Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our School Baranagore Ramkrishna Mission Ashram

 Our school " Baranagore Ramkrishna Mission Ashram"( BRKM) founded in the late 18th if not then dawn of 19th century, some expert comment on Swami Vivekananda's presence  on the foundation day, he probably took a boat ride from belur moth to Kuthi ghat or Ratan babur ghat to come to our school.  Those of you who are not familiar with the exact location; it's on Gopal Lal Thakur Road which is  a good 20 min walk from Sinthir More towards Baranagore Bazar and not too far from Ganga.The place barangore might be less familiar to the new generation but this place was blessed with plenty of stalwarts like Thakur Ramkrishnadev, swami vivekakanda, keshav chandra sen and sister nivedita. To write me a blog about our school is not easy since so many fragments from the past involved and it's been a long 20 years as well. But lets see what can i do my best and my schoolmates will help me on this as well i hope.As, It's a long journey and there's so many memoirs that i need to pluck them in several short ones i guess


1. about the school = during our time( as there's a lot of change took place as of today) there were 2 big buildings primarily teaching units, ashram, playground,a charitable clinic, nursery, mandir, boarding house, lawn, garden and lots and lots of trees, flowers and greenery. even in the heart of a densely crowded concrete jungle locality our school campus was like an oasis. The campus was pretty well maintained and the students had basic amenities but never pampered with any luxuries. we loved it that way.

2. Our head sir / Maharaj ji= during our time Head sir was always maharaj appointed by the Ramkrishna mission headquarter from Belur Moth. Initially we were under the tutelage of "Swami Girijatmananda" and then later under " Swami Biswanathananda". Both of them were highly educated, hard working and a strict disciplinary type of person. we normally find our heart beat always faster even if any minute chances we overlap with them by good or bad reason. There was an another maharaj from ashram " swami Nityarupananda" who was very soft spoken, gentle type of person and always offered us with candies whenever we bumped onto him at his office.

3. our teachers= Being honest i have  very few names mentionworthy. The first face which appears in my mind is our bangla teacher" Sadhan da". The word teacher perfectly fits his personality, i never came across someone nicer mentor than him in my life. I don't need to explain anything about him i guess, my batchmates who knows him the name speaks all. He left us long ago probaly a good 15 years atleast but he will be with us as long we live.Then  SKG1 our math teacher a tuff  shelled person but soft inside , subhas da who had a  prolific knowledge in english literature and the one who was my inspiration to distinguish between a good and a bad taste in literature and reading habit, i use to took private tution from him as well in class XI and XII, Jogesh da our bengali teacher was a brilliant teacher and a very funny guy. He was more of our friend than our teacher. He was solid in his education  who showed us the necessity of growing a reading habit beside regular text materials. I still remember his passion about works of "Jibanananda das" and Manik Bandyopadhyay. It's him who first showed us that there's hidden treasure chest of bengali literature and always inspired us to explore it.  among other teachers i liked chandranath da who was an excellnt teacher of math and physical science, a nice gentleman and among very few who never used any other  parts of the body beside his eyes to give a hard time to his students. Dinesh da was good at teaching bengali but can get carried over sometimes with his emotional outburst, Rishikeshda with the photochromatic glass and a very mysterious person who looks so tuff but never beat any students probably,Nitish da( who looked like Our late CM Jyoti basu!!), kali da and achyut da from office was another 2 character, I use to bump onto sudipto da every year in bookfair, he was a big fan of Gabriel Garcia marquez and Lorka, nanda da will be remembered for his melodramatic voice and famous "thappor" and chor for many of us,Kaushik da joined later when we were almost done and the only teacher with whom i've played soccer!, Bancha da always complain that the students of C section are very noisy and he is sick always by a wide range of diseases( teru-adu claimed all are " pure Dhop"),Bera sir( students call him " BARANTO BACCHA" OR COMPLAN BOY" as the lenghth of his pant was always smaller than his legs!!!) mani da 's famous dialogue" ei er roll number ta tuke rakh to", batuk da's spiritual stories and baba ji classics, bablu da's nice behavior, asit da's constant threat  and the eternal dailogue " eta addakhana noi" ( god knows for how many times we've leaked the air pressure of his bicycle wheels in mission teacher's hostel....shhhh it's a kept secret!!), RC 's "manushgular ki sahosh" and Mukul da's " Finyl and kali toir  sekha is very essential in life"are the prominent ones still stuck in mind.

4. Our C section and few other idiots = it was composed of like any other school, good ones the front benchers, the middle class and finally the eternal backbenchers( i still feel proud to be a part of this Bad boys club!!).  I am not interested at all to discuss our position, status, education and other trivial issues about where we stand today, or what we do now in our career, because it means nothing to me. we are friends and we are friends; that is the last piece of information i want to carry for the rest of my life. Lets talk about something which makes us distinct. Like, Suparno( bandu) was a total nut case but a gifted student not a mere bookworm and probaby the only 1st bencher who selflessly helped the backbenchers like us, Chandan ( chandu) is a very nice guy and equally a good friend in need always, Kaushik Mitra( ADU)-Arindam( TERU) was a peffect combo of all  paglami and chitialgiri, they always choose to sit on the 1st bench not because of study rather that they can mimic the teachers more attentively from close, Anirban Dutta( aka Gorto, Nafa) was a very nice friend and most of the people in our class use to like him, another gone case, total mad man from that age, his hadwriting was so horrible that one teacher( i can't recall who it was) gave him the task of 5 page hadwriting everyday in his daily duties!, kaushik Gupta( mintu) we all call him mintu was a quite gentle guy who stays neat and alen in his school dress always and we wicked ones in the class always put ink or mud on them to irritate him, Sankha( chatu) was our monitor in class V and VI and also played for our soccer team in defense, joydeep from madhyamgram was a very polite, well mannered person and a very descent guy, i never heard any slang out of his mouth which is so surprising to us as we can't complete a sentence without it, , Porichoy( kaku) was a very quite guy but always loves to hear secret porn stories from dirty magazine from us as well, rajat was a good person, at that time he was probaly a 30 kg structure and he once took severe beating from nanda da( gorilla), god knows how rajat survived and we kept talking abt this miracle for years,soumyajit was very good in science stream, atanu was good in math and he once took me and pushparghya to his home to show me that how great his rooftop is strategically located in the neighborhood to watch beautiful girls ( it was a great loaction indeed!!), ardhendu was brilliant in painting, sambuddha was son of our math teacher subodh sir and we always pick him up with teasing comments about sir, subhom( dhol) was a gentle person but he could be as  mad as a Raging bull  if you try to disrupt the perfect grease of his shirt or poke the back protion of his hair( we use to do that pretty often), Abhijit( PENGUIN) was always with a  smiling face, Chirodeep( " KOYA KANTHAL",  if u call him by this name you are a dead man:)Ayan raha( nochke-phoochke) was a very quite, social  and till date a very good friend of all of us, Jishu was a champion gollachor player,subhendu wasa  man of few words( we hear may be 10-12 complete sentence from him over 5-6 years i guess!!) Rudranath( ladies) was another monitor of class VII or VIIII who was infamous for " Mirjafar" type of acitvities against his own class mates, we took revenge later, tme brings down everyone afterall..ha ha, banibrata ate chutki's alukabli for 5-6 year at a stretch everyday and a mystery how he defied all diseases, Rajib(Baby) 's normal activities could be a comedy picture ingredient and a  poker face in all high and low incidents going around,Halder(ambrose) was already over 6 ft at that age( god knows how tall he is now??),Debtanu was a gifted reciter of bengali poems and his all normal conversation with us and teachers became mutated like that ( we all remember " amar nam?/ debotonuuuuuuu dutto!!!) beside this dabtanu will be always remembered for his infamous ' SANKALU' episode in class VIII, anindya( patkati) was a quite guy and more into books always,arnab( mamdomama) had a big repertoire of bad jokes which we eagerly listen at tiffintime,sudipta sarkar( dudh ka karz), mukul da once tied his both hands together for playing tabla in class bench, he was ordered to stay like that for the rest of that day:) need no intro i guess. Now lets come to my favorite ones the backbencheres: the Lion in the jungle the king of all rotten apples was Manojit banerjee aka "Jungle", he was an epitome of " dushtu chele of our school" his stories can be compiled to a best selling novel, we backbenchers even caught in surprise how much " bichhu" a student can be?, there's not even a single day passed that manojit didn't received punishment from teachers, rest of us did all the works diligently to keep our good will as a bakcbencher like beating the 1st bench fellows regularly, bunking class and private tution to watch moviees ( to be more specific B grade semi porno noon show movies in sonali, narayani or Jayashree hall with ultimate respect to Silk smita ), stealing cricket bats and balls from school store room, drawing cartoons about teachers in school wall and maramari, loitering, class a gondogol were the regular incidents. amal( bokku) and arun( chokku) are 2 brothers who are affectionate very much to each other but we heard each other calling them" suworer bachha" when a fight evolved between them( it was a great lesson to learn that even siblings are allowed to call each other by that title during fighting:), Suryarshi was like "bhara kora gunda" who can take supari to beat any people in the school if you offer him a good free lunch( he had a very tuff build physique and i used him several times to utilize his muscle power), Goutam debnath( ishhhe) was the nata bichhu and very funny guy,finally Uttam( uttomia) the ultimate moksha of any school friend, his stocks of jokes, his caricatures, mimicking other people, instant parodies was an awesome experience for us all, he remained like that till now and we love him for this reason.among other section idiots, i remember the good ones  as they were outstanding students like Diptangshu, sagar, kushal and the math prodigy Arunjit, beside them i remember Shibaji Bakshi with whom i still kp in touch ,a gentleman and whom my chotomama even likes a lot( shibaji knows, need not to explain), Dipangshu, somnath sadhu khan, natuke-sibu( who is a prominent face in tollywood now)Upamunyo, Bila-bibhas, sabyasachi, subhasish( dodo, who shared with us on class VI and later moved to Rahara mission), kushan, chibu(forget his real name), sourav palchowdhury, ankur basu mullick, Forsha-kaushik, then paradeep ,Pravankar, ananga and tamas( all of them represented our school in Bankim cup and subroto cup). among our seniors, we all remember Sougata da who came 2nd in HS and one of the most outstanding student of our school history and Anirban Khamroi da who was a honor student as well. beside them i can recall debarshida and arghya da( chatu's dada). missing a lot, i know but can't help. you need an encyclopedia for this not a mere blog!!
5. making fun of each others dad was kept in highest respect during that time. once we noticed than none of us calling each other by their own first name instead using a insulting version of the baba r nam. well it was purely for fun no disrespect really to our old man. I'm not mentioning those here, as we all love our old man.But i bet when we meet in person will do it again for sure.

6.Inter school Football league= i was a regular member of this team played every year in right back position. C section was famous for it's losing record. even after so many practice, meeting, oath we consistently lost the matches and all of them in tie breakers. I was a culprit among this as i always use to to miss the most crucial penalty and next day can't come to the class to avois th Juto peta and dholai from my other friends:)










7. street side food vendors= we would never even forget the taste of " monoranjan dar alur dom, ghugni or Chutki( he had tuberculosis and that's why his food was so tasty) alukabli, jhalmuri or chola makha. both of them never tooka shower probaly in their life and never clipepd their nails. I regret i don't have any pic of chutki otherwise i could upload it there. he is a one single piece that god makes  every 1000 years apart. Once uttom stole alukabli from his stall and he chased uttom up to baranagar bazar to get it back :) among other neighbor food vendors the kachuri stall neat kalimandir in baranagore bazar, the tea stall and the mukhoruchir chop was so palatable.

8. annual school sports= arun joysawal, kamalda or our nafa was the champion runner. Keshav( jomat) was a great long distant runner. most of us never was remotely close to win anything but always used this opportunity to do chablami, bawali and masti in the big ground with some very unhealthy snacks life churmur, chatni or kul-amra makha. Giving tumul awaz and slang to several teachers from back whom we don't like on this day was a high priority as well.

9. saraswati pujo= we stand for 2 hours, took all scolding from asit da or birenda and still end the day on a happy note after eating khichuri bhog. It use to take place on the boarding side of our school and was a very enjoyable event. This was also the only day in the year when we get a chance to visit " rajkumari girls school"  or " Sinthi sikshayatan girls school"for a dream girl watching session.

10. 12 th Jan procession = we use to enjoy this a lot. procession usually started early morning, proceeded thorugh streets of baranagore, witnessed by the whole city from balcony and front yard, (occassional sweet faces of some pretty girls was an added bonus) and ends back at school, fighting for food packet and then playing cricket for few hours was an added charm.

11. Finally few serious words about someone = I am fortunate enough to get a handful of good friends in life, among them Sumato Ghosh was my best friend. he joined our school in class VI and we remain best of the best buddies for class VI, VII. On a winter month of 1989 sumanto died from Cerebral encephalitis. it's almost a good 23 years now but I still bleed inside when his face comes in my mind and sometimes i still see him in my dream. This incident will always haunt me for ever as long i live.Life is unfair at least to some people like sumanto.

The most important point is that we've lived our school days and enjoyed every bit of it. something we can tell to our family, spouse and children who will like it listening for sure.well that's it for now. "A tale told by an idiot may be significant in some way to someone" .my BRKM friends hope you will enjoy reading my blog. pls join this blog and comment if possible.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

memories of mamarbari

I always remember a short lullaby that my ma use to sing to me when i was a little kid" tai tai tai, mamarbari jai, mamarbarite bhari moja kil-chor nai", well that's very much true, our mamarbari was indeed a place for fun and joy and i miss those sweet days up to the most.i wanted to write about our mamarbari for long time, but finally my schedule spared me some time. well there's should be always some prioretized time to look back our good old days no matter how busy we are.so lets take a ride in the time machine to the golden days of our childhood. amader mamarbarir sobai" cholo Lets GO" back to those days!!

1. History and brief intro of our mamarbari = Name of my dadu is Late Mr. Gobardhan Bandyopadhyay and my dida Srimati Tarulata Debi/ Bandyopadhyay. They have 10 adorable kids, 5 boys and 5 girls. My ma Tapati chakrabarti is the 5th one in the team so i have 5 mamas and 4 masis along with 17 cousins ,no wonder a classic example of a happy bengali family. My dadu shifted from his ancestral home in Sikte-Belmuri village to a small room in  kolkata with his mom and wife in the early 50s i guess. He started working in a wood products manufacturing company, which he became a partner and later owner with his all hard work and vision, built 2 houses in kolkata first one in beleghata-kadapara in Shib krishna Dawn lane our old mamarbari and then later in the early 80s in Ultadanga opposite" Bidhan sishu Udyan".Dadu died in 2005  at the age of 89 just few month after my wedding, he was a very nice,simple family man.My last distinct memory with dadu was at our home, we watched the bengali movie " ABHOYA O SRIKANTA" together, then for the last time in 2004 a day before my wedding, when he was in his penultimate days of life blessed us with " benche thako amar" RAJSEKHAR" ( he use to call me with that name most of the time) ,we all miss him still very much.We are fortunate enough that our dida is still with us, she can sing still few lines of her favorite song " oi malotilata dole, piyal o torur kole" and cooks amazing aluposto and borir jhal.she is still beatiful and elegant at her age of 85. we all love you dida and miss you.


2. Kalipujo-Bhaifonta= we waited for this whole year, eagerly flipped the bengali calender  to know the exact date.when dadu informed us that " Gourmama gacche thakur ante" that's it, nothing can stop us to visit mamarbari.Dadu-dida fasted whole day for the puja,  dida, maima and masi ra busy with organizing ingredients for puja rituals, gourmama( he was Jack of all trade type of person) cooking food, mama ra busy with buying stuff for puja, samirmama and sejomama went to B.sarkar bazar to buy firecrackers, and we all spoiled nati-natni of mamarbari doing nothing but fun. playing cricket or soccer on the roof, trying to learn how to make " tubri" from chotomama-sanudada or taking updates about the midnight fireworks. baba and other mesomosai normally shows up at the evening after their work and then the real fun begins with arati when we felt ourselves extremely lucky to get a chance to play kansor-ghonta with arati.Madanmama use to come from sikte to play the DHAK and always volunteered to gave us few crash courses to play this instrument. Fireworks was the favorite event at night and " Burimar chocolate bomb" was the star attaraction among all of them beside " dodoma, charki, phuljhuri, rong mashal, tubri,sapbaji  and rocket.I remember Rumki once had an inflamed charki in her palm and got burnt badly. I still promptly remember it was the year 1995 when The "Total Solar Eclipse"  coencided with the kalipuja day. we all enjoyed it with our eclipse glasses and sanudada-chotomama went to Subhas sarobar to ebserve the changes in nature and birds.Coming back to puja, in the next day early morning shower  followed by  Pushpanjali and  bhog in which i loved the amazing payesh and chatni made by dida with khichuri-beguni  and she serve us that from a very distinct bowl made of black stone which i beleive she used only the day of pujas.whole day spent with serving guests with pujor prasad, antakshari, memory game( boromama was our chief coordinator for this game),playing karom and bagaduli, occassional pranks and teasing from chotomama and Arunmama invading our chotoder adda and then in the evening the " Pratima Bisorjon" or " BHASAN". Kaliprotima and us all overboarded together in dadau's karkhana truck( lowry) and then stroll to babughat or bagbazar ghat for vasan. During the journey we scream loudly with " BOLOKALI MAI KI JOY, ASCHHE BOCHOR ABAR HOBE", maimara-dida,masira doing final boron of the deity and it immersed in the ganges, i always observed tears in their eyes during this time.Mejomesomosai or someone else bought telebjaja and baloon for us while coming back. soon all started gearing up for " BHAIFONTA'  as it is the very next day and very little time to prepare, so queing up to buy " khaja" and other sweets from " Bonomali Mistanna bhandar" and ordering Galda chingri or good fish from beleghata market for the d-day. Next day bhaifonta was very enjoyable moment as well. all good wishes chanting the traditional bhaifonta mantra " bhaiyer kopal e dilam fonta jomer duare porlo kanta"  from our  cousin sisters like mou, mala, rumi, tatan, reshmi, tuli and others was very special.


3. PICNIC AT SIKTE= every winter we  use to do this annual family picnic at dadu, mamader ancestral home in Sikte,which is a small village on the cordline and i beleive it's in district hooghly but not to far from burdwan as well.we all wake up very early in the morning to catch the cord line train from ultadanga. boromama, sumon, tatan and maima coordinates with us with the same local train from sealdah station. dolonl, reshmi, chotomasira from bally/uttorpara.others show up mostly on the same train and sometimes on the very next train. we step down a station named " BELMURI" and then mornign winter sun and fresh breeze from the agriculture field welcomed us. Then an elaborated grocery part in the station market where  boromama always stop by in a local sweet vendor to grab few kachuri with cholar dal, we always bought some fresh vegetables and chicken for lunch and then  started walking  through the village mud road often juniors chorusing a good song from a recent hindi movie. after reaching sikter bari  the whole day spend with fun and fun and fun. cricket, badminton with dolon, sumon, tublu, and mama ra, a quick lesson in doing fishing from local boys, visiting kana river, eating delicious sikter " chanar goja" with telebhaja and muri for breakfast, then in the lunch we had pipping hot " murigir mangsher Jhol", bhat and salad, the taste was just heaven, i guess more for the ambience than the food itself!!  I rememeber one nice  lady " Aloker Ma" from this village who always use to visit us and help us out in few cleaning  and cooking  who was instrumental for organizing a last moment surprise dish like " chuno macher jhal" or "Sojne fuler torkari".Local boys of that village use to join us in our cricket game also.As the dusk started showing up,we started packing stuff and heading back to our city dens catching an evening local train, tired but very much enthralled talking about how good the day was spent.


4. Bijoya = getting together at our kadapara mamarbari for bijoya was an auspicious event to remember. dadu gave us a new  big khata with red binding on outside to write name " Sri Sri durgamata sohai" 51 times, we found this very interesting and challenging game  at that age more than religious reason. Doing pronam to all our eleder ones and also doing " KOLAKULI" with mama and meso. ,Gourmama use to make" SIDDHI'  and we kids get a chance to have a one small sip of that not more for health reason and to avoid an euphoric condition i guess. Al palatable sweets like rosogolla, chomchom, rabri, ledikeni from local stores. chotomasi shows up sometimes with " JONAIER MONOHORA'  and mejomasi with bagbazar r " NOBIN MOYRAR ROSOGOLLA", No wonder we didn;t wasted any time to do proper use of them always:) my baba-always bring  famous makha sondesh from tarakeswar for this day.


5. Biyebari and other family occassions= well, i am little behind in this part since i started living abroad in 2001, i missed almost all the shaadi occassions, we normally are winter migratory bird so when we visit India during winter time that always overlaps,poushs a month when bengali marriage calender prohibits any biye. still from the good old days, i remember from sejomama biye in which i was a " nitbor" then in rintudidir biye in 1989; it took place in mejomasi's house in Bagbazar and it was so much fun. Sumitda our jamaibabu  is a nice person , has tons of jokes in his repository which he shared with us, about food i remember a person from Orissa named " Narasingha babu" caterted the food and then he continued to do so for next zilion years i guess:), i also remeber it was the first time when i tried expresso cappucciono and mocha, during " Aiburo" vat mejomesomosai arranged " doi Ilish" which was outstanding in taste. I also remember Rintudidi's biye because it oevrlapped with the debut series of Sachin tendulkar as i remember my seniors kept talking about a 15 yr old boy who played a gutsy innings with a broken jaw resulted from an another debutant waqar Younis!! Though i was a little boy but still it is vivid in my mind about meeting Sumitda's dad Mr. Ganguly who was perfect gentleman and  a very nice person. He left us last year leaving all good memories for us.During this marriage our beloved " ROHINI DADU" died at home in Ariadaha. Hewas a very nice person with all his pranks and jokes and unique sense of humor that we still talk about. Then i remember the marriage of Namama with Elora maima in 1990 or 91, it took place in beleghata mamarbari. i was a teen ager and promoted to serve guests with food which was a quite prestigious rank among my juniors:), then chotomama's biye in 1995, mou's biye in 1999, dolon's and sumon's poite, then sumon's biye in 2011( after a long  i attended a wedding of our family!!), babi's poite in 2005( son of rintudidi-sumitda) and  sanudada's biye in 1997 i guess. Me, sumon, dolon and sometimes tublu, ankan hang out  during these occassions, we use to do eating competition during the dinner time and used the codeword " innings and batting" to denote how good one is eating. we were simply exceled in this art. Our gastronomic passion was so high that often the caterer got fed up and scared for our appetite. Our driver Bisuda and Nmama was the two rock solid batsmen for the team. I still remember some of the cuisine as they were sooooo damn good!! especially Fish tandoori from sumon's wedding, mutton biriyani from sanudada's biye and the majestic wedding ceremony of chotomama- nandidni maima which we still remember for the fabulous arrangement in a club in south calcutta.while our parents were preoccupied with socializing with other relatives and guests we had enormous freedom and no study for few days,those days really still swells in my mind. I still remember some other people from these occassion who were not directly related to our mamarbari but some sort of thread is there, like Bhendulmama whom i enjoyed discussing art and literature, Debidas pesamosai( rumi's pisemosai) who with his jokes and funny stories become as close as our own pisemosai, Gulipisi, subrotomama( tublu's own mama) a smart looking nice guy and many others.I miss these occassions from my core especially when i hear from my parents about the menu of the wedding. well you got to give back something for  your career, unfortunately that something is a big big thing for me:) :)


6.Dolkhela= though i mostly enjoyed this at my own neighborhood in salt lake, i been to  3-4 dolkhela in mamarbari especially in Bidhan sishuudyan mamarbari. After playing holi for almost 2 hour we always decided to invade other masi's house especially amader bari or majomasi's bari, dadu had this old colonial period car " Hillman" which looks elegant but volatile and unpredictable like the english weather. chotomama or nomama not a solid driver at that time gave us a ride in the calcutta road and it was so much fun to invade masi's house with colors and then treated with misti, lassi and other snacks.


7.Bidhan Sishu Udyan house= dadu choose to built this house in the 80s and what a place he has chosen , right opposite of the childrens amusemant park "Bidhan sishuudyan ". It was always my other class mates envy at that age of 7-8 that i have a mamarbari opposite to this park. whenever i go there i took all the rides of this park, play soccer, watch the aquareum fish, ride the trees by ropes, visit the library, it even had a jymnasium, basketball court, swimming pool and an archery training center.we have seen many VVIP on Dr.Bidhan Roy's birthday in Bidhan Sishuudyan, like Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and our ex Governor Mr. AP Sharma(i remember him as i breached the security barricade to get an autograph, i was 8 probably, so not clear why i did that:) In Bidhan Sishu udyan  afternoontime was like a carnival time , crowded with little kids with their parents, all food vendors like Phuchka, alukabli, bhelpuri and ghugni. This park long ago lost it's stature and all glamor, for  sheer negligiency of our west bengal govt and the other park authorities. In this house,dadu-dida use to live on the top floor , gourmama use to  maintain a nice flower garden with seasonal flowers like rose, dahlia, marygold and Hibiscus on the roof and 2-3 white rabbits which was our prime attraction to climb the roof top wooden stairs avoiding the red eyes of our parents.I remember once mamara organized a cricket match in the Bidhan sishu Udyan with our other tenants like Jhawar, baity and ganga uncle during the day of holi.Chotomama-n-mama and sanudaad were three musketters of this house and they often organize " Ganer lorai", movie show in VCR( yes at that time it was a big thing!), special cuisine request to dida or gourmama or just good long adda. we occassionally got permitted for an entry to those sessions as was too young.  In the winter beside the neighbor Mr. Chakraborty's house we made courts and put on some lights to play badminton at night, mejomama and chotomama was very good in this sport so was chotomama's friend " Guruda"( he was Governor's bodyguard as well).I also remember few friends of mama who use to come often in this house occassionally chocolates in their pockets for us, like Probalmama,tapasmama who were sejomama's friend and then Suparnomama who was a close friend of chotomama.


8. kadapara-Beleghata house = This house named " Rajani Kuthir" after dadu's father, old type architecture, red floor and thick walls, very comfortable in all season. Th is is house where my mom and all her 9 siblings grew up. The place is very close from Salt lake stadium, Subhas sarobar and " Jogodyan Moth". Bolumama's house was just opposite to mamarbari and dadu once told us that famous Bodybuilder Mr. Manohar Aich  came to this house, dadu had a brief chat with Mr. Aich as well. Then i also remember the stationary good store owner " Pothik mama and electrician " Sudhir-mama", i really liked both of them especially Pothik-mama who sometimes offered us free candies and chanachur. Beside this house there was a small ground named " kalikoler math" and  kakadadu-arunmama's house  and bakery   also very close. Gourmama installed a swing( dolna) for us in the roof and it had several nice flower trees like togor, dopati, and bel. There was a Rongon tree probably on the ground floor from which dadu everyday early morning picks up flowers while doing his "sanskrit mantras".dadu's other tenant were also pretty good gentleman type of people namely, Sailen-babu, Mr. Bhogendra and his 3 children,Chandan, kundan and madhu whom i still remember quite well. we had a very good telebhaja shop close to the bus stop and an amazing roadside ghugni-alurdom vendor which probalby used all the red peppers in this world. Ohh there was a dingy, horrible looking movie theatre "SUKTARA' which was well famed in that area for many reasons:)

9. Karkhana= dadu had this pretty big wood factory beside beleghata khalpar. we nati-nathni's invade here occassionally. I love to go here riding infront of a bike mainly two of dadu's employees of this factory " kochimama and Samirmama" especially on Biswakarma Puja day. mejomama or sejomama was always happy to see us here, they bought cake for us from a small roadside shop i think " DHIREN-MAMA" was the owner of this shop.Then kite flying and later eating lunch coming back to mamarbari with others. This factory had a small pond as well inside the premises and once dadu gave us a stick of sandlewood which my mom still kept in her thakughar in kolkata.






10.Miscellany = well this bag is full with scattered pieces here n there, like ,Gourmama can fix anything from" alpin to elephant" and can cook about 1000 dishes from chowmein to chochhori, but at the end they all taste same(quoting sanudada here:) , bisumama never gets angry nomatter how pissed of other people are, boromasi's voice has quite outstanding resemblance with singer Sandhya Mukhopadhyay,chotomasi can cook amazing chicken chanp, N-mesomosai excelled in math and stat ( i particularly was very scared about this as was very weak in it!),sejomama calls me "Bonomali",i always enjoyed the company of boromama as we had quiz,film, music,art and lots of common topics to share about, mejomama an ardent Mohunbagan supporter and we spend tirelss discussion about old maidan football ,chotomama and sanudada can do brilliant caricature of bengali movie comedians esp Nabadwip halder and Bhanu banerjee,mejomesomosai was a renowned Indian weightlifter,n-mama with his bagna-vagnis loves to talk about traveling and foods,regarding my maima's they are all good cooks and always welcomed us to their home, during any family occassion giving adda with all maima's was a special moment always for us, sanudada is a gifted director who once directed a short documentary " sangeet porichalonai porichalok" which i put in quite a good level for it's nice composure,babi and dodo loves cars and computers,rumki can speak french and loves to travel, tublu loves to eat biriyani and a blind man utd supporter,dipankar is a computer genius, sumon-swagata loves to drive to scenic places,Tatan is an outstanding Odissi dancer( she was a disciple of " Guru Giridhari Nayek"),reshmi speaks nonstop and very funny,Rintudidi is always busy with his two son and sumitda but still keeps in good touch with all of us,bumbada loves to listen ghazal music and other eastern classical concerts, Gudlu,Arka and coco are very naughtly but sooooo cute( well gudlu has quite grown up now),Arkya can paint very well at his age and quite promising in this aspect,dolon whom i call by "mama" and he calls me back as "vagne" was very close to me,we went to watch several good test match series at The eden gardens together ending up with a late dinner at shiraz, tuli is a promising journalist ,ankan is a very serious type of person but if you spend enough time with him you will know he is a good guy at heart and yes he also smiles if your jokes are good,dibyu is a very naive simple guy and loves to teach math and eat luchi-rosogolla,,mou can sing pretty well and lot of us doesn't know that she was a good swimmer and won few medals at annual swimming competition at Subhas sarobar,mala is pretty good on home decoration and loves her cell phone, boromesomosai knows palmistry pretty well, chotomesomosai loves his parar adda and always looked busy when he comes to mamarbari to catch the 5.53 up dankuni local to go back home for his evening adda  with his buddies:), and finally my dad can sleep anytime anywhere, that includes " parking lot to soshanghat":) and my mom can cook  five sourse dinner for 20 people in less than an hour:)...well i consider that all people of our mamarbari are gifted in some sort of way . It's a wonderful world indeed!!i don't want to bring their success stories in their professional life as it feels very trivial to talk.
I can write relentless, as for all our bhai-bon's mamarbari has a very very special place in our heart. Now for our own career and life we are scattered on different parts of this world but all these priceless memories will always bind us together for sure.Attaching few pics, archiving from good old days n i am sure my cousins, mama, masira and others will like reading this blog for sure.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Our village Nachipore

1.Our house made of clay, mud and straw =Our village is in Hooghly district, about 20mile outskirts of the famous Lord Shiva shrine "Tarakeswar". The nearest bus stop is" kararia" which is  2 mile walk and still our village is really a village not a semi urban-rural chimera. Also for reference our village is only 1.5 hr drive to famous " kamarpukur-Jairambati" the home of "Shri Ramakrishna and Sarada devi".Our house  is still standing for over last 75 years,  baba, jethu, kaku, pisi all born there and spend a good amont of time of their life in this house. This house even has a upper floor and so cool in even brut summer and warm in winter for the materials used to bulit it. we have a tulsimancha, goal ghor where we have cows which gives fresh milk everyday and my kakima makes amazing ghee, kheer, misti from the milk. we have few ducks( fresh eggs everyday), a pukur where we fish punti, mourala, parshe, mirgel and katla mach, a rashmancha, Dhaner Gola( to keep the annual harvest) and lots of  trees implanted by my chotopisi and sejokaku especially that famous shiuli gach, neem, belgach and gondhoraj lebu gach.when we were little kids we use to hear" siyaler dak" at night and no electricity, only harricane and oil lamps.This village still has no busstop and mud road still runs along the village with greeny fileds on the both side.

2. River damodar= This river was infamous for flooding when my baba, jethu was a kid, since the DVC dam projects the river is quiet now but can be reckless during the monsoon times. on the other side there is the muslim village "Baikunthapore" from where we can hear the melodious " AJAAN" especially in the early morning time.whenever i stayed at nachipore we always took the daily bath in this river with my cousin babul, himu, gopal, ramkrishna and other neighbor boys. we spend almost 2-3 hour playing kabaddi, football with batabi-lebu, then jump into the river and spend hours. soemtimes we use to go to the near by fields and gardens to steal green mangoes, jackfruit( kanthal) for a prebath snacks. There is a nice " Buddha temple on the deowlpara which is little far but visible  from the middle of the river.we had several ghat's like Bamunder ghat, kunduder ghat and napit-der ghat of this river. napitder ghat was our favorite for the abundance of mango, peyara and jackfruit trees . during monsoon time we often request the tribal villager of the " Bagdi" tribe, bholada, neruda to give us a ride on their boat to catch fish. some of my very good friends of this tribal community are heblo, binoy, dinesh, chotu, Pili, biyai, votil and many others. They are so nice and innocent people that is hard to find these days in our modern life. I learned a lot of lesson in life from them especially in agriculture, fishing, climbling trees, swimming and all tips of surviving in a village which i will never forget.There are potato, paddy, jute and veg fields( jomi)  as the soil is extremely fertile for the river and in winter with the mustard field the riverside looks divine.

3.Mela's in different season= we have " Rather Mela" in deowlpara in the football grond beside the river in june, then Poush sankrantir mela in Dibadpur and Kulbadpur in winter and Pirbabar mela during autumn time. I ride in my hercules bicycle and go there with my other cousins and village friends mainly babul, mamoni, munai, tulu and himu to enjoy it. Putul nach, bioscope, nagordola and enjoying all of them with hot paparbhaja, jilipi  was just fabulous.

4. Nabanna= This is a ritual that every villager still perform when they have the new crops of winter especially dhan. Pujas, rituals and mainly preparing "payesh" with new rice, fresh cow milk and  khejur gur was the special one.kakima always worship the cows during this time with tel-sindur and whole house decorated with debdaru pata and flowers.my kaku who is a farmer and music teacher also worship his tools of agricultre like langol, kaste, henso during this time.

5.Poush sankrantir Pithe utsav= we always waited for this , when push sankranti will come, ma, kakima, ashadi, pisi will make several types of Pithe with coconut, milk, fresh Nolen gur and rice flour, namely seddho pithe, aske pithe, gokul pithe, dudh puli, soru chakli and patishapta. all neighbors were welcomes and they bring their special pithe dish to our house. chandu, apan, babul and heblo were the champion in eating those, i gave up after 5-6 and watch them with curiosity how come 20-30 pithe is disappearing so quickly from their plate.

6.Ghentu utsav= this is a rural version of halloween "trick or treat", village boys and girls will go to every house and sing this song" Ghentu gai, ghentu gai, aire ghentu nore, sosti thakur chore" and carry the stem of banana tree and decorating it with candle light inside it, in response the household will give rice, dal, vegetable and fish and then later they will have a feast with those.















7. our picnic beside damodar river every winter = we use to persuade jethu, baba and kaku for some money and then went to gramer hat in kararia or in Gouribati to buy Murgi and Balam chal and then had our feast beside the river and if the weather is bad in the khamarbari of chobipisi. all other bagdiparar boys joined us always. I didn't know that time to cook, so himu was our master chef always, we help him as side hand. Heblo was the champion eater and chotu was always instrumental cutting kalapata, managing gondhoraj lebu from kundu der garden, Pili was the best boy in our group who always mamage to catch a bata or mirgel or some parshe fish from river for a last minute surprise fish item.

8. Fishing = this was always my star attraction, babul my cousin and Pili was maestro making the fishing rod from " Talta bamboo", then we make " char" with piprer deem( ant eggs), khol( a biogenic fertilizer) and flour. Then mainly in our pond and sometimes when the weather and water permits in river. The main catch of pond was ruhu, katla, mirgel and puti fish wheras the river catches were Parshe, Lote, vetki and chanda fish. Here i learned amazing techniques of catching fish mainly, " Jaola" and " chonga".catching Koi, magur and singi fish was a different art as they stays deep down in the wet mud of pond. several times we encountered snakes and vicious insects, but that was the time when we hardly give a damn about anything for fun.

9. village foods = this is very different from our modern urbal cuisine, morning starts with muri- alur torkari,beguni,kumro fuler bora, fresh cucumber, narkel and mistis like rosogolla, sondesh, danadar, chanar goja made by our beloved Bolo-moira kaku.In  Lunch we always ahd  rice from our khet, sometimes redish " dhenki chata chaler vat", ghee on top of it, then fresh  vegetables, and fish which was always fresh catch of the day from pond or river. The tase of the food was just heaven for few reason as ma, kakima always cook on mud oven with patkati, wood or ghunte and spices were freshly ground in sil and everthing was fresh never frozen and we always eat on Kolapata with sitting on floor never on chair-table.  i first tried in the house of the tribal people made " duck meat, Pigeon meat, geri-guglir jhal( like mussels) and some rare fish like Ban mach, kechki macher jhal.dinner time was always special as baba or jethu always comes back home at night with "gorom gorom nolengurer rosogolla" from the local village sweet shop, we gratefully fisnish them in minutes with luchi and torkari.

10. some memorable incidents and people: our village is boring, wuite and never comes to attention of any outsider and nothing major happens here which is capable enough to grab a headline. But in 1985 the whole country knew our place when " Dalai Lama" came  to inaugurate the Buddha Mandir, not exactly in our village in Deulpara close to our village.But apart from this i encountered several people n incidents which will be vividly living in my memory for ever. Like " Boroginni" of Napit family, who was a legend of our village, she can climb trees, swim across damodar in wild inclement weather, can eat 50 luchis and 30 rosogollas, she once fought against dacoits and lived without a pacemaker for about 5 years ignoring critical cardiac problem!! Boroginni died on 2010, she will be in our mind for ever. Badal jethu, Dhosha jethu, Keshto jethu( our Priest aka bamun for our Pujas), Mohini dawn, kamakhya Josh, Bej jethima of napitbari, Bamon jethu( chandu-apan's dad), Madan Hati who was a very helpful person and a brilliant organizer of marriage and other household ceremonies ; were very well known faces of that area who left us for ever but will remain in our thoughts for sure.Amar baba Dr. Nabakumar chakrabarti an extremely popular doctor who is highly respected and most cherished doctor  for his tirelss service for the community especially for the poor people for last 35 years. My jethu Dr. Amiya Chakrabarti through his long standing effort and hard work and with the help of several other kind generous donors and International  Rotary Club built an old age home and a school for spastic children named " Manab Seba Mission" for which the people in that area will be immensely benefited in the long run for sure.Beside them, Honda jethu, Neruda of the bagdi community, Bhoja of napitbari, Gopal-partho of kundubari,rekha jethima,Lakkhi jethu( very close friend of my jethu),Mr.Sushil banerjee and Ganapati kundu my baba's classmate and school teacher, Ganesh kaku and NH kaku( my baba's 2 close  assistants for last 35 years) are very nice people who loves are our family so much. I know i'm missing a lot others but this list in non exhaustive as so many good human being i have came across in here.







i miss nachipore always since i started living abroad, my baba still works in his medical profession in those villages, my kaka-kakima, cousins are still there and whenever i go to India me, payel my inlaws and full family reunite there again. I love this place so much , it always rejuvinates me from the chaos of the big city, it's so soothing. Posting few pics, hope my readers will love them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Soumitra Chattopadhyay

I am not writing this blog now as because he was recently announced to get awarded with Dadasaheb Phalke,i simply don't care for this , i wanted to write about this great actor long long ago, just too lethargic to take the intitiative, may be this award finally primed me to write it down.Traditional words would be absolutely cliche to describe about him, i would rather prefer to write about the roles which i've liked most so far and not liked so far. The first movie that i liked of mr. Soumitra chattopadhyay was his role of  an undaunted yet little unconventinal swimming trainer " Khitishda  aka KHIDDAin Kony", this Moti Nandi story is a masterpiece like his other sports fictions and soumitra played it in a majestic way. Then when i was in class VIII i saw 2 feluda movies, in " sonar kella" he was the feluda that came out right from the novel, the best any feluda fan could imagine, but lost the sharpness in face and movement in " Joi baba Felunath" as the 2nd one Ray made in a gap of 10 years.Then i saw " Hirok rajar deshe" and i didn't like it as well as it seemed to me he was not well suited as the "Udayan pandit" character. I liked him in his first movie "Apur Songsar" as to me he was the perfect apu at that age, especially his expression of painful smile when he went to attend the wedding with his friend pulu to his mamarbari in khulna-bangladesh,after touching the feat the old lady mamima blessed him " asirbad kori dirghojibi hou baba" then the expression in apu's face tells a lot, it reminds him of his own mother and sister whom he lost in life, this kind of acting is very very rare to perform no matter how big shot ur director is, it's either in you or don't, you can't learn it in any drama school.Then in "Teen bhubaner Paare" he played the role of  " Montu Mittir" who fall in love with neighbor girl tanuja, the transition of Montu mittir from a parar vagabond rockbaj chokra to calm composed Professor Mitra was outstanding. Among Satyajit ray movies i liked him most in 2, one in Abhijan as the driver Narasingha ji in where he gave his best performance an actor can provide when Wahida rehman is your actress and as a mentally invalid brother " Prosanto in " Sakha Prosakha", ray used classic western music  profoundly and those perfectly matched with the situation in Prosanto's room along with the flow of the movie. He did quite a good job as" Amulya" in Teen kanya especially in the scene where he goes to santosh dutta's home to choose his bride. he looked amazingly handsome in " Aranyer Dinratri" as sekhar but this is not a very well criticized movie as the novel by sunil ganguly was much joy to read. I liked him most when he acted pairing with Aparna sen, like in Mrinal sen's " Akash kusum" he played the role of an ambitious young lad who uses lies and deceit to achieve everything which he can't with his normal talent and the role of the psycologist " Pratul Mukherjee" in " Baksho-badal" was one of my favorite as well, but in both of these movies aparna sen outclassed everyone.Director Ajay kar was famous as who can always get the best out of all the people of his set, that is why he is so renowned for movies like saptapadi, Harano sur; all Uttam-suchitra classics. But he got the best out of Soumitra in " Saat pake Bandha" with an amazing performance by Suchitra sen as well.This was a very tuff role to perform especially opposite suchitra sen as a little under or over acting will be severely scrutinized by all movie experts, but Mr. chatterjee not only passed but passed with distinction in our heart.I also liked him in movie old" Parineeta" in the role of sekhar, but this movie was to remember for sweet young Mousumi chatterjee's unbelievable performance, (Vidya balan came very close). Then when i watch 2 Tapan sinha's film i bowed down to Mr. chatterjee for the rest of my time, as an idealistic math teacher who saw his own student to commit a murder in movie " Atanka" in which his facial expression was the thing to remember when evertime his student, the murderer Sumantro threat him as " mastermosai apni kintu kichu dakhen ni", the 2nd one in movie ANTARDHAN;was based on a true story in which a helpless father seeking to solve the mystery of the disappearence of his daughter and begging for help in  a part of our rotten corrupted society which was mercyless to him. Versatile direcgtor Mr. Goutan Ghosh used his talent in the movie  DEKHA in  as  a Blind complex retired professor whose problematic life ruined his family and yet he is living it with his own vanity. i watched this movie several times and got fascinated as how meticulous an actor could be in order to portray the role of a blind person.I know i'm missing lots and lots of his memorable roles,but my readers will fill in the blanks for sure. well there's more but that's it for the movie part now. Now I think Mr. chatterjee is even better in stage than the celluloid version, i saw him first in the theatre " Nilkantha" with aparna sen and then in " Tiktiki" by sapnosandhani group theatre production.he played the rold of an affluent jamindar who plays cat and mouse game with a police inspector kaushik sen. To be honest in this natok kaushik sen was better than Mr. chatterjee in acting prowess, but i'm not criticizing, just merely depicting what i felt on that day in the hall of Girish mancha. I then saw several other group theatres in academy, rabindra sadan with my natok pagol friends and i liked most of them. Now my favorite role  that he performed, one and only " Mayurbahon" in " Jhinder Bandi" another masterpiece by saradindu and so well depicted by the great tapan singha. As a villain he outscored Uttam kumar in this role, can you imagine how tuff is that to get the job done. Now whenever he got compared with Uttam kumar i  never participated in this torko as to me they all stand firm in their own merits and in their respective school of acting. I simply place him in my highest level of regards as an actor. I wanted to meet him someday, but it never worked out, then finally it was a day when i encountered with my hero which i will tell briefly to my readers along with a nice pic which is so precious to me and piu for the rest of our life.

It was Jan19 of 2007, me and piu went for a 1month vacation in India, we celebrated my baba-ma's  marriage anniversary at Mainland China then went to Rabindra sadan to celebrate Soumitra Chattopadhyay's 72nd birthday with other thousand of fans. He was doing this 2 consecutive short stage theatre for this event named "Tiyattore Soumittir" coorganized by Academy of fine arts and West bengal Govt jointly.God knows, how my friend priyangku managed 3 tickets for this event as all tickets sold out a month before .we were mesmerized by the stage performance capability at this age in the natok" Homapakhi" and then "Mantromugdha" , among the audience there was sandip roy, Bibhas chakraborty, sabyasachi chakrabarty, Aparna sen and numerous others.It was almost 9 pm in the evening and we had to rush back to home, but decided to give it a desperate shot to meet this great actor at least for once in life and here piu did her amazingly bold role to escort us to the green room directly without hesitating the guards and other people. Then next 10 minutes seems still like a fantasy tale or a dream to us.The man was infront of us, in dhuti-panjabi and chador the man has the elegance at the highest level one can imagine,that 6 feet tall yet straight physique, that famous charminar in hand and that heavenly smile. We touched his feet, wished him for good health on his birthday and got a chance to talk for few minutes. I asked only one question: if he has any plan to come to USA for a performance soon? he smiled and replied " ichhe to acche , kintu koi keo to dakeni ei bochor ekhono". Piu exchanged few words for his acting and birthday wish and then we left. he looked enormously tired after 2 stage play without any break and still he spend few minutes  and  even agreed to take a pic with us. when we came out of the hall we were so delighted that couldn't talk for  long time. pray to god he live longer and reward us with some more of his classy actings.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Our Karunamoyee-Salt lake Housing

Karunamoyee Housing in Salt Lake City-Kolkata is the best place in the earth for me. From 1982 to 2001 i spend my 19 years of life here before started leaving abroad and this is the place where i want to spend the final years of my life if i have any control over that:).My parents still live here, so does my numerous good friends, neighbors and loved ones.when we moved here in 1982 it was the time when salt lake just started taking it's shape, S-14 and S-16 were the only way out to mainland kolkata and today's IT HUB,  was a nonentity. CA market was the only place to do groceries and we were used to hear "SIYALER DAK" every night beside our building which was a jungle in the abandoned CMDA ground. G block ,E block and K block was under construction and we use to play hide and seek on those buildings. My first group of friends were from my building;Papa, santai and then Bororaja, Manu, Malsa-raja,tutun and later souvik. papa and souvik still lives in the same building F35, Raja moved to E block later. our other nice friends were choity( anindita), debi, rimma all from F block and we had bicycle ride together in the bikelbela, salt lake was very quite and less crowded and those bike rides were real fun. we occassionally get off from the bikes to eat phuchka or bhelpuri together.From the 80s the momorable incident from karunamoyee that i remember was, Mr. P Mullick aka Mullickkaku the sportslover, energetic and quite weird person stood in Bidhansabha election under " New SUN" banner as a neutral candidate and covered whole karunamoyee with his posters, slogans , demands and promises for karunamoyee, 100% selfless demands and totally devoted for progress and advancement of sports and unity for our housing.Then i also remember the world cuppers from argentina, poland, uruguay came to play in the Nehru Gold cup for the inauguration of The Salt Lake stadium/Yubabharati in 1984 i guess.1986 was a memorable one as our favorite snack corner of "Dhirenda" started in the karunamoyee bus stop which was the best place for muttonroll, chicken roll, fish fry and Moglai porota for us. 201,46A started in 1984,CK market opened in 1983,Tapanda started his vendor of milk, bread and eggs beside F block in that same early time. The Municipality park infront of my building was an abandoned ground with trees, CMDA pipes, garbage and total jungle, so we choose to play in FE park. The municipality ground inaugurated with the patronage of Salt Lake municipality chairman Late Mr. Dilip Gupta in 1994 and it was a great thing that he did for the whole housing.we now have the famous " Swaraj Sangha" which organizes lots of good events and activities for the whole locality.Our next batch of juniors likw  Fuli, tuhin, Kaushik,satya, tatai, buku, sumit are carrying our flags high up now.Then the 90s spend with lots and lots and lots of fun and then i left for USA in 2001. It is impossible to summarize in a blog of all the moments but i will pick up my few best memories from my grey matter:

1.Durgapujo = This was a super duper event for all of us.chanda tola with bujai,baban,bumbada, tony,Paiku,kaushikda( galda), bumba,rittik; pandel  work by Robinda, Prabirkaku and Nagkaku busy with decorators, bazar in kole market, kalyani dida as usual cooking bhog, Guharoy kaku helping for anjali preparation and our beloved  friend kaushik overall supervising and working very very hard every year.ma, kakima ra doing sandhipujo during navami night, then our anjali and khichuri serving to the whole F block during astami dupur, orchestra on nabami night and our unsynchronized dance lead by dodo and cola with the bollywood hits then conclude with our long procession of "vasan".During one of the durgapujo i had  my first cigarette, first sip in beer and my first crush on a sweet girl who use to live few blocks away from my home.Those were some sweet memories that still makes me nostalgic.

2. Holi= This comes as the 2nd best in my list. from morning we were busy buying the abir, filling the baloons with rong, choosing the right texture of the other colors and then gather under bujai or bapis house.Then our gang of 10-12 members all invaded in other theks and mohallas for a fake color fight, then walking throught the long roads of G and C block chorusing famous Holi hits like" Ranga bharose bhige chunarwali" or " Holi hai", played football , Gogol of G block stand out to be the winner of the most dangerous color in hand, Tearing Gaiti's shirt with jor jabardasti, teasing fight between babai-bapi hore and samrat over each other's dad ,jelebi-singara or ice creme treat by our employed dadas( like debasishda, binayakda or Pikluda) ,countering over ganja-kolke few times( good collection by someone always)and then tear each others shirt as a fun also.Evening dinner together at China town or cooking Kasha mangsho at dodo-banti's house or tanmoy's rooftop  with Bhang-siddhi was great as well.

3.15th August football tournament = This was another big affair of our para, " Pijush Smriti Shield"( named after bubai da's father) was the most coveted trophy for all football lovers in our para,preparation starts months before, Dhruba-da, Iman and palash (the jibon-poltu-gaju bose of our para:)) for stealing players and signing for own team, the barometer rises to it's peak on the D-day, lots of good and poor quality football, maramari, bawali, gondogol was a regular incident. I use to play in right back and later to midfield position and won this shield 2-3 times, first one in 1993 with our F block team. Lost the last 2000 final in tie breaker. Anshuman, Bapi,abhijitda,samsul's power as stopper,bappa, tiru, Rana and jayanta's brillience in midfield and bujai, kerry, ashoke as forward's are still vivid in my mind.The best one in the pack was Tirtho da of FE block, he is the best i've seen in our football ground.Among junior players Piklu, tatai, sumit, shadrul was very god as well.Winner team with the procession and midnight celebration and loosing teams taking oath to gear up for next year.I still miss this from the bottom of my heart, since 2001 i  never got a chance to go to india during august and play in this again.

4.sunday adda+ cricket at FE park= during winter months our jomati adda with masala gossips on endless topics from new girl in locality, to tumul bawali over ganguly-dravid or Mohunbagan-east bengal( me, abbas-bumba, poga bubun , babai and pitke were the die hard sobuj-merun fans and rest all east bengal) with endless request for counters of charminar or gold flake was the golden touch. Often in these adda's khilli with each others baba's nickname held with top priority. But all those were innocuous fun didn't meant to hurt or insult anyone. Our frind bantul-aka monipuri aka Madhuri use to smoke a cigarette that  emit endless fumes like jute mill chimneys and we call it" Kochhop chap" which i still promptly remember.I miss those addas as well. No tension of future, no serious talks ;just masti n masti.In cricket we use to play underarm, one hand one bounce version which was very popular to finish 2-3 games on a sunday noon. we used tennis ball provided by our friend vonta-bubun usually.Juniors like Inzy(samrat),Amit Jha, Akash sony,Birju, swarup, tutul, Poira use to join us as well.

5.Bus stand=karunamoyee bus stand was a melting pot of all food, gossip, culture, people, everything. we had eternal Dhirenda's roll corner, later Bapi started the famous momo joint, we had suruchi with their rumali roti and " tasty but bhejal tele banalo torka", jai jawan with pork friend rice and chili chicken, the famous jali phoochkawala kaku, sambhudas telebhaja-jilipi store and all the pan-biri-cigartte shops which we( esp Kutti, G block bumba) always avoid  to pay back the emormous amount of "Udhars"":)


6.Finally for  those who left us = First name comes in my mind was kaushik( chingri), on 2005 durga pujo after vasan he left us with a sudden cardiac arrest, he was our very close friend, this is such a kind of grief in our mind which has no consolation and will stay with us for ever. Munai da of B block died on a motorbike accident in late 90s, Mullickkaku died last year on 2011 the sportslover and one of the rarest soul who tried to do something for the community without any intention of personal growth and then this year 2 months ago our friend Raja of G block left us for ever on new years eve.so i do have agonizing mmoments apart from my ecstasy about karunamoyee. It's very much true that Life is not fair, atleast to some people.





i try to go back every year to my parents and spend a wonderful time in karunamoyee with my good friends, neighbors and my respected seniors.Things i always do as ritual whenever i go back to visit my place = i go to FE park on sunday noon to give adda with my old friends(most of them are unfortunately out of kolkata or India for career n life), i meet my quiz partner deep of K block and attend our kolkata quiz community sessions again like old time, i visit kallolda's home always to meet his two adorable kids, his son dodo and daughter dinku who loves to share their all school stories and projects with their favorite " ayan kaka", i try to bring out time to still play a game of football or cricket with the juniors at FE/karunamoyee ground, i still go and knock Bapi hore's flat and give a surprise visit and crack some jokes about his  dad  in the middle of our conversation just like old time and he does the same to me:) and i must give a  shot of few momo's from bapi's stall and sambhuda's telebhaja and they are any gastronomers delight. I miss this place always and always it will stay close to my heart for ever. My wife piu loves this place and when my  little son grow up to understand i will tell him all the stories of this beautiful place and take him there as soon as possible.Posting few pics, hope my readers will like them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"PHOOCHKA"


Phoochka"--just one word and " Jive Jol" immediately to almost all bengali people. The sour n salty tentul jol, the hot spicy alumakha with chola n lonka, then salpata in hand then the first water filled bite brings all moksha of the world. Phoochka can be found in various parts of India as golgappa, panipuri and in different recipes like with bhel, with dahi,pudina with papri but i hate those forms.My favorite one is the pure bengali one  with jhal -jhal alumakha and then dipped into tok tok tentul jol,serving in salpata not in a boring plate or bowl. This is a matter of big debate which phoochkawala is the best as everyone and mostly girls claim that the one outside their college/school premises is the best. For me to name few, i will mention about the one outside Asutosh College,one at the victoria memorial entrance( there are though atleast a hundred), one close to the Lighthouse cinema hall in dharmatala, one just beside the Hatibagan post office and one in our karunamoyee-salt lake bus stand. My wife Piu is a crazy phooochka lover, she recommends one at the baguihati bazar ,who dips "Gondhoraj Lebu" to add extra favor to the tentul jol. My mom's favorite one at hatibagan as this guy can put so much green chili that the alumakha looks green not white. This eternal food has some amazing trivias,which sounds funny but they are all true my lord,like, 1. phocchkawala is an amazing statistician, they can count who is eating how many and which person belongs to which group, doesn't matter how big and diverse the crowd is, 2. girls always claim that they never ever get sick after eating phoochka( may be the low ph level of the tentul jol), 3. guys always claim that they can eat 50 phoochka at a time but always looses to the girls during the competition, 4. If the phoochkawala stand beside the municipality hydrain and if his "Gamcha" is dirty and he doesn't clip his nails the phoochka is more tastier , 4.the demand for a free phoochka popularly known as "Fau" is alwasy higher than the supply, 5. The final finish of mixing some spice, extra tentul with the regular tentul jol to end the game is the best always, 6. a bad recipe of phoochka if served, the phoochkawalas life could be in serious danger if it is to a group of girls, 7." Aro jhal dao" is the most frequently heard dialogue near a phoochka stall, 8.phocchkawala makes excellent " churmur" which is another amazing snack, but very few people care for it, 9.never ask a phoochkawala if his phoochka is fresh or not, it's an ultimate insult, 10. never refuse your girlfriend, fiance or wife if she demands to treat herself with phoochka from your wallet, that's the insult no girl can take. For first few years when my wife piu came to USA, i was very confused whom she misses more; her parents n family in India or the phoochkawalas, as she mentioned about it numerous times. I am not a very big fan of phoochka, neither is my dad or my fater-in-law, this is highly explainable "it's simply a food that god created for women. I am just conveying this blog to make them happy. Took 2 pics one at th gariahat under the flyover and one serving at piu's friend Prabrit's wedding. Both were evry good, i ate 5-6 and piu end the game with 20-25 as usual:). Hope my blogger friends will come up with more gastronomic comments and skits after reading this blog.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Calcutta Bookfair





Boimela is only after durgapujo in my heart as the biggest bengali celebration. My first calcutta Bookfair memory goes back to 1986 when i was a small school student, it was an afternoon of  saraswati pujo i spent 2-3 hr with my parents,witnessed the love and madness of thousands of people for books, ate a kwality ice creme and baba-ma bought me " Upendrakishor and sukumar roysomogro" from Anando Publishers which i still have in my bookcase in kolkatar bari. Well it was the love at first sight and it was the beginning only. Since then up to 2001 when i left kolkata for USA i went to boimela with my parents and later with my friends every year without missing a single one.It was like an annual ritual which i adhere strictly. In the late 80s and in 90s i remember baba-ma always took me there on saraswati pujo afternoon to avoid huge crowd as lots of people were reluctant to touch books on that day. baba always use to buy Biographies of  great writers, scientists and ma always her favorite cook books of " Bela dey" or novels of Ashapurna devi and Gajendrakumar Mitra. I however stand in the queue of Anando to buy Feluda books , Ghonada series by Premendra Mitra, "Patrabharati" stall  for Narayan Debnath's  "Bantul The Great"," Handa-Vonda" or "Nonte-Fonte" series. Deb Sahitya Kuthir was also in my list for the reprint collection of Pujabarshiki books , Kishor Bharati for " Charmurtir kando karkhana" by Narayan gangopadhyay; but my all time favorite was all the science fiction based books for teen agers by Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay .I remember i read those in Sarodiya anandomela first then i bought the hard cover edition of them to make my personal collection, this way i build up  my classic sirshendu collection with " Potasgorer Jongole", " Pagla saheber kobor", " Manojder odbhut bari", " Bony", " Hirer angti" and lots of others.I also remember buying in the whole 90s every year Moti Nandi sports fiction books like "Striker", "Stopper," Jibon-ananto", " Nonida not out", Kony( which later adapted to an awesome movie) and the kalavati series. Then slowly i started going to boimela more with our group of college late afternoon class bunkers and with my Quiz group buddies.Apart from scanning quickly through our favorite bookstalls like "Ananda" again and again always, "Proma publishers for biography series", "Ekkhon for Kobitar boi,"," Mitra and Ghosh" for their amazing colelction of paper backs of classic bengali novels ,then at The "Anushtup" the famous place for ex-naxalites,aajkaal for their news sports books by debasish dutta, British council Library(BCL) for their collection of  precious books which we never had the money to purchase but can browse all the good ones at least!, USCIS for their catalogues and brochures about US schools and their popular magazine SPAN," "Penguin" for best best collection of english books, maps and dictionaries ,Bhromon stall to get new updates about traveling and other thousands of stalls for taking brief look at the front cover of all good books leisurely, Bookfair has numerous others charms like,hanging out there with friends;spending more time on endless gossiping, arguing on most famous topics like  ganguly or dravid  or over Mohunbagan-east bengal sitting on boimela dirty ground over newspaper sipping famous lebu-cha and munching Benfish er fish fry or fish pokora,budding poets requesting to buy a copy of their new creation in Little magazine section, Pottery arts and terracota arts from bankura, " chou-Nach" mask vendors from Purulia, Portrait painters, section of art college students with their amazing paintings and collages, some genius writing 100 words on a grain of rice, Story tellers mesmerizing tons of people with his short self made stories,ISKCON devotees giving free booklets with their mahaprosad, " Bawul nach" in a little space, workshops on literature and debate sessions at the Gild auditorium on controversial literary issues by famous bengali intellectuals, then ofcourse cruising through various food stalls on our low budget wallet for palatable snacks ,bumping unexpectedly with a known face and having a quick chat for few min was an extra charm always. Like many others i was a big fan of "The Statesman "and "Aaajkaal" stall for their amazing display of Pictures often satiring our funny politics and daily life.In bookfair i was fortunate enought to saw few celebrities like  Pandit ravishankar, French intellectual Jacques Derida,  Painter and writer Late Purnendu Potri, Poritosh sen and our own sunil ganguly, Sumon chattopadhyay, Basanta Chowdhury( my dad's favorite hero after Uttam kumar) and Nabanita Debsen once. I remember it was in 1999 or 1998 when Bangla band " Bhoomi" and Chandrabindu" are trying their best to have ground beneath their feet and we met once Anindya-da, Upal-da and Surojit da here.Our kolkata quiz community was regular here as several publication houses use to organize quick quiz sessions and instant ruffles.The horrible fire incident at the book fair still haunts me and then the resurrection of the next one within few days showed true spirit   of us-calcuttans. Then after 2001 it was  along 10 year absence, then in 2011 when i went there again on 2011 with payel and some of my other old friends it was truly truly a disappointing affair.The charm, glamour, charisma of the bookfair totally ruined as it shifted from it's park st-moidan location to this horrible place of bypass. I 100% support environmentalist mr. Subhas dutta and other well wishers of kolkata moidan saving soldiers, but i can't deny the fact that my bookfair whom i use to know is dead now. Beside this loaction and on top of that today's bookfair is dominated by showbiz, bangla channels promoting their upcoming mega serials, cell phone launching groups, business houses and others, nowadays,it is a place to launch your product, making profits of your business and less about books and love for literature.Due to space limitation many small publishers and little magazine stalls  stopped coming here, due to it's pathetic location  it is a nightmare to commute here and the big sharks are the only one on this ocean now.Hope someday the Booksellers Gild , our state ministry and Green bench can come to a concuring point and take it back to it's birthplace without compromising with the greenery of moidan and pollution issue. anyway took some pics of 2011 boimela and posting them. Unfortunately i didn't took any snaps of my old boimela , but it's in my mind and memory all the time and i can develop, print and enlarge whenever i want closing my eyes.