As every educated Bengali knows, decades before a bunch of photogenic New Yorkers made it trendy, hanging out in a cafe — the Coffee House was cool. Hanging out — adda –with your friends after work, who can’t relate to that?
The Manna Dey classic suggests the great experience mid-20th century Calcutta would have been for young guys — the Art College graduate drawing sketches for marketing firms before making it to Paris, the reporter who would migrate to Dhaka
(and write a great book on 1971), the Goanese guitarist who died young, the amatuer actor suffering from a romantic tragedy related breakdown, the unrecognised poet with cancer….
… and the girl….
Ah, yes, the girl…. the one who is supposed to be happy because she has a millionaire husband who buys her jewellery….
Ray’s Big City wasn’t a great place for women.
Much of the subcontinent still isn’t.