Friday, April 8, 2016

'36 Ballygunj Place, Kolkata' by K.J.S.Chatrath

In 1967, I went to join the Mussoorie IAS Academy to join the service. It looks like yesterday, but it was almost 50 years back. The officer trainees were called 'Probationers' and two had to share a room. The room allocation had a method in pairing of the allottees. Persons coming from the same state and going to the same state were not put together. The idea was to inculcate an all India outlook.

I was extremely lucky to have got Gauri Shankar Ghosh as my room partner. He belonged to West Bengal and was allotted Gujarat cadre. I, a Punjabi coming from Delhi, was alotted Orissa. The same system of integrating officers and cadres with a healthy mix of insiders and outsiders.

Gauri and I got along very well and became very good friends. Once out of the Academy we went our ways. I went to Orissa. He went to Gujarat and soon, because of his brilliant work, went to the UN and was much in demand amongst various UN Agencies.

Last year we were able to re-discover each other electronically. He stays in NOIDA and I am in Panchkula. We were keen to meet. The occasion came when early this year I decided to go on a touristy visit to Kolkata. Gauri too was in Kolkata that time where he had gone to look after his old mother. He hosted me as if the entire Kolkata belonged to him. I also had the privilege of meeting his lady wife- Chanda, an extremely graceful and gracious lady.
On the very first evening he took me to a classy Bengali food restaurant called 6 Ballygunge Place, said to be famous for genuine Bengali cuisine . The place is an old house refurbished but retaining its Bengali character.
Take a look at the ambience of different rooms:

This, I guess is the depiction of a typically erudite Bengali bhadralok.

A graceful Bengali lady.

Colourful wall hangings with Bengali motifs. 

Having seen and photographed the place, we sat down for a nice Bengali dinner and soon the menu arrived.

The starter was a salty mango drink with pakoras.

Chicken, fish and potal stuffed with paneer. All superb.

No explanation is required.

And no Bengali meal is complete without 'mishti dohi'.

Thank you Gauri and Chanda for a memorable truly Bengali meal.
6, Ballygunge Place, Kolkata, West Bengal 700019
Phone:033 2460 3922

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