The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A milestone

Am absolutely loving to share with you, the KC readers, that KC has just crossed 60,000 page views. Considering the count is since its birth in May 2006, that's close to 1000 page views a month! And that's pretty good by the standards of an Indian blog.

Thank you readers from the core of my heart, for visiting. Special thanks go to the followers of this blog. Hope it makes their following KC more worthwhile.

Keep visiting and keep contributing through comments, suggestions, info on and pictures of this lovely city. Hope to have a long journey together.

The Date with Tin Tin

After a fairly long time I’m keenly awaiting a Hollywood movie. Tin Tin, one of the favourite comic strip heroes of our generation, that grew up in the seventies and eighties, is coming back with a bang to the celluloid after almost four decades of his last screen outing.

The iconic comic strip by Herge (as he was popularly known) from Belgium, was first published in Bengali among all Indian languages. Two pages of the adventures of Tin Tin was a permanent feature of Anandamela- the popular fortnightly children’s magazine from the ABP group, and it was the first thing that I would invariably check out immediately after grabbing a new copy. The comic strip stayed as Anandamela went through a transformation over time, including converting to the regular size from a small size (that of a regular book) that is my first memory of the magazine and Tin Tin as well.

I followed Tin Tin, a young, boyish-looking reporter with a golden tuft that was sort of his brand identity, having a penchant for cracking mysteries, through his series of adventures that took him through various places across globe from desserts to the land of Red Indians, and even moon. He and his dog Snowy were often accompanied in the adventures by Captain Haddock, the hardcore mariner with an amusingly colourful vocabulary. And the duo would often come across Professor Calculus, the semi-deaf inventor whose famous line was ‘More to the west’, and the twin detectives Thompson and Thompson known for messing up things more than solving cases. To make it suit the language, especially the school-going readers, Snowy was called Kuttus and the detective duo Johnson and Rohnson in Anandamela, and later in the Bengali edition of Tin Tin books published by Penguin. Tin Tin sailed across many incredibly challenging and life-threatening situations by virtue of his quick wit and vast knowledge.

The attraction of the movie in question, apart from the fact that it is largely a 3D-animation-based (with actors playing the famous characters besides a completely animated, perfect-looking Snowy), hence a smarter version unlike the previous ones, and that the pirate villain is played by Daniel Craig, is that it is directed by none other than the great Steven Spielberg, a self-confessed Tin Tin buff. Fate came between him and his dream movie for a few decades before he filmed ‘The Adventures of Tin Tin : The Sectret of the Unicorn’ (about a sunken treasure in a huge ship named Unicorn, one of my favourite Tin Tin adventures) that is releasing worldwide in phases now. It has released first in Belgium, the country of Herge, and where Tin Tin is a national icon, on 26th October, followed by other European countries, Asia, Africa, the Australia continent and finally in North and Latin America through December ’11 – January ‘12. It is releasing across India on November 11.

Can’t wait to set a date with my childhood hero after November 11!! Am sure, scores of Kolkatans who have been avid Tin Tin readers in their younger years are feeling as nostalgic or more. Would also like find it out for myself how the young reporter fares on celluloid in the age of famous big screen versions of Spiderman, Batman and Harry Potter.

Pictures : 1. Tin Tin & Snowy from the comics, 2. The movie poster of 'The Adventures of Tin Tin : The Sectret of the Unicorn' and 3. Tin Tin and Captain Haddock from the movie.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dining at Anand

Had heard a lot about Anand - the south Indian cuisine restaurant - a lot before I moved to my new workplace in April 2011 at Chandni Chowk where it is located. Naturally I was keen to check it out thereafter.

By now I have been there a couple of times, and I love their long and perfectly crisp masala dosa which has a lightly cooked potato filling, and the mixed uttapam too. The sambhar particularly appeals to me. The sambhar and coconut chutney are refilled whenever required, without call, and at no extra cost. The service is quick, and if you order dosa it's the quickest. The dishes are priced at just a small premium. A masala dosa comes close to Rs 50 (without VAT). The lassi is good too, and I guess the other south Indian items that I haven't tried are more or less similarly good in taste.

They serve north Indian dishes (Like chana batora, chaats etc) too.

Naturally the air-conditioned joint is a favourite among officegoers in the CBD. Be prepared to wait for some time at lunch hour though the sitting capacity isn't small.

What many may not know is that Anand makes good veg pizzas too. It was recommended by my foodie boss and I vouch for that after tasting two varieties. And they are much inexpensive considering the quality. Wish to taste their mushroom pizza some day.

A feat at CMRI

Here's a friend's post on Facebook (My additions are in bold):
CMRI (Calcutta Medical Research Institute), Kolkata rejoined 4 severed fingers of a 3-year old girl (from Ghatal, in Bengal) in a 8-hour long operation on 13th October 2011. Congrats docs! She's expected to recover fully in about 6 months.

A few years ago doctors at the same hospital successfully rejoined the severed hands of a factory worker from Hooghly who carried his own limb to the hospital wrapped in a plastic bag.

Take a bow, docs at CMRI, for your magic on limbs!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sandesh from Nakur

The client treated with two varieties of sandesh from Nakur Chandra Nandy, the famous sweet shop near Hedua, on occasion of Bijoya. Nakur's sandesh is legendary and a bite into the soft (Naram pak variety) chocolate sandesh was ample proof of that. As the liquid chocolate came out of its core, it felt heavenly. It's difficult to stop at one even for someone without a sweet tooth like me (also considering I'm watching my diet these days). The other one, a regular ‘Naram pak’ sandesh, was great too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Calcutta Times : a put off after a great hope

Unfortunately Calcutta Times was back to its old broadsheet avatar on Sunday, October 9 (Re: My last post The New Calcutta Times) and it continues today. The hope for a proper tabloid-style avatar, giving t2 a run for its money, crashed.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The new Calcutta Times

The brand new tabloid size avatar of Calcutta Times was a pleasant surprise this morning. Am loving it! Noticed that it is now talking to its readers directly (Like "We'll let the photo speak" or "We're ready to insure it"), just like t2 does it.

Loved the naughty cover story on the most 'insurable' assets of the beauties of Bangla film industry.

t2, you have serious competition now. The Kolkata tabloid scene looks set to be more exciting!

(Picture sourced from The Times of India e-paper)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Pujo 2011

It was decently spent. Through pandal-hopping at Barrackpore (checked out the first theme Puja - known to me- there), home-cooked mutton curry on Nabami, Salt Lake Pujas and Kakurgachhi-Sribhumi-Lake Town Pujas.

Didn't find the idols impressive this year. The patterns were too common, except for a bit of innovation like Lake Town Pradip Sangha (Conceived by Artist Prashanta Pal), and Salt Lake FD block (just the sheer size, all of 51 feet). The leading trend was the Jamini Roy-influenced style. I felt that the attention of the Puja organisers has drifted from the idol, (very unlike what it was in the 90's) and set on attracting huge footfall with newer and sensational themes in pandal. Some 'arty' idols were pretty small in size, rivaling a Saraswati idol one sees at the time of Saraswati Puja. Didn't find a single memorable face among the idols, and sorely missed the traditional angry face of Durga.

The auto rickshaws, of great help during pandal-hopping, made a killing, fleecing the vulnerable passengers. I was charged Rs 15 (the regular fare is Rs 8) for Ultadanga to City Centre and an incredible Rs 20 for Baishakhi to Ultadanga (More than double the fare). Was so irritated in the latter case that I refused to pay in change initially.

Didn't also find anything new in the street food, except for the Fruity Freeze range of Rollick ice creams. Had the Daab Malai flavour. Innovative and good in taste, but wish they used more of green coconut pulp instead of a mix of the same and coconut with the ice cream. The price (Rs 30 a single scoop) was exorbitant too! The rest was the same, routine roll-phuchka-ghughni-bhel puri-papri chaat-chowmein and ice cream. With an increasing number of cuisines on offer in the restaurants, it was time Kolkata expanded it's street food offerings too!