The Telegraph
Sunday , June 22 , 2014

Pollution monster

The Kaliya installation at Indian Museum. (Anup Bhattacharya)

A giant 3D installation depicting Kaliya, the serpent king, as representative of pollution greets visitors to Indian Museum.

Piyali Sadhukhan has conceived pollution as the mythical killer snake that destroyed all living beings in the Yamuna.

Sponsored by Akar Prakar Gallery, the 17x10x10ft installation on the museum courtyard can be viewed till June 29. It is made of bits of plastic, mostly ice-cream wrapper, wound round a cane structure. The many-hooded trash serpent in neat colour combinations set amid the lush green lawn is rather attractive. In fact, it is the current favourite among visitors eager for a photo op.

“The work was done in seven days, so we couldn’t arrange for an iron armature and had to make do with bamboo. The plastic was bought from trash dealers off the Bypass and the cane structure was fabricated,” said Piyali, who was helped by Somik Chakrabarty, Pradeep Patro and Debanjan Roy.

But isn’t Kaliya supposed to be a scary monster with 110 hoods who made the Yamuna waters boil with poison and whom no one could defeat except Lord Krishna? “The organisers wanted something that would attract children,” said Piyali. “After all, art in public spaces is rare in Calcutta and then I thought why not (use) items that cause pollution? The plastic packaging is mostly always attractive.”

A temptation to pollute has been skilfully defeated and crafted into an art work with a message by this young artist. One only wishes the installation had better protection from careless visitors who have damaged a part of the reptile’s body.

Tuntuni on your iPad

Narahari Das, the wily cat made famous by Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, can now visit you on your Apple device. The evergreen Tuntunir Boi is just a click away, ready to be downloaded from iStore.

The app (essentially an audio book) was launched by filmmaker and Upendrakishore’s great grandson, Sandip Ray, recently. Produced jointly by Srikanto Acharya Productions and Druidendo, a Hyderabad-based software company, it is the first Bengali storytelling app for kids. It includes eight eternal favourites from Tuntunir Boi, with Srikanto Acharya doing the storytelling to Mayukh Chatterjee’s colourful illustrations.

The project was conceptualised and coordinated by Arna Seal who also dedicated a section to the multi-faceted genius of Upendrakishore, highlighting his life and works.

This was Acharya’s first project as a storyteller for kids and he enjoyed it immensely. “I was always a bookworm. But it was from my Bengali teacher in school that I learnt that storytelling is an art in itself. He would read out stories to us and even before I had read many books, like the Bomkesh series, he got us hooked to them through his storytelling,” said the singer, who always wanted to lend his voice to a storytelling project.

Deciding on Tuntunir Boi did not take Acharya and Seal too long. “The book is my all-time favourite. I got it as a prize once in school. It was a Signet Press publication and I treasured it. I enjoyed playing all the characters, modulating my voice to suit each one’s unique personality,” smiled Acharya.

For artist Chatterjee, the project was as much a challenge as it was an enjoyable experience. “I would keep mulling different ways of making the animals appealing to kids. I mainly used coloured pencil for the illustrations.”

The app is likely to be available on Android soon.

Music for the soul

Hip hop met baul to create music for the soul. Hip hop artistes Ansley Jones, Sheikia Norris, Lester Wallace and Korin Wong-Horiuchi jammed together with Malabika Brahma and Sanjay Khyapa of Brahma Khyapa to rock the stage at American Center recently.

The initiative was part of Next Level Program, sponsored by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in association with the University of North Carolina’s department of music, to promote civic activism, foster cross-cultural creative expression and exchange in diverse communities around the world.

“This concert demonstrates yet again our commitment towards shared values between India and the US,” saidHelen LaFave, the American consul-general in Calcutta.

Sabyasachi Chakraborty releases the map.
(Sayantan Ghosh)

Traveller’s guide

Lost in the city? Look up Traveladdict’s Kolkata Tourists’ map and guide, a free map and guide launched by actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarty at Raj’s Spanish Café, off Sudder Street, last week.

“To know a place you have to walk around. If you are a tourist then a map is of great help. But a map should not be misleading. I once drove an extra 120km because a map was misleading,” said Chakrabarty, who boasts a collection of 10,000 maps. “I am a total map person, asking for directions doesn’t work for me. I always want to find things out on my own. I’ve travelled all over India by road and have seen all kinds of maps. This is a unique one. Not only does it mention what you can see in the city, tourists are also given linguistic instructions. Mentioning popular food joints and Metro stations is a good thing.”

Chakrabarty had a few suggestions, too, for the map makers — include information about streets and bylanes with a historical reference, local train details to various destinations, traditional eateries serving authentic Bengali cuisine, taxi stands and flying clubs.

Arnab Nandy, the man behind the map, said, “I wanted to keep it compact because I have explored cities with a map in hand and I know something that is too big does not work well.”

The map, which is also a mini guide and packs in trivia, must-dos and information for day trips, is available at Raj’s Spanish Cafe, Lytton Hotel, Mocambo, Peter Cat, Kenilworth Hotel, The Lalit Great Eastern and the tourism department kiosk at the airport. It can also be accessed online at and

Creative canvas

Two Class V students had their artwork displayed alongside 22 contemporary artists from across India at an exhibition, Lyrical Reflections, at Galleria M.

For the two kids from Save The Children, it was a dream come true. “I like drawing and painting. I usually draw what I see around me or after reading a book,” said Sanskriti Rajwar, a student of Sattar Memorial Hall. Classmate Suman Pandit added, “A platform like this helps us learn things better. Senior artists gave us many tips.”

The exhibition, presented by Matrix International Centre of Excellence, in association with Save The Children, is on till July 2.

Dance tribute

Students of Kalamandalam — a school of Indian classical dance forms founded by Thankamani and Govindan Kutty — paid tribute to Swami Vivekananda with Viveker Pathe, a dance drama, at GD Birla Sabhagar recently. The students presented a choreography of various dance forms including Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak and Odissi that went along with a narration. The songs were rendered by Indrani Sen, Manomay Bhattacharya, Aloke Roy Chowdhury and Prabuddha Raha. The performance was choreographed by Thankamani Kutty and directed by Somnath G. Kutty. The script and narration was by Subhadeep Chakraborty and the music by Swapan Pakrashi.

Participants at the Science Aur Kainat Society of India seminar

Education seminar

The Calcutta chapter of Science Aur Kainat Society of India hosted a seminar on Technical Education and its Prospects at The Park recently. It was attended by entrepreneurs, college and school principals, social workers, women activists and several others.

The trustees of Jahangirabad Educational Trust Group of Institutions (JIT), approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), made a presentation on the Barabanki-based institute at the seminar.

Jamil Manzar, the general secretary of Mohammedan Sporting Club and the chief guest, spoke about the need of an institution based on the model of Aligarh Muslim University. He was impressed by the trustees of JIT and congratulated them on the endeavour.

Imran Zaki, the president of Faces, said vocational education course were the need of the hour.

Contributed by Sebanti Sarkar, Chandreyee Ghose, Showli Chakraborty and Samabrita Sen