Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Copyright: Abhijay Gupta and The Creative Commune, 2006.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Adhunik mohakabyo

Reportedly first published in the magazine "Probaashi", on the occasion of one of those Beesh O Byango Shommelons in the Benighted States.


Shealdoh-er bridge-er pashey Potoldanga Lane,

Shei khane te-i baash korto Kanai Hori Sen.

Chotto theke-i Kanai chhilo ak nambor bichchhu;

Onko, bhugol, Rapid Reader porhto na shey kichchhu.

Borho hoye Kanai gelo kortey tickit black -

Pulish-wala dhorlo taake, bollo deke, "Dekh,

Amader ei elaka-te dichchhis tax phnaaki"!

Bollo Kanai, "Dhuttorika! Moger muluk naaki!"

Taar porey-te jaa holo ta shunley pabey kanna -

Kanai regey bollo "Shaala ei desh-ete aar naa!"

Jail hajot-e thekei Kanai phiriey phello get-up,

Bollo "Aamar kodor bojhar eikhaane nei set-up".

Porer din-i bnochka bnedhe, uthey shokal shokal

Dhorlo Kanai Chhawta-r gaari - - - Hollywood-er local!

Naamer opor korlo Kanai ektu karikuri,

'Sean Connery' naam nilo shey palte 'Kanaihori'.

James Bond er filim kore khullo ki taar'forma'

Shukkhyati taar chhorhiey porhlo Paris theke Burma.

Plane theke ei jhnapaye Kanai, porhlo bujhi maara!

Abaar dekhi submarine-e korchhey kake tarha.

Goorrum goorrum photash-photash, chalaye khelna bonduk!

Chhotash photash haat-taalitey hall knaape ar knaape buk.

Kung-fu, judo, sumo, kanchi - baap re ki taar funda!!

'Bruce Lee', 'Mithun', 'Jacky Chan-o', shobai holo thanda.

Potoldangar chhele tumi, korley jogot maat,

Shabash shabash, jeete raho, kya baat, kya baat.

Choturdike chhawrhalo jokhon prochondo naam-dak,

Bhablo Kanai, chhotto korey line maara jaak.

Jane Fonda-r kachhe giye korlo shedhey dosti.

Golf kheley aar sunbath neye, byapok korey mosti.

Boley Kanai, 'Fondoo, tomaar byang-er moto gola!

Havoc lagey dekhe tomar mukh bnekiye chawla.

Chul jeno thik sone-papri, iskin jeno silik,

Neel chokh-ete 440 marchhe kemon jhilik !!

Figure ta ki chhilim tomaar, jeno sojne-r dnaata,

Taar oporey porecho jeans !! Dichchhe gaye knaata!"

Emon korey baarh khawano-ey, Fonda holo kaat

Three cheers for Potoldanga! Kya baat, kya baat!

Kanai-er bou Nettokali; baaper barhi 'Khorda'

Urgent ek e-mail taakey pathalo taar Borh-da.

"Shiggiri aaye, Jamai-babu jachchhe bujhi bokhey.

Ekhon theke din-rattir rakhish chokhey chokhey."

Nettokali khullo PC, likhlo tokhon mail -

"Haarh-haabaatey! Haramjada! Hoyechhe khub tel!

Phurti lota hochchhe, desh-e nijer istiri phele!

Jhentiye tomaar jharhtaam beesh, haater kaachhey peley!

Ghater mawra, haarh-jalani, shiggiri aaye phirey,

Ghor-bhangani, porha-mukhi petni-take chherhe".

Bou er kotha-e Sean Connery-r bhishon holo bhoy.

Jane Fonda-o bhablo sheshey heart attack na hoy.

Ghoomer majhey swapno dekhey , edik odik pherey,

Nettokali jhnata niye ashchey bujhi terhey.

Bollo Kanai, “Onek holo, ebar nebo pension

Aar parina bou-er bhoy-e nitti eto tension.

Ebhaabe tei 'Kanai Hori-r' bajaar gelo sheshey,

'Roger Moore'-ke kaj bujhiye phirlo Kanai deshe.

Gul-golpo bhabchho eshob! Bhabcho chhatar matha?

Holof korey bolchhi dada, shotti e shob kotha!

**** ****

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Return Of MarMar!

I guess this is the best place to inform everyone that I'm now back and my first post is up so all my fans (thats right - all three of you!) can return to enjoy my latest post.....

Monday, January 23, 2006

Calcutta Sojourn – Following the Trails of the Past

Vidyanjali writes about her experiences (both past and present) related to Calcutta, after her recent trip to the city @ Thoughts in Action

"There are things abt Calcutta which are most likely to have an impact upon a child's life, being mentioned there ... Who knows others may share some of the experiences ... like say, savouring Bengali sweets!"

Read more here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Calcutta

I haven't been to Calcutta in three and a half years. I belong to that class of homesick individuals who eagerly browse the web for any new information about the city they grew up in, who read and re-read emails from home, to glean every bit of information about the newest development, the latest trends, the coolest resturants, the hippest shops, and the juiciest gossip to hit my hometown. I have a strange nostalgia associated with anything Calcutta and that gets rekindled everytime I come across an article, a photo, that talks about the people, the culture, the city.

Yet, the larger portion of what I read or learn about Calcutta is a city that I have a hard time identifying with. Calcutta that is in the news today, is vastly represented by a modern pro-western metropolis. One that boasts of glamorous shops selling "ethnic wear" and "designer fusion wear", coffee shops where you pay fifty bucks for a cup of coffee, discotheques and pubs where people just "hang out", fashion shows where tank tops rule, shopping malls and multiplexes where a fat wallet can get you "in". I know I am old-fashioned and dated and that I do not live my days in the "new" Calcutta, and I am happy for all the upcoming fashion and technology that has hit my city, yet, somehow it just does not add up. Because when I remember Calcutta I remember her as a melting pot of people and culture and passion.

To me the average Calcuttan is not that girl in her tank-top and shorts or the guy with spikes in his hair and sporting an Armani. When I think of the people I see a man rushing to office in a terrycot pant and an untucked poplin bush shirt, a woman in a crisp cotton saree wiping sweat off her forehead with the "aachol", the vendor on the street corner in an old faded dhoti and dirt streaked sweaty banian, the rickshaw-wala in a brightly printed lungi and turban tied round his head. Those are the people out on the street, the ones that I'd see everyday. And feel at home. Like comfort food. Not KFC fried chicken or pizza from Pizza-hut or a latte from Coffee-Pai. But plain and simple bhaat, palong shaak, lau shukto with daaler bora, mochar ghonto with kucho chingri, alu-posto, mooshur daal with gondho-raj lebu, patla machher jhol, aamer tok, mishti doi. Going out on a date would not have to be an expensive deal. We could still have matir bhare cha from a street vendor or chinebadaam from a miniscule thonga and watch the last rays of the sun ebb out in the pond at Nandan.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying this globalization and change of face that Calcutta is experiencing is bad. I am glad for the youth of Calcutta. For the exposure, the opportunities, and the options. But my city is not all about malls and call centers and discos and multi-national food chains. It's about the crowded streets, the traffic congestion, the billboards that sport catchy ads in bangla, the early morning radio jingle of "shurobhito antiseptic cream Boroline", the hawkers that line the pavement, the rickshaw-wala, the thelawala, the phuchkawala, the man selling Joynagarer mowa, the kagoj-bikriwala, the shil-kataowala, the bashonwali. They are the ones who do not feature in the news from Calcutta, yet they form the vibrant life-source that is the heart of the city.

Calcutta is beautiful. You have a heady crowd dancing to the beat at Tantra. And you have a music conference that boasts the best in Hindustani classical music. And you have a baul with a dotara singing at the street corner while a group of men light a bonfire and sing Bhojpuri songs while they keep warm on a cold winter's night. And it is all music. You have art galleries that present the best in Indian modern art and you have people drawing on the pavement with colored chalk to earn a few pennies. And it is all art. You have a sumptous meal served to you in an upscale resturant and you have wonderful food cooked up in front of you on a little stove on the street. And they all taste great.

That to me seems great.

That to me is Calcutta.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Calcutta caught on the camera

Oksie, how about compiling a list of places (photographers) which has Calcutta caught on the camera?
Here's to start:
1) Point and Shoot
2) Mr. Amal Sircar @ PN
3) Waddell Collection at UPenn
4) Hensley Collection at UChicago
5) Anupam Basu @ PN
6) Jacques Henry @ PN
7) Sunondo @ Flickr

ps: Has anyone noticed how shabbiness is a common theme in all the sets? Plus, the emphasis on B&W, connoting a ubiquitous sense of an era long bygone?