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I visited Kolkata for the first time in 2005 and sadly, never got a chance to go back. Yet, I can surprise you with my familiarity about the place, and in the same breath feel embarrassed about how little I know. That’s Kolkata for me and a lot of us; there’s always something that one is yet to explore. Back home, when I worked in a newspaper office and later at a publishing group, I was always surrounded by Bong colleagues. They happened to be my first introduction to the world of Bengalis, to Calcutta. On some days, I’d surprise them with a Bengali song, no not Ekla Chalo Re (everyone knows that!). On other days, while I’d fail to make a lucid conversation in the language, I’d play an attentive listener to discussions interspersed with words like Bhalo, Tomar, Notun, Shona, Lekha, Kothay… Of course, I enjoyed the lunch hour, the most where I’d let the free flow of oil and sugar syrup attend to my Bengali food cravings. As Durga Puja appeared, I’d begun to look forward to walking into an office adorned with sarees (and kurtas!). Lovelies like Tant, Korial and Jamdani were enough to brighten up my day. Plus, I have been part of animated discussions on the charm of the Tram, the ease of the Metro, and the existence of Hand-Pulled-Rickshaws. So, when the idea of bringing out an edition dedicated to Kolkata came to us, I was overjoyed. Imagine, what all we can put in there, a non-Bong, like me was saying! Puchka. Bhaja. Fish. Literature. Music. Arts. Baluchari. Nightie. Moori. Stench. Chaos. Volume. Luchi. Writer’s Building. Football. Gelusil. Ilish. Puja Pandals. Roshogolla. Rabindranath Tagore. Marwaris.

editor’s note

Presidency College. And, pronunciations!

Rights: All rights reserved. The writing, artwork and photography contained herein may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of The Indian Trumpet. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of The Indian Trumpet. All efforts have been made while compiling the content of the magazine but we assume no responsibility for the effects arising there from. We take no responsibility of the availability of the products mentioned in the various sections of the magazine. Reprints as a whole or in part can be done only with written permission from The Indian Trumpet quoting “The Indian Trumpet magazine” for texts and pictorial material. Signed articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor. No responsibility can be taken for the loss of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork. Contacts: Purva Grover, founder & editor theindiantrumpet.com All queries to be addressed to theindiantrumpet@gmail.com The Indian Trumpet Magazine is released four times a year. It is available to the readers absolutely free of cost on the portal theindiantrumpet.com.

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Indeed, making this edition has been a lot of fun. Presenting a ticket to COAL – KA – TA! As a Bong teaches us in one of the pieces. “It is not ‘call’kata, neither ‘call-kota’. Read the name ‘Kolkata’ visually and you will get the pronunciation.” Also, I have to share that this edition would not have been possible without the support and love from a very special friend, Ayandrali Dutta. Not only did she pen down pieces for the edition, she also let me nag her, every now and then. Ghan-ghan! Here’s us, expressing our heartfelt Dhonyobod to each of you, for your faith in us. We hope you enjoy this sweet, greasy, cultural, charming, loud…trip to the City of Joy. Till we meet next, happy tooting.

Purva founder & editor editor@theindiantrumpet.com


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heartfelt dhonyobod!


Dear Trumpeteers, I wish I could get a printed (hard) copy of The Indian Trumpet! The colors and design of this magazine looks so spectacular that I desperately wish to hold it and sift through and soak it all in, with a nice cup of chai! I’ve only gone through the edition about the theme of ‘hair’ and yet to take time out and dig through your entire archive. Can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that gets put into this. I’m from Chennai but live in Dubai and am so thoroughly tired of being surrounded by magazines that don’t go beyond beauty and lifestyle. For me, The Indian Trumpet is a refreshing surprise that fills the gap with the right balance of fun and meaning, and gets me all emo on the desisentiment. Keep it up you guys. Personally, I’m an aspiring writer myself, and someday maybe, I will write something that could get featured in your edition :) Take care! Sangeetha Bhaskaran, UAE ...............................................................

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Hair! Oh, how much time we (both men and women) spend on it! Cutting, styling, washing and worrying about it. I loved your HAIR edition. It brought back so many memories of hair oiling mommy rituals. Even now, when I visit India I get drawn by the very presence of a roadside barber. My grandfather shares stories of getting a shave and a cut under the tree. I thoroughly enjoyed the photo feature of barbers. Keep up the good work. Sonakshi, Sydney, Australia ...............................................................

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Kolkata is not just a city, a destination, a town - it is an EMOTION! In this Kolkata special edition, we attempt to capture the feelings, flavours, aromas, rituals, habits, phrases, moments, and people that makes the place dear to many. We invite you to stop by at the streets, cook a Bengali meal, learn to talk like them, commute with them and fall in LOVE with Calcutta err... Kolkata!


Indian the

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AN E-MAGAZINE THAT CAPTURES THE COLOUR, CULTURE AND CHAOS OF INDIA THAT NRIs CRAVE AND MISS, ONCE EVERY TWO MONTHS

JUST CLICK AND READ FOR FREE Blow the trumpet with us!! To advertise, mail us at

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OIL FOR THOUGHT For Bengalis good food is synonymous with greasy, oily ‘deliciousness’, here’s an oil-drenched food tale of bhaja, luchi, khichdi, and bhodrolok for you. trumpet lead

DECODING THE BENGALI DNA Bengalis could be a little difficult to understand. After all they have been type-casted for eons and it is not easy to shake off the cultural claddings in an instant.

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THE BENGAL FOOD DIVIDE Ghotis enjoy their food mild and sweet (an extra spoon of sugar please!), Bangals like theirs hot and spicy! The debate may be an old one but is always welcomed!

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DURGA PUJA PLAYGROUND Durga Puja helps us forgive Kolkata for what it has become and soak in what it will always be.

follow the noise

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SHUBH MUHURTE An artist re-creates the magic, purity and beauty of a Bengali wedding on her canvas. A poetess supports her with charismatic words.

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THE BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE Irrespective of where she travels to, lives at…she carries Kolkata in her heart.

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KOLKATA, THE CITY WITH A SOUL Out of sight is out of mind, some would believe. But Kolkata is a city that just doesn’t let go of you. Or is it vice versa?

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THINGS THAT MAKE A BONG HAPPY So what defines a Bengali person? Here is a sneak peek into some of the basic characteristics that have been passed on from one generation to the other.

diary of an indian

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THE ‘OTHERS’ OF KOLKATA Marwaris, the ‘others’ of Kolkata, who have the city flowing freely through their veins, yet try to stay true to their own cultural heritage!

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O’ CALCUTTA It’s easy to fall in love with her. This writer may have left the city, eleven years ago, but (till date) he carries the city in his heart. You never leave Calcutta, do you?

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LOVE’S LIKE THAT! You don’t know a soul. You don’t know your way around and even then, after that initial hitch which lasts a couple of months, you fall head over heels in love with it. There can only be one city that can charm you in this way. Yupp! Kolkata it is.

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our shabdkosh

PUCHKA, THE SPICY STREET-SIDE SNACK The exploding taste from Kolkata. The Indian street-side snack is also known as pani puri and gol gappa. 54

horn OK please

TRAM, THE HERITAGE WHEELS It’s said to cause traffic congestion, it is criticised for its unhurried pace and its passenger turnout too is slowly dwindling…but it is still a part of Kolkata’s rich fabric, lovely memories and everyday life.

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desi lit

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CLASS VS. MASSES Rushdie Type and Bhagat Type. Let’s explore and compare the two categories of writers.

fashion fry

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THE WOVEN TALE Not only are these lovelies a fashion statement but also a reflection of our rich, cultural heritage. Time for a Bengali drape, we say.

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BOUDI IN A NIGHTIE! In Kolkata, wearing a nightie all through the day is, like many other things, a matter of heritage and pride.

bharat darshan

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TAGORE TREASURE Locals know it as the Jorasanko Thakurbari. Rabindranath Tagore’s ancestral house is a museum dedicated to the life and works of the Nobel Laureate. A glimpse.

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BENGALI, RHYTHM OF THE LANGUAGE Colloquial ‘repetitive’ words that are used by Bengalis, almost every day. Grammatically, they may not make much sense but they indeed reflect the exact expression at that moment.

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last word

follow the noise

MERA SHAHAR KALKATTA! A poem, a tribute, a memory.

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Oil for

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FOR BENGALIS, GOOD FOOD IS SYNONYMOUS WITH GREASY, OILY ‘DELICIOUSNESS’.

HERE’S AN OIL-DRENCHED FOOD TALE OF BHAJA, LUCHI AND KHICHDI (AND WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, ADD MORE BHAJA!) FOR YOU. P.S: CAN SOMEONE HAND US A GELUSIL PLEASE? words FROM THE DESK, THE INDIAN TRUMPET BONG TEAM images SOUMYADEEP PAUL & PAUL ANCHETA

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Image Credit: flic.kr/p/q7V3BW

Oil-kissed

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OUR FLAT BREAD

Luchi


On a recent trip back home to Kolkata, I was scheduled to meet my fave gal pals, who were incidentally in town too, after some ten long years. We were to catch up at my tiny pad, which had for years, shared the privilege of being the crashout zone, to our growing up years, before we succumbed to bigger and better jobs, in far flung cities. Needless to say, we were an excited lot, and after the initial giggles had subsided, we came to the big question of what we should be munching on, to keep the momentum going… While adda is known to have satiated many a Bongs’ appetite, we need to mention here, that a good adda is almost always also never bereft of one good food or the other. Simply put: Just like there is no separating the Bong from the adda, there is also no separating the food from the adda. And at that time when we were beginning to debate the muchpopular Kolkata street hits such as the egg rolls and the fish fries, one gal pal declared her undying love for the humble Tel Bhaja, and how much she missed her favourite evening snack in San Diego, her current place of residence. Just enough to get us salivating, and making a beeline for a handful of the fried delicacies at the neighbourhood shop, in the deliciously fading winter evening of Kolkata. Tel Bhaja, which literally means ‘fried in oil’ is a Bengali staple,

has been a loyal accompaniment to the Bengali platter, no matter what the time of the day, or the month. Made out of gram flour batter, Moori (puffed rice)-Tel Bhaja combination is still regarded as the most favourite of all Bengali snacks. And almost all localities in West Bengal will boast at least a couple of these small run-down shops that have been selling out these fried delicacies, for generations together. While there are a wide variety of Tel Bhajas available, particularly in the line of tiny shops dotting the narrow by lanes of North Kolkata, three of the most popular Tel Bhajas that can get any Bong in any part of the world salivating are: Peyaji: Where thinly sliced onions are mixed with gram flour and then deep fried in mustard oil. Alur Chop: Boiled and smashed potatoes with a sprinkle of spices dipped in a batter of gram flour and then deep fried in mustard oil. Beguni: Eggplant, thinly sliced and dipped in gram flour batter and deep fried in hot mustard oil. Phuluri: Dollops of just the flour batter made into balls and deep fried in the hot oil. When not humble accompaniments to a heated debate over the country’s state of affairs, the Beguni and Peyaji are most likely to occupy the hot seat with a steaming plate of Khichdi, (Khichudi as the Bongs call it), most relished by the food loving Bong, either at a time when it is pouring outside, or at the peak

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Image Credit: flic.kr/p/5PwKQA

Tel Bhaja

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IN EVERY

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While the Tel Bhaja when paired with endless cups of tea, will continue to occupy its place of pride in an adda session for years to come, there is more to the Bongs’ endless love for Bhaja of any kind. It is commonplace to find a Bhaja element, as part of every meal served in a Bengali household, the only difference being in the technique: for the regular Bhaja, the vegetable is not dunked in the deep flour batter, as it is for the Tel Bhaja. What is even more fascinating are the twists that the humble Bhaja is given, depending on the dish it is likely to be paired with. So, a typical Bengali Sunday breakfast will include Luchi (a Bengali style flat bread made of maida), and Ghugni (another Bengali delicacy made using small yellow peas), with the longish Begun Bhaja, which will have a part of its stem intact for greater impact, and not with the popular evening snack, that is, Beguni. On the other hand, it will be Lomba Aloo Bhaja, with masoor dal with a pinch of gondhoraj lebu for lunch, but for a day, when there are guests at home, it will be the more tricky-todo Jhiri Aloo Bhaja paired with Sona Moonger Dal to lend the platter a more ceremonious touch. While the Aloo Bhaja and Begun Bhaja most often transcend seasons, and are enjoyed all year round, certain fried elements such as the Fulkopir Bora make an appearance only during the winter days, when the best variety of cauliflowers are on the market. Although dunked in a flour batter with a smattering of nigella seeds before being deep fried, the Fulkopir Bora is in most places a strictly household offering, and is not likely to be found in the paarar (neighbourhood) Tel Bhaja shops. Despite all the health warnings floating around, the Bengalis’ love for deep fried oily snacks is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon. Simply bring the foodloving Bong a plateful of Khichudi, coupled with a few Begunis and Fulkopir Boras, on a winter afternoon, and there is little that he/she will ask for. And for all the times, that there is a case of going OTT with the ‘Bhaja’ bit, the Bengali bhodrolok will swallow on an ever-reliable Gelusil without as much as batting an eyelid, to ensure all is well.

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rhood

of winters, when the Khichudi is given a dash with all the available seasonal vegetables with a dollop of ghee and some garam masala.


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DECODING THE BENGALI DNA

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BENGALIS COULD BE A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND. AFTER ALL, THEY HAVE BEEN TYPE-CASTED FOR EONS AND IT IS NOT EASY TO SHAKE OFF THE CULTURAL CLADDINGS IN AN INSTANT. A BENGALI COULD BE DESCRIBED AS A LEFTIST LEANING, DHOTI-CLAD, BESPECTACLED, TAGORE-MOUTHING, ENGLISH-SPEWING, BOROLINE-RUBBING, HIGHLY OPINIONATED, FISH-EATING, GELUSIL-TOTING CULTURIST. SEE WHAT I MEAN? YOU CAN DESCRIBE A SHRIMP MORE EASILY THAN A BENGALI.

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words DEV HALDAR images RASHMI KOTRIWALA

I eat. Therefore I Am. A Bengali is born to eat. Literally. Bengalis eat everything. The clan saw no innovation in having three different verbs that did the same thing: eating, drinking or smoking. So, they decided to stick to one. In Bangla (the language) you ‘eat’ everything from fish to water to their favourite brand of smokes. The idea is not to labour on ‘how’ it is being consumed but ‘what’ is being consumed. Simplicity redefined.

You are what you Eat.

Food Critics If there is a clan that can poetically describe a curry, it is a Bengali. Bengalis are very proud of their recipes. Every Bengali is a food critic. Truth is that every Bengali is critical in nature and that applies to food as well. Do not be surprised if two Bengalis differ on the exact jhaal and jhol (two different curry types). And that makes Bengalis akin to Italians. Ever see Italians agreeing on the other’s pasta? In Bengal, veggie-cuts have different names and styles to suit a certain recipe. Ask the discerning Bengali where a chondropuli potato (diced to resemble a half moon) is used and you shall know. A wrongly diced potato will not go down well with the aesthetic sensibilities of a critical Bengali. This is where Bengalis find similarities with the Japanese.

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While on eating, food is a Bengalis favourite pastime. The turmeric stained fingernails that tell what was for lunch can perhaps identify a true Bengali. In fact we Bengalis think of food all the time. Typically, here’s how it works: morning tea is when breakfast is decided, breakfast is when lunch is decided, lunch is when evening snack is decided and snack-time is when dinner is decided. This template is rolled out 360 days.

The five days deducted are for Durga Puja when a Bengali plots which pujo pandal will he eat at.


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If there is a clan can poetically d a curry, it is a B Bengalis are ve of their recipes Bengali is a foo


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Fruits of the Sea Once a little Bengali boy, was ridiculed in school, when he named fish as a vegetable. Unfortunate, his teacher was not French or Italian. Else, they would have known phrases like “les fruits de la mer” or “frutti di mare”. Bengalis harvest their rivers for fish. It took the rest of India a long time to get this. So please don’t blame a Bengali if they name Hilsa, Rohu or Pabda after potato, onion and brinjal. While on that, I am tempted to say that the creator of the longest epic Mahabharata, sage Ved Vyasa could have been a Bengali incognito. Why, you ask? Remember the fisherwoman Satyavati, wife to King Shantanu, stepmother to Devavrata aka Bhishma and mother to the epic-writer? She was described as one who smelled of fish and yet every man was magnetically drawn to her, by her mere whiff. And so she was called Matsyagandhini. A very Bengali thought-process! I think somebody needs to manufacture a fish perfume and watch it disappear from shelves.

Sound 3.1 Ecouter le silence! Bengalis come with surround sound. I have always wondered how each Bengali is born with extremely effective PMPO and in-built amplifiers. I have seen my grandfather holler my favourite peanut-seller (who was a street away) and made him ‘appear’ in a few minutes. It is magic. This is why Bengalis make the best protestors. Have you not heard “cholbe na (will not work)” chants? A silent Bengali is an oxymoron. In fact, when Bengalis talk normally, which is usually discussing politics or a good haul of fish, one can hear them with earplugs on. The

Phoney Phonetics One does not have any legitimate explanation why the Bengali alphabet system does not have a few phonetics although they have different alphabets. Yes, it is international to have Y pronounced as J. But a Bengali can be trapped LBW; while they can pronounce ‘yeah’ but they call their artist ‘Jamini’ Roy! Didn’t Robindronath bhisit Jugoslabhia? It is common knowledge that in Bengali, V is pronounced as B, sometimes BH. And S becometh SH. In effect, Bengalis have been the butt of many phonetic jokes but little does the world know the disdain a Bengali nurses when one cannot get their names right. To make life easier, Bengalis anglicised three famous names. Bandopadhyay became Bannerjee, Chattopadhyay became Chatterjee and Mukhopadhyay became Mukherjee. Then why, o why cannot somebody pronounce Kolkata? It is not ‘call’-kata, neither ‘call-kota’. Read the name ‘Kolkata’ visually and you will get the pronunciation. Say it with me: COAL – KA – TA! Good, now try the famous sweetmeat – ROSHOGOLLA! Just read it like RAW – SHOW – GOAL – LA. Now say this to a Bengali and watch him adopt you.

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n that describe Bengali. ery proud s. Every od critic.

world leader in sound is a Bose. Bengalis are loud and do not suffer from hoarseness. Bengalis are made for professions like politics and law. In fact, when Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wrote The Argumentative Indian, I thought the title should have been The Argumentative Bengali.


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Bengalis have been rather misrepresented in commercial mainstream cinema. Amitabh Bachchan’s Bengali portrayal (in Piku) also faltered at places.

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Dev Haldar, the writer, is a Bengali by birth, who unsuccessfully tries to hide his vernacular identity behind strange and crazy facial hair. He loves his Tagore and Ray; is careful not to stain his fingernails with curry. Like most fellow Bongs, he likes to read, research and knows how to hold a tune. He is not the protesting type but goes down with a good fight should the cause be close to his heart. The one thing other than his family that can please him no end is his food. He is a passionate food writer on his blog BurpAndBelch.com. If you want to talk to him about pyramids, panthers, Pather Panchali, potoler dorma, pitritto (or fatherhood) or paparazzi, give him a shout @TheCalmDev on Twitter.

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Bengalis have been rather misrepresented in commercial mainstream cinema. Silver screen matinee idol (and Bengal’s son-in-law) Amitabh Bachchan’s Bengali portrayal (in Piku) also faltered at places. Personally speaking, I have abhorred actors like Johnny Lever and Satish Shah ham up Bengali impressions. If you mention Jackie Shroff in Devdas, Bengalis would probably start a ‘michhil’ (procession) in front of Writer’s Building! Uttering “Oori Baba” is as Bengali as Farhan Akhtar’s Punjabi impression saying “Yaara”. Bengalis say this because they have been home to the gold-laden, world famous ‘mujik compojer’ Bappi Lahiri. Jokes aside, it is believed that only a Bengali can take on a Bengali and that holds true for cinema. You cannot beat the histrionics of Utpal Dutt in the 1979 hit Gol Maal. Although the character wasn’t pronounced Bengali, but the character sure was. Moral of the story, only a Bong does a Bong.

Euphemistic Delicacy Bengalis have contributed to a unique phrase that ideally sums the wily charms of its women, and it is called – Neka! Pronounced – n:ae ka. When you cannot describe something in French, you say Je ne sais quois! So when a Bengali girl uses her doe-eyes to charm, seduce or arm-twist; influence, coerce, coax, cajole or simply acting her show size and not age, it is being ‘neka’. Degrees of ‘neka-mo’ make a girl attractive or unattractive, as the case may be. Consider ‘neka’ to be like the sugar levels in a good-looking cupcake.

Rashmi Kotriwala moved straight from crawling to dancing and she has thrived in the performing arts world ever since. Through the years, she has participated and won several dance competitions, published her poetry in journals, painted and sketched, learnt singing and acted in numerous plays. Moving from Kolkata to Dubai, she returned to her love of performing arts after a long hiatus. As a former committee member in Backstage, she learnt the ropes of production work and directed her first play at the inaugural Short+Sweet Theatre festival in 2013 Dubai. She recently helped launch Short+Sweet in Kolkata (2015) as Festival Director. She is also one of the founding partners of The Junction, Dubai’s latest Performing Arts Venue. Follow them here: thejunctiondubai.com

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alcutta

Cinematic Misrepresentation


Image Credit: flic.kr/p/AK2Dj9

Kolkata is not the city I have grown up in as a kid, it’s not the city in which I was born. It is the city, where I developed as a human being, as an individual. As a kid, I was terrified of the city. I was brought up in the beautiful valley of Dehradun - the tranquillity, the calmness, the peace, the hills - all in stark contrast with the hustling-bustling, hot, sweaty, polluted, over-populated city of Kolkata. As Bengalis, every year during the two-month long summer vacation, we would make an annual trip to the City of Joy (back then to me it wasn’t). I started staying in Kolkata in 2010 up until 2014 and though it may sound clichéd the truth remains that those are till date the best days of my life. Since 2014, I have travelled halfway across the world to the US, but could not bring myself to like it there, and eventually came back to India’s silicon valley, Bengaluru, but not one day passes when I don’t miss Kolkata. All my relatives, my boyfriend stay there, but more than missing them, I miss Kolkata, I miss the city of Kolkata.

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In the evenings, I miss Park Street, during afternoons I miss the tiny by lanes of Shobhabazar. I miss the calmness of the yesteryear houses, during winter I miss the Maidan, the St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the mornings, I miss the Howrah Bridge. And, during the entire day I miss the 8B Bus Stand! Kolkata is a food paradise, but when I read the food-blogs online, I often come across a few popular mentions like Peter Cat’s chelo kebabs, Flurys pastries, Mocambo’s devilled crabs, and so on and so forth. I do not deny that they are absolutely delectable and an absolute embodiment of perfection, but to me Kolkata’s food is much more than these elegant, posh restaurants of Park Street. The beauty of Kolkata’s food also lies in its affordability and the local adda feel, the latter one gets to enjoy along with the food. I have lived in Kolkata as a student while pursuing my Master’s degree from Jadavpur University. For those of you who have lived in the Jadavpur ‘chottor’, you will know what an absolutely exciting place it is starting from the 8B Bus Stand to the Jadavpur Railway Station, the 2nd gate of the university, the ‘chaar number’ gate, with Shamoldar Chaa and Maggi, the whole area is vibrant. It is my favourite place to be and even when you are in the worst of mood one walk through this area is bound to cheer you up. The one

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thing that makes Kolkata stand out from amongst the various other metros is its retro charm, you go to the local chaiwala, you will not only get a cup of chai, you will also get to know about everything that’s happening across the globe starting from Obama and ending at the local parar dada and that is the reason, why you won’t feel lonely in this city or rather feel the lack of a company in this old-world metro. I recently went to Kolkata, in December’15. I went there after 17 months so obviously I was in a very elated place mentally, because somehow even the aerial view of Kolkata has the ability to make me happy. As is usually the case with all the Bengalis, I wanted to carry back the famous Nolen Gurer Sandesh with me. As I was getting my sweets packed and also having those, which could not be possibly packed and yapping away to glory with my boyfriend, an elderly gentleman came and picked up a conversation with me about the very many sweets that were available in the store and finally asked who the guy standing with me is, to which I just smiled and


best days of my life IRRESPECTIVE OF WHERE SHE TRAVELS TO, LIVES AT‌SHE CARRIES KOLKATA IN HER HEART. FOR, IT’S ONLY IN KOLKATA THAT TOTAL STRANGERS WILL KEENLY TAKE OUT TIME TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOU! words RUBANA AAFREEN images RAJESH_INDIA

The Indian Trumpet & The Kolkata Breeze tied up to bring out the best of writings on the charming city of Kolkata! We invited one and all to romance Kolkata! Our favourite entries made it to this edition. This piece was previously published on kolkata.theindianbreeze.com & is being reprinted here with their permission.

he lovingly laughed back and wished us a very happy future together. It so happens that Kolkata is the only city in India where I can expect a total stranger to talk to me in such a loving manner, without even knowing my name and actually wish us a good future whereas in the rest of the country people are way too much busy with their hectic work schedule. I also remember hundreds of such incidents wherein I would go for a cup of tea alone to a very small chaiwala and return back a couple of hours later, having puffed a couple of cigarettes and some very intellectual conversation with someone who is almost the age of my grandfather. In my heart, I would feel

very satisfied after having gotten to know so much from a total random stranger whom I might not see again. Such is the beauty of Kolkata. People nowadays say that the Calcuttians have changed a lot, they have stopped bothering about others, and it is not the same old culture that is followed by many, but what we tend to forget is that it is people like us who have always blamed the Bengali chromosome for being over-emotional, for not being professional, for not being as progressive as the rest of the country and it is us, the very same people who blame us for what we have turned the city and its people into.

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Coming from a typical Bong family reading is second nature to Rubana. After having done her Masters from the US she is working as an electronics engineer in Bengaluru. She is a voracious reader and aspires to be a book reviewer and a narrative author. She can be reached at: rubana.aafreen25@gmail.com


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GHOTIS ENJOY THEIR FOOD MILD AND SWEET (AN EXTRA SPOON OF SUGAR PLEASE!), BANGALS LIKE THEIRS HOT AND SPICY! THE DEBATE MAY BE AN OLD ONE BUT IS ALWAYS WELCOMED ON A LUNCH TABLE, IN EVERY BENGALI HOUSEHOLD, EVEN TODAY. words and images AYANDRALI DUTTA

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Be it the East Bengal vs. Mohun Bagan or the Ilish vs. Chingri debate, the Ghotis and the Bangals have always seen a happy, healthy rivalry. From playground to the food table, there have been some serious differences and each one has gone out of their comfort zone to take part in this debate. Coming to the literal meaning of the words Ghoti and Bangal, the former means ‘pot’ (as in utensil) while the latter gets its name from Bang, which means the farmland, so they are the farming class. The culinary track sees that both Ghoti and Bangal, respectively flaunt their badge of honour. Both these cultures have played significant roles in shaping the food habits of the people of this region. While the Ghotis like it mild and sweet, the Bangals take their food hot and spicy. It’s very interesting to note that neither religion nor caste has any role to play in this divide. Before Bengal was split and two separate states were formed- the

Bangals hailed from erstwhile East Bengal or the present day Bangladesh, while Ghotis came from West Bengal. While plating the Ghoti food on the table, one sees and smells Colonial influence – be it ingredients or methods, and also they prefer their fare little subtle and light. A ghoti ranna ghor (kitchen) sees much of boiling, roasting along with frying while the Bangals add tanginess to their food with a dash of tomatoes and not yoghurt. As highlighted that both these distinct food saw their birth in the same geographical location but they hugely vary in the way the food is marinated and spices being used to pep that distinct flavour. Bangals, who are known for their richness in their preparations gives the credit to morich bata (pepper paste) and paanch phoron (mix if five spice), which is added for

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Be it the Poschim Bongo or the Purbo Bongo, the most important dish on the menu is FISH. Both the Ghoti and the Bangal are fixated on it. The ilish, koi, pabda, tangra tickles the bud of the Bangal, while Chingri, Rui, Pomfret does it for the Ghotis. The fish battle gets intensified over Padma river or the Rupnarayan River too – each claiming their Illish to be better than the other. that magical touch. A true Ghoti at heart can’t do without a pinch of sugar in most of their dishes. It has to be tasting sweet for them in virtually all their food. And not to forget the Ghoti showstopper, Posto (poppy seeds) used in almost everything from Alu Posto, Dim Posto, Potol posto to Jhinge Posto. The simple chochori (vegetable medley) too, sees its variation across the border - morola and puti maach way. While the Bangals are inclined towards morola, it’s the puti maach that adds a punch for the Ghotis. Be it the Poschim Bongo or the Purbo Bongo, the

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most important dish on the menu is FISH. Both the Ghoti and the Bangal are fixated on it. The Ilish, Koi, Pabda, Tangra tickles the bud of the Bangal, while Chingri, Rui, Pomfret does it for the Ghotis. The East takes the trophy with their dishes like Bhapa Ilish, Ilish Machher Paturi and more, while the West is not far behind with Aam Posto Chingri and Kankra Jhol, Chingri Malai curry. Don’t miss out on the fact that Ghotis prefer fresh water rohu, as opposed to the Bangals dried fish or shutki, which owes its origin to Chittagong. The fish battle gets intensified over Padma river or the Rupnarayan River too – each claiming their Illish to be better than the other. Both Paschimbangya and the Purbabangya specialise in their own traditional dishes and have their own

USPs, but it’s just for one’s taste buds to find those fine hidden nuances. If you like it tangy, then the Maacher Tok (fish in tamarind gravy) – a Ghoti specialty can’t be missed. The meal does see some similarity on a plate with rice, fish and sweet delights filling a plate. Talking of sweets, each side plays favourites with Chhanar Payesh, Malpoas ruling the West and Gokul Pithe and Lengchas the East. One cannot ignore the fact that both the Bangals and Ghotis have shaped the food of Bengal - the sweet and the spicy way. With time, as the probashi Bengalis are making cities like Delhi, Mumbai and the West their home, there are other influences too which are making their presence felt as well. Here’s to bhapa doi and jhol!

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A wanderess by passion, wordsmith by profession, Ayandrali Dutta travels for travel’s sake as the great affair is to move on. Her “Hakunamatata” state keeps her going in this mad world. Travel with here at wanderlustcraving.com.


Durga Puja playground

DURGA PUJA HELPS US FORGIVE KOLKATA FOR WHAT IT HAS BECOME AND SOAK IN WHAT IT WILL ALWAYS BE. THESE FIVE DAYS ARE ABOUT LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING FORWARD – THE ONLY TIME THE CITY CAN CARRY THE WEIGHT OF BOTH ON ITS WEATHERED ARMS.

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words SREEMOYEE PIU KUNDU images DEBASISH NANDY

I’m talking about another time. A time of bulky transistors and Eastman coloured mornings. When I’d be woken up by my grandfather, as he gently dragged me out of a flimsy mosquito net, our footsteps often colliding as I then sat perched atop his lap, staring out into a mist smudged October morning. Madhu dada, our Oriya driver’s son would soon turn up the volume as Shanti mashi, my toothless nanny brought Dada (I called my grandfather that) a steaming hot cup of Darjeeling tea, as we all sat in a curious semi-circle, listening to Mahishasuramardini – a two-hour telecast rendered in the overpowering voice of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra – the saga of Ma Durga’s agomoni (arrival) on the auspicious day of Mahalaya that marked the start of Devi Paksha – the most sacred time in the festive almanac. As Bhadra chanted the convoluted scriptures in his peculiar nasal intonation, I grasped the railings of my balcony, my eyes moistening with an untold fervour as the Goddess mercilessly slayed Mahishasura – in a

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For the Devi is not just an idol for us‌distant and desirous. She is one of us. A daughter, a mother, a sister, a friend, a lover, a wife, a grandchild‌. the sum of what is constant in a world that is ever changing.


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classic case of good triumphing over evil. It was easy to believe such a battle was possible. I was six. It was easy to believe in anything I suppose. Over the years…ever since my grandparents expired and we left our ancestral home in Kolkata, such mornings have been rendered fewer and far between. And, and yet, to a probashi (offshore dwelling) Bong like me, Mahalaya still holds that magic key – the promise of a home-coming. The chance to get back to Kolkata, in much the same way I left it almost thirteen autumns ago, a strange sadness suffusing my senses – an unresolved parting. Or maybe it has taken me all these years to understand why Dada laid so much emphasis on that one October morning, on why I was bought almost fifteen pairs of new clothes, changing into a new dress, as the day waned, what it meant to visit every pandal, circled carefully in red ink as soon as the morning daily came in, sometimes on his frail shoulders, making eye contact with divinity, rubbing shoulders with all and sundry at pada (neighbourhood) puja sammelans, rehearsing for months on our terrace, perfecting the role of Tagore’s bravest queen – Chitrangada, perhaps, slipping into expensive silk to eat out, every evening, scouring Park Street, sampling the latest eatery with a despicable vengeance, the nights promiscuously porous… the city bedecked like a bashful new bride to be drunk and delighted in. Loudspeakers on in full blast, the roll of the dhaakis (traditional drummers)adding to the din, thousands of people walking on endlessly, clad in fanciest attires purchased after months of careful saving, standing in serpentine queues to visit the latest Sharod-Sammanitto (a popular award conferred during Durga Puja to the best puja) mandap, a hedonistic frenzy in their sleepless eyes, carrying their infants high up in their sturdy arms, talking loudly, trying to navigate the din…the five day Calcutta carnival, a sensory trip that was supposed to have commenced first under the aegis of the Shobhabazar Rajbari, one of the most bonedi families of the city,

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by Raja Nabakrishna Deb in honour of Lord Clive in 1757. The puja was said to be organised as a way of Clive wanting to say thanks for his victory in the Battle of Plassey, and his inability to do so in a church as the only church in the city during that time was allegedly destroyed by Siraj-ud-Daulah. A colonial repository, the city’s religious roots are best savoured by a visit to its Northern quarters where till today many families continue with the tradition of housing the idol in their marbled courtyards, celebrating the five-day festival as a tradition of an ekannoborti poribaar – an unwieldy joint family that maybe live divided otherwise, and yet converge as one to maintain their historic family legacy. Unlike the glorious past however, most of these sabeki (old world) pujas, which once made British officers of the East India Company guests of honour, wooing them with sumptuous fares and expensive idol decorations and hiring the most expensive nautch girls to entertain their guests – today are seen opening their frayed wrought iron gates to ordinary proletarians, passers-by…peeking into a lost time and a faded glory, staring up at high ceilings, freshly painted in most cases in anticipation, glimmering Belgian cut glass chandeliers (the one that wasn’t auctioned in a distress sale), narrow, winding stairways, mighty canons that have fallen suspiciously silent – perhaps embroiled in a bitter family feud concerning property. And yet…this is not a sad story. Not quite the sadness a Kolkatan like me feels upon landing, cribbing about the irate traffic snarls or mourning the breaking down of yet another ancestral home to make way for a multiplex or a multi-storied – a faceless city in the constant throes of political ambiguity – a masterless mistress, left with nothing really, except tall tales of yesterday and yesteryears’. Durga Pujas helps us forgive Kolkata for what it has become and soak in what it will always be. These five days are about looking back and looking forward – the only time the city can carry the weight of both on its weathered


Loudspeakers on in full blast, the roll of the dhaakis adding to the din, thousands of people walking on endlessly, clad in their fanciest attires purchased after months of careful saving, standing in serpentine queues to visit the latest SharodSammanitto (a popular award conferred during Durga Puja to the best puja) mandap, a hedonistic frenzy in their sleepless eyes, carrying their infants high up in their sturdy arms, talking loudly, trying to navigate the din…

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arms. Rituals occupy centre stage, family comes first, friends step out in their Sunday best, it’s about fun and food and we make no qualms about it. From the Kola bou snaan (A banana tree is dressed as a new bride in yellow silk cloth, the priest carries the tree in a procession to Lord Ganesha as his bride) that sets off the puja revelry on Mahasashti, the sixth day of the waxing moon fortnight known as Devi Paksha, the perfunctory Ashtami (eighth day) pushpanjali that sees women step out dressed in their dhakai jamdanis or Benarasi saris and ostentatious gold finery and men stand tall in their gold bordered, dhakka dewa dhotis and off-white, silk punjabis or the mellifluous

purity of Kumari puja where a small girl child (who has not attained puberty) is worshipped as the human incarnate of the Goddess to the elaborate Sandhi puja that marks the onset of Navami (the ninth day) and the culmination of Ashtami, down to the riotous sindoor khela on the afternoon of Bijoya Dashami, customary for married wives who apply thick blobs of vermillion on the Goddess’ fair forehead, before parting their tinged mouths to smear sandesh on her mouth and whisper into her ears, ‘ashche bochor aabar esho (come again next year),’ to finally the merriment of wild dancing atop illuminated trucks in the immersion processions that dot the city’s main thoroughfares marking the heady culmination of this five-day along human fiesta – that has to be only seen


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to be believed, consumed to be converted, lived in to live on…. What is it about this festival that makes it so magical, I wonder each year, as my own father, a devoted and converted South Indian-turned self professed Bengali books our air tickets, almost 365 days in advance, as soon as we return to dusty Delhi, within days of our transit from our homeground? Why is it that our Puja holidays are always spent in the shaded sanctuary of a home we left behind? I ask myself now… as I sit penning this. Why is everything that is Bengali about us, even me, stuff that we laugh at and critique so easily, all year through at get-togethers and offices, suddenly turn into a cultural iconography – a rich tapestry of our roots and return to it we must, even if it is only in passing. Perhaps as my father says and says it best I think, ‘How can you not be home on Pujas, it’s like sitting out at your own daughter’s wedding? That is… it’s clearly not possible?’ And so, just like that faded October morning, we pack our bags, stuffing in the remainder of our childhood, the good parts…we spread our wings… flying towards familiarity. For the Devi is not just an

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idol for us, distant and desirous. She is one of us. A daughter, a mother, a sister, a friend, a lover, a wife, a grandchild…. the sum of what is constant in a world that is ever changing. So, if you’re reading this and are a Bong like me, or just someone who is curious about this thing – this is what the Durga Puja mania in Kolkata is all about. I’d tell you a little secret, you better believe it. Each word and sentence in fact. I’ll tell you why – for it doesn’t get bigger than this! ‘Ma ashchen… shob tikh hoye jaabe… dekhish dadubhai… shob dukkho… shob raag… shob moila muche jaabe… Ma ashchen…’ Dada whispered, parting my tresses. He was right…. and no, I’m not going to translate this. This time. I am sure; you will know what I mean. Things get lost in translation most often and Durga Puja is one of our few remaining dreams… (The piece was previously published in the SeptemberOctober’13 edition of The Indian Trumpet. To know more about the author & the photographer, visit the Archives section on our portal.)


IN AN ENDEAVOUR TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE WRITTEN WORD & EMERGE AS A PLATFORM FOR ONE & ALL TO SHOWCASE THEIR TALENT; THE INDIAN TRUMPET NOW HOSTS REGULAR WORKSHOPS, OPEN MIC NIGHTS, AUTHOR INTERACTIONS... HERE’S A LOOK AT A FEW OF OUR EVENTS IN THE PAST.

IF YOU WISH TO BE A PART OF THIS DRIVE AS A SPONSOR, PARTICIPANT, SPEAKER... DROP US A LINE AT: EDITOR@THEINDIANTRUMPET.COM


SHUBH MUHURTE trumpet lead

illustrations SONU SULTANIA words RASHMI KOTRIWALA

shubh muhurte shubh karye mangal samaye nav dampati ke nav jeevan me nav umangon ka aahvaan ho shankh naad ki dhwani me naval naval sa unmaad ho

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MERA HUKRIYA

aaj tumhe paa raha hun, tumhare saath paa raha hun... tumhari baatein, tumhari khushbu tumhari hansee tumhari khanak, tumhari nazarein tumhare saath ka vaada tumhara vishwas tumhari aasha tumhari abhivyakti ... mere saath aane ka ... shukriya! theindiantrumpet.com

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NAZARON MEIN trumpet lead

nazaron mein sharm ka gahna hai haathon mein aashaon ki laali hai hothon pe naam piya ka hai dhadkan mein bhay ki pyali hai

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Powered by vivid imagination and aesthetic vision Sonu Sultania uses her brush to experiment and put her thoughts on canvas. Colours and textures have always been her best companions. She works primarily in concept based and expressive paintings around the themes of women: their journeys and emotions. She has participated in many UAE exhibitions; at Pro Art Gallery, DUCTAC, e Dhabi Art Hub and so on. Her works can be found here: facebook.com/SonuSultania

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PEHLA KADAM

laxmi aa rahi hai hamare ghar pehla kadam uska dehleez par badlega karam mera uski takdeer se

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Rashmi Kotriwala moved straight from crawling to dancing and she has thrived in the performing arts world ever since. Through the years, she has participated and won several dance competitions, published her poetry in journals, painted and sketched, learnt singing and acted in numerous plays. Moving from Kolkata to Dubai, she returned to her love of performing arts after a long hiatus. As a former committee member in Backstage, she learnt the ropes of production work and directed her first play at the inaugural Short+Sweet Theatre festival in 2013 Dubai. She recently helped launch Short+Sweet in Kolkata (2015) as Festival Director. She is also one of the founding partners of The Junction, Dubai’s latest Performing Arts Venue. Follow them here: thejunctiondubai.com


(L) Book cover, Sikelele Mama (Below) Fiona Cochrane, the author of the book

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MAMA

FIONA COCHRANE, THE AUTHOR OF SIKELELE MAMA, THE JUST RELEASED BOOK SHARES HER JOURNEY OF PENNING DOWN THE TALE & CHOOSING THE PATH OF SELF-PUBLISHING. HER BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON. It has taken me half a century to call myself a writer and feel like I am being truthful. I’ve played at being a writer; I’ve read almost every book published on the subject, how to edit, how to grab the reader’s attention, and how to overcome writer’s block. I’ve studied pace, imagination, craft, the process and creativity. Ask me anything about writing and I am likely to be able to give you an answer. I’ve written half finished stories and so many openings to novels that will never see the light of day. I kept my fiction writing a secret, nobody could read it and nobody could judge it. I thought my writing was clichéd and banal, I had nothing original to say and no sublime way of saying it.

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When I started Sikelele Mama, more than ten years ago, the one thing I was most aware of was that I needed to write about what I know. What did I know? I knew Africa, I knew love, I knew friendship and I knew what it was like to live with an alcoholic mother. It wasn’t until I signed up for Nanowrimo in 2014 that I actually finished Sikelele Mama. I gave myself a month to complete the unfinished work and I succeeded in getting the skeleton of the story down. The real work was the editing; making sure that the story was good on a structural, as well as an artistic level. I asked some intelligent and creative friends to read the finished draft; and decided that instead of trying to cajole agents or publishers to look at my work, I’d go the way of the modern writer and self publish on Amazon. This terrified me, and truth be told, it still does. But I have sold a few copies and have had some good reviews. I can only try and promote my work, as a real writer and hope for the best. Now it’s time to start work on my second novel and this one won’t take quite so long to complete. Here’s an excerpt from Sikelele Mama, hope you enjoy it.

He was standing a couple of feet in front of me. I realised I was worrying about something that might not happen, and if it did, there would be nothing I could do about it. I clenched my fists and took a deep breath. “No, that’s not true. I came to visit my friend.” It came out louder than I’d wanted it to, and more aggressive. Another deep breath to calm myself down. I willed my voice to be softer. “She’s supposed to be meeting me here”. “Your friend? You don’t even know her name. How can this person be your friend?” He smiled at me, but it wasn’t a smile of affection, it was one of contempt. ”Well, she works...” I began to get annoyed. “I don’t have to tell you anything. I don’t even know who you are. Hamba, go away and leave me alone.” “Hamba? You are telling me to go? Like a dog?” He was inches from my face. “You don’t understand little girl, this is my home, you’re not in Durban now. You’re not safe in your white palace where the police will come and protect you. The police won’t come here.” My anger was short lived. The fear was back, like a cold hand meandering up my back to grab at my neck. “Please, please don’t hurt me. You can have my bag.” I started crying. “Can you just tell me how to get home?” He leaned back, looking a little ashamed. “I am Ivy’s son, Lwazi Cele. I have come to take you to her.” And with that he spun around and started to walk away. I ran after him. “Wait.” I panted behind him, his long legs meant he was striding ahead of me at a decent pace and I battled to keep up. “Wait, please.” I scraped my hand across my face trying to wipe off the tears and the snot I’d produced. He stopped but didn’t turn around. 
I stopped behind him. “Hang on, Ivy’s son is called Joseph”.“Ah, well done little girl. You remember something from the maid who cleans up after you”. He turned around. “Not that it is any of your business, but Joseph is my English name”. He almost spat the word English at me. “You’re Ivy’s son? She’s told me a little about you. I thought you were younger.”“Has she,” he looked me up and down. “I don’t think she’s told you enough. Now, no more talk, my mother is cooking lunch and I don’t want to be late.” ​The book is available at Amazon: Click HERE to get a copy.


The ‘Others’ of

Kolkata

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CALCUTTA, AS IT WAS KNOWN IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS, WAS A COSMOPOLITAN CITY EVEN BEFORE THE WORD BECAME COMMONPLACE. IRANIANS, ARMENIANS, CHINESE, RAJASTHANIS, BIHARIS, PUNJABIS AND MANY OTHERS HAVE CALLED THIS CITY HOME. THOUGH MANY ARE FAST MOVING AWAY OR HAVE INTERMINGLED WITH THE ‘BHADRLOK’. MARWARIS HAVE HELD FAST TO THEIR ROOTS, TRADITION AND HERITAGE.

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words AANANDIKA SOOD


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The Marwari community, the one that constitutes of the people belonging to Rajasthan, have been part of the Kolkata landscape even before the Britishers set foot on the shores of the Hooghly. Historical records mention that they came here en masse after the Battle of Plassey fought in the year 1757, in which the Britishers came out victors defeating the then Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-Daula and his French allies. A community that came from the arid land, has always known the value and importance of hard work. Here are a few more defining features of the ‘others’ of this city who have the city flowing freely through their veins, yet try to stay true to their own cultural heritage.

Charity: When you think of this community, a tinkling sound of coins automatically makes for the background score. The community has come to be associated with money. Marwari surnames like Goenkas, Birlas, Dalmiya and Jalans all have a direct connection with the city. They all started their journeys here and with their flair for numbers did well. Not just that. They have tried to give it back to the city as well. Today these houses are behind most of the philanthropic work in the city like hospitals, schools, charitable trusts. Charity has been important to the Marwaris from the very initial days when they travelled from the parent land to the big city. They made temples and hungry were fed there. These places would have acted as a place to stop and rest on the long journey. They would have also provided safety in the days when looting bandits lay in wait of a weary traveller. Bling and the lavish weddings: There is a very fine divide between the Marwari community and the Bengalis. This becomes apparent on laying eyes on just about any one member of the particular community. Whereas a handwoven Tussar or simple cottony Tant will be the pride of a Bengali boudhi, a Marwari woman can be seen in heavier and richer drapes, lined with zari, gotta, stones and all sorts of such paraphernalia even on a daily basis. Marwari weddings are the epitome of the ‘big fat wedding’. Lavish to a T, in a Marwari wedding it’s customary that most of the expenditure is borne by the bride’s side. Women clad in their finery (read staple sarees) and adorning rich jewels make for a lovely rhapsody. While much has been hijacked by paucity of time and patience that the young show, the traditional songs teasing the groom and welcoming

the bride are still sung at almost all Marwari weddings. Marriages are also the time to forge and strengthen ties. A Marwari wedding is a wedding to remember. Family ties: Marwaris are very good at networking. A close knit community, they do watch out for each other. This of course has a host of benefits. In the early days, this association must have helped many a people migrating from Bikaner and Shekhwati to reach, settle and set up business in Calcutta. Today they share strong bonds and are each other’s sounding boards. The strong family unit makes sure that certain continuity remains intact whether it is the trade secrets or family values. To a large extent experimenting with something new in line of work is looked down upon. So even if the world around them is changing pretty fast the Marwari community manages to hold its own. Food: Marwari food is simple vegetarian fare, which has come to be relished beyond class and country restrictions. The food owes its simplicity to the fact that a lot of ingredients were not grown in Rajasthan due to the dry and arid climatic conditions. Owing to the same reason- the extreme climatic conditions- food had to be simple, basic and easy to digest. There is a separate category of food consumed by the Marwari Jains, which is prepared without using onions, garlic or any such thing which grows under the ground. Ginger and groundnuts are probably exceptions to this rule which is otherwise followed stringently. One wonders why the cook in a Marwari household is referred to as maharaj? Marwaris love their food and are known to take their maharajs along with their own spices on their travels abroad.

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Aanandika Sood aspires to be the rolling stone that gathers a lot of moss. After 8 years of writing copies and columns, editing and scripting stories and honing her PR skills, she is now playing the part of a freelance writer and a mommie. She lives in Kolkata, blogs at aanandika.blogspot.in and writes on anything that stimulates her mind and merits comment.


puchka,

the spicy street-side snack THE EXPLODING TASTE FROM KOLKATA. THE INDIAN STREET-SIDE SNACK IS ALSO KNOWN AS PANI PURI AND GOL GAPPA.

our shabdkosh

words ANU M images DEBASISH NANDY

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A golf-sized ball dumpling bursting with tamarind water makes way to your mouth taking your taste buds on a crazy, crunchy and spicy ride. And just then, another one pops into your plate, challenging your senses for another such ride. Sweet, sour and spicy, no one can eat just one puchka. Call this favourite street-side snack of India by any name - pani puri, gol gappa or puchka, the explosion it triggers in the mouth remains the same! As for now, let’s visit Kolkata for we’re sure many of you are missing uttering these words, Tadatadi puchka dao or Joldi ekta puchka dao! In Kolkata, it is virtually impossible to miss a vendor selling puchkas. Yes, walk down any street and you are sure to spot the road-side stands adorned with deepfried dumplings arranged into a pyramid, tempting one and sundry passers-by. Did you know that while the puchka too is filled with mashed potatoes it is the water that makes it different from the Punjabi gol gappa and Mumbaiya pani puri? The preparation of spicy water that


fills up the puchka is solely tamarind juice-based sans pudina or saunth. And just the mere sight of the stands is enough to tempt you to eat one, two and more; especially if you are in Russell Street, Hidustan Park or Deshapriya Park. Deshapriya Park is known for its dahi (curd/yoghurt) puchkas, a richer form of filling that will send your taste buds into another kind of frenzy. Peeu Roy, a hardcore Bengali and a globe-trotter says, “For many people, Kolkata means Rosogolla, Sondesh, Machi (fish), Dim Bhaja (fried eggs) and Begun Bhaja (fried egg plant) but trust me nothing in Kolkata makes people happier than the puchkas. Aswhadharan (incredible) it is!” While some of the old-school puchka walas still serve puchkas in bel patra or bowls made of Bael leaves others have started serving it in thermocol or plastic bowls. The best part about the snack is of course the fact that it is so easy on the pocket. You can relish a plate of puchkas for less than `20 (1.3 AED)! You don’t have to make reservation at a fancy restaurant or even dress up properly for a puchka outing. As for the hygiene, the less you think the better it is. While the Kolkata’s puchka walas use a piece of red cloth to cover the dough-balls and the tamarind water is stored in huge steel utensils, they don’t promise hygiene. And then, after all it is a street-side snack, let it be just that. Well, while one can go on raving about the puchka the truth is that you can’t experience it till you impatiently wait for it to reach your plate, open your mouth wide open to eat it, watch the water drip on your clothes and hands and then get impatient, yet again, for the next one. As we said, no one can eat just one.

We know it is hard to find out-of-the-world puchkas (golgappas- pani puri) in Dubai but you must try out the ones served at the restaurants in Karama, Chappan Bhog, Bikanervala and Puranmal to name a few. Or make them at home? Puchka is the puri or a mini flatbread made of semolina. The dough is rolled into small and round flatbread, which is then fried on low flame until it is crispy and brown on one side and a shade lighter on the other. For the filling, you need to mix boiled and mashed potatoes with boiled black or white peas. Add a dash of spices, chilli powder and black salt. The puchka water is made with overnight-soaked tamarind and further spiced up with a mixture of cumin and fennel seed powder, rock salt and chilli powder.

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(The piece was previously published in the September-October’13 edition of The Indian Trumpet. To know more about the author & the photographer, visit the Archives section on our portal.)

Tadatadi puchka dao


GREEN DREAMS! Vegetarian meals can be tasty, quick, and easy. True. Yes, these are not myths. Many of us are vegetarians. Religious, ethical or health reasons determine our choices. Over the years, vegetarianism has become far more appealing and accessible too, courtesy the year-round availability of fresh produce, more vegetarian dining options, and the increasing plant-based culinary inspirations from varied cultures. And there couldn’t be a place better than Dubai to be a vegetarian. On our supermarket shelves are veggies from all across the world. (Even if the restaurant menus are not so kind to us.) So, if you’re a vegetarian, or a meat-eater wanting to try the greens, you are aware of the benefits of a vegetarian diet. We’ll not dwell into those. What you are probably worried of is how to deal with challenges like: How to fit in broccoli with beans, and still create a delectable meal? Or, how to make that turnip create magic on your taste buds? Hold on, also how to pick the freshest of the produce? With DinnerTime, you can relish the greens, all the

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year-round, at a high comfort, yummy and nutritious note.

Yes, vegetarian meals can indeed be tasty, quick, and easy. So this is how it works. They go to the supermarket, pick up the fresh vegetables. Return home, sit down with their team of menu creators, play mix-and-match with the veggies, herbs and spices. Come up with easy-to-understand and cook recipes. Prepare a box, which carries just the right quantity of ingredients you’ll need to cook up the meal (minimum or zero wastage), and the leaflet carrying recipes. And then, every Sunday they deliver the box at your doorstep with pre-decided four meals for the week. Eating greens can indeed be a joyful experience, besides being one that will bring in multiple health benefits to you. Plus, it will be your chance to explore an entire range of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables that you didn’t even know existed. Go ahead, enjoy the diverse, colourful, and delicious world of vegetarian cuisine with DinnerTime.


You may want to learn a new recipe, irrespective, if you are a newbie vegetarian or not. Or better still, would want someone to pick the veggies for you. Further, put them in a bag, only the desired quantity, and offer you a recipe too. That’s exactly what DinnerTime will do for you. Calling all Vegetarains!

To know more visit: dinnertime. me

A DINNERTIME VEGGIE RECIPE TO TRY NOW! Veggie Stew with Brown Rice & Naan Serves 4 • Brown Rice •400g potatoes, pealed and diced •1 head cauliflower, cut into florets •2 onions, finely sliced •3 cloves garlic, finely sliced •1 bunch spinach, rinsed and chopped •2-3 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated •1 tray sugar snap peas, whole, rinsed

1.Cook the desired quantity of rice, according to package instructions. 2. Heat the oil, add ground coriander

3.Add onion, garlic, ginger and lentils. Stir. 4. Add potatoes and cauliflower. Fry for five minutes until the onion cooked. 5.Add coconut milk + water and the

•1 tbsp ground coriander

vegetable stock cube. Let it simmer

•100g red lentils •2 cans coconut milk + ½ can water •1 cube vegetable stock •Salt and pepper •1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped

•100ml yoghurt

Write to them: info@dinnertime. me Call at: +971-55-790 87 33

for 15 minutes without a lid. 6.After 15 minutes, add sugar snaps and spinach. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes. 7.Salt and pepper to taste. Chop the coriander. Serve the stew with sprinkled coriander, brown rice, naan and a dab of plain yoghurt!

DinnerTime goes through the hassle of grocery shopping, measuring the quantities required, and then neatly packing all the necessary ingredients in a box and delivering it at your doorstep, along with four varied recipes every week. You don’t even need to worry about the calorie intake or cholesterol level as this service even takes care of that, by providing a well-balanced menu of wholesome meals for your family. What’s more, even gluten-free & paleo packages are available.

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•1 pack of naan breads

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and turmeric. Fry for 30 seconds.

•2 tbsp cooking oil

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IT’S SAID TO CAUSE TRAFFIC CONGESTION, IT IS CRITICISED FOR ITS UNHURRIED PACE AND ITS PASSENGER TURNOUT TOO IS SLOWLY DWINDLING… BUT IT IS STILL A PART OF KOLKATA’S RICH FABRIC, LOVELY MEMORIES AND EVERYDAY LIFE. THE TRAM CONTINUES TO TRACE & RETRACE ITS PATH ON KOLKATA ROADS. OUR TRIBUTE. words AANANDIKA SOOD images WRIJU


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February 1873 was a monumental year for Kolkata, then known as Kalikata. Commerce had compelled the British rulers to look for cost effective and efficient ways to carry merchandise from Sealdah railway station to the Armenian Ghats of the river Hooghly. Unfortunately, the horse trams did not find many takers and had to shut down the same year. But in the mean time something of an affair had been heralded that would go on to add to the uniqueness of the city Kalikata. Think of trams and you can imagine life slowing down a pace or two. When I first set my eyes on a tram in the middle of a main road in the South of the city, all the other noises seemed to recede away and a Mantovani melody started to play in the background instead. I was so mesmerised by the way it snaked on the road, leisurely at its own pace, not bothered by the honking cars, autos and taxis that I forgot to board the bus my palm had brought to halt.

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Kolkata is a metropolis like none other. It is large. It is smelly. And it is congested. Yet there is a strange amalgamation in which many new and old and metropolis like and unlike metropolis things/ features, survive side by side. The various modes of transportation are a case to point. Look at what all plies on the city roads and tracks: you have the air conditioned metro rail, the famous yellow taxis, as well as the haath gaadi and horse carriages. The trams possibly the first public transport system introduced in that fateful year of 1873 has continued to co-exist with all other modes of commute, without any malice. Trams became a part and parcel of the daily life of the people of Kolkata once the Calcutta Tramways Company Ltd. was created and registered in 1880. The then viceroy Lord Ripon inaugurated the route between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat via Bowbazar, Dalhousie Square and Strand Road. Electrification of the trams was started in 1900. Alongside the work for reconstruction of tracks to a standard size was


also initiated. The first electronic tramcar ran between Khiddirpore and Esplanade in 1902. By 1905, the entire system had been converted to an electronic traction. Till 1952, the tram cars were imported from England, though a workshop, which exists till date, was set up in Calcutta to undertake repairs. In 1967, the West Bengal government took over the management of Calcutta Tramways Company. In the year 1992, the Calcutta Tramways Company introduced a bus service and the trams suffered a jolt as the hurrying passenger preferred the bus to the lolling tram. The number of fleet was reduced due to the high costs of maintenance and less takers. Today, only about 130 of the 530 trams running in the 1980s are making their way on the Kolkata roads. But of late efforts have been made to turn the trams in to profit making extensions of the government by bringing in AC coaches and transforming them in to a major tourist attraction. Heritage tours aboard the tram start at the Esplanade Tram terminus offering one a glimpse of history at various destinations like the Dalhousie Square, the Presidency College, the Ashutosh Museum of Indian Art and many more. It offers a slice of life in the form of the view of the coffee houses on College Street. You can get acquainted with history during this tram ride as it chugs along the Victoria Museum and the Writer’s Building. You get to sample the delights of the rich cultural heritage of Kolkata.

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The city has also been a favourite with cinematic geniuses like Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. Many Hindi films of the yore like Howrah Bridge, Do Bigha Zamin, Amar Prem and Devdas have been set in Kolkata but then there was a lull. Of late, Kolkata has again become a favoured spot for Bollywood with many blockbusters being shot in the city. Think Mira Nair’s The Namesake, Sudhir Mishra’s Calcutta Mail as well as Anurag Basu’s Barfi! and if you prefer Mani Ratnam, then Yuva! Film makers have been wooed with delightful sights and sounds of the Durga Pujo as well as the majestic sights such as the Victoria, the Howrah Bridge and the bustling Esplanade. The trams have held their lure too for the Bollywood directors and we have them either playing out a vivid role or being part of the narrative in many films. Two which immediately come to the mind surprisingly have Vidya

Balan as the protagonist. One is the adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel Parineeta and the other is the suspense thriller Kahaani. Yes, the tram has continued to survive and the gonglike sound of its horn is still a part of the mosaic morning sounds in Kolkata. The trams have stayed around despite threats of being scrapped then and now. Even today the sight of a tram manages to bring to mind the picture of a regally clad viceroy or the bhadrlok (gentleman) in white dhotis chewing paan. The trams have journeyed thus far and I am sure this is not the end for them. (The piece was previously published in the SeptemberOctober’13 edition of The Indian Trumpet. To know more about the author & the photographer, visit the Archives section on our portal.)

(All efforts have been made while compiling the content of this article. We regret factual errors, if any.)

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The Kolkata Breeze is an online magazine for the Gen Z with a quintessentially Bengali taste and an undying love for

the city of Kolkata.

“We are a team of passionate and remarkable writers and editors who like to create and share content about things which intrigue us about the “City of Joy” and Bengali culture. Catering to a wide audience from Kolkatans to the Bengali diaspora spread across the world, we like to connect with them through posts about culture, food, happenings, opinions and occasionally jokes.”

Visit: kolkata.theindianbreeze.com


desi lit

CLASS VS. MASSES

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(Clockwise) Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Karan Bajaj, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chetan Bhagat and Advaita Kala


A LOOK AT WHAT’S RULING THE BOOKSHELVES TODAY: DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. THE INDIAN AUTHORS WRITING IN ENGLISH ARE HERE TO SERVE TWO DIFFERENT AUDIENCES VIA TWO EQUALLY DIFFERENT WRITING STYLES. WE EXPLORE THE THEMES, SUCCESSES & LIMITATIONS. words SUKANYA SAMY India is the land of the Upanishads and Vedas, and Kamasutra. When seen from a broad perspective, all these were written in Sanskrit. For centuries, it was the language that united us. Of course, regional languages have been around, and Sanskrit too has evolved and blend with other dialects. But talk today and the only language that will earn you the applaud is English! So it’s natural that writing in English has taken center stage too. A recent phenomena, it needs to be spoken about. For me, there are two categories of Indian writers (English) and I like to call them so: The Rushdie Type and The Bhagat Type. Let’s explore and compare the two categories – their writing styles, success factors and limitations. The Rushdie Type: Novels and stories on serious contemporary issues written in either fluent and verbose English or in a poetic style and are meant for people looking for a thought-provoking, knowledge enhancing and debate ensuing experience, most of whom (barring students) are native Western, and/or intended for people of Indian origin in the West or the highly educated upperclass Indians living in India. Who are these writers? Salman Rushdie in the forefront, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, V.S.Naipaul, Kiran Desai, Vikram Seth, Rohinton Mistry, Amitava Ghosh, Shashi Tharoor and Aravind Adiga. Considering I passed all the GK quizzes that I participated in, I am sure I haven’t missed many names. A bit of research shows that most of them have lived a large part of their impressionable age outside of India. Although Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri and Aravind Adiga have been recipients of the Booker prize, they’ve been typecast as their subjects mostly include gender inequality, marital difficulties, poverty and corruption in India and lack of experimentation on other subjects. How many of them have NOT shown Indians as underdogs? Can we say Indian writers have forgotten about creating an interesting plot wielded with a new theme altogether? The answer lies in understanding the sentiments of the global audience as well. Somewhere in the last decade, India and China have drawn people who are interested to know more about them on a global scale. The image of India being a land of elephants and snake charmers is fading and a stronger image of a country of over one billion people with complex issues like casteism, poverty, corruption and illiteracy is taking center stage. Most people around the world wonder once in a while how we function with so many intertwined issues. And this mystery is what people want to read about. India is an underdog, and will perhaps continue to be for many more decades - one that has potential to come over any obstacle. The success of these handful writers has had a corrupting influence on Indian writing in English and this has made British and American publishers pick novels that will sell in their markets. According to an article published in The New York Times written by Manu Joseph, Aravind Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’ received mediocre reviews in India and the characterisation and portrayal of Indian cities was considered naïve and inaccurate. But the book went on to become a Man Booker Prize winner. This is where my point of most of these writers spending impressionable years in the US and Europe gets validated – they can tell Indian stories in a way that foreigners get enticed by, irrespective of the fact that they might showcase an inaccurate and unreal picture of India. The success of these books/authors depends primarily on the

connect that they make with a worldwide audience – to give them an enriching experience of knowing more about India and provoke them to think. Sales and recognition follow. The Bhagat type: Mass litera-tainment - for readers looking for a quick and entertaining read with everyday experiences and stories presented in a simple yet witty style with which most people can connect. These are one of the first few books readers would have ever read, priced very low by publishers. Coming from all corners of India (but India alone), readers comprised of students, casual readers, first time readers who are too afraid to pick up a heavy (literally) book and finish it, or think it’s too risky to invest in an expensive book and never be able to read it without sleeping through it. The aim is to tell a simple story and make the reader laugh or at least smile, not THINK. Why did I name this type as the Bhagat type? Because Chetan Bhagat was the one who was disruptive in this style of writing. He broke the monotony of the Rushdie types and connected with Indians in the language they speak and others followed. He has created this category in India. They are populist writers whose books are best sellers – Chetan Bhagat, Advaita Kala, Karan Bajaj, etc. – who have attained success because they treat their stories exactly how masses in India want them to be treated. The current scenario is that though a lot of Indians understand and speak English, it is Indian English that they are comfortable with – simple words, ‘Hinglish’ sprinkled in most books with education, romance and modern culture as backdrops. The definition of a ‘bestseller’ book in India is also skewed. Ravi Singh, Editor-in-chief, Penguin Books India says “If it’s a hard cover, selling 10,000 books is a reason to party, across fiction and nonfiction categories. However, for a paperback, priced between INR 99 and INR 150, the figure would be 25,000 copies. Last year, around 40-50 titles out of over a thousand titles published by us crossed the bestseller mark.” These numbers are a far cry from millions of copies being sold on the NY Times bestsellers’ list, which is one of the best-known lists. Only Chetan Bhagat has managed to break the million copies record. What then is keeping these authors from exploring new themes for a wider audience and in a more enriching language? It’s an established model which is easy to replicate that deters the writers from exploring new territories. Getting a book published is no great pain today and the goal is myopic – to attain instant success in the shortest time possible. The success factor for these books is primarily sales. It wouldn’t matter if the book had a lasting impression on the audience. As one can see, there is clearly a large market for both types of books – it’s a ‘different strokes for different folks’ scenario. In conclusion, it wouldn’t be fair to argue that the Rushdie type is better than the Bhagat type or vice-versa as their writing styles and successes are meant for two very different audiences. But one thing that readers of both the types can definitely demand for is experimentation in themes – adventure, crime, science, despair, war, love and more. As Irving Wallace once said, “Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure” and what better way to do it than transporting readers to a magical place they have not experienced before.

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Sukanya Samy is a marketing professional at a global IT company and loves looking for new ideas and creative implementation techniques. WORDS are her passion – she has the ability to see patterns, express them in writing and has been doing that since childhood. A self-professed efficient multitasker, a sucker for horror movies and fiction, she loves to try her hand at everything from arts to cooking to adventure sports. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter @sukanyasamy. (The opinions in the article are solely that of the writer’s & does not necessarily represent that of the publication.)


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O’Calcutta IT’S EASY TO FALL IN LOVE WITH HER. THIS WRITER MAY HAVE LEFT THE CITY, ELEVEN YEARS AGO, BUT (TILL DATE) HE CARRIES THE CITY IN HIS HEART. YOU NEVER LEAVE CALCUTTA, DO YOU? words AMIT GUPTA images RASHMI KOTRIWALA

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On the 5th day of June’2004, when the Calcutta sun was setting, I was about to leave my birth place in search of a better career. With my backpack I was walking in the oldest railway station of India – Howrah Junction to board the Rajdhani Express to New Delhi. Howrah Station is a living example of the spirit of the city; where millions of people stroll from dawn till dusk. The terminal station is located on the west bank of the Hooghly River, and linked to Calcutta by Howrah Bridge. The Howrah station, the Hooghly River and the Howrah Bridge are the opening lines of the poem called Calcutta.

diary of an indian

I boarded the train and waved good bye to Calcutta; the place where I learnt to walk my first step as a child, and since then I have been walking, tirelessly. Calcutta has a motherly embrace, and for a 23-year-old boy, its almost impossible to think of surviving at an unknown place, away from family and friends. Its been more than 11 years I have been away from home, but Calcutta has never been away from me. Such is its warmth and culture. During my college days when I used to travel by the local train, there used to be debates in every compartment of the train; like – whether Gavaskar was the best batsman India ever had or was it Sourav Ganguly or Sachin Tendulkar? When you think of football, Calcutta is a football crazy city, there was a never a day when I didn’t hear arguments on which is a better playing football club – Mohun Bagan or East Bengal? Fans used to throw stones at each

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other or used to fight in the stadium when these two clubs used to clash against each other. The passion for their favourite club was beyond right or wrong. Not only that, people used to debate on who will be the next FIFA World Cup champion – Brazil or Argentina. The city used to come to a stand-still during the World Cups. Posters of Zidane, Maradona, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and above all Pelé, used to be seen across the city – in every street, in every market and in every corner of the city. We in Calcutta are stupendously crazy about football.

The ones who weren’t interested in football or cricket used to play cards during travelling. The local trains in Calcutta depict the culture of the masses of the city. Hawkers selling lemon candies, peanuts and many more eatables, the studious ones or in better terms, the book worms reading novels during that noisy train journey, some reading Anandabazar Patrika (the famous Bengali newspaper that comes in almost every Bengali house in the city), students debating about the political scenario of Calcutta and their future, and the Baul’s singing Baul Gaan (Bengali Folk) in some


someone pulling one of these. The best mode of transport, at least for me, were the trams; they gave you a sense of steadiness and the sweet sound of the bell when the tram stopped used to give one goose bumps. Esplanade and Park Street are two of the busiest places in town for shopping and eating. While Esplanade offered road-side shopping, Park Street offered one of the finest dining places in the town, and till today it does; Flurys, Mocambo (if you have watched Kahaani, when Vidya Balan goes to a restaurant to meet a lady for lunch, this was the place), Trincas are some of the best restaurants to eat in.

compartments. The best part about travelling in train was, one could never get bored of it. There was, life, in travelling by train in Calcutta.

There is one more thing without which the city can’t survive – fish. Calcutta is famous for its fish markets; which are crowded with people at any hour of the day, buying Hilsa/Ilish, Bhetki, Rohu, Pomfret, Singi – to name a few and then the sea food items like prawns, crabs and lobsters.

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Roads of Calcutta are full of private and mini buses – their conductors shouting Sealdah, Moulali, Burrabazar, Esplanade, Park Street, Howrah, etc. There are government buses too; and their identity is fearless driving. The other things that run on the roads of Calcutta are taxis - yellow coloured Ambassadors – its sofa like seats gave a royal feeling, although only the rich and the well-offs could

afford them. And then are the auto-rickshaws that run on a sharing basis. Now I know you would have taken an auto rickshaw in Delhi or Bombay, in which only three people are allowed to sit, but, in Calcutta, a shared auto will have a maximum of six people, an average of five people and a minimum of four people. An auto-rickshaw ride is cheap there, let’s just conclude to that. For the ones who had to travel from one narrow street to another – for them were the hand rickshaws, pulled by a poor man with his own hands. This sight was always painful to my eyes, whenever I used to see

While we are talking about food, one cannot think of Calcutta without its street food without which Calcutta won’t be Calcutta – eggrolls, puchka (gol-gappas), aloo-kabli (a spicy chaat made up of potatoes), mughlai paratha (a dish made up of egg and mutton served with aloo curry), fish fry, aloo chop, piyaji, mutton and chicken cutlet, singhara, dim-er devil (a chop made up of egg), chowmein, jhalmuri are some of the most loved eatables when it comes to street food.


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As we spoke about fine dining, street food, and fish, we are about to end our meal, but then, no meal in Calcutta is complete without sweets. You cannot think of Calcutta without Rosogolla, Mishti Doi, Sandesh and Chena Pais. The city is famous for its sweets and with pride I can say the world loves it. After such a lovely meal, its time for a coffee, and when it comes to coffee, what better place than the famous Coffee House in College Street, which is located opposite the Presidency College. This place is always flooded with Presidency College students, alumni members and also students of other colleges nearby. You name any topic, and you will find some or the other table is talking about that very topic, be it politics, sports, movies, art and literature. I don’t how many films would have been scripted here or how many movements would have been initiated from this very place. If you are thinking of taking a walk after finishing your coffee, there is no better place than the famous Victoria Memorial where you would also see tons of international tourists visiting every day. And if you are thinking to spend your evening in a quiet and serene place, then you should take a taxi from Victoria Memorial to Dakshineswar Kali Temple. You can sit by the Ganges

and let the cold breeze soothe your unnerving nerves.

and literature, and thus its called the cultural capital of India.

When I was in college, I used to wake up to the songs of Gurudeb Rabi Thakur, something that I do today as well. Even today when I am in Calcutta and go out for a walk in the morning, I hear verses of Rabindranath Tagore in the majority of the houses. I must say, the city wakes up to poetry, music

I have been away from Calcutta for more than a decade now, but the distance is only physical. Calcutta has always been in my heart and soul; and this is what has helped me survive the physical distance. If ever you plan a visit to Calcutta aka ‘The City of Joy’, don’t complain if you fall in love with her.

Amit Gupta plays the quintessential corporate guy, but at heart he’s a poet, writing secretly for a decade and longing for places where all horizons meet. At the moment he’s busy penning lyrics for a friend who’s putting them to music, and donning the hat of an auteur, with three plays under his belt. He loves freezing time with his camera and dabbles with the piano too. He dreams of the day when he can take recitals of his work on tour around the globe.

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Rashmi moved straight from crawling to dancing and she has thrived in the performing arts world ever since. Through the years, she has participated and won several dance competitions, published her poetry in journals, painted and sketched, learnt singing and acted in numerous plays. Moving from Kolkata to Dubai, she returned to her love of performing arts after a long hiatus. As a former committee member in Backstage, she learnt the ropes of production work and directed her first play at the inaugural Short+Sweet Theatre festival in 2013 Dubai. She recently helped launch Short+Sweet in Kolkata (2015) as Festival Director. She is also one of the founding partners of The Junction, Dubai’s latest Performing Arts Venue. Meet them: thejunctiondubai.com


Kolkata,

the city with a soul

OUT OF SIGHT IS OUT OF MIND, SOME WOULD BELIEVE. BUT KOLKATA IS A CITY THAT JUST DOESN’T LET GO OF YOU. OR IS IT VICE VERSA? words KASTURI PATRA images KAJOL RUSTAGI

My love for Kolkata seems to be directly proportional to the distance between the city and I. In other words, the further I am from Kolkata, the more I miss it. I think that’s but a common thing to happen though. Don’t we really begin to miss our parents as soon

trumpet toot

as we start living away from them? Just like Kabir Suman said, “Ei shohor jane amar prothom shobkichu”. Indeed. Given the fact that I was born, brought up and spent almost three decades of my life in Kolkata, this city is indeed a witness to all my ‘firsts’. • First crush when I was in an all-girls convent school and every boy looked like Aamir Khan.

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• First kiss in one of those dark, nostalgia filled by-lanes of North Kolkata. • My first time with Vodka on the Ultadanga Bridge (mixed with Sprite). • First bunking of classes to go for Titanic at the Elite movie theatre in Esplanade. • First sleepover at a friend’s place where instead of group study, the evening was spent gorging on puchkas and mutton rolls. They say Kolkata is the city with a soul. I feel Kolkata is a city with five senses, along with possessing intellect, sentiments, and emotions, and of course, a lot of drama! Just like us Bengali girls.

My Kolkata thrives with life. And laughter. And a lot of arguments and debates. And food. And books. And festivals. And everything that makes it feel like my home. Let me first talk about Kolkata’s food. A simple fish curry and rice after a hard day’s work, or khichuri (a delicacy made up of rice, pulses, and vegetables) begunbhaja (fried aubergine) on a rainy day, or koraishutir kochuri (fried puri with green peas stuffing) and alu dom (spicy potato curry) on a Sunday breakfast, we Bengalis have


Hearts are wild creatures, that’s why our ribs are cages

Sometimes, when I get my hands on nolen gur (palm jaggery) and gobindobhog chaal (a special kind of rice), I try making payesh for the winter and relive the times when we as children hogged on grandma’s pithepuli and payesh during Sankranti. And then comes Kolkata’s festivals. Durga Puja, with all its grandeur and celebrations will always be a Bengali’s idea of happiness. I still feel sad during Bijoya Dashami, when we have to bid adieu to not only Ma Durga and her family but also to our days filled with fun, laughter, late night pandal

hoppings, eating bhog, meeting friends, and doing everything except work. Durga Puja to me is a festival of coming together–of families, communities, neighbours, and the city of Kolkata at large. Durga Puja means new clothes, the latest fashions, and of course falling in love all over again even if it’s with your own husband. I also feel the Book Fair and Saraswati Puja are worth a mention. I don’t know of any other city, which has made a festival out of books. Leaving aside the bookworms, people go to the book fair to soak in the

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transformed everyday food into art. The smell, the texture, the spices, and that bit of our love for food gets mixed into all Bengali fare making it a gastronomical delight! A few days back I wanted to cook Pabda Maacher Jhol (pabda fish curry) for the first time. I called my mother in law and it turned out to be so easy and yet so wholesome and full of flavours. Due to a lack of ingredients, I substituted kalo jire (kalaunji) with mustard seeds and green chillies with dried red chillies and yet that fish curry made my husband say, “Oh! This reminds me of childhood.”


trumpet toot

cultural heritage that is so unique to the city. When I was a child, I used to be annoyed at the people who go to the book fair to just add on to the crowd and not buy books. But with age, I understood that if books can bring people together then why should I grudge them the pleasure? And talking of books, brings me to my favourite place in the city, College Street. College Street reminds me of a word I learnt recently. Vellichor, which means the strange wistfulness of a used bookshop. The word evokes images of shops selling old books, their pages yellowed with age, their musty smell transporting me to a distant land. Memories left behind like the hint of a perfume, between the pages by the previous owners, and sometimes, a scribble giving away a tiny little secret about them. College Street is the world’s largest market for second-hand books and is considered to be one of India’s most famous landmarks. Why? Allow me to take you on a tour around College Street. Imagine, a quaint sepia-tinted vintage photo, where time stands still. You amble down the memory lane, into some nostalgic pathway of old books and memories. Old buildings surround you, while you meander through lanes filled with bookshops and makeshift bookstalls. College Street elicits nostalgia in most booklovers from Kolkata. You can find your favourite magazine from childhood that is no more in print; you can come across stacks of complete works of William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens, to an exhaustive Stephen King collection. You get lost in the old world charm

The Indian Trumpet & The Kolkata Breeze tied up to bring out the best of writings on the charming city of Kolkata! We invited one and all to romance Kolkata! Our favourite entries made it to this edition. This piece was previously published on kolkata.theindianbreeze.com & is being reprinted here with their permission.

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(L-R) The sky grew darker into deeper and deeper shades of night. Durga, the divine mother

of literature produced in a host of Indian languages along with books from all across the globe. When your quest for books tires out your legs after long hours of browsing, you head over to rest awhile at the Indian Coffee House, another major attraction of College Street. Surrounded by some of the most prominent colleges such as University of Calcutta and Presidency College, Coffee House was the cultural hub of Kolkata in the yesteryears. It was once thronged by the greatest intelligentsia of Bengalfrom poets to politicians. You can almost imagine few authors immersed in literary discussions, while their coffee turned cold, thick clouds of cigarette smoke emanating from their midst as if from a

witch’s cauldron. Well, they definitely created magic in the form of their films and novels and poetry! Prominent literati across generations including Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, and Amartya Sen were known to frequent this coffee joint, to nourish their minds through discussions with the like-minded. Now, enter the precincts of this historical building. You observe there has been a sea of change. You see college kids transformed by globalisation, clicking ‘selfies’ on their phones or discussing their love lives or careers. But you like it all. You try inhaling the entire aroma of the Coffee House in one deep breath. You don’t even mind the diluted, swill like coffee or the oily fried egg (The declining patronage has taken a toll on its food). You’ve come here for the

experience after all! Finally, you start reflecting on how books are one of the greatest binding forces, even in today’s fast paced world littered by mobiles, tablets and PlayStations. You see books, explore them and take back a unique experience. So, these are a few things about my dear old Kolkata which I will cherish until my last day. And yes, I know Kolkata might not be your first choice of an Indian metro to live in given the fact that it lags in a lot of aspects from a Mumbai or a Delhi, maybe. But one thing is for sure, like that first love of your life, anyone who’s lived in Kolkata is bound to feel that the city is special with its own quaint charms and no matter where you go, you’ll always miss it in some strange, unspoken way.

Kasturi Patra is a financial analyst by profession but her passion lies in creative writing. She likes all things literary and is a true blue Bong when it comes to her love for food, books, and celebration. Kasturi is an aspiring writer and tries doing her bit in building a better world for all beings. Her writings have been published in various online publications and she regularly posts on her own blog, viakat.com. You can write to her at kasturi.mib2010@gmail.com

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Kajol Rustagi is an avid reader, eavesdropper and observer of life. Though a Law graduate, photography is her true calling. She started clicking with a digital camera and thereby progressed to a DSLR. Through her photography she seeks to document her own personal experiences, to capture scenes and events as she sees them, and shares with others the beauty and diversity of the world. As the images of other photographers such as Raghu Rai Sir and Steve McCurry Sir have inspired her to explore the world, she hopes her own contributions will inspire others to do the same.


THE

woven tale

KANJIVARAM AND BANARASI SAREES OFTEN SNATCH THE SPOTLIGHT FROM THE TRADITIONAL, CLASSIC BENGALI SAREES. WE TAKE A MOMENT TO PAY AN ODE TO THE WEAVES, MOTIFS AND FABRICS OF THE SAREES FROM BENGAL. NOT ONLY ARE THESE LOVELIES A FASHION STATEMENT BUT ALSO A REFLECTION OF OUR RICH, CULTURAL HERITAGE. TIME FOR A BENGALI DRAPE, WE SAY. words AANANDIKA SOOD

fashion fry

The image of a Bengali woman would be incomplete if it did not have her draped in a white, crisp saree with a red border! But that’s definitely not the last word on sarees from Bengal where the best is to be found not only on cotton but also in silk. If you know anything about Bengal or the Bengalis then you can picture the great time that Durga Puja is. And if you can do that then the image of women clad in red bordered white sarees isn’t far behind. But if that’s all you

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know about the six yards from this culturally rich land then fret not because we are just going to tell you more in just a spin. According to the third Handloom Census Of India there are about 3.5 lakh weavers in the state of West Bengal. The history of practicing this art can be traced back to almost 15th century in Shantipur, Nadia district of West Bengal. No doubt the city has a rich legacy! Sarees from Bengal can be roughly categorised under two heads: cottons and silks.


(Facing page) Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha in a Bengali drape. (Below) Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor dressed as a Benagli bride. (Both: Shots from a film)

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If you are a journe beautifu the saree would m place to

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Maniparna Sengupta Majumder seen here in a designer Tant saree on the occasion of Durga Pujo

Himani Sarkar is Gobardanga, Wemarried into a traditional Bengali Himani is a seniorst Bengal. She loves Bengali co zamindar family from ttons, editor with a foreig n news agency an tants, jamdani and silks! d lives in Singapo re.

ali

ng , loves her Be ller & foodie ve tra te m na co io rlustcraving. utta, a pass Ayandrali D el with here at wande drapes! Trav

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e embarking on ey to discover this ul garment then es from Bengal make a great start Know Your Cottons Tant: Woven out of the humble cotton thread, a tant saree could be the most suited garment for the hot and humid weather we have in our country. The remarkable saree is light in weight and has an airy texture. The word ‘tant’ refers to the handloom that is used to weave these sarees, as well as dhotis and other garments made for everyday use. The sarees’ distinctive features are its thick border and decorative pallav. Commonly found motifs include paisley, flowers, moon, bumble bee and the elephant. Korial and Garad: The term, it is said, comes from ‘kora’ meaning blank. The term ‘garad’ means white, as in undyed. These are the sarees that are most identified as the mark of Bengali woman. These white or off-white sarees (in both cotton and silk) sport a broad coloured border, usually red. These are often associated with purity and many Bengali woman can be seen offering the goddess Durga ‘sindoor’ on the last day of the Pujas draped in her precious korial or garad. Jamdani: Dhakai jamdani or jamdani, is often called borrows its name from the current capital city of Bangladesh. These ancient weaves traditionally originated there and today are carried forward in West Bengal. These sheer sarees are feather-light in weight and are woven with fine motifs all over the

body of the garment. They are a must have if you are a connoisseur.

Know Your Silks Baluchari: This saree too gets its name from its place of origin just like the Dhakai Jamdani. Baluchari is a village in the Murshidabad district of the state. This opulent weave is an owner’s pride for sure. This saree is characterised by scenes and stories taken from epics, and historical as well as religious texts all intricately woven into the pallav and the border. If the thread used is golden then the Baluchari is called ‘swaranchari’. The body of the saree is decorated with beautiful flowers and vines. Tussar: The rich cloth that is valued for its rich texture and natural golden sheen is also called Kosa silk. Used as a base for many weaves such as the beloved of many Baluchari, tussar silk is a class in itself. A large quantity is produced in Malda district of West Bengal, while Bhagalpur in Orissa where it is referred to as Bhagalpuri silk also produces this rich silk, Jharkhand and Andhra also aren’t way behind. Tussar is often dyed to give it dark, vibrant shades. These are the perfect background for the famous Kantha stitch. The butti and the patta are the most commonly found motifs on tussars of yesteryears. Murshidabad: Who doesn’t know of or has overheard of Murshidabad silks in their conversations with aunts, mothers and grannies? A district in the state of West Bengal, Murshidabad, is located on the banks of Bhagirathi, a tributary of Ganga. A historically important town, it was a seat of power from the times of Aurangzeb to the Britishers. The sarees coming from here are easy to drape as well as luscious in appearance making them a popular choice for weddings and festivities. A saree can probably single-handedly make a woman look suave, graceful and sexy. A saree is flexible and with semi stitched and stitched sarees making an entry their appeal has increased even more. So if you are embarking on a journey to discover this beautiful garment then the sarees from Bengal would make a great place to start.

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Aanandika Sood aspires to be the rolling stone that gathers a lot of moss. After 8 years of writing copies and columns, editing and scripting stories and honing her PR skills, she is now playing the part of a freelance writer and a mommie. She lives in Kolkata, blogs at aanandika.blogspot.in and writes on anything that stimulates her mind and merits comment.


Love’s like that! diary of an indian

SO YOU COME TO A NEW CITY - ONE THAT WOULDN’T HAVE EVER FEATURED IN YOUR WISH LIST AND ONE THAT EVERYBODY YOU KNOW CLAIMS IS ‘UN-LIVABLE’.YOU DON’T KNOW A SOUL. YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND AND EVEN THEN, AFTER THAT INITIAL HITCH, WHICH LASTS A COUPLE OF MONTHS, YOU FALL HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH IT. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE CITY THAT CAN CHARM YOU IN THIS WAY. YUPP! KOLKATA IT IS.

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words AANANDIKA SOOD image KAJOL RUSTAGI


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Whenever people, especially us North Indians and those not from the IT industry, think of moving up the work ladder and look at cities to relocate we contemplate choosing between Delhi and Mumbai. I had even forgotten that there was a city named Kolkata! So while we were leading a comfortable life in the country’s most planned city, the city of gardens aka Chandigarh, Calcutta did made way into our lives, and today after four years I wonder if it would be wrong to say that all hell broke loose; within 15 days we went from living in the most planned city to probably the most chaotic city.

diary of an indian

Relocation is a real bummer. You are more alone than you could have bargained for, for many reasons. Initially, when the stuff is in transit and there is no house to clean, co-ordinate and run, you are wowed but the wow soon turns in to a painful aoowwww. The spouse is busy, busier than usual in getting acquainted with the work place and taking charge. The child wants to sleep in as she has no school yet and thus no interesting stories to recount but only a question ‘Ab main kya karoon?’ If this wasn’t enough, you are suddenly faced with a friend-deficiency that does not ebb away even with trips to the malls. In fact the girlie gang, hanging out there, makes you feel itchy for one of your own, even if you haven’t really had one. These, rather make things worse! So it is under such circumstances that I found myself in Kolkata, an alien city, with a language I did not comprehend, no friends to turn to, a busy husband and an energetic child. Four years later, things have changed. For better. I understand the language, rather love it and often can’t help but feel amused by the similarity between Bengali and Sanskrit, which I had studied in school. I have people to call my own. My heart is warmed every time I look up at a stranger in a jam packed tram and get asked ‘Bhaalo achen?’ (How are you or Hope you are doing well!). So I admit publically that I, village girl at heart have come to gradually fall for the metropolis. The affair started with visits to the landmarks of this imperial city. Victoria Memorial, Hogg Market, Burra

Bazar, Esplanade, Park Street! Well planned it may be, but Chandigarh has no public transport system to talk of. Kolkata boasts of the first ever metro! An underground one at that. The fact that it is ancient (country’s first ever) gave it a charm which was soon preceded by the trams, the first ride on a tram proving to be an adventure in itself. Kolkata is where the past, present and future look each other in the eye and wink at us large-eyed tourists as if to say, “Oh! You did not know this of me!” It is easy and only probable in this city to breathe in the 19th century and the 21st century together. Commuting is convenient and I love this fact about Kolkata. Kolkata’s metro network, though not as vast as it should have been by now, is enviable. It is affordable, which makes it a preferred choice of many. The trams though have been under radar for being an expensive (on the government’s pocket) but I can’t imagine the Kolkata roads without a tram criss-crossing paths with other vehicles. Then there are the buses and the autos. If

My heart is warmed every time I look up at a stranger in a jam packed tram and get asked ‘Bhaalo achen?’

Kajol Rustagi is an avid reader, eavesdropper and observer of life. Though a Law graduate, photography is her true calling. She started clicking with a digital camera and thereby progressed to a DSLR. Through her photography she seeks to document her own personal experiences, to capture scenes and events as she sees them, and shares with others the beauty and diversity of the world. As the images of other photographers such as Raghu Rai Sir and Steve McCurry Sir have inspired her to explore the world, she hopes her own contributions will inspire others to do the same.

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Kolkata is where the past, present and future look each other in the eye and wink at us large-eyed tourists as if to say, “Oh! You did not know this of me!” you aren’t a public-transport-person then the humble ambassador, the yellow cab, will surely take your breath away, simply for being pocket friendly. I don’t know if anywhere else in the country a taxi runs that cheap. Kolkata stinks. Ask anyone. The tourist. The visitor. Or a localite. Oh man and when you are away you miss the stench. There is so much personality in this stench. Yes. I treat this as a life form now. The city is alive if nothing else. And it stinks because it is so much alive. There is an amalgamation of the various smells that you might associate with living. The smells of food being cooked, the smells of animal and human excreta, the smells of our household waste, the smells emanating from rotting water bodies, the smell of fish being sold off the TCR bridge. Yeah! The city’s liveliness presents itself strongly in all the smells that ride the air here. To me, Kolkata actually gives the word metropolis its exact meaning. The dictionary defines the word as any busy, large city. Take my word for it. Kolkata is large. It is expansive. There are lanes running into lanes, which run into more lanes. I don’t see boundaries to the city, an end to its limits. And it is busy. People are going and coming from everywhere to somewhere. They are busy living. I haven’t much seen this awareness for living now, in the moment, with passion, all my adult life which I largely spent

in the most planned city or amongst all the people I have known in my life. To witness this in one colourful burst you have to attend maybe just one day of the Pujo. It is as simple and easy. Kolkata, as is a well accepted fact is also the chief city, a sort of mother city for the arts. This is where the metropolis gets another meaning. The arts flourish here because they are nurtured. Young minds are fed to them or vice versa in forms as varied as singingdancing and drawing. Here art is a way of life and being artsy isn’t an additional or even an acquired qualification. It is something that flows in their veins as naturally as blood. Kolkata gives everyone a chance for being the person that they really are. It is a big city with distances and maybe that gives you the freedom to be in one corner or the other of the city. There is chaos. Yes. There are long queues. Yes queues. People understand that everyone needs to get where they are headed and not just them. People are warm. They smile and nod at strangers. They adopt you if you want or will leave you all alone to be with your weirdness if that’s what you choose. Theirs is a philosophy, which doesn’t believe breathing down anybody’s neck. Of course, there are many shortcomings like the aforementioned stench and filth, but then life is about perspective isn’t it!

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Aanandika Sood aspires to be the rolling stone that gathers a lot of moss. After 8 years of writing copies and columns, editing and scripting stories and honing her PR skills, she is now playing the part of a freelance writer and a mommie. She lives in Kolkata, blogs at aanandika.blogspot.in and writes on anything that stimulates her mind and merits comment.


bharat darshan

TAGORE TREASURE

LOCALS KNOW IT AS THE JORASANKO THAKURBARI. RABINDRANATH TAGORE’S ANCESTRAL HO DEDICATED TO THE LIFE AND WORKS OF THE NOBEL LAUREATE. A GLIMPSE. Words & Images AYANDRALI DUTTA

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OUSE IS A MUSEUM

The bustling lanes of North Kolkata are no less than any treasure trove. In every nook and corner, there will be something or the other that will surprise you. Kolkata holds many faces, emotions and passions, and you will be overwhelmed with its experiences and expressions. The city’s charm lies in its chaotic feel. As you walk down M.G Road, a huge red concrete gate with Jorasanko Thakurbari written on it will catch your attention. The ancestral house is that of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Spread over more than 35,000 sq mts, the house was built in the 18th century by Prince Dwarkanath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore’s grandfather on the land given by the Sett family of Burrabazar. The house gets its name ‘Jorasanko’ as it was named after the twin Shankar (Shiva) temples located nearby. Red happens to be the most prominent colour of this building with a combination of green and white, which enhances the look. Walking down the vast and huge corridors is like an experience in time travel. For, art, literature and culture lovers it’s a perfect date with history. As you step inside the complex, the whole place speaks of the grandness of the Tagore family. This house happens to be his birth place and not only that he breathed his last also here. There is an inscription here that reads: “Rabindranath was born breathed his last here”. The house now is the official building of the Rabindra Bharati University that was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru on Tagore’s theindiantrumpet.com

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Know More:

How to reach: Take a metro till Girish Park and from there it’s ten minutes’ walk or you can take a hand pulled rickshaw.

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Location: Near Girish Park on Chittaranjan Avenue Museum ticket: INR10 Timings: 10 am to 4.30 pm (Monday closed) Contact Number: +91-33-22695242 | +91-33-22696610 Website: www.rbu.ac.in​

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birth centenary, 8 May 1962. The complex also sees the Maharishi Bhavan, named after Tagore’s father, Maharishi Debendranath Tagore. The museum has three galleries dedicated to Tagore and his family members. The museums see some of the intimate family photographs and artworks, along with those depicting glimpses of Bengal Renaissance. The green landscape around the whole place gives it a different charm. The museum houses some 40 odd original paintings of Rabindranath acquired from Rathindranath Tagore, including a lot of photographs along with some 2071 books, 770 journals and more. The complex also sees an old car of Tagore’s on display. After the death of Rabindranath Tagore, the part of the house belonging to Gaganendranath Tagore and Abanindranath Tagore was purchased by a private party.

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A wanderess by passion, wordsmith by profession, Ayandrali Dutta travels for travel’s sake as the great affair is to move on. Her “Hakunamatata” state keeps her going in this mad world. Travel with her at wanderlustcraving.com.


things that make a bong happy! SO WHAT DEFINES A BENGALI PERSON? HERE IS A SNEAK PEEK INTO SOME OF THE BASIC CHARACTERISTICS THAT HAVE BEEN PASSED ON FROM ONE GENERATION OF BENGALIS TO THE OTHER, AND HAS (IS) BEEN SAFEGUARDED WITH EVERY DEBATE, AND EVERY CIGARETTE EVER SMOKED OR RASGULLA EATEN! words ARPAN ROY

Nostalgia

We Bengalis are steeped in nostalgia. We are big at name dropping as well Tagore, Ray, Bose and Roy...you know! True we were the first to let widows remarry, win a Nobel Prize and have the Indian version of the Renaissance. And truer that that was some eons ago. But we wouldn’t let you forget that. Ever.

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Getting a PhD

While North Indians make great businessmen and South Indians are very successful at working in the service industry, every dreamy eyed Bengali lad wants to get a PhD in a field of study, which has no economic prospect. From Russian Literature to Quantum Chemistry, thousands of Bengalis are slaving in labs and universities around the world trying to covet the enviable PhD which would makes him more appealing to the Bengali gentry at home than maybe George Clooney. Arpan Roy is a physicist by day and a struggling humour writer by night. Born and brought up in Kolkata, he has lived in South East Asia over a decade. Arpan dabbles in writing humour, sketching, cartoons and some serious popular science writing and has written for both online and print magazines. He does not have his own blog yet, thanks to laziness and will one day get to it. You can write to him at arpanroynus@gmail.com

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Misti Doi and Other Stuff

Misti Doi (sweet yoghurt) has been imported to secret pharmacy labs in the US to induce Type 2 diabetes in rats to test diabetes medicine. By 40, we all develop diabetes thanks to the rich food we are brought up on.

Durga Pujo (That’s how you spell it):

Rabindranath Tagore

Durga Pujo is Calcutta’s equivalent of the Rio Carnival with way more clothes on. During the ‘80s and ‘90s when it was easier to spot a Yeti than the member of the opposite sex in the city, Durga Pujo was the only time when girls came out and guys thronged public hotspots like Maddox Square to simply stare at them.

Politics

Bengalis love politics. The reason is perhaps that it does not take much effort to sit and criticise the state of the nation and even easier not to do anything about it. Colleges are rife with hunger strikes and non-cooperation movements (can there be any better way to protest!). Then with growing up seeing the hammer and sickle in every wall on the city and final change of government after 35 years it’s not hard to get politically conscious.

Intellectualism (Aatlamo)

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The Indian Trumpet & The Kolkata Breeze tied up to bring out the best of writings on the charming city of Kolkata! We invited one and all to romance Kolkata! Our favourite entries made it to this edition. This piece was previously published on kolkata.theindianbreeze.com & is being reprinted here with their permission.


BOUDI IN A NIGHTIE! words AANANDIKA SOOD

fashion fry

seriously Bengali women take theirs. Here, wearing a nightie all through the day is, like many other things, a matter of heritage and pride. So, no wonder while you will find the humble nightie make an appearance in many households all over the country only at nighttime, in Kolkata women can be seen wearing one through sunshine, moonlight. Mind you! It won’t be a crumply, fading garment; it will be nicely starched, crisp, in the brightest of shades (it will instantly light up your day!). Plenty of choices are available here, beyond the simple cotton and luscious satiny ones. Think Batik and Kalamkari.

This piece was born when a friend told me that an aunt of her husband’s, who was visiting Kolkata for the first time, spent all her time buying nighties. This brought into light the relationship that many Indian women have with this garment but what it drew my mind towards also was how

Maybe it is the ease of slipping in and out of one that is so appealing to the women here, who lead a very busy life. The socialising scene is very happening in a Bengali householder’s life. There are concerts and dance programmes to attend, debates and club activities to go to, children need to be taken to and brought back from schools, tuitions and ‘n’ number of activity classes and of course the ‘adda’ sessions in the evening or more important ones at the night time of the neighbourhood variety. To top it all the weather is sticky and hot. And then there are about those many hours in a day to do all this and more routine jobs. So, to think of it you do need a garment that is light and comfortable to combat the heat and easy to don and take off when a ‘Tussar’ is waiting. If this doesn’t appeal to your sense of logic don’t fret. Bengali cinema even boasts of an ‘A’ rated film called ‘Obhishopto nightie’ or the cursed nightie, a logic defying hilarious tale of women who wear the nightie, roll in the hay with the first man they see and then spend time praying to avenge their sins.

Aanandika Sood aspires to be the rolling stone that gathers a lot of moss. After 8 years of writing copies and columns, editing and scripting stories and honing her PR skills, she is now playing the part of a freelance writer and a mommie. She lives in Kolkata, blogs at aanandika.blogspot.in and writes on anything that stimulates her mind and merits comment.

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BENGALI

RHYTHM OF THE LANGUAGE COLLOQUIAL ‘REPETITIVE’ WORDS THAT ARE USED BY BENGALIS, ALMOST EVERY DAY. GRAMMATICALLY, THEY MAY NOT MAKE MUCH SENSE BUT THEY INDEED REFLECT THE EXACT EXPRESSION AT THAT MOMENT. MOST OF THESE WORDS ARE WHAT THE BENGALIS CALL ‘DHYONATTOK SHOBDO’,WORDS WHICH CARRY SOUND.

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words and images ABHIJIT DAS

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BENGALI OR BANGLA IS THE LANGUAGE NATIVE TO BANGLADESH AND THE INDIAN STATE OF WEST BENGAL

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THE LANGUAGE IS SAID TO BE SPOKEN BY OVER 180,000,000 PEOPLE, MOSTLY IN BANGLADESH AND INDIA

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THE BENGALI LANGUAGE, WITH ITS LONG AND RICH LITERARY TRADITION, SERVES TO BIND TOGETHER A CULTURALLY DIVERSE REGION 90 theindiantrumpet.com


BENGALI IS KNOWN TO BE A POETIC LANGUAGE OF THE SUBCONTINENT

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HELLO: NÔMOSHKAR INVITATION: NIMONTRON/NIMONTONNO

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DUE TO CENTURIES OF CONTACT WITH EUROPEANS, MUGHALS, ARABS, TURKS, PERSIANS, AFGHANS, AND EAST ASIANS, BENGALI HAS BORROWED MANY WORDS FROM FOREIGN LANGUAGES


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I AM FINE: AMI BHALO ACHHI WATER: JOL

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THANK YOU: DHONNOBAD I LOVE YOU: AMI APNAKE BHALOBASHI

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bharat darshan

THE LANGUAGE IS WRITTEN USING THE BENGALI ALPHABET

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(Previously published here: kolkata.theindianbreeze.com. Re-printed with their permission)

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Abhijt Das is one of the co-founders of The Kolkata Breeze. Addicted to Prison Break, Homeland & BBC Sherlock, a country music lover, a passionate guitar player, he prefers talking less and working more, hates fizzy drinks and is a non-stop reader of Jhumpa Lahiri’s works. He is an electrical engineer and an MBA, and his idea behind creating “The Kolkata Breeze” was to spread boring everyday news in an interesting way. Contact him for any kind of collaboration and sponsorship. Find him here: facebook/abhijitdasuk, orTwitter: @Abhijitdigital


esjk 'kgj dydRrk! words & image

oks ckfj”k dh >M+h vkSj ikuh ls Hkjk jkLrk Vªkeksa es]a clvksa esa ilhus ls egdrk] xaxk dh /kkjk esa viukiu Fkk cgrk--esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk! lM+dksa ds fdukjksa ij foDVksjh;k dh >kM+kas ij pgdrs iafp;ksa dk Msjk dpjksa ds <sjksa esa Hkh ePNyh ds eksy Hkko esa gj lqcg gS pgdrk esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk! LVªM ¡ jksM] jsM jksM ij ikdZ LVªhVª dh pSia ksa esa xfj;gkV ds QwVikr ij vyhiqj ds fpfM+;k?kj es gqtew lk meM+rk jkbVlZ fcfYaMx dh egRrk esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk!

last word

c.kfda] “kjr rxkWj ds [+k;ky dk jkeeksgu vkSj fon~;klxksj ds iz;kl dk] fcfiu dk] fofu; vkSj lqHkk’k dk gsea r ekuuk vkSj fd”kksjs dh vkokt+ dk lR;thr ,oa v#a/krh jk; dk tkus fdrus egkuksa dh ;sTUe n~Rrk mudk Hkh “kgj dydRrk! esjk Hkh “kgj dydRrk! jktuhfr ds laxkz e dk T;ksfr] eerk ,oa cq) dk fefPNy ds ukjksa dk ;k nsonkj dh ikjks dk

j”eh dksVjhokyk

tkus fdrus gh lwuh vk¡[kksa esa viuk jax gS Hkjrk esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk! nqxkZ iwtk esa ctrs <kd dk dkyh ?kkV ds ?kaVksa dk /kwuks vkSj “kak[k dk cktksa dk] uxkMks+a dk xhr dk] laxhr dk lkSna ;Z] ijaijk] laLÑfr dh gS lRrk esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk! iwNdk] >ky ewMh dk Ngksys dh Mky dk ywfp vkSj lan”s k dk fe’VbZ nksb]Z jlxqYys dk Lokn lk FkksMk+ rks gS ehBk] t+jk lk rh[kk vkSj [kÍk esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk! xzh’e dh nksigjh esa ilhus dh xa/k dk cM+k ckt+kj ds Bsyksa dk rkyksa dk rybZ;ksa dk ck<+kas dk ukyksa dk flfuek dh d+rkjksa dk ukfj;y dk isM+ vkSj dsys dk iRrk esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk! NksVh] cM+h ;knksa dk iSjksa rys dh t+ehu dk ekVh dk] vkleku dk cknyksa dh “kku dk [ksrksa vkS [kfygkuksa dk esjs viuksa dh] liuksa dh ckrs ;g djrk ek;wlh dh cj[kk esa nsrk eq>s NkRrk esjk “kgj dydRrk! esjk “kgj dydRrk!

Rashmi moved straight from crawling to dancing and she has thrived in the performing arts world ever since. Through the years, she has participated and won several dance competitions, published her poetry in journals, painted and sketched, learnt singing and acted in numerous plays. Moving from Kolkata to Dubai, she returned to her love of performing arts after a long hiatus. As a former committee member in Backstage, she learnt the ropes of production work and directed her first play at the inaugural Short+Sweet Theatre festival in 2013 Dubai. She recently helped launch Short+Sweet in Kolkata (2015) as Festival Director. She is also one of the founding partners of The Junction, Dubai’s latest Performing Arts Venue. Follow them here: thejunctiondubai.com

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