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I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!

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C for Campari!

If you’ve ever been to Calcutta (or Kolkata, as we now call it) – you’ll know that besides the city’s rich heritage, its’ old buildings, architecture and auction houses, it is the passion of the people here that strikes one the most  – be it their love for football, theatre, literature or food.

In fact, the city is a big hub for foodies. What Golgappas are to Delhi and Vada Pav is to Mumbai, Kathi Rolls are to Calcutta!

Campari’s – a favourite stop for great mouth-watering rolls in South Calcutta, has a deep connection with me since my college days. It is a name that is synonymous with the city itself and always serves as a reminder of what I consider the best when it comes to food on the go. It brings me the magic of friends, fun and exciting times, of happier times when we stole a quiet show at the movies, when college fests were more important than anything, when fashion over-ruled comfort and heartbreaks happened at the drop of a hat, when cold logic could be easily brushed aside by the possibilities of youthful exuberance, when our limited pocket money was saved up for a special roll with that special someone! What bound one through all this was almost always a Campari’s Roll!

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An all-time favourite: a tandoori chicken roll!

For those of you who are wondering what a Kathi roll is, let me tell you –it is a unique Kolkata product which consists of a parantha (an Indian bread) stuffed with meat kebabs, slivers of caramelized onions, chillies, a dash of lemon, rolled and held together with butter paper, for a meal on the go!

While I do not think I can call myself a foodie, my love affair with the humble Kathi Roll started when I first arrived in Kolkata, as a sixteen-year-old. In fact, the first thing I discovered about the city was that its’ street food was an integral part of its’ identity. To my young mind, the rolls were perhaps the most fabled of the street side offerings, as I’d never encountered anything remotely familiar before. I was quick to appreciate its’ taste and like countless kids before and after me, I too fell for it!

Throughout the college and university years, when work assignments forced us to make dreadfully long commutes across the city, or we were compelled to skip a meal, a quick dash to a roll joint often proved to be a life saver. The best part about the Kolkata rolls were the fact that they were easy on the wallet, (surprisingly, they still are!) since we were perpetually broke and somehow survived to make it through the month!

As a one-time Calcutta girl, I can tell you, Campari has always been my ultimate food-stop and so it has been for all roll lovers, who’ve concluded an evening of shopping, burdened with their bags, longing for a quick bite and a cold drink. Even today, you’d find the shop packed with faithful customers,  waiting for their turn patiently at their favourite stop to refuel and shop with a fresh burst of energy down Gariahat Road.

As for me, well, I’ve waited eight long years to visit Calcutta and my favourite roll shop and this time, I’m going to take my entire family along to enjoy their sumptuous rolls. Better late than never!

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