Renowned author Santosh Bakaya pens her many hued musings on Kolkata, the city that never fails to charm her. Visiting Kolkata in the sultry July heat for the launch of two diametrically different books – one an anthology of spooky ghost stories Darkness There But Something More, which she co-edited with Lopa Banerjee and the other a book of verses by Lopa Banerjee Let the Night Sing, Santosh writes about Kolkata’s sights and sounds in a series of diary notes.
I intended sleeping for some more time, but soon felt some movement near my bed. Before I could open my eyes to see the source of this movement, I felt two tiny hands snaking towards me and hugging me.
“Oh Rimli!” I jumped out of bed and hugged her.” You are a big girl now!”
“But my sister is bigger.” The six-year-old chimed proudly with the confidence of a seventeen year old.
“She draws and writes very well.” She added with another proud twinkle.
I remembered something from my last visit to Kolkata.
Although both the sisters were most of the time indulging in sibling squabbles, I had realized that the younger one simply doted on her elder sister, and that still continued. Soon, Mithi also joined us, and the room seemed to be bursting with excited chatter.
After all, we had a lot of catching up to do.
They chatted, I listened, I chatted, and they listened, till it was time for breakfast.
Breakfast which was so mouth-wateringly sumptuous , that I continued craving for more of those kachoris and the sweets that Lopa’s dad-in-law had got especially for me, till it was time for lunch – and some butterflies – I mean in Lopa’s stomach.
“Di, remember, what a tough time we had hunting for taxis last time during the launch of Defiant Dreams? We will have to leave early today.”
So we left for the venue, with the butterflies still jitterbugging in Lopa’s stomach; if there were butterflies in my stomach, they were too docile to make their presence felt. Come to think of it, my stomach could provide them no dancing space as it was too full of the delicacies that I had gorged on.
“Di, taratari, taaratari,” Lopa remarked, and I obeyed her eloquent gestures, and of course, also got the hang of what ‘taratari‘ meant.
We were soon at Doodle Room. Yes, pretty taratari.
The entire team of Sufia Khatoon was busy with some last minute preparations, hanging pictures, posters and paintings with a frenzied haste. A mega launch awaited Lopa’s maiden poetry collection, Let the Night Sing.
The moment we entered the room, Sufia raced towards us and hugged us. Soon more faces started falling in my line of vision.
It was great to see Asoke Kumar Mitraji, Amit Sankar Saha, Saheli Mitra, Satabdi Banerjee, Nandita Samanta, Bhaskaranand Jha, Parthasarthiji and some young poets from the Facebook group, Poetry Maniacs of Kolkata who clicked selfies with me, making me feel taller than my diminutive height.
A shy young lady, walked towards me and introduced herself as Aiman Abdullah, wanting to know whether I was comfortable, and whether I needed anything.
Where was Subhajit Sanyal? I looked around for him. Why had he not come? There were some youngsters holding guitars. The very thought of a musical evening enchanted me, and I started looking forward to it.
TO BE CONTINUED
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