The only person to possibly have witnessed the Japanese bombing of Calcutta (Kolkata) during WWII were my paternal grandparents. I have never seen my maternal grandparents thus never would know their version of the history. My grandmother was a born storyteller, a prolific writer she had the finesse to tell stories and she told it in a way which would surely attract anyone especially a 10-year-old boy which was me. My grandfather was on the other had a man of few words and would be busy in his own world writing diaries and listening to radio something which he continued to do even when cable television had arrived and continued until his death.
Of all the stories that my grandmother would tell me the stories of war would interest me the most. She would tell us about how the windows were all covered up with newspapers to prevent light getting out during an air raid and how the street lights were all covered up from the top so that the lights would not show up skywards. There were also air raid shelters dug up in our locality and all the people would rush to them once the air raid siren would set off.
Continue reading “Japanese Air Raids on Kolkata during WWII”
Why are these songs so slow and sound so sad I asked my father, he was listening to the newly purchased double cassette album which was a collection of Ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh. He was so deeply engrossed that he almost missed my question and only on my second attempt did he reply that these were a collection of Ghalib. For years I had imagined Mirza Ghalib to be the one featured on the cassette cover which later when I grew up realized that it was, in reality, the photo of the actor Nasiruddin Shah. Little did I realize that one day I would roam around the streets of old Delhi and Kolkata just to trace Ghalib.
It all started during a recent trip to New Delhi and since I am working with a book retailing company I am privileged to be surrounded by books and literature lovers all the time. My visit to Delhi was nearly after a five-year gap thus there was lot to catch up when meeting old friends and one of them was Vijay Kumar Sharma who has been a regular follower of my blogs and travel tales. During one of our conversations, I had mentioned to him that somewhere I had read that the house of Mirza Ghalib was very near to Connaught Place. Next day he presented me with a book which talked about forgotten heritage places around Delhi and in there was a mention about Ballimaran (Gali Qasim Jan) which was quite near to Chawri Bazar Metro station. This place was just three metro stops from Connaught Place and during a weekend managed to track this place.
Continue reading “When Mirza Ghalib Came To Kolkata”
Kolkata or rather I should say Calcutta since this blog is basically on a subject which is more Calcutta than Kolkata. As a tourist, if you are coming to this city then the chances of visiting this church is very high since this would form a part of the European Heritage of the city. Since there is scattered information about this church across the net thus I have decided to bring it all together along with a short history of the church. This blog will mainly focus on the different structures and the important tablets and cenotaphs present inside the church as well as outside around the church compound. I have made an audacious attempt for the first time to cover each and every important object within the church compound.
Continue reading “St. John’s Church Kolkata – A Complete Guide”
I have been travelling for quite some time now and every time I visit a new destination I make sure to check out the possible scamming and ripping activity which usually takes place in that city or place. This way I am well aware of the possibilities and take enough precautions making my trip relative safe. This, however, does not mean that I totally depend on my self-awareness I do take precautions such as hiding my passport or valuable beyond the reach or sometimes divide cash in different places just as a precautionary measure that in case I lose some I do have backups.
There is something called the Murphy’s Law which roughly states that if something were to get wrong it will get wrong no matter how well prepared you are. Something similar happened to me which till date is the only time Indian Vagabond that is me got scammed during a trip and to top it off it happened in my own city of Kolkata.
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“That’s Mother out there” my mother whispered in my ear, it was in the year 1988 and she had come to our school as the chief guest for the school’s annual sports day. With everyone standing in front of me I could hardly see so my mother lifted me up and made me stand on the chair. In the distance I see a frail old lady bending forward slightly with hand folded accepting the standing ovation that she was receiving. Coincidentally I was wearing deep blue shorts and light blue almost white t-shirt and this was the same color that Mother Teresa was wearing. This was the first and last time that I had seen Mother Teresa up close.
Continue reading “Mother Teresa – Retracing Her Footsteps in Calcutta”