“How about starting our own magazine” declared my sister, my cousin brother nodded to the thought and I jumped into the air sensing some sort of activity regardless of what it actually was. Being kids of the 80’s our access to television was limited and obviously, Internet was something from the James Bond movies thus most of the leisure free time was used in thinking and executing all sorts of obnoxious plans. Be it a sports club with exclusive access to cousins and family members even though it was housed in the godown originally meant to store coal for the house or starting our own private library in the same godown with our limited stock of Tinkle and Tintin comics we always wanted to form a group of like-minded people where we could share some quality time and in the process have a great fun.
It was around the mid 90’s when on a fine Sunday morning after church my sister, my cousin brother and myself agreed that we need to revive our clubs even though the sports club and the library miserably failed we decided to go ahead with our new venture. I was around 15, my sister 20 and my cousin 18 we were on the verge of creating the first family circulated magazine in perhaps the city’s history.
“Archie Kids Club” was finally taking out their first issue and the team was my sister in charge of the content, my cousin brother in charge of graphics (the real hand-painted cartoons and graphics and not the computer generated ones) and for me, I was in charge of sales and distribution. To cut it short since I had no “real” job thus I was supposed to door to door selling the magazine for 10 Rupees once it was ready.
The final proof was ready and it stood a 10-page magazine with both side prints, some portion were hand written some electronic typed. The editing was done by cutting sections and pasting them on the master sheet. Hand drawn cartoons and graphics were used to hide the paste marks. The final product was actually done my photocopying the master sheets and stapling it together.
Just like out other ventures this also did not last long and only after three publications (if we can actually call that) did our company cease production.
This habit was not to die so soon and I tried the same in college where I managed to take out our own magazine and even though it had a similar fate with around four publications but still I had that passion in me to create a like-minded group who would share the same passion and develop that idea.
It was on 4th of October 2015 that I first came across Calcutta Instagrammers at their fourth Instameet. Not having much knowledge about Instagram me and some of my friends met near Kalighat Tram Depot for our first-hand experience with Instagramming. The journey which started ten months back never seems to stop.
Over the past one year, Calcutta Instagrammers have grown in leaps having approximately 12,700 members as I write. The reason for this I would actually give it to the core team who have for the past one year given their very best for this movement as I can say it. It reminds me of my childhood actually when we had tried to form a group of like-minded friends similarly Calcutta Instagrammers are trying to do that same with the Instagramming community by bringing them under a single roof.
Photography for me is much more that a passion, from always carrying a film camera in my bag during college days to the first three-megapixel digital camera my love for photography will not die but will go to a new level with groups like these.
When I was informed that I was invited to join the celebration for celebrating the first birthday of Calcutta Instagrammers it felt good and privileged. What was even more proud moment was that even though this group is a non-profit venture yet the celebrations were planned in a picture perfect way. ITC Hotels gracefully played the role of a wonderful host and most importantly a partner in the history if I may call it so.
The décor for the evening beautifully done with the theme of “Calcutta” in mind. The rangoli at the entrance beautifully depicting “Calcutta Instagrammers” were done by staffs of the hotel. Even the menu for the evening was specially designed keeping in mind the theme “Calcutta”.
Kosha Mangsho Patty, Alu Posto Patty, Kati Rolls, Mango Rosomalai, Nolen Gur Rosogolla, Mihidana, Gondhoraj Lebu Lassi etc. all typical that of the city and quintessential a part of the city’s heritage.
The evening was not where the core members take a microphone and blare out self-propaganda but instead let some of the guests share their experience of the past one year. The experience was personal and that made the difference giving it a personal touch to the evening.
This was followed by a panel discussion discussing various facets of Instagramming and social media as a whole. The panellist had some of the best the city could offer making it worth every bit.
From quirky humour to heartfelt thanks it was a mixed bag of emotions for me I kept thinking of those wonderful ventures like sports club, library and of course the Archie Kids Club magazine which we could not continue but lucky for Calcutta Instagrammers they have grown and grown from a toddler to an adult.
Wish all the admin team members of Calcutta Instagrammers all the very best and a big thumbs up to all the 12,700 for being a part of this club. Keep the passion for photography burning forever and ever…