Sunday, January 30, 2011

Calcutta Book Fair – more than just books, Day 2

The Calcutta Book Fair has always been more than just books. It is an experience hard to express in words. There is a certain something quintessential about Calcutta Book Fair that tugs at my heart and sucks me in. I always end up making nothing less than half a dozen visits every year, promising not to return until next year. Why you ask ? This time to steal words from the magnum opus – Godfather, where Sollozzo says “I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman; blood is a big expense.”. To which I would say “I like books Tom, but they are a big expense !” :)

The fair bring under it’s ambit not just books, but other art forms as well. There are artists, craftsmen, handicrafts, women folks selling and showcasing their appliqué embroidery skills and philatelists to just name a few !

The  portrait artist was momentarily away from his desk (er chair!)270120111256



The artist in the picture is a young man named Dilip Paswan, who now has been coming to the Book Fair for the last 15 years. He now works in the state of Tripura, but comes down to Calcutta every year during the fair. Such are old habits, that never die !

270120111261 This ‘Calcutta’ painting is now one of my prized possessions.

270120111262 Here is a portrait artist in the picture above, who claimed that he chooses who he wishes to portrait or not. Do you hear it ain’t about the money, not always at least. He chooses his customers, not vice-versa. I did not risk asking him for my portrait ! Do the crowd around him, reminds you of Calcutta of yore ?

270120111266 Guess what is everybody in this picture clicking away at?

270120111296 Here is the apple of everyone’s eyes. People just couldn’t get enough of it !

Refreshments anyone ?270120111257

270120111279 270120111283 Handicrafts – jute bags !

270120111285 Applique Embroidery

270120111267 The main walkway at the Boi-Mela

270120111272 Deys Publishing Pavilion !

270120111274 East meets West!


Rest area / Lovers boulevard at fountain of love !


In honor of কবি গুরু !



Above, the lone আনন্দ মার্গী (Ananda Margi) who has meandered away from his booth


Poor man’s Disneyland !


Finally above is the booth for the CPM mouth-piece !

I hope to have rekindled a child like joy of visiting Calcutta Book Fair on your next trip eastward ! If you think I have struck a chord, here is presenting a song that will remind you of your home, your friends, your old flame, and finally your city. Salud !


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