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 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 !
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 ?
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 !