lessons. In this city, I learned to be responsibly independent. Here I had my first job. Away from home in this city, my sister and I became soul sisters. And here I fell in love.
I met Az (my husband) in college. Kolkata is his hometown and he has grown up here. Even though his family is originally from the state of Bihar, his paternal grandfather migrated to this city as a young man. He misses the city terribly. We hardly visit the city now as the family is not really there anymore. But we do talk of going back to Kolkata someday and live in the city of our true joy.