12:31 AM

I settled in here like it was my original home. I came like a guest but this city was too warm, it held me like a baby and wrapped me in the biggest hug. When I came here two years ago, I was a scarred soul looking for few answers.
Calcutta has always been around me. Growing around Bengalis since my childhood days, the language, the culture, the mannerisms had all become a part and parcel of my life. Waiting for Durga Pujo more than any other festival was a ritual and while I was born in a Punjabi family, my parents had always known I don't belong here.

Running around the neighborhood in my mothers sarees with a huge red bindi and being called "Debjani" was a usual sight and sound. "Her eyes..she looks like a bong", I grew up listening to this on and on.
All that I knew about the city of joy was a second hand experience and for seven long years I craved to make it my own, I had waited to live it like it was mine until the day I booked my flight and landed in a city that was as strange as it was mine.
There was no going back!

From a neighborhood that formed my ground to a neighborhood steeped in history. I had landed myself in the dream I dreamt of for seven years. In a city I knew nothing about, all I knew was that I was home and was the happiest.
The address read "Chowringhee", I was amused to read the same on the book that I had carried with me to read during my stay. Much to my surprise, it was written right where I was making my home years ago. It couldn't have been a mere coincidence. I was destined to be here, to be reading what I had picked in a hurry, to be carrying the weight of a story that always wanted to bring me to Calcutta.

She was Durga and she was Kali. She was the unanswered story leading me to where I belonged. She looked me in the eye and assured me my decision was never wrong. I was here to stay. Calcutta is not just a city but an emotion so strong, it will hold you until you decide to walk away. A rare form of love that needs no reciprocation, Calcutta will love you and ask for nothing in return.
It was my destiny, it was also serendipity, it had all fallen into place.

Durga Kali statement earrings by Triptis Exclusive
Saree and Blouse by Byloom, Calcutta

Photography Ananya Rijhwani 

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