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Pen & frame in focus

Saturday night was celebration time for residents of Salt Lake and New Town who had wielded the pen, put together their puja souvenir or trained their lenses on sights in their neighbourhood. Here are glimpses from the awards night

Early bird

BE (West) Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee

In a township where many blocks send their souvenir for printing well after the year ends, this block had it published by Chaturthi. “This year we hope to send it to residents by Mahalaya. It sets the mood,” said president Shayamal Baran Roy.

Best cover

CA-Block Citizens’ Association

The 2011 puja secretary of CA Block, Rahul Dutta, got emotional on receiving the trophy from chief guest Amitabha Datta, director of Calcutta Media Institute (in picture second from right). “The last time we won a souvenir prize from The Telegraph Salt Lake was in 2007. We had won three prizes that year. But thereafter we never got one. Last year, I had prayed to Ma Durga for a prize and today in my hand I hold her blessings,” he said, holding the award.

Special mention: DL Block Residents’ Association

Pranab Kumar Pati, convenor of the block’s souvenir committee, shared with the audience how difficult it was to put together a souvenir. “It cannot simply be a compilation of advertisements. There has to be interesting reading material for residents to read and preserve,” he said.

Best fiction

Kumkum Chattopadhyay East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town

This was the fourth year that this Bethune College teacher won a prize in this category. This time Chattopadhyay had written a short story — Chhayateer — on marriage and friendship. “We have no control over the relatives we are born with but friends we can choose. They keep us going through the roughest of times,” she said. “I wanted to glorify friendship in this story and encourage adoption.”

Picture by Saradindu Chaudhury

Special mention: Shipra Chaudhuri, BE Block

Shipra Chaudhuri being out of town, her neighbour Ananya Mitra took the award on her behalf. Chaudhuri’s acceptance speech, recorded earlier, was played for the audience. “I am very excited to win this prize but also very sorry that I shall miss the ceremony,” said the lady who is now in Canada visiting her son.
Her story — Mahatejoskriyo Deuriya — is a hilarious tale of misadventures of five board exam candidates seeking help from a tantrik to clear the tests. Chaudhuri later revealed that the story was autobiographical and that she was in fact one of the three students. “I passed the exam though some of the others didn’t,” she smiled.

Best non-fiction

 

Narayan Dhar Chowdhury,
East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town

“A goon once held a pistol to my head and asked me to hand over a patient or to lose my head,” said Narayan Dhar Chowdhury, a government doctor who has written about his experiences of practising in rural areas. “As I shut my eyes and prayed to god, the man who threatened me was himself killed. That is how I am alive today,” he finished, explaining why doctors avoid being posted in the rural belt.

Despite going through such hair-raising experiences, some of which are mentioned in his account, his advice to the audience was: “Don’t blame life, enjoy it.”

Special mention: Manjusri Dutta of CB Block

As globe trotter Manjusri Dutta walked up to the dais, well-wishers from the audience starting calling out to her: “Manjusridi, your Morocco account was a great read,” in a reference to a previous write up that had won her a prize in this category.

This year Dutta had written on her visit to Iran. “Iran was a beautiful place but I am sorry to hear that the peacock throne of the Shahs there has been removed recently,” said the lady who sported a chunky green neckpiece that her daughter had sent from New York on Mothers’ Day.

Best poem

Picture by Saradindu Chaudhury

Sarbani Banerjee,
East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town

Another winner who was in Canada on the day of the ceremony, Sarbani Banerjee had sent a voice clip. “Once a poem is written it is for the reader to interpret it in his own way,” said Banerjee’s recorded voice. She had written a bouquet of seven poems, touching upon topics like women’s status in society.

A PhD student of comparitive literature at Western University, Ontario, she missed the ceremony by a few hours, as she landed in Calcutta at dawn the very next day. Her father Sadhan Kumar Banerjee recited a section of her winning poem.


Special mention: Sunirmal Kundu of BJ Block

“In 1962, I scored the highest marks in Bengali in the Class X board exams. But I have never submitted my poems in any competition and so was puzzled to hear that I had got a prize for the one I submitted in our souvenir,” said Sunirmal Kundu. He chose to recite — not his winning poem but one in tribute to his teacher Jyotibhushan Chaki.

 

Special mention: Sweety Sharma of East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town

The youngest winner this year was Sweety Sharma, fresh from taking her Madhyamik exams. She had penned a poem asking her fellow students to enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood, no matter how much the pressure of studies bog them down.
The student of Bidhannagar Municipal School in FE Block also recited her poem Shishumon for the audience.

Best editorial

Chandana Gupta, DA Block Residents’ Association

The president of last year’s puja committee in DA Block spoke about her essay, where she had woven in mythology with our contemporary lives. “The Puja is a huge industry that employs thousands of people, right from established pandal decorators to minor electricians. It fuels the fashion of the season too,” she said, adding that she has already started pondering about what to write on in this year’s Puja souvenir.

 

Special mention: Narayan Basu, CB Block Welfare Association

Looking dapper in a dhoti, association president Narayan Basu joked that he felt awkward receiving an award since he had spent his whole life handing them out to others.

If you are wondering why your article in your block’s puja souvenir did not make it to the awards list, ensure that a copy of the souvenir reaches us next year. Results are based on entries received.

 


Click your Township

The township’s amateur lensmen became a part of the awards night from this year with the Click Your Township contest making its debut on the stage. Three frames were chosen from among the photographs taken by residents of Salt Lake and New Town which were published round the year on the pages of the tabloid. The awards were handed over by Dipanjan Dutta, chief manager, brand, The Telegraph.

Akash Mondal, CF Block

“I simply saw the announcement for Click Your Township in the paper one day and mailed some snaps,” said Akash Mondal, a professor of media studies with a passion for photography. “It feels awesome to win.” Mondal showed off the framed copy of the winning picture — that of some sticks peeping out of the Central Park lake. “This township is ours so let us keep it beautiful, not just for photographers but for ourselves,” he signed off.

Pralay Lahiry, Karunamoyee

This former merchant navy officer inspired the audience with the story of his life. “After 20 years in the navy, I was getting bored. That’s when I saw the film 3 Idiots and thought that I could be an idiot too,” said Pralay Lahiry, narrating how he then quit his job and took up wildlife photography.

The winning photograph — that of a bird eating a worm — is one of his first pictures to be published. “So it will always remain close to my heart,” he said.

Sudipta Chatterjee, Srabani Abasan,
FC Block

“I have loved birds right from my childhood,” said Sudipta Chatterjee, a government official working in the higher education department. Not only had Chatterjee won the prize for her picture of two woodpeckers, but she also dedicated her success to those two. “There was also a Basanta Barui in the series of pictures that I clicked.”

 

The telegraph salt lake super souvenir 2011

DL Block Residents’ Association completed a hattrick of winning this award this year and proud president Jiten Banerjee (centre) thanked all the block residents for their co-operation in bringing out the souvenir. Others in his team later added that they have already started working on the next souvenir.