Archive for the 'January 2011' Category


This isn’t Goodbye

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The Good, the Ugly, the Bad

Five years ago, when I’ve started this blog, I was still mesmerized with Santiniketan’s natural beauty and stillness. My very own Santitown! That place where I wanted to drop my bags and settle for a while. I was still under the spell of my first Poush Mela, this picturesque event, a real time travel. I wanted to share this feeling with all. 
Five years later, just after another Poush Mela, I almost put an end to it and to my stay in Santiniketan. It’s been hard to see all the changes happening around for the sake of “progress” and “development”. Visitors kept coming. Not those nature and poetry’s lovers looking for peace and a piece of history anymore. Just packs of people unable to appreciate the real beauty of the place and to respect the past, the present nor the future of amader Santiniketan. After months of music, plastic and traffic, I got sick. Sick of it all. I did not want to become this bitter person who’ll denounce it all.
L1160871And one day, going back home crossing a familiar santali village, the magic worked once again. On the side of the road – which was still a mud road a couple of years back – I saw men building one of those huge hand-made wicker basket where they’ll keep the village’s crop. I’ve stopped for a few minutes and admired this amazing work, this beautiful craft that managed to survive to this day.

L1160876Then I knew. I still had a lot to share. The good and the bad. I’ll have to find a balance. For my sake and for Santitown’s sake. I won’t keep the beauty for myself but I won’t pretend I don’t see what going wrong.

L1170125Like those so-called “picnics” that have invaded the paddy fields, the river sides and our daily lives. Another excuse to put loud music from 8 am until late afternoon. The food will basically the same that is served at home but often prepared by hired cooks and in less hygienic conditions. The meals will be served in polystyrene plates that will be thrown a bit further along the road for the wind to blow and cows to feed.

L1170127The place will be left soiled and barren. Amader Santiniketan. The Poet’s abode of peace, spoiled for the rest of us.







Shame on Santi (II)


And life goes on.


During this festive and busy time, shopkeepers, craftmen and other small businesses couldn’t stay idle. Their request to be spared until the end of the Poush Mela being denied, they had to find a way to make a living despite the unfair circumstances.


So they came back to that same spot they’ve been occupying for days, months or even years.


They came back taking a huge risk: the one to see all their belongings being seized, as the local police threatened them.


Will the road be widened? Will new shops be built? What is the plan?


Nothing has been officially announced yet but the it seems that those demolitions are just the tip of the iceberg that will definitely bury The Poet’s Abode of Peace deep into the past.



Suchana Utsav 15′

150215 Suchana Utsav1As october is the month of Durga, as december is the time for Poush Mela, february definitely calls for Suchana’s annual function.

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150215 Suchana UtsavMuch earlier, in 2011, I told you about this wonderful initiative. Well, we are happy to let you know the seeds have grown as well as Suchana’s building.

150215 Suchana Utsav RahulUnder Rahul’s wise supervision, many projects were born. Among others were created a computer learning program going to remote villages of the area, an on-wheels library and launched many children books in adivasi languages – such as sandal and kora transcribed in bengali script. Amar Bhashai Amar Boi or “my books in my language”.

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150215 Suchana Utsav Art work1Is there a best way to celebrate the hard work than a full afternoon of songs, dances, drama and many other surprises? Suchana certainly excels at it. Even if that same day India was facing Pakistan over a cricket match, the crowd came to attend the annual event. At least the women and children did!


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150215 Suchana Utsav Chorus1As you don’t change a winning team, the program remains basically the same and starts with all kids gathered to sing together in 4 languages: English, Bengali, Santali and Kora. The ones we knew few years ago are now standing on the back overlooking at their little brothers and sisters, proudly standing on the front row.

150215 Suchana Utsav Rhymes1

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150215 Suchana Utsav Kirsty

150215 Suchana Utsav Kora Dance1Red and yellow saris twirling around: those are the adivasi dancers performing a kora dance about bathing in the Ganga. “Silum guti gamcha” says the song.

150215 Suchana Utsav Comedy

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150215 Suchana Utsav Hindi Dance2The girls are certainly beautiful, wearing there best gowns and flowers in their hair, but somehow the boys always end up catching all the wide-opened eyes: it’s time for the hindi dance! My camera is irrevocably turned towards him, this “Indian Idol”, however it will never make him justice. Energy, precise movements and a lot of sweat. In front of our pounding hearts, Suchana’s danceflour is literally on fire!

150215 Suchana Utsav Audience11We are looking forward for next year’s function and I hope you are too.

150215 Suchana Utsav Hindi Dance8

To know more about Suchana and how you could help:


Chaji in Boner Pukur Danga

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It’s been nearly two years but you could not have forgotten this beautiful and wise face.

Hiro San, artist and japanese tea master, came back to Boner Pukur Danga.

Plum & Sweets

After offering us warm water subtly perfumed with plum and sweets in the waiting room, seven different bell rings summuned us to the tea room.


This is how the chaji starts. Unlike the chakai, it is a much more formal gathering, hold inside a quiet room, more suited for introspection.

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The tea room has been decorated with a delicate flower arrangement. A calligraphy invites us to meditate on “harmony” while the tea master  ritually cleanses each utensil, the tea bowl or  chawan, the bamboo whisk or chosen and tea scoop, chashaku, in a precise order and using prescribed motions.

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Continue reading ‘Chaji in Boner Pukur Danga’


Happy 2012