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Chirodeep Chaudhuri (right) and Jerry Pinto at the launch of A Village in Bengal: Photographs and an Essay at Galerie 88. An exhibition of photographs from the book is on till November 20 at the gallery.

Twelve years of visits to his ancestral home during Durga Puja, a keen eye and vignettes of rural Bengal have been brought together in a volume of pictures and prose by photographer Chirodeep Chaudhuri. Titled A Village in Bengal: Photographs and an Essay and published by Picador India (Rs 2,499), the book is set in Amadpur, a village some two-and-a-half hours from Calcutta.

Over these 12 years, Chaudhuri has clicked members of his extended family and villagers as they went about their daily chores and festive fun. And what emerged through his black-and-white frames is a clear picture of the celebrations in a village and the importance of barir pujo even at a time when almost all the members of a family are living in cities or abroad.

“It is very easy to dramatise rural Bengal, which I did not want to. I wanted to capture Amadpur’s silence and this is a very important part of the story,” said Chaudhuri at the Calcutta launch of his book at Galerie 88 on November 2.

In conversation with writer Jerry Pinto, the Mumbai-based photographer explained how he went about the project. “I started out by photographing just the Durga Puja but I figured that it limited my scope, for if there was no family, there was no puja and without the village being picturised, it would all be irrelevant. Initially the pictures were stiff as people were conscious but gradually they started ignoring me,” laughed Chaudhuri.

So what sort of planning went into the book? “The pictures were placed in Microsoft Excel and then arranged. The mammoth task was to choose the pictures. There are certain pictures in the book that wouldn’t have been shot if I wasn’t working on the book. It was 360 days of planning and five days working! Pictures I had chosen earlier had to be chucked later,” added Chaudhuri, showing the audience some of the shots that did make it to the book.

“I wanted to take natural pictures and so I have included frames like those of my niece talking to her mother or my brother talking to his wife. In fact my little niece is now all grown up,” he said pointing towards 15-year-old Rashmi in the audience, who was six when the picture was clicked.

The book begins with a beautiful narrative of how the collection of photographs came to be, before taking the reader through a series of photographs of the village pukur [pond], Durga Puja, adda, children, family meals, thakur dalan.... Without captions, the pictures go a long way to show that they do speak a thousand words.

When Ariel, the pretty little mermaid, flipped about deep within the blue ocean with Flounder in tow, it was nothing less than magical for us cartoon buffs. It almost led us into believing that a truly magical world existed right in the heart of the ocean. American author Amanda Hocking not just strengthens that belief but is all set to redefine that very imagination. From trolls and fairies to mermaids and Greek mythology, Hocking of Trylle trilogy fame is back with a four-book series, Watersong. The first title, Wake (Pan Macmillan, Rs 350) has already hit the stands in India.

ot: The quiet seaside town of Capri is jolted awake when some disturbingly beautiful and fearless girls turn up. Tourists? Penn, Thea and Lexi, however, do not have anything touristy about them. They are sirens and they catch the attention of everyone in town, including sisters Harper and Gemma. But they have their eyes only on Gemma.

Harper is practical and always worrying for her family, while Gemma is the carefree sister who just loves the water. If day means swimming practice and beating her own records, nights are for escaping to the quiet bay for a swim in the sea. In love with the boy next door and her eyes set on the Olympics, things change overnight for Gemma when she joins the three sirens partying and dancing at the cove. When she wakes up, she’s different. And faced with a life-or-death choice.

Thumbs up: We might soon have to bring out a “Dictionary of magical creatures in Hocking’s World”. Trylles, fairies, vampires, hobgoblins and now mermaids… sorry, sirens. Kudos to the fresh plot and her writing style — she keeps dropping hints at the turn of every page and keeps us hooked. The language may be childish but the book scores on imagination.

Thumbs down: All’s well in Book 1, but we’re not sure if dragging this story into four books will work. Though fresh, the plot is thin, relying completely on the mythical powers of the sirens and has no other major players. And truth be told, Wake isn’t half as intriguing as Switched, the first book in Hocking’s Trylle series.

t2 says: A book for young adults and adults who are still “young”!

telltale

When Ariel, the pretty little mermaid, flipped about deep within the blue ocean with Flounder in tow, it was nothing less than magical for us cartoon buffs. It almost led us into believing that a truly magical world existed right in the heart of the ocean. American author Amanda Hocking not just strengthens that belief but is all set to redefine that very imagination. From trolls and fairies to mermaids and Greek mythology, Hocking of Trylle trilogy fame is back with a four-book series, Watersong. The first title, Wake (Pan Macmillan, Rs 350) has already hit the stands in India.

Plot: The quiet seaside town of Capri is jolted awake when some disturbingly beautiful and fearless girls turn up. Tourists? Penn, Thea and Lexi, however, do not have anything touristy about them. They are sirens and they catch the attention of everyone in town, including sisters Harper and Gemma. But they have their eyes only on Gemma.
Harper is practical and always worrying for her family, while Gemma is the carefree sister who just loves the water. If day means swimming practice and beating her own records, nights are for escaping to the quiet bay for a swim in the sea. In love with the boy next door and her eyes set on the Olympics, things change overnight for Gemma when she joins the three sirens partying and dancing at the cove. When she wakes up, she’s different. And faced with a life-or-death choice.

Thumbs up: We might soon have to bring out a “Dictionary of magical creatures in Hocking’s World”. Trylles, fairies, vampires, hobgoblins and now mermaids… sorry, sirens. Kudos to the fresh plot and her writing style — she keeps dropping hints at the turn of every page and keeps us hooked. The language may be childish but the book scores on imagination.

Thumbs down: All’s well in Book 1, but we’re not sure if dragging this story into four books will work. Though fresh, the plot is thin, relying completely on the mythical powers of the sirens and has no other major players. And truth be told, Wake isn’t half as intriguing as Switched, the first book in Hocking’s Trylle series.

t2 says: A book for young adults and adults who are still “young”!