Monday, November 05, 2007

The Sunday that was almost ruined

How to ruin a Sunday?

For me, yesterday, that is November 4th 2007, was already ruined around ten days ago when my boss told me that I would have to come to the office on that day. It was all the more painful because there was a "Bijoya Sammilani" feast organised by our para pujo committee and attending office meant missing the feast in Hooghly. Also, the fact that my mother called up and told me that there was a lovely exhibition of photography going on in Hooghly and that my aunt had come to visit with all kinds of goodies available in the market didn't help matters much. "So let me make the most of this ruined Sunday", I thought, and proceeded to make grand plans for the day.

By the time I was finished making the plans, it included going to Chandni Chowk to buy a new RAM for my PC, then going to New Market to buy a few gifts for my sisters, then visiting the Oxford Book Store at Park Street to buy a book for myself, and finally, reaching Victoria Memorial at 3:00 pm to attend the 3rd meet of the Flickr Bangla Community members. Just when I had convinced myself that all of these activities were more important than visiting Hooghly after my office was over this Sunday, Murphy's Law kicked in, and my office was cancelled. However, I had made plans, I had already promised people, and now I would have to stay here.

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. Yes! On a Sunday! I had some cleaning work to do, and I wanted to finish them off before the maid came at seven. So after completing everything, I waited for the maid who did not turn up. Then I had breakfast and set out on my day long excursion at 10:30.

At the bus stand, fifteen minutes passed but the bus to Esplanade was not coming. Suddenly, a brilliant idea struck me. I took the next bus to Shovabazaar so that I could catch the Metro to Chandni Chowk from there. All the way on the bus, I patted myself on the back for this idea, and also cursed myself for not having thought of this before. Then I alighted at Shovabazaar, looking very pleased with myself and stepped up to the closed shutter of the Metro station. I had forgotten that on Sundays, the Kolkata Metro operates from 2:00 pm.

Cursing the Metro Rail Authority, I took a bus to Chandni Chowk and got down at a point very close to the shop I wanted to go to. The pleased-with-myself feeling had almost come back when I discovered that the shop was closed on Sundays.

I have often noticed that I have a strange and inexplicable power to influence the weather. I just have to take out my camera to take some outdoor shots, and a fine day will turn cloudy in a matter of seconds. Yesterday was no exception. Still, I continued taking photos, so it started drizzling. The only thing that prevented it from pouring was the presence of a large umbrella in my bag. I did not find the gift items I was looking for at New Market, so went and had lunch at Aminia. So far, nothing had worked for me in the day.

Next stop was Oxford’s at Park Street. By now, I was sure of the outcome, and it was no different from what was expected. They did not have the book I was looking for, but if I would be kind enough to write down the name of the book for them, they would be pleased to try to order it for me.
Click to Enlarge
Finally I was walking towards Victoria Memorial, for the most exciting programme of the day. It was about quarter to three when I reached the base of the Queen’s statue and found Mandar pacing around. I knew him from his profile photo on Flickr. After the initial niceties were over, we proceeded to do something that probably even Mamata Banerjee wouldn’t dare: we put up two bold orange posters (courtesy Mandar) within the Victoria Memorial premises. People started dropping in, by ones and twos and soon there was a fairly large group of people chattering away. First there was Chirag and Shamim, then Anirban, Keka, Abhijit and the others joined. An interested German gentleman peeped in, and soon found himself facing an enthusiastic Loken Sir teaching him how to read Bengali from a ten rupee note. I’m sure he knows the words “Dash Taka” by heart now!

Mandar had brought his binoculars for bird watching. Soon they were doing the rounds of everybody’s hands. It seemed everyone had suddenly developed a sudden fascination for ‘birds’. Then the heavyweight cameras emerged, and I and Keka discussed whether we should hide our point-and shoots. Anirban’s Nikon D200 was of course the champion camera, but the others were also nearly as sophisticated. Everyone had large telephoto lenses that were promptly fitted onto the bodies and again, a large number of tele shots were taken. I wonder what’s there in those cameras.

Click to EnlargeMr. & Mrs. Shyamal Chatterjee arrived at last. Our feet were aching due to walking on the pebbles, so we sat down on the steps of the Memorial building. Mandar’s camera went all queer in the head and started concentrating on post processing rather than taking the photos. With much difficulty, Mandar persuaded everyone to stand for a group photo, and I had the audacity to place my tiny Sony CyberShot DSC W5 next to Anirban’s giant Nikon D200 for taking the group photo in the self-timed mode. By that time, the guards at Victoria Memorial had started blowing whistles and shoo’ing people away as the cleaners started sweeping the steps. We walked to the back garden, and from there we went to the Citizens’ Park. Through there, we went to the academy of fine arts across the road. An exhibition of photographs was going on there and Raghu Rai was supposed to come.

Raghu Rai didn’t turn up, or maybe he had left. In any case, we saw the photos, had a cup of tea each and bade farewell to some of the members who had other engagements elsewhere. Then we re entered Citizens’ Park for photographing the musical fountain show. I had forgotten to bring my tripod from Hooghly, and had to be satisfied with whatever photos I could get from the camera handheld or propped up on my bag.

Then it was a short walk through Nandan to the Haldiram’s outlet opposite Exide where we had heavy snacks (it was dinner for me) and headed home by metro. When I reached home at quarter past nine, my legs were aching badly (they are still sore), but thanks to all of my Flickr friends, my ruined Sunday had turned into a very enjoyable and memorable day for me.


  1. We walked and walked and walked.
    Got chased by sweepers.
    Light faded. as the sun set under a clouded horizon.
    Younger and young_at_heart members remained glued to their telephoto lenses till they could.
    (Are there shots which cannot be shared ?
    Or no shots were taken ?)

    ( a foto which has to viewed @ flickr)

    Mandar's camera misbehaved.
    Rita Banerjee's stomach was grumbling !
    Anirban pleaded everyone to assemble for a group photo.
    His 20th( ?) request was heeded.
    Raghu Rai did not turn up.

    Shyamal Chatterji

  2. HELLO! i really liked reading yr entry :-) nicely written and the pics are awesome too!

  3. The gang remaining at Haldiram looks more like a lynch mob

  4. @hijibijbij: Thanks!

    @Shyamal Chatterji: Lovely gist...

    @keka: Thank you soooo much!!!

    @lokenrc: Ha Ha Ha! I love that photo.

  5. no, its not just you, murphy's laws are for every one.