Planning your elective - Calcutta
Jayati Das-Munshi looks beyond poverty and pollution, and discovers a rich and varied culture
Calcutta is a sprawling metropolis in the northeastern corner of India, near the Bangladeshi border.
For most travellers to India, Calcutta still conjures up images of grim urban poverty and city congestion, with pollution far worse than elsewhere in the country. As I found out, the experience is an altogether different one if you have a chance to live and work here.
Calcutta has a reputation for being something of a cultural Mecca. There was a prolific Bengali renaissance movement in the arts here during the 19th century, and a Nobel prize winning writer, Rabindranath Tagore, as well as a renowned film maker, Satyajit Ray, both come from Calcutta. During my stay here I attended several concerts where Indian classical music was performed, theatrical productions and gallery exhibitions. West Bengal is also known throughout the rest of India as being a friendly and welcoming place. I definitely felt this during