Indians are often accused of not knowing what lies within them and around them. On a slightly more “micro” level, Kolkatans are no different. Neither am I.
My mum is an old-timer now and she grew up at a time when there wasn’t much to see or “hang out” at in the city apart from the lawns at Victoria Memorial and Trinca’s which was Kolkata’s coolest hang-out of yester-years! Mum took me to see the Sound and Light show at the Victoria Grounds last weekend and it was quite a good experience. I wouldn’t say it was thrilling to the ‘g’ or anything. It was like a narrative, almost like the story of Kolkata being told along with Sound Effects, appropriate lighting and the occasional images on the Screen in front.
What makes the show special is that it is held right underneath the Victorial Memorial and with the St. Paul’s Cathedral beside and it and the distant sound of Kolkata traffic, the setting couldn’t be better. I noticed that the sound of Kolkata traffic from a “distance” is quite pleasing.. as opposed to the noise that it generates when you’re in the middle of mayhem.
The show talks about the 3 villages out of which the City was formed – Kolikata, Sutanuti and Gobindapur. It talks of how Job Charnok landed up at the city. It talks about the nearby French settlement at Chandannagar (and eventually about how they were eventually “washed out”) and how East India Company established themselves and from here, went on to rule India. It talks about the Freedom Struggle, the Bengali Zamindars and about famous Calcuttans — both past as well as present. It talks of the free, cosmopolitan spirit that characterizes the city and the timeless charm that captures every visitor.
Some pictures I took that evening. (Click to enlarge)
(Taken from a Sony Cybershot W-35) — Pictures at low-light conditions are a little hazy around the edges of the object as I did not have a tripod. Canon’s “Image Stabilizer” cameras perform very well in low-light conditions)