Saurabh Pandey, who’s always wanted to visit Kolkata, realised his dream recently, and he feels that the city really lives up to its title of City of Joy.
“Kolkata might have earned the name of City of Joy from the best-seller written by Dominique Lapierre in 1985, which captured human spirit that transcends the reality and squalor around it. And you could sense that everywhere you went in Kolkata, it’s truly a City of Joy,” says Saurabh.
He was quite impressed by how everything was streamlined in the city. He explains, “Kolkota is very populated, but everything moves in a streamlined manner. It has a great traffic system. I realized that with some rules, system and most important, understanding, everything is possible. I also noticed that people have small, small clubs, where people of particular society come together for some fun activity like watching a cricket match together. It’s awesome to see that the mohalla (society) system still exists and that people know each other. I felt that the people in the city move together in harmony.”
The actor visited some landmarks there. He informs, “Victoria Memorial was like going into some kind of past life and getting an glimpse of Indian history. It is truly a great piece of art and showcases the real history of the Indian-British era.”
He also visited the Indian Museum, Dakshineshwar Maa Kaali Temple and Mayapur, a divine city near Kolkata. “I wanted to visit many other places such as the house of Paramahansa Yogananda ji, Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, but I’ll be able to do that next time I guess,” he says.
While Saurabh loved everything about Kolkata, he was quite taken up by street of the city – be it the puchkas (pani puri), the authentic Chinese food or its sweets. “I loved sondesh, the authentic Bengali sweet that you must eat. If you go to Bengal and you don’t have sondesh then the experience of being in Kolkata is not complete,” he says.
The actor said that he would not have been able to make the most of his trip if it was not for the guidance provided by the producer duo – Siddharth Kumar Tewary and Rahul Kumar Tewary who are from Kolkata. “I truly have to thank Rahul. When he got to know that I was in Kolkata on my birthday, he told me about the authentic places that I should visit there, most of it was related to food as hardcore foodies. To make my trip easy, he also offered his car with driver because he knew getting around Kolkata and covering so much would not have been possible in less time. I must say Rahul was a blessing in disguise,” says Saurabh.