Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster

“Thanks Sam. I have fallen in love with the city already!”- She predicated.

I was rather taken aback; yes Calcutta is indeed a photographer’s delight but then for someone who has arrived just a couple of days back, isn’t it a slightly expeditious call?  
“I did manage to reach Daw Bari yesterday and I cover Chatu Babu, Latu Babu’s ancestral house on the way as well. I was mesmerized.”- She continued, I could sense the kinetic euphoria in her voice.
Damn! That’s very impressive; new in town and hunting down those traditionally key focal points within a short span of time…
“Oh and I must mention that the popular myth that Calcutta is over-crowded during Durga Pujo has been busted this time around. Laudable traffic control by the Kolkata Police”- She ratified over call.
Goodness gracious me, I was rather startled at this….she is pretty much echoing my thoughts. I strongly believe that the “traffic scene” has been rather impressive this year; we have been covering almost all the major Pujos across North and South Calcutta, not too many road blocks or traffic congestion this time around. Yes, there have been times when Pandal hoppers have been asked to take a slightly longer course, but then that those calls have been taken rather strategically. Apart from the bizarre hike in Ola and Uber prices, this has been a pretty seamless affair.

“Oh yes, I forgot to mention this….this would rather be the pivotal talking point of my trip”- She narrated, I was dying to listen to the rest of the story...”That boy helped me a lot! I don’t know why he did, but he was the one who made it possible.”
“Who?”- My impulsive reaction followed. She had been with us right through the day at our friend’s “Bonedi Bari” and as far as I remember, she had left alone.
“I don’t know his name, but I met him near Beadon Street. A young chap, he seemed very interested to see the photographs that I had clicked and in turn, agreed to take me to some of the famous Bonedi Bari’s of North Calcutta. He also wanted me to click a couple of his photographs; and I happily agreed. I could see the jubilance on his face; he never wanted money….”- She recited.

#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - Poto-chitro depicting "Chokkhu-Daan"
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - Gearing up for the mega-event of the year 
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - The stars are shining bright :)
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - No refusal in this very case ;)
Eureka. I have been shooting and compiling a series called “People of Pujo” this festive season and I reckon I have already got a lead. But mostly importantly, this cardinal segment of the conversation made my day…in-fact the rest of my otherwise grueling post-Pujo-week. I remember our Pre-Pujo telephonic conversation when she had expressed her concern in terms non-acquaintance with the local language or Hindi; but then Calcutta has been historically hospitable towards tourists…the City with a Soul as they aptly say. The guy was pretty much with her right through the evening, guiding her through the “famed” by-lanes of Calcutta and even assisting her in finalizing her Nabami and Dashami itineraries. This episode reminded me of a German friend (I had met him through Instagram) who had a similar experience in Calcutta during Durga Pujo 2014; he was pretty much track of directions in the soaring late night Behala crowd when a rickshaw-puller stepped into the scene and guided him back to his hotel. In-fact renowned Street photographers from across the world who have come to Calcutta to shoot, have praised her perennial conviviality and amiability. I distinctly remember an incident that had made it to the head-lines during Pujo 2013- a yellow-taxi driver drove all the way from Salt Lake, hunted down a British passenger’s guest-house in South Calcutta and returned his mis-placed DSLR; this is Calcutta for you. When in Calcutta, you are in for surprises...this city never fails to mesmerize her visitors...!
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - And the stage is set for her magic!
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - Blessings on offer for my blog readers :)
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - The dazzle- she has almost arrived.... :)
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - She is getting all decked for the carnival
"Hey…are you there?”- She perturbed voice broke my trace. I haven’t been speaking for a while, it was a rather overwhelming feeling.
“Yeah. Sorry. So when is flight back to Chennai? Joining work right away?”- I asked rather un-mindfully.
“In just about 20 minutes…I thought I’d give you a call before leaving. It has been such a nice stay, all thanks to you and…..”- I stopped her mid-way, I did notice that she says “Thanks” way too many times. And I’m rather allergic to this, I wish I could have spent more time with her in this duration. I would have loved to have seen more angles and perspectives of my beloved city through her lens.
“I saw some of your pictures on Facebook and on our group. Those are really nice. As a photographer if you had to pick two of your favorite Durga Pujo moments, what would those be?” – I asked analytically. It’s a very interesting study I believe; to gauge a photographer’s unique point of view.
“Ummm…very difficult to pick, there were too many moments to my liking. However, I personally loved shooting Shondhya Aarti (evening prayer) at Kalighat and the holy Sindoor Khela (The Pre-Idol Immersion Vermilion ceremony) at Daw Bari, some beautiful frames in there. I would love to come back next year and shoot again.”- She asserted.
“Have a safe flight, V. Subho Bijoya!”- Yes. I made a new friend, a new connection, this Pujo; this, my friend...is going to stay!
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - And the coveted rituals would follow...
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - This looks supernatural doesn't it?
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - Final moments before she leaves.....
#KurlotsavKaptures: Pujo 2016 ~ An Emotional Roller-coaster - The pre-immersion Sindoor Khela....
Thanks to Kurlon for launching this very innovative #Kurlotsav campaign covering the major social networking platforms and creating a huge buzz on the digital space. I must say that your festive season offers are very lucrative; I personally loved the TVC since it aptly portrays the essence of celebrations through vivid imagery and engaging clips.
P.S. I know for sure that V, being a fantastic photographer, has sent in her entries for the #KurlotsavKaptures competition as well; I firmly believe that, is a critical success factor of this campaign which is pretty much in discussion in the photography circuit of the city. #KurlotsavKaptures has recorded over 2000 high quality entries across all the platforms combined; that is a remarkable feat indeed. I'm very sure of the fact that the entire photographers' community is eagerly waiting for the final results!

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