Monday, 21 September 2009

Riding his hobbyhorse.

It was a nice and sunny day in Groningen.....

..... so Klaus decided to go out for a walk.

But something caught his eye.

A beautiful horse, dark and elegant.

So he crossed the road to have a better look.

And it looked even better up close.

"I wonder if he'll let me ride him", Klaus thought.

"Well, the only way to know is to try it."

"Yes! Yes! You like me, don't you, boy?"

"You're my best friend. We shall ride around this town together, me and you."

Just then he heard a shout: "Oi! Get down from that horse!"

"I'm sorry, sir, but this is a public monument, and you cannot just, er, ride it. I'm afraid I have to arrest you."

"I'm very sorry if I've broken any rules, officer. But unfortunately you cannot arrest me, because I know a magic word."
"Magic word? What magic word?"


"Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to my room."

"Goodbye, officer. It was a pleasure meeting you."

N.B. "Fyat fyat shnai shnai" is a magic phrase used by a group of Calcutta-based anarchists called Fyataaru. By chanting this phrase and flapping their hands like wings at the same time, Fyataarus can fly for as long as they want. Their adventures are being chronicled by the bearded bard Nabarun Bhattacharya.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Friday, 4 September 2009

The God Makers

Kumortuli (Kumor - Potter, Tuli - Quarters) is a locality in Calcutta where artists and sculptors have been making clay idols of gods and goddesses for seasonal worship for more than 200 years. It is a hereditary skill, and families have been employed in it for generations. The idols are made usually with a skeleton of bamboo, flesh of straw and skin of clay. They are then dried, painted, clothed and wigged. The most famous goddess of the Bengalis - Durga - has her own 5-day festival during September/October (depending on the lunar calendar), and the preparations start from beginning of August.

The clay is kneaded and mixed with sawdust to prevent it from collapsing

Dozens of life-sized (or larger) idols are made in such cramped quarters

Most of the artists have the surname Paul (pronounced as Paal)

Various body parts are made from dies to save time

A "skinless" idol

All the intricate details are done painstakingly by hand

Precaution is necessary as most of the work takes place during the monsoon season

The area also has ruins of colonial palaces tucked into nooks and crannies

"Chokkhudaan" (painting the eyes, chokkhu - eye, daan - giving) is usually considered to be the pivotal moment in the whole procedure

After the sculpting and the painting, come the clothing and the wigging