India is celebrating 61 years of independence today. Jai Hind. So here's to the ladies of Calcutta.
Thank you, Anthony Kunnan, for writing to me about this video. The singers are the Four Preps — four Hollywood High School students, according to Wikipedia. This song, Calcutta, was released as a single on Capitol Records in the UK in 1961 — and maybe earlier in the US because they were an American band. I used to hear this song often on the radio in Calcutta (Kolkata) in the 1960s and '70s. The lyrics may sound silly but it's absolutely true. The ladies of Calcutta are really adorable. I know from personal experience. I just spoke to my wife in Calcutta (Kolkata) a little while ago from Singapore. Meanwhile, anyone who has no idea what the ladies of Calcutta can be like, read Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy, and see if you like Kakoli. Now that's what the ladies of Calcutta are like — witty, high-spirited and utterly irresistible. Oh, here are the lyrics.
I've kissed the girls in Naples;
They're pretty as can be.
I've also kissed some French girls
Who came from "Paree."
The Spanish girls are lovely;
Oh, yes, indeed they are.
But the ladies of Calcutta are sweeter by far.
The ladies of Calcutta will steal your heart away;
And after it is stolen, you'll say–
I've kissed the girls of Naples;
I've kissed them in Paree;
But the ladies of Calcutta do something to me