A Pair Of Shoes

Thirteen-year-old Monikanchon dashed into the sea of clueless strollers, joyous visitors, and perplexed shoppers. The enthusiastic teenager head-butted and elbow-jabbed to reach some of his favourite stalls at the annual street fair on the occasion of Charak Puja on Beadon Street of Calcutta of 1920. It was the last day of the festival, and waves…

Goddess Of Mud And Flesh

It was a cold and shivering night on the last day of December in Anno Domini 1980. A young and frail woman in tattered clothes stood at the edge of the water of the Kumortuli Bathing Ghat on the banks of the River Hooghly in India’s Calcutta city. Close to her tormented bosom, she held…

Keeper Of The Family Tree

As the tower clock on top of Maniktala Bazar chimed three at the nocturnal hour before dawn every morning, an ancient and wrinkled mysterious man was up and ready to perform his most unusual antic. Centenarian Jotayu Pakrashi was the last leaf in the Pakrashi family tree of the corner house at the intersection of…

The Last Cake By Chand Ali

“If prepared correctly, a fruitcake can have a shelf life of more than twenty-five years,” chuckled the toothless betel leaf chomping Chand Ali as he mixed perfectly calculated portions of assorted nuts and dried fruits into a massive copper plate. Twelve-year-old Rani and her five-year-old brother Riju peered over the master baker’s shoulders to ask questions…

Playing Brass

Strolling down the Mahatma Gandhi Road from the College Street end towards Howrah Tram Depot in the vibrance of the Kolkata metropolis, one can spot a unique world of orchestral cacophony. Little shops from the colonial days of the British showcase a wide array of musical instruments and jazzy uniforms of starking colours with gilded…

The Red Bus Robbery

In their quest for colonisation, the British faced many tenacious races all over the so-called third world colonies; men and women of varied colour, creed, ethnicity, and metal. Stories of whose bravery and strength are etched in the annals of human history. Of all the people they dealt with, perhaps they found the Bengalis to…

The Man Who Brought The River

Somewhere on the mighty Himalayan range in the northern mountain lands of the Indian state of West Bengal flickered the hilly settlement of Kharapahar. Surrounded by deep jagged cliffs on the east, west and southern sides and a colossal mountain wall in the north, the tiny village was not easily accessible to the outside world….

The Tunnel

Deep in the bowels of the Eastern Ghats Mountain Range nestled the small and obscure village of Cheenna Gato, meaning a tiny hole in the native tribal dialect, a mix of the Odiya and Telugu languages. The year is 1960, and while the rest of the world celebrated many human advancements, the villagers of this…

Over The Rainbow Bridge

Hatchu opened his eyes and found himself in a mesmerising meadow of greens. The constant pain in his hind limbs was no more there. Neither was there the nagging agony in his kidneys. He slowly lifted his right leg just a little bit to mark his territory. He was scared, that like every time, there…

Bat Brigade

“Steady your breathing Naba. You are one with the forest. The jungle is an extension of you, an amplification of your senses. That which grows, creeps, crawls, and moves in it – you are aware of its presence. The night is your prowl and darkness your element,”¬†whispered the ninety-year-old warrior Akoijam to his prodigy. War…