Archive for the 'photography' Category

31
May
17

Looking back…

Kolkata is a fascinating place. It is the third most populated metropolitan area in India. This city embraced every culture, religion and people from every corner of the world. Thus, we can say that Kolkata has a mini world inside and everyone here lives in happiness, peace and harmony. Some of the communities may be dwindling in numbers but their presence adds a great contribution to the heritage and culturally rich Kolkata.

Speaking of communities and culture, here I am talking about one of the oldest religions whose origin traces back to the late Bronze period that is 13th century BC. Yes, Jew or Judaism or Yhudim in Israeli pronunciation. As we know that the most Jewish are from and belong to Israel but across the world, they have created their mark.

It is a proud factor for Kolkata that people find this place peaceful for the living.

I remember when I was a child, my father used to bring fruit cake from Nahoum’s Bakery which is still situated in New Market. Once I visited the shop as a child with my parents and to my surprise, the décor is way different from other cake shops present. The glass cased teak wood furniture where a delectable array of confectioneries is displayed. Rum ball, Lemon Tart, Marzian Patties, Brownies and of course very famous Fruit Cake are a must try. More than 100 years old this shop stands as a landmark to a disappearing heritage. If you go inside you can see the traditional style decor which still they haven’t altered a bit.

nah

When I grew up and started taking interest in heritage and culture of Kolkata, I again come across Nahoum’s Bakery and thus come to know about the Jew community here. Today there are only 27 people living here but once 6000 Jews from Baghdad settled here. In the year 1798 first Jewish immigrant named Shalom Aharon Obadiah Cohen came to Kolkata and in the early 19th century more and more Jews settled here in Kolkata.

Slowly they started building a new life and community amongst all others in peace and harmony. Proud to say that Kolkata houses 3 Synagogues dated 1825 and still today 2 are in use. Obsessed with history and culture I tried to visit those Synagogues but unfortunately, I couldn’t. As you have to take permission either from the head of the Jew community or from ASI. From outside what I have seen, these Synagogues are large in structure and beautifully carved. There is also a Jew cemetery and two Jew schools present in Kolkata.

David synagogue

There are few streets like Ezra Street, Belilios Street and Synagogue Street which are kept as before reminding the presence of Jew community. Ezra Mansions and the Ezra Hospital and two buildings in the zoo which are still owned by the Jews. There are many other mansions, residences and office buildings that still stand but they no longer bear their Jewish names and few know they were once Jewish-owned. With dwindling numbers may be one day Jew community will vanish from Kolkata since people who are living are very old. Nevertheless, people are still trying to survive and leave their mark.

These people from Middle-East country adopted and embraced Bengali lifestyle, language and also their culture. Many recall Kolkata as their home and they belong here. They have intertwined Jewish culture with Bengali culture in several ways like food, jewellery and of course fashion. Many restaurants have opened a new section for the middle-east cuisines and people are loving it. Even in fashion Jewish style are adopted and loved.

Across the world Jew have created a big impact in every field, be it politics, art or science. You will be surprised to read few notable Jewish people of Kolkata whom we thought as Bengali. It was during the era of Zamindars in Kolkata when Mujra was a new thing, a very famous singer and dancer Gauhar Jaan gained fame because of her voice and music. She was actually a Jew named Angelina Yeoward who changed her name to Gauhar Jaan after she moved to Benaras and accepted Muslim as her religion. She was also the first woman to perform in radio. Like here there are many eminent people who are notable actresses, musicians, businessmen, administrators, ad man, artists and they are all children of Israel but belonged to Kolkata.

Gauhar_Jaan

Maybe in few years, Jewish community will disappear as more people are settling abroad or people due to age leaving the earth, but their creation will always be a part of Kolkata’s heritage and we will always remember that.

 

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01
Mar
17

I love basking in the ancient ruins, tales and things…

Since childhood like any other kid, I too loved listening to stories. I remember my grandma used to narrate stories every day after lunch. The stories usually contained gods-goddesses and their triumphs over evil but once a while on a very nostalgic moment she used to tell stories of her childhood. She used to reminisce the memories about the places she belonged, her childhood, peoples, battles, her journey from one country to another and of course about the society. Most of the time I used to picturise them on my mind and later enact the same in the backyard garden. I always thought myself as a warrior or someone going on a tremendous risky adventure.

Being a shy child, my childhood was mostly away from people and spending time alone. And precisely I liked it very much and still do. I was born and a part of my childhood was spent in a very small town of North Bengal, to me it is a blessing as I have witnessed and lived a lot more than any big-city person. When my family finally moved to a big city, I was sad and unhappy for a very long time. I missed my backyard garden, I missed my favourite tree branches and mostly my adventure stories which I enacted and my audience silently appreciated.

Time passed and I grew up coping with the situation. It was at that point of time when I started going out alone in the city and that’s how I discovered solution for my solitude.

I have lived major time of my life in a metropolitan city called Kolkata, it’s a fascinating city. More than 300 years old, this city consists a mini world inside. On one side you can relish the history and on the other hand, you can enjoy all the new age innovations. This city is a perfect balance of both history and modernism and now I can say that I love this city with all my heart. This city has a soul and I am proud that I belong here.

Speaking of ancient ruins and Kolkata is synonymous. Each lanes, by lanes, roads and walls bear the mark of every evolution, revolution and growth this civilisation have ever seen. There are several houses still present in this city which are more than 300 years old and believe it or not, people still dwell in these houses happily. If you visit any of these houses you may not be very impressed by its outlook but it has its own beauty. Every brick in the wall will tell you stories and the journeys of every generations you learn is mesmerising. There are certain lanes in this city which remained the same since ages and when you walk down those lanes a sense of pride automatically comes to you. As many legends have walked the same path as you’re doing.

There are several shops which still hold the same old custom of greeting a guest. Now comes the best part, food-the food which is served in those shops tastes equally mouthful as before. Sadly most of these places are now under the archaeological society and they are trying to modernise it in every possible way. May be it is a good decision but somehow I just love the old ruins, the freckles, dusty pictures and mostly the faded colours of the walls.

I believe, when you are renovating an old place, you are not only destroying its originality but also putting a cover on all those unheard stories, struggles, glories, emotions and moments. Its simplicity is gone forever with the newness of modernity.

I feel sad for these but I am helpless. On a practical note, this is the right thing to do but I am an old soul who loves basking in the crevasses of ancient times and finds solitude in the silent music of the walls.

Now I stay far from my loved city, in a new city which also have a heroic past. No matter what, I will always love my Kolkata and for some reason, I know that when I will return, my city will be dawned with modernism. All I wish that hope my city will keep a single place as it is, just for me to visit and be in solitude one more time.

31
Dec
15

Omg! 2016!

 

Yes, another year has passed and you are thinking what you’ve done with all the days. You did what you will be doing tomorrow but when you sit quietly, you realise that everything has changed, you have changed…you’ve aged and have lost innocence, trust and have became a stronger person. That was above your expectation isn’t it?? You’ve not imagined that you could do all these alone…yes yes, 2015 has bid adieu and 2016 is at your doorstep ushering you to join the adventure.

Well, I know what you feel, I feel exactly the same. You plan something and it ends up happening something else. Then you calm your mind and say to yourself that it’s not supposed to happen. Time will pay it price…yes it will, but will it be that exciting as you are now for that. I don’t think so,  I rather lose the charm and feel bit apprehensive about the whole thing. Let it be, bygones are bygones.

Coming to 2016, this is a new year and I am a year older. Previous year has been very crucial for me. It gave me  lot of things and have also taken lot of things. It taught me and has made me more stronger and willful person than before. I can’t complain about the previous year that I only got sadness and hurt myself but it was more than happiness or maybe I lost the charm to appreciate it. On the verge of 2016 I can only say that I waved off lot of things and has surrounded myself with people who actually mean to me. I have chosen Family, friends and well-wishers who actually wish well for me.

I am now a happy person except for the petty tensions, which I can never get rid of. This year has given me new people and also showed me my other side that how blindly I can be fooled and forged to someone’s sweet words and fake love. Somebody can actually use my feelings as bait. I will not do that anymore. I have outgrew myself; I live alone in a new city amongst strangers. I travel alone. Enjoy alone and to be honest I quiet like it. But this is a new year I am expecting a difference like always. It is a leap year this time one day extra and I am hoping with my full heart, I wish to receive that special love for which I have been waiting  and longing for my whole life!!

I wish to happy and wish to see my near and dear ones happy, very simple and yes selfish wish. But what more I can do, I am a simple human I barely can do anything. Don’t take me wrong…just enjoy this moment and make your days colourful and happy, that’s all I wish!

P.S. – Attached is the picture of the lantern I blown to welcome New Year!

Happy New Year, 2016! it will be hell of a adventurous year than previous one.