Chinatown in Tangra is not the same. Over the years, it has lost its distinct flavours of pork and delicate Chinese cuisine, to be smothered by chicken, Indian spices and bottled chilli and soya sauces. Yes, at one of the haunts a spicy chicken dish smelt of turmeric. This is inevitable perhaps in the age of remixed cuisine and the homogeneity of taste of the consumer class. Call it chickenisation.
The clientele has changed. Earlier Tangra drew visitors from all classes. Now the educated Bengali middle classes predominate.
Not all is lost, though. Tangra preserves some of its old self in the dark twisted lanes, the giant shapes of the former tanneries rising from the dark, the pervasive smell of meat and drains mingling and some old-world customers. Seated at a table at a restaurant the other day was a man in a bright red and green patterned shirt, shiny glasses, with a gold chain around his neck and a heavy gold ring on every finger, looking exceptional amid the sober tees and shirts around. Then his phone rang, loudly, and the ringtone went: “Washing powder Nirma, washing powder Nirma…”
Gen-Y PYTs may be dreaming of Virat Kohli, but guess who are still in the reckoning when it comes to mass appeal — two of Indian cricket’s Fab Four — Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. We spotted a shop called Sachin Sourav PVC Furniture on the Bypass. Now, that’s what we call old is gold.
(Contributed by Chandrima S. Bhattacharya and Saionee Chakraborty)