Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Age-Old with the Modern

I happened to click this on my trip to Kolkata last year. I was on my way to probably one of Kolkata's biggest mall South City (at least that's what I thought based on how popular it is there) and was in a cab.

The cab stopped right opposite the mall in a small lane. And that is when I looked out and saw these two men, one old, one young, sitting there, oblivious to the world, working on with the utmost concentration.

The 'shop' they have looks more like a closet in a corner wall of some home, but it's their all. The signboard says 'Roy Enterprises' and it says something in Bengali, all of which I couldn't read, but the bottom line says that 'all kinds of chart papers are available here.' I quite liked the way it was written as we don't speak bengali that way, so it was a novelty for me.

The cab was waiting there for quite some time, but not for a moment did these two look up from their work. I couldn't help but realise that bang opposite was this swanky mall with Kolkata's decked up youth flocking to it sporting the latest fashion. And here was this lone young guy, sitting with the older man, carrying on with his work like any other day.

I moved on once the light turned green for us, but some day, if I happen to be near there again, I would like to look them up....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 7, 2013

Durga Puja Chronicles: Celebrations Galore

It's that time of the year again when I feel my roots and know for sure that I'm a Bong.....well, how else can I describe my love for this big big celebration of all that is so Bangaali? :-)

Since birth, I've celebrated Durga Puja with a lot of fun and looking-forward to. In Delhi, where I've been born and brought up and lived for the first 25 years of my life, Durga Puja was especially special, as it was THAT time of the year when we would proudly show off that we were bongs. The whole year would be spent in jeans and shirts and skirts, but come July/August, and we would start preparing for what to wear in the Puja days and when to begin shopping.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Anupam Roy Talks About Durga Puja And His Thoughts

image source

(*the following appeared as a Bengali article in the paper EBela as part of Anupam Roy's column - Anupam Katha)

(for those readers who do not understand Bengali, yet love Anupam Roy's words, here's an attempted translation with as much as I could understand of the original Bengali version. Any mistakes are apologised for in advance)

The rain-soaked sombre skies shaded with blue smiles. The flowers giving off the holiday scent. The crowds on the streets, the excitement on the loudspeakers and the rolls-pakodas-phuchkas....all beginning the countdown to Durga Puja, in Anupam Roy's words...

Is it time already?

Where did so many people come from? What's happened to Gariahat? Is it already here? What month's this? But I barely saw any

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Exploring Kolkata - My Way

Have I ever lived in the city? Yes, when I was a kid, I lived in Kolkata for about a year-n-half. During those months I spent in the city, I never liked it, forget about loving it. It was a mess, I didn't have any friends, I was very young, constantly missed my hometown Delhi and every single day craved to go back. The fact that my Bangla was not perfect and had a strong north-Indian accent didn't help; it only made me an 'outsider' amongst my class mates, and though they found it amusing and interesting, I always felt weird. I didn't like that phase, and still don't.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Interview With Anupam Roy On His Album Dwitiyo Purush: Courtesy Bengali Paper Ebela

I got to read the original Bengali version of a recent interview with Anupam Roy in the newspaper (?) Ebela (I happened to read it online). Since it was all in Bengali and isn't available outside Bengal (unless you're an e-reader of the paper), I figured it would be good to share it in a translated-to-English version just to let other non-Bengali fans and those who're not very proficient with the language enjoy the read too....I am reproducing the original interview here in a translated English version and have no ownership over it. Its not my work. Also, Im not a 100% correct in the language, so please do forgive me if I haven't been able to write it properly.

If you would like to read the online original Bengali version of the same, please click here

In a market that's going downward, he doesn't fear coming out with a single! Not a music director, he calls himself a 'poet' (I translated this from the Bengali word 'kobiyaal' and felt this is what it means, please correct me if I'm wrong.) After 'Dwitiyo Purush', Anupam Roy speaks with Sangveta Chakravarty.

He was busy in recording. The moment he heard of the interview, the first thing he wanted to know was 'how long will it take?' When I told him half an hour, he said, 'then let's go ahead and begin. Good if it's over, else will again catch up later.' The album Dwitiyo Purush, the singer-music director debate, love - an 'open' and free Anupam about all this on the pages of 'Obela'.

First I'd like to know about 'Dwitiyo Purush.' What kind of songs does it have?
Dwitiyo Purush has 10 songs. They're mainly based around romance, love. It's difficult to typecast the songs. The songs are similar to the kind of songs I generally do. They are written by me, and the music too.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Kolkata Chow...Chomping Glory

Okay, so what's this? Noodles right? Wrong, if you're buying this in Kolkata, precisely where this was clicked. If you're out to get some noodles in Cal, you must ask for chowmein, or better still, chow...

I didn't learn this for a long long time, in fact, it's only now on my recent few trips that each time I ask for noodles and the person mentions 'chow' I quickly understand what he's talking about. Earlier I would take time to think it out.

This picture is that of my typical lunch/dinner when I was in Kolkata for about a week. I was staying at a small guest-house in a place called Southern Avenue that's near the big Rabindra Sarobar Lake. It's a gorgeous little place, tucked away, cosy and amidst all the hustle bustle of south Kolkata. It's kind of become my home away from home. Whenever I visit Kolkata I end up staying here, and yes, I do quite miss the para when I'm back in Mumbai....

Well, back to the pic above, there was this tiny little food stall near the guest house that made these amazing noodles (chow), rolls and rice. I absolutely loved the Bengali touch to the typical noodles...so it was that once I tried it, I had it for lunch and dinner every time that I was not out somewhere and was in the guest house.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crossing Kolkata Streets The Abbey Road Way

Okay, so today I woke up to read a piece in Mumbai mirror about how Mamata Banerjee was using the above shown poster around the city to encourage pedestrians to use the zebra crossing. The moment I read this there was one pic that immediately came to my mind.

Of course almost all music lovers and Beatles' followers are aware of this iconic pic...

But the one that came to my mind immediately was the one below....
Lol.....isn't that absolutely what you would love to see instead? I would!!! Desi flavour desi ilaaj.....If you're urging Kolkatans (is that what you call people who live in Kolkata? Please correct me if I'm wrong) to cross the road properly, why not use an image that features one of the most sought-after, popular and loved musician of today, and his amazing awesome band....!!!

I definitely vote for this one ;-)

Yeah, I know the zebra crossing is missing (you see this wasn't really that big a road, just a small lane), but what do we have the photo softwares for, right?

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Aaloo Sheddho Gang!!!

It happened quite by chance today. I've always really loved eating that typical Bengali comfort food - aaloo sheddho bhaat with ghee and kaancha lonka.... While growing up in Delhi, this was never a part of our menu, but yes, sometimes if ma wasn't well, or if the vegetables were kind of in that stage when you're about to head for the sabzi mandi (those days we didn't have vegetable stores in malls, remember?!), the quintessential aaloo was what most homes would still have, and ours was no exception. So it would be a meal of daal bhaat and aaloo sheddho. And that's how I got introduced to it and fell in love with it.
Image courtesy kichukhonn.blogspot.in

Of course this isn't a dish that people from other cultures or regions know of, and I don't expect them to like it either. It's requires quite a different kind of palette to enjoy this one I feel. I remember once as a kid when I was visiting Kolkata and went to a relatives' house for lunch, they asked me what I would love to have and I replied - aaloo sheddho bhaat! Poor people! The poor things had toiled the whole day preparing a lavish Bengali spread, complete with various kinds of torkari (sabzi), daal, bhaaja, maachh (fish) and chutney and sweets, and all I wanted to have was aaloo sheddho! They were aghast and my parents were quite embarassed! Of course I didn't get to have it, though I did get to have that amazingly delicious Bengali ghee that I have loved ever since and of late have asked any visiting relative to pick up from Cal if they happen to come over here. I'm talking of that grainy brown ghee - Jharna Ghee!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Getting Fooled By Commercial Bengali Cinema: Luring For A Movie With A Fabulous Song

Okay, so this has happened quite a few times now and I'm wondering if I should completely avoid watching any 'commercial' Bengali cinemas. As it is I never watched Bengali movies except for the artsy ones that came to Delhi and other places, basically not living in Kolkata has always meant that I only get to know about the really good Bengali movies, ones that have garnered critical acclaim, international festival appreciation and awards. Thankfully, I had quite managed to stay away from the other ones.

But of late, as the trend changed and Bengali cinema suddenly began churning one amazing movie after another, albeit movies that would typically be categorised as 'artsy' or 'intellectual' or 'festival marked movies', I started thinking that maybe the other ones were worth a shot too. Till late I wasn't aware of Dev and Jeet....yes, I had heard the song Paglu, someone had sent it to me, and also the song 'Jaaneman' from the movie with the same name. Both songs featured the same female and frankly, anytime I have flicked through the Bengali song channel, hers is the only face I have seen and these two guys are the only guys I've seen. If that's the condition of Bengali main stream cinema today, well then, it's quite sad.

Anupam Roy's Second Album 'Dwitiyo Purush' To Be Launched on Valentine's Day In Kolkata

It's been quite a while that Anupam Roy's first album 'Doorbine Chokh Rakhbo Na' came out and smashed the charts! Of course it doesn't need to be mentioned all over again that the album was welcomed by fans of his music everywhere, not just in Bengal, and after much searching and waiting and searching and still waiting, I too managed to order a copy online.

But it's been a long time now and everyone was waiting for the second round of music to be released. And as if this is what Anupam Roy and the entire gang of The Anupam Roy Band was waiting for, there couldn't have been a better date for Anupam to release his second album as a gift to his fans - the album titled 'Dwitiyo Purush' releases this Valentine's Day, that is 14th Feb 2013. The album has 10 tracks.

Anupam Roy and the entire team of The Anupam Roy Band will meet with fans tomorrow for the launch celebrations in Kolkata.

Venue: City Center 2 at 5pm
Venue: City Center 1 at 6pm

It's going to be a meet and greet and NOT a live performance.......

Go on, pick up the latest album now and catch a glimpse of the man himself along with his amazing band!!!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bengali Script: My First Memories of Learning The Bangla Words

I've always been an avid reader, a compulsive reader who can't live without books! And for as long as I remember, I've been reading, my oldest reading memories being around the age I was 3.....While I was a kid, the scripts I was reading were English and Hindi.

My ma used to read me a lot of Bengali books of rhymes and stories that she used to buy on our once-a-year or once-in-two years trip to Kolkata, and if my grandparents or aunts were visiting, they would always brings some new Bengali books for me, that my ma would read out to me...Of course I didn't understand most of it, the words sounded unfamiliar and I there were so many unknown and alien words that I stopped asking about them after some time. The situations and the settings sounded different, like a different world out there, and I loved the dreamy, faraway feel of reading these stories from Bengal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

15 Minutes of Tolerating the 'Paglu'panti!!!

I first saw this face I guess about a year back. Before that I had no idea about who were the popular ones amongst Bengali commercial cinema (and by commercial here I mean movies that are meant for the masses, for anyone and everyone, that are supposed to be out n out entertainers without much of anything else being taken into consideration).

This happened when my satellite provider added a few more 'regional' channels to our pack, and as a result of which I got some song channel under the Bengali regional category. It was while browsing that I came across this young man, who, I later got to know, is Dev. To be honest, I liked his looks from the very first moment, in the sense that his eyes were pretty interesting, and he had sharp features, was a great dancer and was generally fit, tall and looked great on screen. And he was gyrating to a song called 'Paglu Thoda Sa Kar Le Romance' sung by Mika, that I found really entertaining.

From then on, every time I would browse through the channel, this face was always a constant, along with another, whose name I don't know, but whose pic I am sharing here, so if you know his name, do comment below for my knowledge ;-)

I know for a fact that this guy isn't a bengali, but I think he's lived there all his life or something like that. I like his non-conforming looks in Bengali cinema. I haven't seen any of his movies. So, along with Dev, this guy is the only other face I see on the one Bengali song channel I have, SB Superhits I think its called.

So now, getting back to what I wrote in the title about 15 Minutes of Tolerating the 'Paglu'panti!!!

Well, the one thing that I must give to this pair is that they look good, really good. I love the attitude, I love the styling, I love the way they want to flaunt themselves, which is pretty cool, and I love the way they are so confident of themselves and know that they are looking good...all signs of a kick-ass attitude that I so love!

By this time I had seen the song Paglu quite a lot of times and had started enjoying it a lot. And then, as happens in most cases, I thought if the song is so cool and the actors look so good, the movie must be super cool. I got the movie 'Paglu' on my laptop and decided to watch it. When the movie started, I got quite a shock, as I found it extremely tacky, nonsensical, idiotic, dumb, crappy, crass, silly!!!! You get the drift? And this was in the first 5 minutes. I thought it was just a phase and decided to forward the movie. But even that didn't help. The movie was horrible! And Dev, when he opened his mouth and spoke....all hell broke loose!!! It was as irritating as watching a road side crap guy trying to mouth hero-style dialogues from a Bollywood movie and try to look like a dude! I wish Dev didn't have any dialogues. I watched for 10 minutes and braced myself to try and watch a little more. But I could only endure the next 5 minutes....After 15 minutes of watching Paglu, I knew what I had to do. I closed the movie, pressed Shift+Del and forever spared myself and my laptop of being in the vicinity of this one.

For me, it was a sad demise of a movie, and of a star....For me, Dev will now only remain someone who looks good and dances well, but that's all....to me, he's not an actor, with all due respects to him and to his million fans.....Dev, if you read this ever (which I doubt), do know that this is not to show you down, but that I was really disappointed. And my readers, if ever you come across a movie of his that you think is really good and has sense in it, please don't forget to drop me a mention of it here in the comment section.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, December 17, 2012

Converse Original Band Hunt 2012 Winners are Ganesh Talkies from Kolkata!

 The Ganesh Talkies performing at the Bandra Fort

The Ganesh Talkies Mad Hatters - Nabarun Bose, keyboards and Ronodeep Bose, guitar

YES! The winners of the Converse Original Band Hunt 2012 is Ganesh Talkies.

The event, held at Bandra Fort, Mumbai, on the 16th of Dec 2012 night, and judged by prominent names like Parikrama, Luke Kenny and Monica Sharma Dogra , the event saw bands entering the contest from all over the country, with the final 4 winners being chosen from the 4 zones and coming together for a grand evening of performance and cheering at the Bandra Fort.

As Ganesh Talkies came up on the stage, it was evident from their costume what their theme was - DISCO! Dressed in blingy dazzlers of gold and silver, the band, the only one that had a female in it by the way, gyrated and danced and sang and rocked to some interesting beats and tunes and lyrics, ensuring the audience had a gala time!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rice grains on my kitchen floor

My little rice bowl in the rice bucket

 The beauties - glistening rice grains

As a bengali, almost all my food fantasies have had one constant throughout the years - rice. Yes, it's true that I used to take immense offense when anyone used the term 'bheto baangali' to refer to those bongs who always crave rice, whether it was applied to me directly or not. I somehow never wanted to accept the fact that yes, I did have a rice tooth, actually, an entire rice tummy - just a tooth wont do!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Voice That Always Returns

The first time I heard the voice was when my cousin accidentally shared it on a social networking site. I didn't understand much of what it sang the first few times, but there was something in the voice and the music that made me stop and listen again.

I had no clue what movie this was, I didn't know who the singer was, but I did listen to it back on loop mode. I didn't know it then, but the voice would be powerful enough to pull me all the way to Kolkata, just like that, just to experience this magic in person, to see if it would still be as magical and haunting as it sounded to my ears so many miles away.


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Hand Rickshaw

image courtesy thehindu.com

For those of you living in Kolkata, this may be a regular, every day image. If you're a reader who doesn't live in Kolkata, does this image mean anything to you? To me, it instantly brings up words like An Evening In The Streets, A cosy day with books, nostalgia, many cups of ginger tea, old-world charm, crowded streets, footpaths, bargain, old age.....will add more words here as they come to mind.

 Isn't this just gorgeous? Though I completely condemn the practice, I found this hand-rickshaw parked outside my guest house when I was staying in Kolkata, India, a few months back.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beginning of Winter: The Aaloo Kopi Way!

Winter is slowly creeping in, and there's one very very special fragrance that I have always associated with winters, and I guess always will.

When I was living in Delhi, every time the winters would start drifting in, ma would cook a cabbage dish (as this was my absolute favourite) and this would be the season when the vegetable would be the freshest in the market. It was a really simple preparation, hardly any spices or masala, the only special touch being the extra-than-usual adding of peas, and the one ingredient that is almost a must in every bengali household - aaloo (potato).

I made this yesterday (you can see the cabbage, tomatoes, peas, potato and bay leaf) and my hubby and daughter loved it too. It wasn't as delicious as ma makes it, but it did bring back to me my memories of my years spent in ma's kitchen, and also the fragrance of the beginning of this year's winter.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pujo Sankhya Books 2012 ` Bengali Durga Puja Books

So Durga Puja is over and I did get my little share of the annual Puja special magazines and books. Though I was astounded to realise that the main books (in fact all editions and titles except one!!!!) were sold out in Mumbai on the first day itself. That was quite a disappointment to me and many others who have no other place to buy any Bengali language books (even though it may take us years to properly read ONE page of bangla!!!)

But book stall and I come out without buying anything? Hahaha..thats something my dear friends that can never ever happen, not even if I come out with a case of losing my mind! So of course I did buy something.....Here's what:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Durga Puja The Mumbai Way

Durga Thakur at the Vashi Kali Bari Pujo

Yes, jaani, Bengalis in Kolkata will swear by the Durga Puja in Kolkata. But I must say here, that I have never really seen the Kolkata Durga Pujas, except one year when it didn't go well (will get back on that later).

Born and brought up in Delhi, I've always associated Pujo with Delhi, New Delhi Kali Bari, C R Park, Gole Market, Kashmiri Gate, Minto Road - these have all been Pujos I have grown up with and identify myself with. It's become part of who I am.

Now in Mumbai for the last almost 7 years, I have begun calling Mumbai home, and the Durga Puja in this Kali Bari is a place I have learnt to cherish and look forward to. I had a great time this Durga Puja. Enjoyed with so many other Bengalis who live here, who look forward to these 5 days of celebrations and excitement for the entire year, and who don't leave any opportunity to suddenly transform into 'typcial baangali' for these 5 days! I was one of them too :-)

Had a great time, enjoyed the typical Baangali khaabaar that we don't otherwise get here, enjoyed the bhog, loved the 'aaroti' the heart-warming fragrance of the 'dhunuchi' and loved the single book stall that stocked up on so many bangla books, especially the pujo specials - but can you believe it, the pujo specials were over by shoptomi and I could only find a single pujo copy of Shanonda!!!! Sooo disappointed!

Anyways, Im sure you've all had a fabulous Durga Pujo and are already waiting for the next year's celebrations...I am! Khoob moja korechho nischoi, aamaake bolo....

Aar hain, Shubho Bijoya tomader shobaaike!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When In Bengal, Speak Bengali With Me Plsssss

Okay, let me clarify at the beginning that this is not something I am talking about people who do not speak the language, or even if they do, don't want to. I am talking about my own experience in Kolkata each time I've been visiting. And honestly, I do give myself a little more credit on being a Bangali than the Kolkata Bengalis do.....

 (* found the above sign quite cute, so had to click and share) :-)

Even though I've been born and brought up way away from Bengal all my life and continue to live outside, my parents always spoke to me in our native tongue. Which is why I do know the language (can speak, write and read Bangla, though I must admit it takes me agesssss to read a single page in a bangla book!) Okay, there may be a slight accent to the way I speak Bangla, but that doesn't affect me from trying and speaking it as well as I can.

And I like to flaunt my skills especially when Im in Kolkata. Which is where the locals do the exact opposite the moment I come in contact with them.

Each time I visit a store and try to talk to the people in Bengali, suddenly everyone begins speaking hindi with me! Initially, I thought they were probably mistaken that I couldn't speak the language, and would try and speak in Bangla again...but no...that didn't help much, did it? On and on the cute hindi would go, and I would smile and try and keep up my side of the Bengali chatter.

So there was this store I went to at South City Mall this time I was in Kolkata and this guy just didn't know hindi, but still, that did not deter his enthusiasm in talking to me in Hindi....(am not making fun here, just trying to express the fact that I CAN speak in bangla and will keep trying ;-) )
madam...shundor kaapdaa sale, you want madam?
sale madam.....all product sale madam...achchhaa shundor maal hai madam.
Hmm...aami jaani. Thank you.
madam, membership card madam? take madam..bhaalo aachhey madam
Thank you bhaiya, aami bangla jaani. to tumi please bangla te bolte paaro.
okay madam
madam, aapka baangla achhchha madam
At this stage I just ended up smiling and laughing!
bangla achhchha to bangla te bolo na...
hehe madam....okay madam...

I made the purchase and as I was heading out, the guy waved out to me:
phir aashben madam....
sure....phir aashbo :-)

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Anupam Roy - Music, Mania and Butterflies

It was exactly 5pm when I closed the door and put the key in my bag. It was a humid evening in Kolkata, but I wasn’t perspiring from the hide-n-seek of the rain. As I walked down the now-familiar path from the local guest house where I love to stay sometimes, hiding away from the crowd and the faces, I hailed the yellow cab and headed to that so-looked-forward spot, and that oh-so-dreading now place! As the Kolkata buildings and streets started to whizz past, I could feel the butterflies in my tummy…oh no..why was I doing this? Could I still run back?

It was the Anupam Roy concert at Rabindra Sadan in Kolkata and I had travelled all the way from Mumbai only for this one evening. I had arrived alone after a 32-hour train journey to the city, and after the concert, was due to fly out the next morning. A cross-country journey, alone, to first time see that man perform live, whose music happened to change my life so significantly – was I being silly?
If anything else, I was sure this was all worth it.

As I entered the green room I was nervous. Of course it wasn’t green, but a wooden feel space with the typical light-bulbs around the mirrors that we’ve seen so many times in movies. Trust me, it gives quite a feel! 
I immediately scanned the room and could see that Anupam was still not there. Instead, there was a live current going on, pre-concert. The entire gang comprising the Anupam Roy band was there - Nabarun Bose (keyboards and background vocals), Sandipan Parial (drums), Roheet Mukherjee and Ronodeep Bose (guitar) and Rana Singharoy and Raja, who manage and look after the entire smooth functioning of the band. Just a few minutes and we were off chatting and singing and fooling around. But my mind was really quite elsewhere. 
How does it feel when you are standing right there where you are about to meet that voice that you’ve been listening to for so long? The voice that told you so many things your heart always kind of knew, but really couldn’t say. Exciting, scary, nervous, confused, shy, tongue-tied, ready to run out the door – just a few feelings that were racing through my entire ‘nervous’ system.
And then……………………….
(* with Anupam Roy and the gang after the performance)
The door opened and a tall fair guy with black-and-red-rimmed glasses, dressed in a black silk kurta and cream corduroys entered. Greetings and chatting and talking about what’s been done, what’s to be done and the usual camaraderie where a lot of young and creative minds are involved. After a smile and a hi, I of course crept to the farthest corner I could without looking too obviously rude. Of course my tongue had decided to get tied at that very moment, and I was trying to come up with a dozen excuses of somehow getting out of there.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Acoustic Version Bechey Thakar Gaan By Anupam Roy: Album Durbine Chokh Rakhbona

Yes, I know the last post I had shared here was that on Anupam Roy (and it was quite a long time ago and I've been guilty of not coming back to my Kolkata blog sooner...I do plead guilty!)

As much as I wanted to write about a lot of things that bring up Kolkata for me, things that, even while I haven't considered myself much of a baangali all these years, are suddenly making me love 'my' culture and 'my' people more (at the cost of sounding regionalistic!), Im just running a bit short on time and need a little more of it to sit down and share those memories and experiences better with you.

Like you already know by now, Im a big fan of Anupam Roy's brand of singing and lyrics....though much of it still manages to make sense to me as I don't understand what it means!! :-(

So here I am right now, sitting by a window that looks out to the sea, and its raining here in Mumbai, monsoon at its full peak, and the cool breeze flowing in through the open window blowing through my hair...and what's playing in my ears???? The amazing acoustic version of one of my most favourite songs ever - Beche Thakar Gaan....and yes, I love this version much much more than the one used in the movie sung by Rupam? (I hope I got the name correct!)

I only recently heard this acoustic version and its been playing on repeat mode ever since, as was obvious....So sing along, as I share the lyrics here with you....I can't do a translate here as Im not good at understanding it myself....please excuse me on that..I'll definitely try to work some magic, understand all of this and come back with the translations...

And Anupam, if this ever reaches your eyes...A BIIIG THANKS for making the kind of music that you do and making me and millions of other bengalis and even non-bong or 'probaashi' bongs smile and bring back some cherished memories....a big hug ;-)

Sing Along:

Jodi pheley ditey boley ghola joley kola tuli
Jeno aami kuriye nebo taa
Jodi khuley nitey boley du paaye baandhaa ghungur
Jeno aami khultey debo na

Jodi pheley.......

Aar aami aami jaani jaani choraabaali kotokhaani gilechhey aamader roj
Aar aami aami jaani jaani proti raatey hoyeraani haaraano shobder khonj

Aar ebhabei norom baalishe
Tomaar oi chokher naalishe
Bechey thaak raat porider snaan 
Thontey niye beche thhaakar gaan
Aar ebhaabei mukher chaadore
Porichito haather aadore
Shukhey thhaak raat porider snaan
Thonte niye baachiye raakhaar gaan

Jodi kere nitey boley kobita thhasha khaata 
Jeno kere nite debo na
Jodi thheme jete boley piano baashi guitar
Jeno aami thhamte debo na

Aar aami aami jaani jaani.......

Wow...how can you be so good at what you do???!!! And Im still hoping in this lifetime I manage to catch you at one of your performances!!! I wish....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, June 8, 2012

Anupam Roy: Breaking The Norm With A Song And A Strum

(* Above pic courtesy Anupam Roy official website)

(* Above pic courtesy Google Images. I took the liberty of editing the pic a bit, please don't mind Anupam)

It was just another regular day when one of my cousins happened to share a link on the public daily diary of so many of us - yes, I guess you got it already, Im talking about FaceBook - I clicked it and was mesmerised by what I heard.

You see, it had been many years that I had watched a Bangla movie, or heard a song from a bengali film or music album or band. So I had definitely missed the sudden taking-by-storm of Bengal by this amazing bomb of a talent. As I clicked on that link and saw a sepia-tinted story-line unfold in front of my eyes, what haunted me most was the soundtrack. Here, have a look:

The moment I heard the background score and that voice, I knew I was going to watch this movie. The credits said the singer was one 'Anupam Roy.' Soon after that I watched the movie, and got the songs on my phone, which stores all my favourite music. For many days after that, the songs played on loop mode and I was almost a 'paaka baangali', humming to the tunes and singing the lyrics along with Anupam. 'Amake Amar Moto Thakte Dao' had almost become an anthem for me by then.

I began sharing these songs on FaceBook, wanting to share these amazing melodies and lyrics with other friends, and suddenly, I realised I was not the only one who was kept out of this sudden coming-of-age of Bangla music. There were many like me, living outside Bengal, who had not had as many opportunities to keep an update on the latest Bengali movies and songs. On the other hand, I realised that Anupam Roy was a very big name, not only in Bengal, but among those bengalis who live outside and were connected to Kolkata in some way or the other. Whatever the case, I soon realised that this voice, which was soon becoming a legend, had already invaded my home, my senses, and the somewhat singable chords that I possessed.

Of course once I had a taste of 'Amake Amar Moto Thakte Dao' there was no going back. I began tracking Bengali movies and started keeping a track of the many albums and separate tracks that were being released. It also helps that my nephew happens to be a part of the Anupam Roy Band, so I do get the benefit of doubt. Whenever I lag behind in my homework, I get to know what these guys are up to. And hence get to experience many more wonderful tracks and melodies.

(*Above pic courtesy The Anupam Roy Band Official Page)
The Anupam Roy Band: 
Vocals: Anupam Roy
Guitar: Subhodip Banerjee
Bass: Roheet Mukherjee
Keyboards: Nabarun Bose
Drums: Sandipan Parial

(*Above pic courtesy Google Images, I took the liberty of editing it a bit, hope no one minds)

There are the regular favourites that I am already humming these days. The best part about Anupam's music is that you don't need to know the language, even if you don't understand the lyrics, the melody will take you to a different plane altogether. And if you happen to be a bengali and understand what he is talking about, you must consider yourself lucky that you got a chance to experience this yourself. For me, I'll be honest I don't understand each and every lyric, as my bengali is still a little imperfect. But I can sing along to almost all his songs, and I do first try and get a translation of his songs to understand them better or ask my bengali friends about it. And the best part is that my 05-year-old daughter, who is half-Bengali and half-North-Indian, also knows almost all of Anupam Roy's songs and loves to sing along. They are already on her 'fravrt' list! And as for my husband who is a North-Indian and understands a little of the normal Bangla and none of the Bengali lyrics, he is a die-hard fan and listens to these tracks even while driving!

(*Above pic courtesy Google Images, I took the liberty of editing it a bit, hope no one minds)

So here are a few links to some of Anupam Roy's most amazing songs that we really really love and just cant stop singing along:

Amake Amar Moto Thakte Dao (Movie Autograph)
Aami Aami Jaani Jaani (Live rendition by Anupam Roy)
Jaani Dekha Hobe Reprise
Ekbar Bol Nei Tor Keu Nei (Movie Baishe Shrabon)
Baariye Daao Tomar Haath (Movie Chalo Paltai)
Tomaar Shohore (Music Video)

Tistaan (from Anupam Roy's Album Durbine Chokh Rakhbo Na)
Gobheere Jaao (performed live by Anupam Roy)
Tomaar Bhetor Theke (album)

(*Above pic I shared from Google Images. Copyright to whoever is the rightful owner, I have no claims on this. I took the liberty of making some edits on this one)
So what is so special about this voice that I suddenly became such a huge fan? I, of all people, who never ever listened to any Bangla music or watched any Bangla movies? The first thing that knocked the wind out of me when I heard Anupam Roy's voice was the level of yearning in it. And to imagine that this young man was actually working as an engineer in Bangalore for 07 years! Phew! He gave all that up and shifted base to Kolkata, India, where he was born and brought up, and has written and composed more than 150 Bengali songs. What a relief to the music industry indeed that he chose to do what his heart wanted. Thanks Anupam ;-)

Anupam Roy's voice immediately takes you to that faraway place, it touches you like a whiff of memories that lie hidden somewhere in the depth of your heart, it stirs up pictures and makes you nostalgic, reminiscing of the times that are gone, of places where you have been, of stories you once created and that now remain etched within the frame of your heart. Anupam Roy's voice has the magic to transport you to a different era, a different life altogether. It is that yearning in his voice that I find so amazing. Its not a sad voice, no, never will you feel sad when you listen to an Anupam Roy song. You may feel a longing, a yearning, a pull, but never that typical sadness. You may even be moved to tears on some occasions, but it's not that depressing sadness, it's a longing, something your heart feels but you just can't explain. Its the feeling of being alone, on your own, but not lonely.  

I can't talk enough about Anupam Roy's songs. I am biased, really, and so will you be once you hear his voice and his compositions. I have been badgering my nephew to check if there are performances scheduled when I am visiting Kolkata. But looks like it isn't on the cards yet, as each time I visit Kolkata, either Anupam Roy has just performed, or is scheduled to perform right after I leave. I think I'm going to plan my trip around his performance now.

But in any case Anupam, Mumbai is really really really waiting for you now. We are really looking forward to see you perform here. And don't think you have no followers here. There are many many fans in Mumbai who are waiting for you to come to this city and perform once. You'll get plenty of love from your fans here, I can assure you that.

Thanks for making such amazing music, and for singing the way you do. We love you Anupam!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blog Hop With Blogaholic Social Network

Here's the April Blog Hop from Blogaholic Social Network. On from the 24th of April till the 01st of May 2012, this fun Blog Hop at BSN is a wonderful way to meet new and interesting bloggers and make more friends on the way.

If you want to participate in the same, here's what you need to do:
1. Follow my blog (by joining the member list on the side panel)
2. Leave a comment in the post here. Please mention your website link so that I can visit and follow you back.
3. Check out the BSN April Shower Blog Hop page by clicking here
4. Grab the BSN Blog Hop code and paste it on your post in your blog to let others know that you're participating.
This month link up to any post!

Once you add your blog, stop by a few other blogs on the list to follow and leave a comment, let them know you are stopping by from BSN so they know you are a new friend and can connect with you on the community as well!

Feel free to:
  • Share this blog hop on Twitter
  • Post about this blog hop on Facebook
  • Place the link up on your own blog! Just grab the code for your blog (the code is located below the linky list) a great way to fill up a post for a day! If you add it to your blog please copy the full post so others know the rules.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Princep Ghat

* Above pic courtesy Google Images
My first glimpse of this majestic structure was (I must admit rather shamefully) in the movie Parineeta. Yes, till then I was unaware of this beautiful piece of grandeur on the scenic Hooghly Ghat. Well, to be very honest, I had seen the Vidyasagar Setu, but I never knew there lay such beauty on its shore.

* pic courtesy Google Images

Who doesn't remember the lovely Vidya Balan, resplendent in all her Bengal finery, and the suave and classy Saif Ali Khan, singing and moving along to 'Piyu Boley' in the movie Parineeta? Well, if you have seen the song and enjoyed the scenery, it was shot at the Princep Ghat, one of the many beautiful Ghats along the bank of the river Hooghly.

*pic courtesy Google Images
As I felt more and more entranced by the picturesque location, I decided to check around a bit. Speaking to a few friends from Kolkata and doing a little Googl-ing, I soon found out that this is one popular spot for the locals of Kolkata.

* Above pic courtesy Google Images
Built in the year 1841, this monument is named  after James Prinsep (thats why you will find it spelled as Prinsep Ghat in many places). James Prinsep was an extraordinarily brilliant researcher and architect, who also served as the honorable Secretary of the Asiatic Society. He was the seventh son of John Prinsep, a wealthy East Indian merchant and Member of Parliament.

 *Above pic courtesy Google Images

When it was decided to build the new Hooghly Bridge (also known as Vidyasagar Setu) at Princep Ghat, it was decided that the bridge be located just south of the monument, maintaining the past as well as creating efficiency for the future. This conscious choice made sure that the historical monument was preserved in its entirety.

*Above pics courtesy Google Images (the lovely boats at the Princep Ghat)

*An Evening At The Ghat:
One of my Kolkata friends told me about these beautiful scenic evenings one can spend at the Ghat. I do envy the locals I must say. If you want to spend a quiet evening with your close one(s), what better than letting yourself free in the tranquility of the calm shore water. Seeing the evening sun dip in the ghat and taking a ride in the golden water is just the right prescription if you're looking to have that 'perfect' evening. You can choose to sit at the shore and stare out at the vast expanse of water, while the Howrah Bridge and the Vidyasagar Setu form a backdrop that is sure to pull you back to the Ghat at least a couple of times more.

Boat Rides At The Princep Ghat:
Boat rides are easily available along the shores. A boat ride at the Princep Ghat is an experience anyone living in Kolkata will swear by. It's an experience one must indulge in.

How To Reach Princep Ghat:
You can easily reach the Princep Ghat from any part of the city using any (or combination) of the following: local bus, mini bus, cabs, metro rail (underground rail).

- Debolina Raja Gupta
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