Kolkata Through my lens - 1


As a photographer and a resident of this city, I am more than sure that my words will fall short to describe the unearthly and irresistible attachment I have with my city. Every street, every house, every person has a story to be told and has a mystery to be solved. When life becomes maddeningly polite, lose yourself in this city of emotions and joy. I'm sure you wont go back without a smile.

Photo of Kolkata Through my lens - 1 1/2 by Rajarshi Banerjee
The Ghats, workers taking a break

There exists a infinite group of attractions that you will come across when walking on the streets of this Mahanagar. I believe (and it is a personal opinion) that attractions do not need to be just the monuments or just the architecture but it can be anything that keeps us engaged and hooked to the present without having to worry about what happens the very next moment. I found solace and rest in the middle of a hectic day in my city when I saw these group of workers relaxing after a tiresome early morning shift. Was that the cool breeze from the Ganges that takes away all your worries when the wind flows through your hair? Or was it the soft shade of the trees coupled with the warm bricks of the ghats, easing the journey to get a break from our daily rat race? Or Maybe its just another mystery Kolkata has to offer.

Photo of Kolkata Through my lens - 1 2/2 by Rajarshi Banerjee
james Prinsep Ghat, 2019

In the year 1841, James Prinsep Ghat was built in memory of eminent Anglo-Indian Scholar, James Prinsep, during the British Raj. Anyone willing to visit the monument can avail the railway train (if familiar with the routes) and he will reach Prinsep Ghat station, which is right next to the ghat itself.

I have always found serenity and an irresistible attraction to the solace this place offers. When the pressure of work reaches a bit above the bar, this place is just one cab away. Sometimes a calm mind can be the birthplace of the best ideas, what better place than sitting here with a pen and paper in one hand and a cutting chai (tea) in the other. If you just need a break, even for fifteen minutes, Prinsep Ghat was and always will be worth a shot.

Framers frame in different frames

Photo of James Prinsep Ghat, Maidan, Fort William, Hastings, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Rajarshi Banerjee

When day to day struggle becomes too obvious, lose yourself like the light is lost into shadow. My compliments to the array of pillars adding to the beautiful effect. Sitting on a bench under a tree, you will find yourself in a stream of life which brings various happenings conveying the message of how time stops for nobody. At one moment you will feel the rush and the hustle as the office goers get off at the station and make their way towards their offices in a hurry, in an alternative moment you will find yourself staring right at another bench on the opposite end after your vision has crossed the corridor of the pillars, giving rebirth to solace again. It is the beauty of this place. One moment brings in a rush of energy while the other brings in peace, like the swinging of a pendulum from one end to the other. I guess I will leave the rest of the mysteries for you to find out yourself.

An early morning in Mullick Ghat Flower Market

Photo of Mullick Ghat Flower Market, Strand Bank Road, Fairley Place, B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Rajarshi Banerjee

Beauty is found in the faces of the crowds. Mullick Ghat has perhaps been one of the busiest places I have visited in the city itself. With hardly any space for steady movement, constant inflow of trucks and vans carrying flowers or other cargo, delivery boys working in the flower shops rushing through the crowd to get as many deliveries as possible, I suppose its the very colors of the flowers that breathes life into this chaos. Oh! I love the people, their emotions, their movements and every movement of every muscle tells a story. In the middle of hundreds and hundreds of people here in the market, each and every single one of them have an untold story.

Flower Sellers of the Flower Market

Photo of Mullick Ghat Flower Market, Strand Bank Road, Fairley Place, B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Rajarshi Banerjee

A severe contrast of colors prevails in this place, as people desperately try to sell off their stock to earn their daily bread. When one visits the flower market he can see that a majority section of the population is below the poverty line. Some live under the Howrah bridge in tiny shelters with tin foils, some arrive from far off places with a huge collection of flowers for their passionate buyers. Poverty prevails amidst the beauty of the people and scent of the flowers.

"Will denying reality really make us better human beings?"- Saadat Hasan Manto

Despite the poverty tag that some of us put on them, we can hardly ignore the fact that they also belong to one of the most hardworking section of the population. The Mahanagar becomes a shelter for people from different sections of the city, upholding its beauty to a state beyond comparison.

People taking pictures inside a Puja Pandal

Photo of Kolkata Through my lens - 1 by Rajarshi Banerjee

In conclusion, I cannot help but say that my words did fall short. I will be making a continuation of this article. There is no way I can completely put together a compact arrangement of words to properly describe my unconditional attachment with Kolkata. The city for me is a massive library with books of every genre which engulfs the reader in a never ending universe of mystery and love. The people, the architecture, the culture, even the streets themselves act as nothing less than a catalyst in a chemical reaction, accelerating the growth of attachment of any traveller who sets foot here.