Honestly speaking, this year 2017, I was not in the right mood for photography, instead thought that I would relax and just catch up with the huge amount of yearly gossip churned out, over cups and cups of coffee, at Senjuti. But to spoil my 2017 theme of engagement with Poush Mela, my elder brother Sri Santanu Mitra gifted to me his baby, a complex camera with full baggage of accessories. Now, I always use a fixed lens camera to avoid too many complications to my rather perplexed brain. Now, Santanu, in his typical elder brotherly way, pushed me to think about photography, with all sorts of manipulations like shutter speed, aperture, ISO scale and all sorts of crazy lenses! So, naturally, this year also I just could not catch up with the luscious Santiniketan gossip at Senjuti, missed a chance to note who changed his girlfriend, or even the wife, or vice versa, among a lot of other things! With a rather complicated camera in an uncomfortable hand, I started my search for the ‘Colours of Poush Mela 2017’

Now, who would miss a chance to click beaming ladies! But please don’t think I focus my camera on ladies only. Actually one of the beaming ladies is my relative, who demanded a photo shot from me. You can only say that I was pretty pleased to oblige, that’s all! In fact this one was my very first photograph with the complicated camera, after a very fast tip from Santanu on shutter speed. The aperture and ISO still needs to be fixed. This first photograph also set the mood of my pursuit of ‘Colours of Poush Mela’-go bindaas without any preconceived idea about anything whatsoever.

I was quite bemused by these tea kettles, and wondered what would be the taste of the tea poured out from those. As far as tea is concerned, my idea is, it’s not only the taste of the brew, but the atmosphere or the mood is the real ingredient for enjoying a cup of tea. For example, presence of a buddy, sipping tea together, makes tea certainly tastier. I was naturally pretty curious to wonder what a cup of tea from these kettles would taste like. Now, a bemused spectator commented that the kettles are actually show pieces, to which the seller vehemently protested saying that tea can be served very efficiently with this kettle, and few restaurants and hotels regularly place an order for them! Well, someday we might get served a colourful tea somewhere!

The search for colours of poush mela is an intriguing job at hand. I found out that it can be an endless process if one is keen enough, which would effectively mean hours of meandering in the mela and to allow the eye to catch anything at fancy! Quite an interesting, but at the same time fairly exasperating a venture, no doubt. Though each year, more or less the same items are on display, but if one desires to get into the details it is a mindboggling amount of permutation and combination of colours to sort out!

We just did not have dolls in our childhood days, plastic was not in vogue then, neither woolen or stuffed dolls were available. We had never seen the exotic looking Barbie in our child days. Well, if we did, Barbie would have been a nice subject for our childhood dreams I am sure. In fact without the image of dolls like Barbie and all, we hardly had any romantic space in our dreams. So, I can almost vividly recall that, our dreams were always invariably filled up by the notorious ghosts. They used to be naturally hugely scary, shooting us awake from the sleep all of a sudden. We would feel creepy at the dead of the night, with the overbearing silence all around, and the next morning would be jittery.
These nice looking dolls are perhaps better than the ghost stories free flowing in our times, but then it was quite a thrill, no doubt-a pristine thrill to be in the company of ghosts.

I actually have no idea what these things are! Don’t get fooled by the hanging coconut, it is actually a miniature of 6 to 8 length in total. Must be something auspicious, perhaps in the tiny scale- that is to say! I was wondering if crafted in the right fashion, one would almost be able to use the theme as a necklace- the auspicious one at that.

These ornaments, right from our childhood, always managed to occupy some mind space not only of ladies, but also for the gents. I am still date, perpetually overwhelmed at such intricacies. The amount of time and thought process involved in such ‘creations’ of fairly tiny proportions is amazing to say the least. It is a sheer wonder that such delicate thinking and handling of materials, is done, to enhance the beauty of an existing natural beauty like a woman!
And more wonder is when women get dedicatedly fussy over selecting such ornaments! Aren’t women genuinely interesting? On the other hand it appears ‘Beauty’ to be an undefined concept, which nobody could really attain.

We might be looking at some part of our history in this photograph. The Grand mothers who wore ‘Pola’ and ‘Sakha’ are no more with us. Even if a wife today wears a ‘Pola’, it would be one covered with gold. The Conch is no more blown every evening, and only used in marriage ceremonies, perhaps one or at best twice in our lifetime. So, I will not be surprised if these items vanished from a fair by another decade or so.

After all, going to war on a horse back with bow and arrows, were the real ingredients of chivalry in our times. Without the Super Man or the Star Wars series, it was still the good old Ramayana or Mahabharata for us. We were also fairly awed by one Mr Robin Hood, the King of Arrows for us. I had regularly bought these items from Poush Mela as a kid and roamed with long kingly steps, with bow and arrows tucked at my back in the large backyard of my home. It was a great feeling to belong to a kingdom and we always aspired to find a princess somewhere, in the back of our mind, who would fall desperately in love with me!
Such colours will be innumerable to track, just tried to communicate a tiny part of Poush Mela 2017 to you all.

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