‘My City’ by Antara Choudhuri #TheCityasMuse Special Mention
Born and brought up in Kolkata, Antara Choudhuri was sensitized to Tagore, Nazrul Islam and other bards, dramatists and writers, whose contributions to the field of literature have earned the City of Joy its coveted sobriquet. She believes that nothing in this world can exceed the magical beauty of words, strung together in sentences, giving form to ideas and beliefs, and most importantly, making communication effective. Since her childhood, she has always loved to play around with words and her love for languages and writing stems from the belief that languages all over the world, have only one purpose, which is not to divide people on the basis of ethnicity, race, culture or geography, but to bring them together by facilitating effective communication.
Comment: Antara’s entry was appreciated for its deep passion and sense of belonging for Kolkata and the interesting use of personification, metaphor and symbolism in her description. Writing this piece was clearly an act of love!
Me: At least the moon, the stars and the wind are the same here as in Kolkata
You: Yes, the rain and the sand too.
Me: Sand?? Are you making fun of me?
You: No. Matite bali thake toh. Kon balir kona kotha theke eshechhe tui janish? Ekta Kolkata, ekta Chennai, ekta London.
In that moment, these words became more than a mere three line message on my WhatsApp messenger. They made me feel closer to my city than ever before. The city that I had left behind with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat, that refused to let me be for days at a stretch.
Kolkata, a city like no other can ever be. No, she is not like the planned cities of today, divided into sectors and blocks. She has a character of her own, much like the mood swings of a well-read woman. A woman who is always on the lookout for something new, something that will make her think, read a little more into it and then think some more! She is a never-ending maze of roads and alleys that conceal a surprise at every turn. Each path leads you to a new destination, a destination which may be physically the same, yet has something new to offer each time you visit. You will never encounter a dead end, neither literally nor metaphorically! Such is the allure of my city!
An oasis of peace, of tranquillity, with diverse flavours that not only pamper your taste buds, but also make you think in ways and about things like never before! Each day brings with itself a new surprise. Be it the bright sunny day, the dreamy cloud cover or the despotic shroud of fog in winter, each day is different and has a new story to tell. A story that will intrigue you and leave you feeling unique and special at the end of each day. Such is the allure of my city!
My city is more than a mere collection of constructions in bricks and mortar. She is a living, breathing entity, waiting to breathe life into you! Her entity is not limited to her physical being. A plethora of sounds complement her physical being and make her a city that can be experienced through the five senses. When was the last time you felt even remotely connected to something non-human to the extent of endowing it with human qualities? Such is the allure of my city!
Kolkata, the city of my dreams. Indeed the city of joy, rife with festivals, the most important among them being the Durga Puja. The red bordered sarees, the red bindis, the tinkling of jewellery, the overwhelming enthusiasm of people flocking from one pandal to another. Yes, I can vividly see it all as I close my eyes. It’s like being transported back in time, back to the precious days spent in the all-encompassing affection of the city that I call my home. For, it is only here that I “live”, elsewhere I merely “exist”. Such is the allure of my city!