From The desk of A Bhakt.
The year is 2016.
Around this time of the year
Its 4 am in the wee hours.
Its The City Of Joy….( well well )
I have my Cannon ready.
We go PANDAL HOPPING.
Its still dark.
Kolkatta is asleep but for a few like yours truly.
We go from one artisitic creation to another.
The city is full of talent and talented people.
If I were to be on the jury to judge the best one I would be at a dead end.
Photo session done,breakfast comprising of Nimkeen and kulhad chai done we head back to our hotel.
I wanted more..I learnt of the Kumhaar Toli Potters- a tribe who lives on the outskirts or travels from a distance to come camp in an area and create Durga Maa’s idols.
So my local friends there arranged to take me for an insiders view of the basti where the Potters live.
I get my glimpse of the Kumhaar Toli Potters.
simple humble people but with gifted hands.
…..its deep in the afternoon.
We reach the hutments where a bunch of super talented artists ( all unknown with no claim to fame )are busy at work oblivious to eager passers by like us totally mesmerized by the sheer magic of what they are creating.
And so I see one man clad in just a half lungi kneading the dough with his feet a ritual done in Pau making as well.
Another fellow creator is mixing something to imli ( tamarind ) to get the colour Cobalt blue.
Yet another is painting Maa’s hand and decorating them with Alta lookalike red colour.
The painter in me ( yes I paint too ) takes over and I request the artist to allow me to do the honours.He does so but not too willingly as it will waste his time.
I ignore his plea and continue to dress Maa’s hands with my brand of Alta.(The power of this act was felt only next year.Read my next post part 3 for that.)
After taking a huge collection of pictures for my Photography site ( and many etched in my memory tank forever ) we leave the Potters to commence and conclude their devotion to and dedication for the Pujo.
Text- Gehna Mehra.
Picture Credits-Gehna Mehra