North Kolkata is the poor cousin of its South or Central counterparts while it comes to modern lifestyle. It still doesn't have a shopping mall, a multiplex, a new age restaurant/ bar. It got its first food court (A downmarket one though) incl. its first coffee shop a few weeks back at Star Theatre. It has so far been sporting its traditional, conservative image though wings of change have touched (If not swept) its new generations on a mental context for sure. Affordability cannot be an issue as North Kolkata has pockets of affluent North Indian population (Eg. Burra Bazar, Girish Park, CR Avenue, Kankurgachhi)
But I spotted an early sign of a beginning of change as Vibes slimming and beauty centre opened its new branch right at Girish Park this month. Not that North didn't have something of its kind before. In fact the VLCC branch at Phoolbagan is old. Vibes too has a centre there. But Phoolbagan is a little more evolved that the rest as it is near Kankurgachhi which is the younger and the most modern part of North with a sizeable North Indian community. The Vibes centre actually recognizes the potential of North that has remained largely untapped so far. The chic, colourful interiors make a contemporary and inviting ambience. I foresee this centre receiving a warm response and write the script of a beginning of change that will sweep parts of North in a few years. The retail chains that are betting big on the city surely recognizes this fact and must have placed North prominently in their expansion/ rollout roadmap. Besides the Vibes centre, the other things that will take this journey forward is the under-construction shopping mall near Kakurgachhi (Opp. VIP Market), which will house India's largest Pantaloons store, and the Spencer's Daily outlet coming up at Beleghata (Near Alochhaya movie theatre) in March.