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India Changing: Calcutta to Kolkatta and much, much more…

India Changing.

Change. That is the theme of this post. Change has become a constant in India. We read about changes in Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, but seldom about Calcutta. Calcutta is a city that we read very little about in the virtual world of blogs. Arjit re-visits his old home, which is a place called South 24 Parganas and discovers that everything has changed. His old home town is now part and parcel of the sprawling metropolis called Calcutta. He writes:

South 24 Parganas metamorphosed into Calcutta, with a new pin code – 700093…
Only the bus-route is still at the same place…

Rana who lives in Singapore writes about going back home to visit his family in Calcutta. His post is tinged with nostalgia and longing to reunite with his wife and son in Calcutta, combined with that great passion the city is famous for: football or soccer. This is what he writes:

My wife will be waiting for me at Dum Dum, now called Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport, when I land there shortly after midnight. I guess my son will also be at the airport. Dear me, he will miss one of the World Cup soccer matches on TV if he comes to the airport.

Rana is so excited about his trip home that he has been humming to an old Cliff Richards tune called “Traveling Light.” Cliff Richards is, or should I say has a huge fan following in India. Bishwanath Ghosh talks about various kinds of Bengalis (Calcutta is the capital of W. Bengal and people from that state are called Bengalis) and about their love for food, especially fish. Bengalis love their fish, and Bishwanath alas is not very fond of fish. Here is what he writes:

Bengalis love to eat. Wait a second, they live to eat. While the rest of the world feeds itself to survive the day, the Bengalis survive so that they can reward themselves with food at least three times a day. Without fish, they are like fish out of water: so a great deal of time, energy and money is spent on procuring the fish every morning.

Bishwanath's blog posting provides the perfect segue to highlight the next collab blog. This is a food blog called You Eat What You Were. Notice the subtle pun there…there is a hint there..what happens when you leave familiar surroundings, that is your home. Well, you make-do with what ever is available in your new home, which might be in a new country. Read on to discover what these bloggers have to say about their experience and the what, why and how they discover new food on their plates everyday.

Talking of changes…over the past years names of cities have all had their names changed. Bombay is now Mumbai, Calcutta is now Kolkatta, Madras is now Chennai etc. People are still grappling with the changes and fall back to the old ways of referring to the city. As some wise person said years ago, or was it centuries ago: Old habits die hard. But Paresh Murudkar says that people need to change with the changing times. Here is what he says:

I am still looking for reasons why people find it difficult to adopt changed names, specially in case of Mumbai. Chennai is now a well established name. Even Kolkata is facing the same problem like Mumbai. Most people still say Calcutta. I would like the readers to comment why or why not they accept these changes of names. For those of you who find it to be unimportant, let me reiterate my belief: Name is Everything!

From local let us cut to the international scene. Change in the UN. “The old order changeth yielding place to new and god fulfils himself in many ways,” said an old English poet called Tennyson. (Thanks Neha for remembering the correct version of that line.) Mr. Kofi Annan will be stepping down as the UN chief shortly. And Mr. Shashi Tharoor is in the running for the post and Mr. Tharoor's nomination has created quite a bit of buzz among bloggers who write on India. Quest For The Depth has a nice summary on this topic and he discusses the chances of Mr. Tharoor landing the job.

And the biggest change perhaps has been the main stream media coverage on India. India appears to have been on the editorial calendar for many well-known publications like Time, Economist, and others. Also, June was the month that a new magazine made its entry into India: Marie Claire. Mayank Austen Singh points out an error in an article made by Time's Alex Perry. Premanth Kudva also talks about Time magazine's article and their story of his home town of Mangalore. Here is what he says: “(The author of the Time article) He keeps mentioning malls, but for the record there is only ONE mall that is now functioning.”Read the rest of the post to discover if Premnath agrees with Time's version of his home town.

And how can any post in India end without a passing reference to the famous film Industry. For a change a film award ceremony was held outside the country. Aside: there appears to be at least one film award show every month in India. I have lost track of the various awards. But this film award function that I am talking about was held in Dubai, UAE. And this is what Gautam of Gautamjgoesplaces has to say on the IIFA function:

Went to see IIFA at the Dubai Airport Expo and also the post party, which was at the Grand Hyatt with the stars. Now that was some experience!…Just to make you all jealous I met Jean Claude Van Damme at the post party!!

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