ICT Engineering – Gediminas

Practical placement in Kolkata, India

New Years in Kolkata

On the way to Park Street in Kolkata on New Years Eve

♫ “It started as a rave, it ended in a riot.” ♫

Happy New Year! (whatever that means) I hope your brain or social status didn’t suffer too much between Monday and Tuesday. Let’s just get this out of the way – I don’t like parties, thus this post will be pretty short.

I hate parties that involve a big number of people at somebody’s house and go by the pattern of “meet -> eat -> drink -> dance -> drink -> sleep wherever/leave -> call each other next day to talk about what happened”. So instead, due to my attitude towards this (and my health condition at the time) I decided to join my Indian friend for a sober nightly drive-by through the most popular New Year celebration place in Kolkata.

First of all, being a friend that Suman is, he decided to give me a feast that he thinks a person deserves on such an occasion and it totally ruined my vegan streak:

Home-made mutton with rice

“I hoped I’ll never have to try Mutton…”

I asked why is this considered to be good food and he said that “even though the majority of Indians are vegetarian, we’re in West Bengal and Bengali’s love meat”. Actually, this totally explains why some small vendors are able to stay in business by selling only a non-veg. variant of a meal.

Either way, the New Years miracle happened and I ate most of this. It helped me remember what feelings go with eating food like this, or more specifically, proteins with carbohydrates: bloatedness, lack of energy, mild drowsiness and sleepiness.

As we drove into the city we had some interesting discussions about the Indian culture, but I promised to keep this short, so just try to guess where is the most popular New Years celebration place in Kolkata:

Park Street in Kolkata on New Years Eve Park Street in Kolkata on New Years Eve Park Street in Kolkata on New Years Eve

Looks familiar, doesn’t it? Because it’s the same place where people of Kolkata go on Christmas. The only difference is that many of the people are drunk, some are shouting like crazy and around 99.99% of them were male. This might be due to an incident that happened in Park Street last year and a similar current incident which shocked the nation.

Aaaand that’s basically it. There are no special traditions for the celebration of New Years. When compared to Diwali, New Years had very few fireworks and almost no music and dancing in the streets. Based on what my current flatmates told me, if you want to witness some special celebratory traditions during this time, you should rather go to Brasil.

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