Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Kolkata's Favourite - "Favourite Cabin"

A poorly illuminated medium sized room with a few white marble-top tables and some wobbly chairs – this is what ‘Favorite Cabin’ apparently looks like. Located at 69B Surya Sen Street, the lane off College Square, this unassuming cabin is north Kolkata’s (Calcutta's) oldest tea stall and is quenching Bengalis' thirst for Tea for over 94 years.

Favourite Cabin - Photo Courtesy "Ei Samay" Newspaper
Having no outer beauty, this tea-and-toast cabin continues to be the tea drinkers’ favorite haunt and the tradition of Adda goes on here every morning & evenings. People from different walks of life be it College bunkers, morning walkers, men of literature, or politics – everybody joins this adda along with hot tea, complemented by biscuits, cakes and different toasts. The toasts vary depending on the degree to which the bread is browned.

‘Favorite Cabin’ was founded in the year 1918 by Nutan Chandra Barua and his elder brother Gaur Chandra Barua, who moved to Calcutta from Bailtali village, Chittagong, in Bangladesh .

Initially the shop was set up at a place called Mirzapur Street, adjacent to College Street area and later it shifted to its present location. Coffee House did not open at that time and there were hardly any place for Adda at Boi Para (College Street). So lots of students from schools, colleges and university used to gather here at ‘Favorite Cabin’. Also, the visitors and attendees of the meetings or conferences at Albert Hall (modern day Coffee House), Students' Hall and University Institute used to come here.

Favourite Cabin has always had three partitions - a seating area, an inner chamber and the kitchen. The founders were diehard supporters of the swadeshi movement (Indian independence movement), and this is the reason why many freedom fighters did their important meetings here in the inner chamber of favourite cabin. It is said that even the great freedom fighter "Masterda" Surya Sen, who lead the 1930 Chittagong armoury raid In Chittagong against the British rule, has visited Favourite Cabin few times.

Though this place is not listed in the Heritage Building list, as compared to the Coffee house that is in the Heritage list, still the decor of the place has not changed much. The reason for this is that the owners want to hold on to the heritage of Favourite cabin.

Even today, in the age of Baristas and Cafe Coffee Days, lots of "Gen Y" people visit this place. A lot of old timers visit this place and speak of the glory of the past and enjoy the old world charm of this place. Now this shop is run by Nutan Chandra’s three sons Dilip, Badal and Mridul Barua and their posterity. Sometimes they even have to prepare tea, clean tables besides manning the cash counter, but they happily serve their patrons and maintain the heritage of this place.

The Kallol group’s daily haunt was Favourite Cabin in the 40s, this group had the greats like Kazi Nazrul Islam, Premendra Mitra and Shibram Chakraborty to name a few. Even Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, when he was a student, was another notable regular here.

3 comments:

  1. Snehashish Ganguly6 March 2013 at 03:22

    Feeling Nostalgic after reading this... Nice post... Keep writing more such wonderful articles on Kolkata

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  2. Thanks for d nice post...me a family member of this Barua family

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  3. Thanks for liking this post... I am honoured!!

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