“Is the City of Joy the same?” I thought to myself. “With all its charm and every lane winding into a memory of nostalgia?”

I was visiting Kolkata after ten years and I simply could not hold my excitement as I boarded off the airplane at NetajiSubhas Chandra Bose International Airport. I would be visiting the city only for a couple of days and my little pull-on accommodated everything I needed for this short stay. It was a random plan and after searching for hotels in Kolkata, especially the budget hotels in Kolkata and the boutique hotels in Kolkata on the internet, I had decided that I would be returning to one of the best hotels in Kolkata, my personal favourite, The Astor Hotel.

I have so many fond memories here from the days of my college life. Catching up for drinks with my friends, first dates, detectable culinary experiences and so much more. Being originally from Jamshedpur, as a student, I used to live in a hostel with my peers. Whenever mum or dad would visit me, they would insist on staying at one of the heritage hotels of Kolkata. It was inevitably always The Astor Hotel, as the city center was only a few minutes walk from there.

Today, as I sat in the back seat of my Uber and not a Kolkata yellow taxi, I realized how different the city looked. The skyscrapers and the flyovers somehow had taken away that old charm of the city, one that I was looking forward to. As I looked out of the window, I realized that the city has gone through a F&B revolution as numerous restaurant & bars in Kolkata had sprung up in every nook and corner.

I finally reached my destination and paid my Uber driver. I breathed a sigh of relief. The Astor still looked magnificent with its red brick walls and its vintage charm which was fast disappearing in the city.

As I walked inside, I noticed some people putting up decorations for a celebration. A wedding, I assumed. I smiled as I remembered a story. Pooja, my best friend from college, had her wedding fixed with Arjunin the third college year and she had dragged me to numerous banquet halls in Kolkata to fix the venue. After a tiring three day search, she had finally given up.

“Weddings are so hectic”, she said. “Being the picky me, I don’t seem to like any place.”

“We still have five more on the list,” I reminded her. “Let’s do this again tomorrow.”

“Great,” she replied. “I need a drink.”

We had ended up at the Astor. After a girl’s night out and a really good time, as we walked out of the premises, Pooja suddenly held my hand and asked me to stop.

“You know what,” she said. “I met Arjun right here and our love story had been written within these walls right from the beginning. I’m getting married here and nowhere else.”

It was then that we realized that it was the perfect venue for such a special event and what a wedding it was!

I took out my smart phone and clicked a picture. I needed to forward it to Pooja, who was now settled in the United States, a mother of two children.

I am glad that life is always changing. The changes makeus appreciate the wonderful things we come across in our journey, things we would never have appreciated if we were stuck in monotony. It has been ten years since I visited this place. A lot has changed. My life, my friends and me, myself. Yet nothing is more beautiful than a trip down nostalgia and as I stood and admired those red brick walls, I found myself foolishly laughing like a college girl, who was living up her life in her city of joy!

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