Winter 2011, was lethargic, chilled and enjoyable; just like the way you would expect winter to be after a sweltering summer in the tropics. Calcutta is rocking in Winter and 2011 reminds me of my school days, when the chill was as bone shaking as it is today, (27.12.11; 00:07hrs). Well, it surely would come into the flavor, when I met my school-time pal as well as had a sneak peep into the night life at Park Street and associated areas after 7 long years. After 2004, that is; I have never visited Park Street in Christmas!
The carols weren't heard though, but loved the spices of "Bangali-ana", flavors of Bengal in it! Park Street, on 24th Dec, 2011 was almost inaccessible. Leaving the options of Oly, Mags or PeterCat, Arunima opted for the Tung Fong - her family restaurant! Munching on the butter fry and tung fong chic specials and chatting over two and a half large pegs of Blender's Pride, I enjoyed my evening with Sudipto, Neel and not to mention, Arunima. Ironically, I celebrated my 10 years of friendship with her, since 2001. Old and seasoned ducks, we are!!!
Then there was 25th, December 2011. Well, the spirit was already in, literally as we well as virtually. After completing the quota of my Sunday tuition, I headed for the same place and this time, armed with my Nikon D5000, hoping to capture the moments of smiles and frolic. But Park Street literally clogged my ambition, due to the swarm of Calcutta public. Seemed more like 25000 strong battalion, marching to capture the minimal space of the street, renamed after Mother Teresa as Mother Teresa Sarani. I asked my colleague (Nandana), to board down at Maidan rather than Park Street. It seemed comparatively empty. Well, by the time the girl could arrive in her attire I took the opportunity to aim my lens towards the cultural heritage that Calcutta boasts of! Programs ranging from the tunes of Rabindranath Tagore to the modern pop like Kolaveri D! Little artists came under the spotlight with their recitations, synthesizers, hornets and claps from the masses. It was Christmas Chill in Calcutta. The mood was in and so was the light and sound. The city was vibrant and Calcutta justified her name as the Cultural Capital of India. It never deprives the intellect nor doe sit deprive the capitalists! Neon light flooded the streets announcing their presence within the neurons of the city, ready to give you kind in exchange of cash! There you have, paani-puris, which we adore in the name of fuchka, momos, santa-caps, horns, balloons, soap bubbles... name them, you have them!
And then, there was light too!
Nandana came in and thanks to her, I came across a very nice ritual, which I am not ashamed of mentioning. Lighting the candles infront of Saint Paul's Cathedral. Felt light and happy after doing so, although I have only a pic of her doing the same and a few more...
"Silent Night! Holy Night!
All is Calm, All is Bright!"
26th December, 2011. With India dominating the Boxing Day Test match, Down Under against Australia- little did I know that I will be heading for a fascinating exhibition at the Art College, beside Indian Museum in their annual cultural and art fiesta called Parampara. Its 147th year this time and my Holy Lord! The pinches of never pursuing this career started haunting me as long as I was out there. Some great photography, works of art out of scrap material, painting, knit work and then there was a skit performed on the college grounds. Loved it!
In brief, Calcutta shone and glittered amidst the footsteps of the Santa and Lord Jesus. Looking forward for a great winter ahead and also a great year! 2012, many things will change, but I wish, the winter in Calcutta (Kolkata) remains the same!
Till then... enjoy reading!