The Magic of Christmas in Kolkata

Pico Iyer asks a poignant question, in his TED Talk of ‘Where is Home?‘ Unlike him, I have not lived and grown up across several countries; but like him, I find it challenging when other Indians ask me, ‘where are you from?’  My parents are from Rajasthan, but no one in several generations of our family has lived there.  I have stayed long-term in various cities, Kolkata, Delhi, Jamshedpur, Gurgaon, and now for several years, Bangalore is home. My husband has a similar story full of wanderings – from the shores of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, to the interiors of Bihar and Gujarat. We tell the same tale- of languages spoken of  the states that have adopted us, of local cuisines that we have adopted, feeling that we belong and yet being without roots.

Pico Iyer, goes on to say that home perhaps is ‘whatever we carried inside’ of us. By that definition, Kolkata is my forever home. The images of a childhood daydreams, of paper boats in the Monsoon floods, of the excitement of Mother Durga visiting her parents’ – each a postcard filled with memories, scents, emotions. And come December, I want to head back to Kolkata for Christmas – for the carols from childhood still echo in the air, for Santa Claus may still pay a surprise visit. For Kolkata, is where I will always belong, the city that I carry around with me in my heart.

Park Street
Park Street all dressed up for Christmas PC: Suman De

I recently wrote about the Magic of Christmas in Kolkata for Cleartrip stories. Here’s an extract..

Kolkata celebrates many of its festivals on the streets – with song and dance, over shared food and drinks, with immense joy and love – and Christmas is no exception.

It’s the infectious Yuletide spirit that makes Christmas in the City of Joy stand out. The fact that people from all religions put up a tree at home, attend mass, and queue up for cake. That when you attend a public celebration, you are taken into the fold, embraced with love, and allowed an off-tune rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’.

Santa may not be real, and reindeer may be flightless, but in the wise words of Terry Pratchett, it doesn’t stop being magic just because you know how it works.

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Do leave a comment – feedback on my post, musings on Kolkata, your favorite Christmas memories, or your definition of home.


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