While most visitors were busy shopping at Bidhannagar Mela, there were some who took the stage to showcase their talents on the special days
Women’s day parade
The most glamourous event on stage at Bidhannagar Mela was the fashion show. It was held one evening after recitation and singing contests for women on what was designated as Women’s Day. There were professional models showcasing designs by Agnimitra Paul (picture right), with actresses June and Locket Chatterjee as showstoppers.
The only model on the ramp with a Salt Lake connection was Anindita Chakraborty (picture left), a resident of CJ Block, a commerce student of St Xavier’s College and daughter of the chairperson of Bidhannagar Municipality, Krishna Chakraborty.
“I have walked the ramp at school fests but this is my first time in a professional show,” smiled the girl who wants to take up modelling full-time. “Ma encourages my dream and it was she who asked me to walk today.”
The show was Indo-Western but Anindita wore a red tissue georgette sari with a frilly beige brocade blouse. As she walked the ramp, the romantic Geeta Dutt song Nishi raat bnaka chand played in the background. Mother Krishna was seated right under the ramp and while maintaining a dignified composure, she was seen exchanging quick, excited glances with councillor Minu Chakraborty, who sat next to her, as Anindita appeared.
Asked to comment, Chakraborty went by the book. “Today I’m not here as a mother but as the civic chief and I am pleased to see such a big event being held in our fair.”
Young visitors to the fair put their best foot forward in singing, dancing, recitation and sit-and-draw events on the Children’s Day at the fair. Arjya Chakraborty, a lower kindergarten student of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education, had taken part in almost all the contests.
“I recited the poem Bhoy peyo na, sang the song Amra shobai raja and drew a scenery. I learnt it all from my sister. Since she’s over 12 years, she was not allowed to participate today but I did my best,” smiled the boy from Karunamoyee.
Anwesha Manna, a Class III student had also participated in several events but it was for a prize in singing that she longed for. “I enjoy singing the most,” said the girl who sang Poush toder daak diyechhe. “In the morning I entered another set of contests at a club at Tank 10 and won in singing and elocution there too.”
The recitations were going on in the green room behind the stage and a nervous mother Sarmistha Das was seen lip syncing to Sukumar Roy’s Hukomukho Hyangla as her daughter recited it inside. “I was teaching it to my daughter Kohena and ended up learning it myself,” she smiled and hugged Kohena when she came out. “Good girl, you were perfect,” said mother to daughter.
Little Debalina Samanta of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education was one of the winners in the dance category. “I was confident about myself and remembered all the steps,” said the girl who danced to Jhum jhum jhumre. “I heard about the contest when I came to the fair a few days ago. I decided to join as I love dancing,” said the resident of AL Block.
One of the judges for the dance contest, dancer Sonali Basak, was delighted with the performances. “While many of them are trained, it is their spontaneity that I liked best. One girl named Sritama had come shopping and when she found out there was a dance contest on she tied her mother’s dupatta around her waist and smartly took stage,” she said.
Senior citizens’ day
There was a Senior Citizens’ Day at the fair too, but it didn’t involve performances. Councillors had been asked to identify some elderly residents from their wards who were called on stage and gifted an scarf and a packet of sweets.
Many a senior citizen had turned up on the afternoon, having heard of such a celebration and assuming their age would be enough to qualify them to take the stage but they were disappointed. “I too want sweets, I too want to be called up on stage,” lamented Sisir Kumar Mukherjee, an 83-year-old of Karunamoyee, whose name was not on the list. Some hopefuls even went backstage to count the number of packets on offer.
Civic chief Krishna Chakraborty said the idea behind the felicitation was to show respect to elders. Upon being called on stage, Manas Bandyopadhyay, a dhoti-clad gentleman from Mahisbathan, requested Chakraborty to resolve the water shortage problem in his neighbourhood. Seventy-seven-year-old Binayendra Dutta of CE Block added a musical touch to the programme by humming a few lines of the Rabindra-sangeet Godhuli gagane meghe.