Kolkata, India: Happiness in the Smallest of Things

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Kolkata, India: Happiness in the Smallest of Things

I wasn’t born in Kolkata. But I was brought up in this city of joy. Kolkata is the place where I spent my childhood and I have experienced every corner of this city, having lived here for the past twenty-five years. Just name a place in this city and I will be able to guide you there without wasting much time.

Nightlife in Kolkata

Let me paint for you a picture of Kolkata at night. Imagine traveling alone at night in your car, as the radio jockey with her sultry voice seductively plays for you one old number after another, and life feels like a film. A typical Bollywood film, where you are the hero and the world is your oyster.

It’s night. Late in the night. The Eastern metropolitan bypass is smeared in her orange hue; the windows rendered foggy by the car’s AC making everything hallucinogenic in the humidity of the monsoon night. The car is piercing through the rain-drenched road, uninterrupted. The torn pieces of a skeletal billboard flutter behind you. You feel like Caesar, on his way home.

In Kolkata people find happiness even in the smallest of things. Maybe people are struggling here, and not all have sufficient money to live well, but they do know how to lead a happy life.


As you pass by a luxury hotel, your car’s headlights caress a lone figure in her little black dress and high heels, waiting patiently for someone. When your car comes to a halt at the Science city circle, you instinctively fasten your seat belt. You are sure you had forgotten all about it when returning home from the party, and are suddenly jerked to consciousness at the sight of the tireless traffic sergeant stopping and fining the men on their bikes.

As you drive towards Park Circus, a Domino’s Pizza guy barrels past you on his blue bike. Is he returning home? Or is he on duty delivering happiness? The rain gods have taken a break for a while, after keeping themselves busy for the whole evening. Youngsters in a naked Jeep drive past, Gangnam Style blaring out of the speakers. You pump up your speed; you realize that you are lost in thoughts. You are happy, actually. Happy in the loneliness of the car.

The Celebration of Durga Puja

Feeling the love of solitude, aren’t you? Well put that on hold, for Kolkata also hosts a number of great festivals – particularly the festival of Goddess Durga, Durga Puja. For four non-stop days, Kolkata decks up in light and the whole world seems to take to the streets, celebrating in a mad frenzy. During these four days, the people of Kolkata behave as if they are the happiest people on Earth, and they forget all about the trials and tribulations of life.


Kolkata – Durga Puja

Though Kolkata is a secular city, you should see the way the city is decorated during the winter as it celebrates Christmas. Places such as Park Street and the St Thomas Cathedral, where the birth of Jesus is celebrated throughout the night, look magnificent. The celebration continues until the city bids farewell to the present year and welcomes the next one. If you are lucky, you may find people dressed up as Santa on the roads offering you surprise gifts too!

College Street

It’s not all parties and late nights in Kolkata, the city is also home to a strong literary culture.

My mind flees to a lazy evening in a now-shuttered bookstore in Kolkata where I accidentally stumbled across a self-improvement book, The Power of Now, while looking for a Geoff Dyer title in the non-fiction section. I have always hated self-improvement books. But the name of the book has stuck in my memory for years now. The Power of Now. I never even leafed through the book. But I, like others in this city, just love to read books.

People here visit College Street to find all kinds of books. College Street is a place where you can name a book and it will be in one of the roadside shops. If the price is too excessive, then use your bargaining skills to get the perfect price for your favorite book.

When you are done buying your favorite books, do not forget to visit the Coffee House. College Street is not only known for its books, but also for Coffee House, where people gather to have a great ‘adda’ with friends. Here you may find someone to discuss your thoughts with and get to know the attitudes of the people of Kolkata.

Sites to See

There are some places I will always want to visit, even after living in this city for such a long time. These places include Howrah Bridge and many more. If you are in Kolkata and you do not visit the Howrah bridge, then you will regret it. The Bridge looks wonderful when it is lit up in the evening. People often have a great ‘adda’ session viewing the Howrah Bridge!

When you are visiting the Howrah Bridge, do not miss the sunrise and sunset at Prinsep Ghat. You will love the peace and serenity of the entire scene. You can go for a ferry ride too!

Another place is the Victoria Memorial, which is one of the historical places of Kolkata, and is also surrounded by the greenery of nature.


Kolkata – Victoria Memorial

To every Bengali, Rabindranath Tagore is not only an idol, but a source of pride. I love to visit his house at Jorasanko Thakur bari, where you can find a large amount of information about him in general.

The Love of Food 

You cannot speak of Kolkata without mentioning food. Suppose you are having a really bad day at your workplace. Suppose you are depressed and upset. What should you do? In Kolkata the instant solution is to have some tasty food. Whether it is street food, a mediocre restaurant or a high-class eatery, if the food satisfies, then your day is just made.

Kolkata serves all kinds of food, starting from its own local cuisine to national and international dishes. People come from all over the world to taste the Bengali preparation of fish. The best thing about food in Kolkata is that it will be made to suit your taste, even if the dish isn’t prepared in the authentic style.


Kolkata – Rasagulla

Sweet is a specialty of this city. You will not find perfect ‘misti doi’ and ‘rasagulla’ in any other city than Kolkata. People here just love to eat! This is the reason that a ‘puchkawala’ serving ‘puchkas‘ brings a smile on the faces of millions instantly!


In Kolkata people find happiness even in the smallest of things. Maybe people are struggling here, and not all have sufficient money to live well, but they do know how to lead a happy life. They also have the ability to accept new people and cultures, and adopt them to improve their own lives. This is what makes the residents of Kolkata stand out.

Also check out, Darjeeling, India.

Nivedita Dey

Nivedita Dey

I am a literature student from the city of joy, Kolkata. I like to call myself an ardent traveler. I just love to explore each and every corner of the world. I have a special fondness for India though. I was born in Dehradun, but I grew up in Kolkata. In India, I have explored many sea beaches, mountains, forests and villages. Mountains have always been close to my heart. I enjoy traveling in the hilly regions of India and my most favorite is Darjeeling!