Most of us grew up when Kolkata was still called Calcutta. A lot of the things that made our childhood in the city legendary have been lost to time & modernity. Here we reminisce about the Calcutta of the 90s where we grew up into the Bongs of today!

1. We all knew “Ikir Mikir Cham Chikir” by heart and loved playing this finger game with anybody and everybody.

Ikir Mikir – DSource.in

2. A regular day was incomplete without the “bishesh bishesh songbad” – the local Bengali news at 7:00 pm sharp on Regional Doordarshan (DD7)

DD News - Youtube
DD News – Youtube

3. “ Loadshedding ” was a state of emergency in every household especially during the summers and the sole rescuer was “Hurricane” kerosene lamp

Hurricane Kerosene Lamp
Hurricane Kerosene Lamp

4. Anandamela was our Bible, we eagerly waited for ‘Archies, Gablu,Tintin, Kaka-Babu, Pandab Goyenda’ and many more.

Anandamela – Magzter

5. Every neighbourhood Para had a club whose members were always at your door asking for donations (chanda) to organize an endless list of activities.

Parar Dada/Kaku
Parar Dada/Kaku

6. The one advice that every parent gave to their kids when they came up with petty troubles “Bhalo kore pora-shona koro, sab thik hoye jabe” ,(Study hard every thing else will fall into place).

Studying is boring – Tumblr

7. The most coveted shopping destination was New Market, Treasure Island and Shriram Arcade & we loved to take a ride in the transparent capsule lift.

New Market – TheSwissLaundry

8. There was a constant debate between Khadim’s Vs Sreeleathers for winning the title of the most fashionable footwear brand. But school shoes were always from Bata (Naughty Boy anyone?).

 

Khadims vs Sreeleathers
Khadims vs Sreeleathers

9. The coolest hangout for after school pizza and ice creams was Scoop by the Hooghly river.

Scoop by the Ganges – OutlooTraveller

10. FLURYS  & NAHOUM’S were the meccas for pastries, cream rolls and birthday cakes. Monginis and Sugar N Spice were the cheaper alternatives.

Fkurys – TheHinduBusinessLine

11. We all loved travelling by Metro and go up and down the escalators multiple times.

Kolkata Metro- DelhiMetro.net (HEHEHE – They are learning from us)

12. The two most prominent contenders for your dad’s attention on Sunday mornings were ‘The Statesman‘ and ‘The Teleghraph‘.

Statesman logo.png
“Statesman logo” via Wikipedia.

 

13. On an average Sunday morning if you asked any kid ‘Where’s your father?’. The most common answer was “Baba Bajare Gechhe, Ekkhuni chole ashbe

Bengali In Fish Market
Bengali In Fish Market

14. Your Mom looked forward to trips to Dhakshineshwar or Kalighat. These trips were a must before the all important exams.

Dakhshineshwar Temple – Shunya.net

15. We loved traveling by Trams and equally despised getting into a minibus, where finding a seat was much like a game of rugby.

Kolkata Tram – Wikimedia

16. The month of December and January were very hectic since we attended picnics almost every weekend, “Parar picnic, Family picnic, Dad’s office picnic, School picnic…….Phew!”.

Picnic – IndiaMike

17. NICCO PARK and AQUATICA were the definitions of fun filled summer vacations. And if you had the annual membership card, you were literally a celebrity in your school!

NIcco Park – IBNLive

18. Puri and Digha were like second homes to us since no vacation ended without a visit to either of the two.

Digha Beach & Family – Wikimedia

19. We loved going to College Street to buy second hand books (Fiction/Classics/syllabus, you just name it) which were damn cheap (e.g.. – a little thumbed Sidney Sheldon would cost 50 & a little more haggling could take it down to 40!).

College Street bookstore – PlanetDen

20. New Empire, Metro, LighthouseGlobe were the theaters we all visited to watch the latest Hollywood flick.

Metro Cinema – Wikimedia

21. It was an annual ritual to visit the “Book fair” in Maidan.

Book Fair – IndiaMike

22. We were never bored of the Victoria Memorial or Birla Planetarium or watching the light and sound shows over and over and over again.

Victoria Memorial

23. There was this lady who was called BASHUN-WALI” (Utensil wali) who came to your place from time to time to sell utensils in exchange of old clothes & what followed was a passionate haggling match with your mum.

Bashun Wali

24. And finally, KOLKATA was still called CALCUTTA…Oh Calcutta!

CALCUTTA – Telegraph UK

These were the few of our favorites things from the Calcutta of the 90s. Tell us yours.

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Pro Paul

Pro is a PROBASHI. She lives in the lands of the West but her heart is still at home in Calcutta. She is the one who keeps reminding us that the Calcutta of yesterday needs a firm place in our present narrative about the city. Her ambition - Ebar ekbar Banglaye likhbo!

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