Excerpt of Koral Dasgupta’s book- Fall Winter Collections​

unnamed (1)About the book :

Set amidst the art, music and poetry of Tagore’s Santiniketan, “Fall Winter Collection”​

is the journey of an orthodox Indian sculptor, as he secretly works on an ambitious project

​carving Krishna’s​Women. The vastness of Santiniketan soon starts working on him, expanding his capacities to accommodate and appreciate the beauty that exists beyond his faith! His life changes in the process of sculpting the sixth woman of his series.The story merges mythology and life, and the usual paradox of some professional achievements that often comes at the cost of grilling personal failures. The plot, though a simple love story, is a throwback on the art, music and poetry of Santiniketan.

 

The book is not only her way of reminiscing over the three years she spent

at Viswa Bharati, Santiniketan, but is also a conscious attempt to write art fictions where she brings to the world some emotions – expressions – issues of art professionals.

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About Koral

Her first book explains Consumer Behaviour theories (an academic subject from Marketing Management studies) with globally popular actor ​Shah Rukh Khan as a case study. It is titled “Power of a Common Man : Connecting with Consumers the SRK Way.” Koral is a writer, an academic, a freelance columnist and a marketing consultant.

 

Excerpt :

This morning as I am busy working on some papers, a rickshaw pulled some heavy trunks with enormous effort. Even on a winter morning the poor guy was sweating and panting! Seeing my window open, he stopped for a while. I ask from inside whether some water would help. He smiles in affirmation. While he gulps the liquid down his throat, my eyes inquisitively wander around the huge boxes. The puller looks at them and remarks, these belong to a pagla sahib! ‘You call him crazy because he made you pull these?’ I ask. ‘Na didimoni,’ he responds, ‘they are heavy, so I asked him, what do they contain. He said these boxes are full of magic slates that can change form and become living creatures!’ I am amused and curious, but decide not to spend more time with the rickshaw puller on this. I turn to get back to the house. The boy calls back, ‘Didimoni, he is shifting to Mridangam in a day or so! Soon he will say that all of you were his black slates and he gave this neighbourhood its existing life. Be careful, all of you, times are really bad.’ He giggles, and huffs and puffs again to resume his onward journey.

I watch him struggle with the load and remember some stories I heard from my grandpa, when they shifted to India from Bangladesh. The sketches he wove in my brain through his tales were something similar to the rickshaw puller taking his difficult steps ahead–companionless, uncertain and insecure, yet strongly connected to the humour of life!

During partition, my maternal grandpa shifted to West Bengal and we were one of the first families to settle in the refugee camp of Dum Dum area. Later Dadu built his own home and accommodated everyone. Slowly his family grew and multiplied. My mamas got politically connected and involved more severely with the place. Till date I am known as the niece and grand-daughter of my maternal family in Kolkata. Wherever I travel in the city, someone who knows the greater family emerges and reports that I was seen at so-and-so place, at so-and-so time, with so-and-so! It irritates me at times, but I also feel very proud to be associated with those lovely people, many of whom are no more today. Somehow they have outlived the number that counts the years of their existence on the planet!

 

*****

 

As evening falls, I lie on my make-shift bed and travel through the pages of a Jane Austen novel. The country tale on British romance interweaves through uncomplicated style and comic potshots present language at its playful best. I put the book down and try to relax. Somehow I remember the words I heard in the morning. ‘Magic slates that can change form and become living creatures!’ Did the boxes belong to the sculptor Anusua was speaking about? She did mention that he specialises working on black stone. I don’t remember though which rock he chose for his work. Certainly it is the sculptor’s job to carve life into lifeless objects, I wonder. If it is actually the recent talk-of-the-town who is shifting into this neighbourhood, then he must be equipped with good humour. I smile remembering how the rickshaw-puller called him pagla sahib! I almost hallucinate an ill-kempt man with careless growth all over the face and neck; his clothes are half dirty and hair longer than usual. His shabby hands handle complicated tools with professional ease. Bespectacled eyes are keen to achieve perfection and he dangerously climbs a ladder to reach at the top of his sculpture and hangs on there drilling a curve that apparently seems to be unimportant!

I get up to prepare tea. I am embarrassed realising that I have been thinking of a person I know nothing about. I fret at Anusua for sharing unnecessary details. Also I realise, the person I was thinking about was not necessarily the sculptor that Anusua raves about. I was thinking of some old, poor, talented souls who sculpt the huge images of the Durga family every year during Durga puja. Their address is not something as stylish as Mridangam and their work affiliation is not as prestigious as Kala Bhavan; rather they hide their talents in dirty tents to protect the deity from trespassers or untimely rains. I take my tea out and sit on the veranda. The old couple of Mridangam is returning after an evening walk. Twilight sets in as they stop in response to my smiles. Before leaving, they confirm that the new tenant in their top floor is a ‘nice boy who was a sculptor in some other country!’

 

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