Kolkata is a compelling city of juxtapositions. Loved and loathed, beautiful and enfante terrible, its extremes and contrasts continue to balance the historic with the contemporary. At her heart lie people, as witnesses and living archives of Kolkata’s realities and aspirations. An extensively documented city – in history, politics, arts, food, and nostalgia – she evokes both strong imageries and rigid stereotypes. People Called Kolkata offers a point of departure, as an anthology of 55 people-centric stories that chronicle her soul. It assembles a motley cast, whose collective impressions offer a window into today’s Kolkata, while affording an alternate reading of the city.
Four broad streams steer narratives without rigid clustering as thematic heads. Culture in Continuum explores continuity and transformation of urban culture and its emergent landscape. A Social Tapestry essays eclectic histories of diverse communities that lend exuberance and verve to the city. Extraordinarily Everyday is a portrait of often inaudible voices who inconspicuously live in the megacity – adding utility and flavour to our lives but only in supporting roles. The Contemporary City traces poignant stories on shifting ideas and values that determine the contours of Kolkata’s relationship with its future. With a contemporary view and voice, that curates a diverse mix of authors and perspectives, People Called Kolkata is a journey in recasting our idea of the city through a rendering of its people.