The Christmas clubs of Kolkata

For a very long time — indeed, till I was well into my 20s — I was fanatical in my insistence that Burra Din, the way we natives used to refer to the festival the burra sahibs called Christmas, was best spent in the city we knew as Calcutta.

The reason was actually absurdly simple: Christmas in Calcutta was not a private or even family occasion (as it is in the West, for example); and it was only perfunctorily a religious occasion that began and ended with Christmas carols of uneven rendition and the midnight mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Burra Din in Calcutta was, above all, a good natured festival of drink and gluttony and possibly the only time its residents tacitly celebrated the good old days — a euphemism for the time Calcutta had not lost sight of its European moorings.

As a member of the ever-growing club of the bred-in-Calcutta individuals who bought a one-way ticket out of Bengal, I no longer yearn to be jostled in New Market in the final days of December. Including this year, I have spent only four Burra Dins in the city of my birth in the past 25 years. Yet, each year, wherever I am in the world, my thoughts invariably drift to Christmas in Kolkata and which cousin is doing what.

Full report here Deccan Chronicle


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