The Chinese have been trading with India for centuries and it was no surprise when one Chinese trader decided to set shop right near the city. With the establishment of a sugar processing plant, Tong Achew unknowingly sowed a seed for his community to call this country their home. Even though the sugar processing factory had a short life but that paved the opportunity for the Chinese to come to Calcutta in search of a better living.Continue reading “Chinese Temples and Churches of Kolkata”
As the giraffes were busy chewing the leaves of the almost bare to the bark tree my daughter commented: “which one of the giraffes is named Ezra?” I was busy clicking photographs of the giraffes so did not hear her properly and my daughter repeated her question. Almost stunned I was speechless as to why would a giraffe be named Ezra then my daughter pointed out to the cemented embossed name on the giraffe section of the Alipore Zoological Gardens in Kolkata. Instantly I was taken aback almost thirty years when I heard my cousins always telling me that I belong to the Gubay House which actually was the monkey enclosure at the very same zoo.
What I failed to notice then and just realized it while I was drafting the blog is the contribution of the Jewish community to my city of Calcutta. Ezra, Gubay etc. were esteemed members of the Jewish community in the city who had actually donated large sums of money for various development works around the city and that included donating to the Zoo for animal welfare.
I had decided at the beginning of the year 2018 that this year I would like to concentrate on the various minority communities of the city and after the Chinese, my next blog would be about the Synagogues of Kolkata. Many of my blogger friends remind me that there were a few existing blogs on the same topic so what would be different about my blog. Well to put it straight for the first I would like to individually look at each of the three existing synagogues and also to write a little more about the two synagogues that do not exist anymore.Continue reading “Synagogues of Kolkata”
Calcutta in the 1800 and early 1900 was like the Shanghai and Singapore combined together. It was a major trading hub and people of the world came to this city for trade and commerce. Kolkata once had a significant Chinese population and even though it has drastically decreased over the years its presence still is very much felt across the city.Continue reading “Chinese New Year in Kolkata”
The proximity of Sir Stuart Hogg Market or I should say New Market from my office makes it an ideal location for my afternoon post-lunch walks. I have gone to this market so many numbers of times that I have got used to all the lanes and by-lanes that interconnect each other within the market premises. Being a blogger with a keen interest in the heritage of my city I always wanted to write a blog about this market but somehow it keeps getting delayed with other priorities.
While once photographing the outer sections of the market I came across a Coat of Arms which I initially thought that of Sir Stuart Hogg but it really did not make sense. A quick search led the logo or emblem to the erstwhile Calcutta Municipal organization. Now here things got little interesting, why would the city municipality have storks in their coat of arms? You actually do not see any storks in the city so why have them on your logo? As I searched deeper and deeper into old documents I got to know something which I was unaware of. Firstly, I got to know more about the city’s municipal organization and its heritage and secondly, about the real reason for having a stork in the coat of arms.Continue reading “Mysteries of Storks and Calcutta Municipal Corporation”
I wrote this play which is a modern take on Nativity in the year 2002 when I was in college. I had even directed this play at the Annual Christmas Gathering in my college. I had written about the actual nativity incident in my previous blog which of course became famous for its “Oh Shit” line so in this blog I have just copy pasted the original scripts. I had taken a new approach to Nativity by bringing the characters more at home in my city instead of Bethlehem and of course transforming Jesus into a girl child.
My college life was spent in a lower middle-class college in Kolkata known as St. Pauls Cathedral Mission College or in short St. Pauls. This was the very same college where my father and his cousins had passed out from. Nothing had changed according to my father when he visited with me for my admission. The same shaky wooden staircase the same old buildings and classrooms. Trust me it’s the same now even after me passing out of the college some fifteen years ago. What it missed in glamour was compensated in terms of student to student friendship. The reason was quite obvious since classes were not that mandatory and most of the day from morning until late evening we sat around the large football ground talking and enjoying food from the college canteen.