Growing Up In Kolkata, Summers Weren’t As Bad! Here’s A Nostalgia Trip of Kolkata Summers


It’s only April-May and we can already hear the whines and cries, complaining about the humidity and the constant need to rush to a mall for a free blast of air conditioning! (Don’t deny it, we all have been there once).

When we think of summers in Kolkata, we think of no aridity, cool breeze in the evening, the ‘Kal Baishakhi’ on one blessed April day and a lot of merriment with friends on the streets.

Hold on! Maybe those are the days we can only reminisce about!

All that Kolkata is right now is a hot box where the Kolkattans are drenched in sweat right after a shower and where getting into a car parked in the sun is like a gas chamber in itself.

But hey! Do you recall those days? When as the clock struck 4, you rushed down to the streets, slurping on an ice gola with a ‘gilli danda’ in one hand to play the infamous ‘Para cricket’ in the lanes of Babu Bagan? Gone are those days, we presume when summers were embraced with gaiety.

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Now all we feel is disgust and abhorrence at the weather and the repercussions we face each day.

If you were born in the 90s, we are sure to give you a blast from the past as you may not be witness to most of it right now but maybe thinking of it will transport you into a time so serene.

Dermi Cool

When the only time we knew what was meant by ‘Thanda Thanda Cool Cool!’. Precisely, the advertisement gave us a gush of serenity each time we saw the prickly heat powder being sprinkled on someone’s back, you could feel a hypothetical cool gush of air sweep right through your hair. Ah! Those Dermi Cool days were just the best!

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Picture: swasthyashopee

Pepsi (Popsicle)

When the only way that Pepsi was famous amongst young kids was as the flavoured ice, wrapped tightly that was awaited by every tiny one every afternoon. Kids waited keenly at their windows for the ‘pepsi vala’ to come and help beat the heat. Do you miss the days when a heat quenching Popsicle was just Re 1?

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Champa flower

The sweet smell of the flower that erupts out of its branches every evening during summer are the memories etched deep inside every 90s kids mind. The smell reminded one of the fact that summer was here and ‘tis was the time to shed the woollens and finally let loose! Alas! Gone are those days when the air was filled with the blissful smells. Now, all we do is breathe in polluted air and try and feel ‘summery’ amidst it all.

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Do you recall those days when mothers used to walk into our rooms with a chilled glass of a red drink that almost seemed like a glass of fresh blood? Gave you nightmares, didn’t it? Yet one sip of the concoction made everyone chuckle at the amazing taste and the odd ideas that popped up in our heads prior to this. Roo-Afza, RIP!

imageElectricity bills

These days 90% of ‘Babar jhaar’ revolves around the escalating electricity  bill. Some even go up to the extent of switching off all switches while we are at home in the particular room. Must be highly annoying but back in the 90s you’d never see the fathers break a sweat about this! The fans and the air coolers were enough to sleep through the night. Well, unlike today! *sighs*

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Kacha Aam

What the mango people of the 90s did was aim stones at branches blossoming with unripe mangoes. That was the sheer joy of enjoying summers. We hate how modernity has taken over the city and kids now flock to the malls for a taste of the unripe joy.

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Fresh wipes VS handkerchief

The bond of the back pocket and a handkerchief in summers is still a better love story than Twilight and this takes us back to school in summer where after wiping the beads of sweat off, we made boats and air planes with the hankys. Unlike now, when the era of fresh wipes has taken over the city and defined sophistication.

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You’ve not really enjoyed summers in the city if you have not been a 90s kid. You may argue that catching a movie at the  multiplex is waaaay better, but we will always choose to differ as the excitement of seeing ice being crushed and choosing the flavour for our ice gola in the ‘para’ will never die in our hearts.


  1. I am sorry but I don’t relate to this entry at all. Subtracting my abnormalities as a kid, I remember Chhuti chhuti, posto kadhai daal with gondhoraj lebu, rooh afzha was a privelege. Princep ghaat and all it’s endeavors was like our little heaven. I loved the summers in kolkata because dupurbalar ghum and khelte jawaa bikele meant luxury. Summer camp chhilo na but some cousin had a VCR which meant home entertainment with family. Maa’s made komla lebur rosh, aam pora or aam panna and our ghurte jabo naake kanna. Our drawing, gaaner aar naacher classes were summer surrenders to sweat that we never regret. Some of us even us to swimming classes to just beat the heat and do throw joker jhapta on each other. Karate classes were scheduled in the evening where boro boro dadas and didis taught us self defence. However, kids like us prefered our kusti sessions with each other between classes and while waiting for our guardians.

    We did not have a lot, but we did not only have the stuff mentioned in this article. I appreciate your style of writing Ms. Arora, I truly do.

    Lot of aam bhora bhalobasha and chutney bhira kisses


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