Thursday, November 3, 2016


33 Pally Sarbajanin - 
Inverted umbrella made out of rear-view mirrors.

This year ( 2016 ) , I have come across two Puja pandals with remarkable and very aesthetic  use of mirrors to decorate the interior of the pandals.

The first one I would mention is a very well-known Durga Puja of this year - ' 33 Pally Sarbajanin '. Over-all planning here is by Shibshankar Das . He has used Ambassador cars and its parts to decorate the pandal - demonstrating  the height Kolkata's installation art reaches during Durga Puja.At the entrance , he has installed an 'inverted umbrella'-shaped  canopy decorated with 500+  rear view mirrors  on the pathway that leads to the pandal.

33 Pally Sarbajanin - 
A closer view of the above.

Inside the pandal, he created two  giant  'haat-paakhaa' ( hand held fan)  on each side of the podium the idols are placed. The surfaces of the 'fans' have quadrants of .mirror, reflecting the idols . Here is one comment  - I could not  find out the position from where I could see reflection of  Devi's face .

33 Pally Sarbajanin - 
Reflection of the idols on quadrants of mirrors.

Kali Puja at Parnasree is a big event. Surya Sangha started very early with their pandal construction and decoration. Huge chandelier was installed inside with  lots and lots of mirrors on the inside walls. Very impressive decoration as the mirrors framing added to the  effect created.

'Surya Sangha , Parnasree  -
The Dark Goddess and Illumination around Her .

Monday, October 31, 2016


'Tridhara' - 
Huge heads of  buffaloes , scores of plaques with African motifs decorate the huge pandal.

After spending a quiet Durga Puja in Helsinki during 2015 , I was looking forward to the  grand show of Durga Puja in Kolkata in 2016. Puja pandal decoration was completed by Triteeya/Chaturthi and pandal-hopping started with big enthusiasm. We went out before sun-rise on the mornings of Panchami and Shashthi too. On mid-day of  Saptami, we covered the local pandals of Parnasree. That was the time when Anjali was being offered to Devi almost in all the pandals we covered.On the mornings of Nabami and Ekadashi, we went out again with our cameras. Very rewarding experience indeed.

'66 Pally' -
Devi's idol,the pandal and the decoration around remind the viewer 
to the charm of old Kolkata !

TV shows, however, were mostly disappointing. These shows covered mostly the crowd thronging the pandals and boasting members of the organisers' committees. But, the cameras hardly covered the decoration, the lighting or the idols . Probably, the organisers do not want the TV viewers see the many details on TV screen. They are happy only when more and more people queue up  through       l-o-n-g corridors shaped by  thousands of bamboo poles leading the 'Entry' gates.If  viewers  get satisfying details in TV , why will they come to the pandals in hordes ?

Deshapriya Park  - 
Much-hyped ' Durga with Thousand hands'  &
a glimpse of the idol that was 'worshiped' according to rituals through an opening on the high pedestal of the former.

We went pandal-hopping either early morning or mid-morning,  time slots not-so-popular . Yet, peaceful viewing and photography were quite difficult . Besides the crowd, we faced problem of lighting too. For example at Tridhara, lighting of the alcove housing Devi's idol   was switched off in the early morning. As a result, hardly any details were visible. It necessitated a lot of efforts  to extract presentable photographs from the raw shots.

 'Badamtala Ashadh Sangh' -
Excellent decoration with broken bricks and terra cotta images . Disappointing layout since the Devi's idol is placed at a distance , chairs etc were scattered in front of Her pedestal , creating an unkempt look .  

 'Badamtala Ashadh Sangh' -
Impact/appeal of the huge inverted lotus marred  by 
the thick cable running across.

In fact, some of the  pandals we visited were not designed to cater to serious viewers. It seems to thrive on ' More are the nos of viewers, happier are the  sponsors' principle. I found  excellent 'art'work marred by bad lighting , un-organised  placement of furniture , large distance between viewer's space and where the idols are positioned. In several cases, tip of Devi's crowns  were not visible, the sides of 'Ganesha' and 'Kartick' poorly illuminated.

'Ballygunge Cultural' -
The 'Asura'  here looks strong -  most of Kolkata's idol-makers seems to  have no idea  what the appearance of 'Mahishasura' should be. 
He threw the gods out of heaven & 
it took the  power and weapons of ten of them to defeat him.

But, these aberrations are 0.1% of the whole show. The artistic value  of  the installations and  efforts were simply astounding.

'Parnasree Club' -
After 'Astami' Puja.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Till the other day, I used to walk in quite fast pace. Then,  my left leg decided not to co-operate with me. I was compelled to stay  put in Kolkata during 2013 . My visit to  Rajasthan/Delhi in November, 2014 was two years after my  Bangalore/Mysore visit in 2012.It was only the 2nd half of my 2015 visit to NJ/Helsinki when I started regaining my confidence. that too quite slowly.

Puistola, Helsinki is a typical Finnish suburb - a lot of greenery , undulated  topography surrounding the houses, schools and other urban amenities. I have taken lots of photographs of nature , colourful during the Fall and then bare & dry as the winter approached. A few berries,  both black and red took on the weather with all the resilience they had. Otherwise, bare branches, dull- yellow dying leaves littered on the forest ground was a common scene.

 I took photos to familiarise myself with my new Nikon camera and explore the surroundings as I have never seen anything like this earlier, not even at Banbury. And .... to insert a few pauses during the walk to catch my breath.

While editing the photos after six months or more during this hot summer night in May'20 Kolkata, this photo of dead branches ( tree trunk on viewer's right not in the photo ) attracted my notice. Just like tentacles. I photoshopped  and arrived at the B&W version which is at the top of the post. No one 'liked' the photo which I posted  in my page.  Nor in FB, anyone noticed it but for my wife and a friend/poet. But, I believe this is a strong composition - not by me, just another 'one' of nature.

the original photo, before photoshop is here. Just count the numbers of branches creeping inside this photo's 'frame' !! They almost seem to be of an animal, not of vegetation.

Saturday, January 2, 2016



Colour of sunset against a deep blue sky 

Scandinavia's nature is a photographer's delight.  During my short visit in June,15, I found Helsinki green. Lingering day - light seeping through curtains even @ 2 am. The second round - September to  November - was more interesting as I witnessed the change of season. Bright blue sky, orange sunset, colours of autumn and then ground frost on brown trees......

Colour of 'Autumn'.

 Trees which have shed all the leaves have another kind of appeal. In a photo, it looks like a painting with Chinese ink. My bro-in-law suggested  - if I would lie down on the ground and take photos of a cluster of trees , the puddle-like sky seen through the cluster. Well, I did not go that 'far' , but, clicked several photos with camera-lens pointing up , while I stood at the bottom of the bare branches. On the flip-side, when I returned home, I found my hair and jacket have collected good nos of insects.

And... this one is almost monochrome. 
As if painted by Chinese ink !

I took scores of photos of berries - both black and red -  on near-barren branches . And... of white and yellow mushrooms which grew on a stack of cut-off trunks of birch trees.