NEW DELHI, Jan. 12 -- For many growing up in eastern India over the past five decades, Kolkata (or Calcutta s it was earlier known) embodied the high ife more than Delhi or Mumbai. It was a ity steeped in history but wasn't caught in a time warp, thanks to its cosmopolitan haracter, exciting night life and other diversions.

Delhi seemed too far away and too cold and Mumbai had its charms, but Kolkata was the first name that came to mind when people in the east aspired to life in a big city. This, after all, was modern India's first capital from 1772 to 1931, and, as Calcutta Then: Kolkata Now puts it, "where it all began".

This elegant tete-beche book - readers have to flip one volume to read its attached companion that has a different co...