Recreate the Magic of Enjoying
Kolkata - a word woven with mystery. A city with as many unique interpretations as its people. It
always remained at the center of our curiosities and discussions. There is one more Kolkata which is being passed over to us through stories and tales from our grandparents –the yesteryear’s Kolkata. A city, where one could take a tram ride with mere 2 paisa. A raise of one paisa in fare would put the city roads on fire and bring life to a standstill. This very characteristic also gave the city a unique distinction of being the city of revolution protest.
I Arup Lodh, am a budding artist of today’s Kolkata. Like many of you, I have also learnt about the yesteryear’s Kolkata through those enchanting endless stories and tales from my family, through books, through journals and write ups from that era. However, a lot has changed from what the city used to be to what it is now. Definitely, one of the notable changes is – it is no longer the crowned capital of India. But neither it is has dampen the joyous mood of the city nor of its people. The society has changed so as the era. Out of many reasons for this change, one is the dot com era. This 21st century phenomenon has brought the city close not only to the other parts of the country but to the western world. And the influence of this closeness can be seen in every walk of life. This closeness has drawn more attention to the city from people within our country as well as outside this resulted in over influx of people who accepted the city as their new home. Multiplexes, shopping malls, high rise buildings and larger than life billboards are covering the entire city skylight. But surprisingly one more Kolkata co-exists alongside this booming modern Kolkata it exists in suffocating dilapidated slums, it exists in narrow stinky lanes and it exists amongst those unruly street hawkers. On one side, the city depicts extremely busy life and a crop of people who are fiercely competitive however, on the other side it eats, lives, breathes in litter, pollution and garbage. As we all do, the city is also trying to keep pace with all these changes but in this process, the city is losing and has also lost some of its old sweet charm. It has lost those gas filled lights, man-pulled rickshaws and the very look of those roads which have connected people from all corners of the city. No longer, those grand phaetons grace the city roads. In today’s deafening noise the city is losing the rhythmic sound of those slowly moving trams. And the loss doesn’t end here as the city has also lost some of its tradition, culture, grandeur and heritage.
However, all these slowly losing or some of the lost iconic objects are at the center of my paintings or creations. They form the subject for my paintings. But when I try to recreate them on my canvas I often feel nostalgic. And most importantly, it also brings a sense of deep sorrow and void. But I attempt to recreate them for those who desire to see the old Kolkata. Those who live in today’s modern era but have always cherished the bygone era. Those who wish to see the old, clean, hustle free and pristine Kolkata I attempt to recreate the same on canvas. I attempt to depict various moods of old Kolkata sometimes the misty winter morning or sometimes the bright sunny day or sometimes water soaked rainy afternoon or sometimes simply the dawn. I attempt to recreate the magic of enjoying a horse carriage ride on an empty road in front of Victoria or the sheer joy of seeing a tram from far on a winter morning or simply witnessing a rickshaw puller who is rushing to start his day or sometimes on the contrary returning of a man-pulled rickshaw puller at dawn after a long, tiring day. I attempt to take art lovers to the old era but not through a time machine but through my paintings. My medium of recreating this magic is through watercolor or acrylic. I try to freeze such moments forever on my canvas so that art lovers can re-live those moments as and when they want. It is my earnest attempt to continue capturing these moments till the time I can hold my paint brush. In return, it fills my heart and soul with happiness and contentment. Kolkata will continue to be very close to my heart as I took my first step, spoke my first word, made my first painting and did many such FIRST things here.