The Kolkata Experience

With its intriguing cultures, diversity and history, India has been a captivating land for many. It's not just a destination but an experience! Aida Melo from Philippines who works as a caretaker in a power company has been reading a lot and watching videos about Kolkata. Finally, she decided to explore the unique and fascinating city of Kolkata. It was Aida’s first travel outside The Philippines. First things are always memorable in life as they are thrilling and interesting.  When asked -You have been dreaming to come to Kolkata for over a year. When you first landed in Kolkata how was your initial feelings? Aida replies "It was a mixed feeling. I was excited and happy. Though I was a little afraid since it was unknown city, but I knew God was with me. I knew He would guide me."

Kolkata - the city of joy has a fascinating history that highlights its rich culture and literary flavor. When Aida visited the Victoria memorial she was literally in tears. She couldn’t believe she was present there. She was moved by this white marbled beauty, which can rightly be called the epitome of grace and elegance. Aida says "It was a wonderful experience. Everyone was so nice and friendly. Most people are very kind and nice and very welcoming and helpful. I was fortunate to have my friend Koustav Chatterjee whom I met on Facebook to show me around the city. What I liked most about the city was that the people respected the tourists and welcomed them wholeheartedly"

Talking about her favorite culinary experience in the city, Aida says, " It had to be the mutton Biryani! When a plate of Kolkata Biryani appears on a table, it evokes myriad sensations. People visiting the city should try the Kolkata Biryani. I also cherish the ginger tea made by Koustav’s mother. It was very special for me!"

The biggest concern for travelling solo as a female is safety. How did she get over that fear? Aida feels," I knew from the beginning of this trip, it was a gift from God. I knew God will guide me through the journey. The fear has been there since its an unknown place. But my pastor and his wife told me that it's normal to get afraid when you are travelling to an unknown destination. Fear makes you stronger!"

Aida volunteers for Jesus Our Abundant Life Church, Batangas City, Philippines. Talking about her volunteering experiences she says, "My church is my life! I love volunteering. I want to thank God for every blessing he has given us. He died on the cross to save us from our sins."

It is said Kolkata takes documentary street photography to another level; as a photographer, you can become overwhelmed by the intensity of the daily life that you see as you walk around. Aida being a passionate photographer says, "Whether you casually walk down the busy streets of Kolkata or hop into the car to travel around the city, there is an undeniable charm that the city emits. You will find a lot of action! The MAA flyover is so beautiful in the evenings! I took a selfie with the chai seller. I have taken two earthen cups to carry it to Philippines as a souvenir."

They say if you have ever stayed in Kolkata, a part of it always stays with you. Here's what makes this city special, and what you can never forget, no matter how far away you are!


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