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A ‘Tolly’ good evening in Kolkata

As I sat in the Tollygunge Club in Kolkata, hearing Bengali, munching on fried fish with kashundi (mustard sauce), sipping my ‘rum pani‘ (Old Monk, of course), I felt so much at home.

There I was with an old friend and his partner, my partner and his old friends – who just so happened to know each other.

It is a small world like that.

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My partner was in Kolkata to perform in a play.

I was in Kolkata to meet with my client and conduct focus group discussions with their team.

It wasn’t an accident we were in Kolkata at the same time. One commitment sparked another and thankfully nothing got in the way.

So that Sunday evening, we came out after the play to meet our friends, enjoying the slight nip in the air…

I could not have been happier.

For me, Bengali is one of those languages that I do not speak but I was immersed in enough consider it a familiar friend. It is the sound of one of my many past homes… the home where I lived in the 90s as a student in Chittaranjan Park, Delhi.

And Bengali food is something that once upon a time was what would constitute a regular home cooked meal.

The setting? A piece of history.

While the Tollygunge club was officially founded in 1895, the Club House was built even earlier and is now over 220 years old. What was once home to Tipu Sultan’s son and a member of the East India Company now is where our friends come out to enjoy their day or night.

Rather than be a stuffy relic, ‘Tolly’ is where families and friends go to entertain and be entertained, relax and re-invigorate…

It is a nice reminder that things do change… yet also retain elements of days gone by.

It was also a time to reflect…

Looking at a friend I’ve known for more than 20 years, it was clear that I’m not the same person I was back in early 1995 when we first met.

However I would not be the person I am today without all the ups and downs, rights and lefts that occurred in between.

So though Bengal is no longer a core element of my everyday today in a way that it was living in a Bengali home in a Bengali colony, hearing Bengali, eating Bong khanna, listening to Bengali music… these experiences are all intrinsically part of me, not just my past but indelibly part of who I will always be.

And for that I am thankful. It was indeed a ‘Tolly’ good evening!

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Me with my friend’s partner

Related posts:

Door No 2 – Bangla bound!

I’m getting back into travel times – so far all in India!

The trip to Jodhpur was delightful and I may eventually get around to sharing another post or two about our time at the palace or film set.

However right now, all attention and focus is on preparing for Door No 2 – Kolkata.

Kolkata (usf.vc)

Kolkata (usf.vc)

Good news! I did get the short assignment – yeah!

Even better news! It will take me to Kolkata for a few days – even bigger yeah!

Alas my client’s office is not exactly in the heart of the city. So scope to revisit some familiar haunts is minimal – not so yeah…

And, keeping my client needs paramount, I’ve put together a schedule that leaves nearly no room for play.

Naughty me.

I’m still hoping a friend or two can come rescue me for a small adventure on my one free evening.

No matter what – can’t wait to hear the music of Bangla in my ears, chow down on delicious Bangla food, dive into a good project and… let’s be honest… escape the Mumbai heat for a couple of days!

PS – Just in case you are wondering, skipped ‘Door No 3’ aka the Chennai trip. However have another Delhi / Gurgaon trip coming up soon!!

Related posts:

Travel time! Door No 1, 2 or 3??

I booked a flight!

And there may be another one or two on the horizon.

All domestic.

All places I’ve been before.

Yet for each, it was long ago and the one constant in a country like India is change.

I can’t wait to board that plane… (more…)

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