O Majhi…

I always keep coming back to Kolkata whenever i am confused as to what to put up on this blog. And 9 out of 10 times, i come across an image that i want to share. Seen here is the Vidyasagar Setu which was also featured on the blog entry Peek-A-Boo where i used two pillars of the Prinsep Memorial for framing.

Prinsep Memorial in Kolkata is situated very close to the Hooghly. On the banks of the river, you come across these really old-style boats which are not engine powered. They have a semi- circular covering atop them. I was instantly reminded of this very famous Kishore Kumar song from one of my favourite films – Amar Prem, when i first saw the whole setting around the bank. Life on the banks seems quite oblivious to the vagaries of time.
And then you look up, to see the cables of the Vidyasagar Setu with its bright lights that bring you back to the present.
It is this juxtaposition of the contemporary with the past that makes Kolkata so irresistable for a photography enthusiast.
Take Care,

A Flury’s Experience

This is an old photograph that i came across while browsing my folders. Realised i had never shared it on this blog. I also recalled a writeup i had put up on another blog (back in the time, when i did ‘Write’ long posts). Thought of sharing it here, till i get decent enough photographs to populate the blog:)
April 12th, 2008 : Flurys has been conquered, FINALLY.
Everyday while passing outside the Flurys outlet, when I was working in and around Park Street, Kolkata, I used to watch with envy, firangs and desis alike, eat their way to glory, a hallowed breakfast. It always made the foodie in me wonder, when the hell will i eat ‘The Breakfast!’ Having stayed in Kolkata for 8 months and not having visited Flurys for a breakfast was blasphemous.
The hard part involved convincing my friends here to join me! If that was done, then the rest, as they say, would be bacon and chicken along with juice and coffee.
I mean c’mon its no mean task to convince people to wake up early on a weekend, and go all the way from Salt Lake City to Park Street for something as trivial as a breakfast. On top of that, spending a BOMB on it.
Flurys – Five Generations of Fine Confection – goes the tagline. It’s been around in the famous food district of Kolkata, Park Street, for a good eight decades. Founded in 1927, by Mr. and Mrs. Flurys, Flurys introduced the cafe culture in Kolkata. It was, and still is, famous for the European delicacies it has on offer. Creamy Pastries, Crossaints, fabulous cakes and a variety of exotic breads form a key market segment for Flurys, with regular customers who visit to collect their regular quota of bakery products. Come Christmas season, and one is bound to find serpentine queue outside this institution. However, the place is quite reknowned for the one thing i was there for that day, The Breakfast.
The first thing that one will notice when he/she enters Flurys is the ambience. One has got to hand it to the interior decorator who has renovated the old Flurys to the present day beauty that it is, without killing the soul of the place. Outer glass walls with the Flurys insignia printed in a calligraphic pink font, makes it stand out amongst the other restaurants in the locality.
Brown is the color theme inside, which is followed to the tee. The light and dark brown chequered pillars leading to the main pastry counter stand strong. The warm lighting adds to the charm of the place, and the chandeliers seems straight out of some Maharajahs palace. On the wall to the right side, are sepia – toned photo frames, showcasing various aspects of the place from the customers to the kitchens. The brown colored wooden chairs with a slightly curved strong back are instantly relaxing. Finally, completing the colour theme, are brown liveried waiters wearing a white apron.
The seating arrangements by the glass walls is the best according to me. It really gives one a feeling of being on some roadside European cafe. Watching the flood of humanity going to and fro along the footpath and the vehicles zooming past the busy and chaotic Park Street, in such calm environs, is an experience worth savouring.
Scanning the menu was just a formality, as I was very sure what me and my three friends were going to have. The non – veg Breakfast, hands down! According to the menu, it comprised of two pieces of chicken sausage, one piece of bacon (pork), a potato cutlet, baked tomato, one omlette, two slices of bread and butter. Juice would be served along with all of them, followed by coffee for me and tea for the rest. On reading the menu, i wondered, what’s so special about this?
That was till the order actually arrived. It was a riot of colors, a treat for sore eyes. Only colour which didn’t feature prominently, was green, actually it didnt feature at all.
Without further ado, i started with the proceedings while the others were thinking of where to start first. Having stayed away from chicken for a good 25 days, as Kolkata was gripped in the shackles of Bird Flu, i was more than delighted to cut the sausage and pierce it with the fork, and guide it to its final destination. The chicken was a quite soft and juicy and i just enjoyed my first chicken bite, after ages, for a good minute.
Bacon was something i had last tried in 1992. Yeah, its been almost sixteen years since. I had completely forgotten what it tasted like. Now this is the part where i actually had to struggle with my fork. The bacon was hard, and although cutting it was some task, piercing it with the kinda blunt fork was tricky. It needed hard chewing, it was hard meat alright, but the constant chewing made the juiced ooze out of the meat and add another dimension to its taste. I continued with the ‘jugal-bandi’ of chicken and bacon.
Then i attacked the omlette. Now this omlette was very subtle and was very lightly cooked, thus retaining its liquidity. The vivid yellow yolk seemed like a balloon filled to capacity about to burst, and burst it did, when i touched it with my fork. I am not a fan of yolk, so the best thing i could think of was dipping the bacon/chicken into the yolk and eating the combination, and trust me, it actually amplified my respect towards the yolk part of an egg.
The potato cutlet was as normal as potato cutlets are, filled with bits and bits of potato. It kind of neutralized the OD of non-vegetarian variety. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the baked tomato, i mean it had a brownish crust on it, and there was no post processing (for lack of a better word, adding the Photoshop slang) . I didn’t even bother trying it. The color theme of the food was matched with that of the interiors by the brown crust of the bread. Have to add, the bread and butter did make the overall breakfast that much heavier.
The juice, which i was expecting to be made in-house with fresh fruits, was a let down, as it was of those synthetic juice variety and had a wierd taste. But as always can’t abandon juices, so finished it off along with the solid food. The final order, coffee for me and tea for the rest, followed.
We raised a toast to Flurys with my coffee and their tea. It was indeed an experience. For the first time in my life, i actually had had such a heavy breakfast. Not to mention, the most expensive breakfast too. But then, none of my friends complained about that fact, as it was our last meet in Kolkata. As a memento, i secretly picked up the packets of white and brown sugar which were enclosed in paper packets having the Flurys insignia.
Take Care,

House on the Apurba Mitter Road

In a very nostalgic mood today. Was constantly thinking about Kolkata. Specially after the fire that engulfed 16 people and put ParkStreet on TOIs front page. It was saddening and surprising cos its been about two years since i left Kolkata, but the sense of bonding is and will always remain there. May the departed souls rest in peace.

This photograph was taken on one of my regular Kolkata street strolls. The thing that arrested my attention was the name Mitter, in the name plate which read Apurba Mitter Road. Being the Feluda fan boy that I am, I stopped. I kept wondering if this house was in anyway related to the famous detective Pradosh Mitter aka Feluda:P I know it was ridiculous to even think that, but just for this particular moment i let the rational side of me take a backseat.

The old dilapidated house, could be the setting for many of the famous Indian detective Feluda’s stories. I really loved the detailing in the balcony both the lower part as well as the upper half. The long wooden windows on the ground level and the wall exposing some British era bricks can make you loose the sense of time. Thank god the house was locked, else i would have surely taken a tour.

There are many such houses strewn all across Kolkata that completely transfer you to a different era. Reading Manik Da aka Satyajit Ray’s books succeed in taking you some decades back. Having said that, i need to get Volume 1 of the Feluda series to take care of my Kolkata nostalgia:))

Take Care


Peek – A – Boo

No – This is not the Bandra Worli Sealink bridge.
Made this photograph when i was exploring Kolkata on my own one day. The idea was to see the Princep Memorial, but i was in for a surprise when i saw the fabulous Vidyasagar Setu (which also i wanted to see) was just in the background. This bridge is popularly known as the second Hooghly Bridge. The Vidyasagar Setu is a cable stayed bridge, with a main span of a little over 457 metres, and a deck 35 metres wide. Construction started in 1978 and the bridge was finally inaguarated on the 10th of October, 1992.
Was noticing the columns of the Princep Memorial when i noticed that i could frame the bridge in the background in two columns. The result is this pseudo silhouette shot.
With the Bandra Worli Sea Link opening up operations next week, i thought of putting up this photograph.

Take Care


Standing Strong

Kolkata conversations make me quite nostalgic. Having spent the maximum time away from home there, the place has a special spot in my heart. This is another one of those photographs of the monument which is synonymous with Kolkata after ofcourse, Howrah Bridge:) The entire garden surrounding Victoria Memorial gives one so many different angles and styles to shoot the monument. Luckily this particular strech of flowers was quite close to the lake wherein i could catch the reflection.

Take Care


Victoria Memorial – Reflections 2!!

Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is a very famous landmark. covering an expansive area, this structure is very grand. It is quite a contrast to the Maidan bang opposite it, in the sense that the Memorial complex is so serene, so calm. The gardens in the complex, the silent waters, the exotic flowers planted all around, the grand trees sans leaves, is a treat for sore eyes. Keep aside atleast a couple of hours to fully experience the monument and the surroundings.

I had taken another refection shot of this structure titled Victoria Memorial – Reflections This time around, the sun was setting and the atmosphere was slowly turning dark at the Victoria Memorial. The lights had come up. The placid water body seemed like a mirror, reflecting the bronze statue of the Late Earl of Minto, Viceroy and Governor General of India (1905-1910).

Take Care



I was at Flury’s for a heavy breakfast. A thing that Flury’s, Kolkata is renowned for. Located in Park Street, Kolkata, with a very European feel, this is one cafe that just cannot be missed in the food capital of Kolkata.

Anyways, we were waiting for the order to arrive. I was searching for photo ops in that duration. After having clicked the interiors from my seat (they really dont like photography inside), i noticed the insignia of Flurys being reflected on the water surface. I drank a few sips and placed the glass on the Flurys paper base, so that the complete reflection could be noticeable. The result is as seen above.

Take Care


Victoria Memorial – Reflections!

Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is a very famous landmark. covering an expansive area, this structure is very grand. It is quite a contrast to the Maidan bang opposite it, in the sense that the Memorial complex is so serene, so calm. The gardens in the complex, the silent waters, the exotic flowers planted all around, the grand trees sans leaves, is a treat for sore eyes. Keep aside atleast a couple of hours to fully experience the monument and the surroundings.

Here i just wanted to capture the reflections of the lights and the top dome of the Memorial onto the still water around. Thankfully the surface of the water was plain and there were no disturbances.

Take Care

Retrospectives – A Raghu Rai Photography Exhibition!

“A Journey of a Moment in Time – Retrospectives”, said a column in Bombay Times Arts n Culture page. Retrospectives was the word that grabbed my attention and I wasn’t disappointed as it was an exhibition by the same photographer. Raghu Rai. Just back from a this very fantastic Photography Exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).

Raghu Rai is one of India’s finest documentary photographer known for his photographs of the Real India. His extensive coverage of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy even won him a World Press Photo award in the year 1984.

Most of the photographs are in Black and White. Ranging from wide panoramas to normal frames to vertical wide angled perspectives, Rai has taken care of every angle. Almost all of the photographs are quite dramatic with the Human Element, a couple of landscapes are also featured. Portraits of Indian Classical Musicians in their element are particularly appealing. Mother Teresa’s portraits are really moving. Photographs of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy really get one by the gut. They are very graphic.

Raghu Rai’s portrayal of life around Ghats of India really appealed to me. Be it the Ghats of Varanasi or the numerous Ghats at Kolkata (really reminded me of my days there). We all go around such places, do all the religious stuff, but do we really ponder over the life going on around us there? Rai gives us beautiful perspectives there.

The second floor of the Gallery has Color photographs which take one through a colorful journey across India, from Varanasi to Thiruvananthapuram to Mumbai to Kolkata.

If anyone from Mumbai is planning on going there, I would definitely like to make particular mention of some images that really floored me.

1. My Father and My Son – a BW image of just the hands of an old man and a child entangled in each other. Just looking at the photograph one can deduce the emotions that aren’t visible in the frame.

2. Among the Sparrows

3. Traffic at Chauri bazaar – a wide panorama shot really gives us an idea of Delhi in the 1960s. The chaos, vendors and rickshaws, so typical of Indian Bazaars.

4. Avani at her farm – shows a profile of lil girl in her car located in a region that has very scary clouds and its bout to rain.

5. Immersion at Babughat – a very typical Kolkata photograph during the Poojas. I loved it just for the nostalgia:d

6. Indira Gandhi at the Congress Session – it shows Indira Gandhi surrounded by her party members in a meeting, with the focus only on Indira Gandhi. The emotions on her face convey lots of thoughts (anger and sadness were two emotions I could deduce)

7. A Bazaar Scene – this photograph has an old man covering the bottom half of the frame, sound asleep with the chaos goin on behind him indicated by the slow shutter speed.

8. Cows and Pilgrims – taken on a ghat, where a pilgrim and the cows fill the frame in such a way that it appears that the man is sandwiched between the cows.

9. Wrestlers in Akhara – Simple daily life photograph but the painting on the doo r of the akhara seems to merge with the real wrestler as an extension to his arm. Very very creative composition.

10. Combed beach – the textured sand after the waves have retreated back in the waters.

11. Ayodhya – The day before – This series of photographs was clicked one day before the Demolition of the Babri Masjid. Not a soul can imagine from the mood of the photographs, what
was to follow the next day.

12. An Artist Studio – It shows one of the many sculpture studios in Kolkata. The fascinating part about this image is that the statues and real people are arranged in such a manner that we feel the statues are real and the real people are statues. This picture just reinforced in me the true Power of Composition of ones photographs.

Saving the Best for the last. “Indira Gandhi in the Himalayas” – This picture just has the Himalayan hills in the background and a silhouette portrait in the foreground. It’s a Profile shot with not even a cm of visibility, but anyone can easily recognize that its Indira Gandhi. I was super impressed by this image.

“Burial of an unknown child” from the Bhopal gas Tragedy series really chokes you. You will definitely feel something. I think it was this photograph that won the World Press Photo Award.

That was about it. I am so glad that I finally got to see a Raghu Rai exhibition. Happier even more that I have been able to keep up my resolution of seeing atleast one Photography Exhibition every month. Its been great so far with Exhibitions by greats like Rai and Henri Cartier Bresson already seen.

Take Care