'Adda' is a Bengali expression for a chat or an informal conversation among a group of people, and is considered typical to the Bengali ethos. Considered an essential part of the daily routine, especially in the evenings, participants could be anybody - literary stalwarts, politicians, retired-from-work senior citizens, intellectuals, students or the gainfully unemployed. In a typical 'adda', the topics range from national politics to Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Prize medallion to football to good old-fashioned gossip. There is the rumble of many opinions about 'the system', expert opinions, diametrically opposite viewpoints and bruised egos. Vociferous conversations frequently turn into heated arguments, but never into physical fights as adda is essentially an intellectual discussion. India Coffeehouse on College Street in Kolkata has long been touted as THE place to observe or participate in an 'adda'. The book fair is an intellectually conducive atmosphere to 'doing adda', as Kolkata prides itself on its citizens' artistic, intellectual and literary leanings.More recently, 'addas' have assumed online entities on egroups and networking websites where the homesick, non-resident Kolkatan could indulge in his favourite pastime.
An edited version of the article was published in Culturama's November 2012 Issue.