Calcutta, they say, is not for everyone. While I do not know who ‘they’ are, I most definitely agree with them. My city is chaotic. She is whimsical. In a classic tug of war between the heart and the head, she inherently sides with the heart. In a world full of arty farty lifelessness which the glitzy magazines proclaim as ‘class’, she nurtures and protects people who are meritorious but without means. Long after, when the scholarship money grants them access to coveted university degrees or prima donna fashion shows, her muses return to pay tribute to her. For them and for us, Calcutta, remains the city of passion, city of love and the city which was there with you when everyone else was busy putting you down.
Calcutta for me is a never ending love story ❤️
A few days back, my friend from high school and fellow lawyer, Poulomi Saha had posted this photograph of the quintessential Calcutta skyline graffiti on her social media page. It took me a nanosecond to identify the place where this particular wall stands, since my apartment is a stone’s throw away. But the emotions running through my eyes were not about how beautiful the artwork was, rather it was about how the people of Calcutta – the mundane, prosaic, unsung people of the city, the ones who make what Calcutta what she is – had honoured this beautiful piece of craft.
Around 6 to 7 years back, or even longer, there stood a restaurant here probably called ‘Mango People’. The artwork was a part of the joint’s decor. Unfortunately, the place shut doors soon and the entire building was demolished on the plot, except this wall. If you ever cross this stretch on the Prince Anwar Shah Road- EM Bypass connector, you will find the wall standing tall amongst all the debris.
The simple mason or the contractor appointed for the job of razing the building may not be connoisseurs of art, but they know the call of the heart. If you notice carefully, even the ones who put up posters or small handbills on every nook and corner without sparing any wall, have daintily respected the space for beauty.
And that is Calcutta for you – we may not have the prim, proper artworks hanging from our ultra luxury apartments, but yes, we know how to appreciate the sweat, toil and craft of an unknown artist.