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Salute to the winners

It was the prize distribution ceremony of The Telegraph Salt Lake Super Souvenir 2022 and Click your Township 2022 and in attendance were residents with a flair for the pen, the paintbrush or photography

The Telegraph | Published 01.09.23, 10:56 PM
Calcutta Media Institute director Amitabha Datta hands over the winner’s prize to representatives of Animikha Apartments, New Town

Calcutta Media Institute director Amitabha Datta hands over the winner’s prize to representatives of Animikha Apartments, New Town

Rashbehari Das.

All roads last Friday led to the Royal Bengal Room in City Centre. It was the prize distribution ceremony of The Telegraph Salt Lake Super Souvenir 2022 and Click your Township 2022 and in attendance were residents with a flair for the pen, the paintbrush or photography. The first contest is based on the Puja souvenirs brought out by blocks and housing societies and submitted for the contest while the second picked the top three shots from the year-round photography column.

Handing out the awards were Dhruba Mukherjee, chief executive officer of ABP Pvt Ltd., and Amitabha Datta, director, Calcutta Media Institute, an ABP initiative, and a resident of FE Block.


Early Bird
Winner: BE (West)

“It’s not easy readying the souvenir this early year after year but we get a lot of support from our puja committee. Work starts right after our khuti puja, usually in August, and we start by inviting residents to write, follow up with soft reminders…. We try to involve the whole block in the process,” said Somava Paul, a member of the souvenir committee.

Animikha Apartments, New Town

“The theme of our cover was ‘Durga in nature’. And not just plants, we gave special emphasis on the vahans of the deities. There was a white dove in the image too, signifying peace in our turbulent times,” said editor Janmejoy Deb. The artwork was by resident Neeta Patra but she couldn’t attend the ceremony as she was out of town.

Winners and their guests attend the ceremony at City Centre

Winners and their guests attend the ceremony at City Centre

Rashbehari Das.

Special mention
BF Block

“With the pandemic on its way out, the world is now returning to peace and stability. This is what we wanted to depict through our cover,” said editor Subhasish Mondal. The artwork was done by Chandrani Bhattacharya, a former block resident.

BA Block

Souvenir editor Arunava Das informed that the cover had been illustrated by none other than Upal of the Bangla band Chandrabindoo. “He happens to a son-in-law of our block,” Das said proudly. “For the upcoming year, we have announced an art contest among residents and shall choose the best one for our cover.”

Best Editorial
BA Block

Winner: Arunava Das, BA Block

“Ours is a small block with barely 212 houses but still we have won three prizes in this contest. To encourage literary talent in the block we also have begun a quarterly in-house magazine,” said Das, who also singled out the chairman of their souvenir sub-committee Sisir Ganguli for his effort. Ganguli, by the way, turns 80 tomorrow.

Special mention: Gora Roy, CF Block

“While this is the 18th year of this contest, we only started participating in 2019. We won a prize that year but had to discontinue the publication due to the pandemic. We are encouraged with the award yet again this year and shall surely send in our entries, prize or no prize” said Roy.

Rajoshi Gupta, Sanjeevani Sudha, Sanjeeva Town the Bungalow Estate, New Town

“This time I had written on ChatGPT (a language model-based chatbot) and wasn’t sure if judges would take to such a technical line of thought,” said Gupta. “We are not professional writers. We squeeze in time to write after dispensing our household duties but a prize for our efforts makes us happy. The Super Souvenir contest has become like our Jaipur Literature Festival,” she said to a big applause from the audience.

Best Essay

Winner: Saptarshi Chowdhury of CD Block, New Town

“For a world that was just stepping out of the Covid pandemic, I had written on our city’s tryst with similar pandemics down the ages,” said Chowdhury, who is pursuing a PhD in archaeology. His piece chronicled instances of mass cholera, plague, Bombay fever and famine that the city ahs endured. “I write such pieces as I want readers to know how much history has to teach us.”

Special mention: Sakila Khatun of DL Block

“I am a math teacher at the government school in BD Block and had written about my experience of distributing mid-day meals to students during the pandemic," said Khatun, who also spoke about Hindu-Muslim unity. “I grew up in Ranaghat between a mosque and temple, listening to conchshells and azan. I’ll try to write again and win this contest so I can return to this stage next year.”

Nilay Baran Som of CE Block

(Baran Som was absent but sent his acceptance speech by mail)

“It was a pleasant surprise and an honour to know that my write-up won a prize from one of the top media houses in the city. My humorous feature was a tribute to great authors like Syed Mujtoba Ali, Tarapada Roy and Kumaresh Ghosh. These days there is too much animosity in the public space but humour can us bring respite. Let the culture of enjoying humour grow in each of us!”

Best Memoir

Winner: Purba Kar of CD Block, New Town

“I had penned my memories of growing up in an industrial township in Asansol. We were exposed there to multiple languages, sights, sounds and festivals. We celebrated Rabindrajayanti, Ram Navami and listened to Hanuman Chalisa all with the background of sirens, dumper trucks, dust and sand,” said Kar.

Special mention: Dipa Mitra of CJ Block

“I am a student of math, teacher of management and writer of Bengali literature,” said Mitra. She had won the award for penning a history of Salt Lake right from the times of Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, up to present day. “As for the future, New Town is a close competitor of our township. And though New Town looks swanky, I believe it lacks the spirit that Salt Lake has.”

Tandra Goswami of FE Block

“The piece that won this prize was about the horrors of fleeing Bangladesh back in 1958. This was the second part of my memoir on the topic. The first had come out a couple of years ago in our souvenir and that too had won a Super Souvenir awrd,” said Goswami. “The youth today needs to know our history and how it is that humanity has arrived at where it is today.”

Best Travelogue

Winner: Susmita Bhaduri of Sanjeeva Town the Bungalow Estate, New Town

“My husband and I often take off sight-seeing and I later write down the experiences lest I forget them,” said Bhaduri, who had written on the aurora borealis. “I have received several of these prizes before from The Telegraph Salt Lake and they make me feel like I’m a writer. We have a corner in our house where my husband decorates his trophies. I think I’ll start doing the same with my Super Souvenir awards now.”

Special mention: Atmadeep Sengupta of BA Block

(Sengupta was absent but sent his acceptance speech by mail)

“Being awarded by such an esteemed paper is an honour and a needful encouragement for an amateur travel writer like me. Bali is a popular tourist destination but I wanted to showcase it in a different perspective to connect their heritage with traditions and rituals in India. This recognition has validated my efforts and motivated me to continue sharing my experiences.”

Susmita Mukherjee of CJ Block

(Mukherjee was absent but sent her acceptance speech later)

“I have been writing since my school and college days but there was a gap in between. Now that I have time at hand I have picked up the pen afresh. It is a wonderful feeling to get a prize in the very first year that our block participated in the contest. Thank you for the encouragement. Wish I could have been present in person to receive my trophy.”

Best Fiction

Winner: Indrani Bhattacharya of DL Block

“We could not publish our souvenir for two years due to the pandemic but are happy that our fresh effort has won two prizes from this contest this year,” said Indrani Bhattacharya, who is also part of the souvenir committee. “I wasn’t used to exploring the horror genre but these days I’ve been getting requests as such and tried it out.”

Special mention: Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay of FE Block

“It’s great to see an English newspaper support Bengali literature,” said Mukhopadhyay, who won the prize for a Bengali story Sesh Porjonto. “No other publication in the country does this. It means a lot since the younger generation barely reads Bengali any more. I hope to see youth participate in this souvenir contest and win accolades.”

Sujit Banerjee of CB Block

“I could not make it to the award ceremony due to a hospitalisation in the family.

I am a retired person. Despite there being so many compulsions in the family, I am pursuing some hobbies like photography (both still and video), gardening, recitation and reading. I started writing since the Covid lockdown. Hours of idleness made me pick up the pen. My mother, Manimala Devi, was a writer of great stature. She was fluent in short stories, poems and informative articles of various types. She is no more but I dedicate my success at her footsteps.”

Best Poetry

Winner: Sabina Yasmin of East Enclave Housing Complex, New Town

Yasmin recited her winning poem Trosto for the audience. “The poem was about how in order to achieve anything we need love and respect,” said the lady who called poetry her first love. “My neighbours love me so much that every time I win this contest they are as excited as I am.”

Why: Competent, mature and profound. Poetic expression of existential angst expressed with restraint and effectiveness. The poet makes it back to the honours list after getting a Special Mention last year.

Special mention: Asim Das of East Enclave

“I have won this a Super Souvenir award each for fiction and poetry in the same year before but could not accept the prizes physically as it was during the pandemic and the ceremony was held online,” said Das. “I doubt if even Shakti Chattopadhyay, the great poet, ever got an award in such a dazzling award ceremony like I’m getting!”

Pratima Mishra of FE Block

“Poetry is my soul, life and love,” said Mishra, who at 84 was the senior-most winner of the evening. “Initially this contest would not have a separate category for poetry but I’m glad it has been introduced. The enthusiasm of FE Block residents has got boosted because of these awards,” she said before reading out a self-composed poem on Pujas now and then.

Click your Township

The backpage of the weekly supplement is where round the year photographs clicked by readers in areas in and around Salt Lake and New Town get published. The top three of the published pictures were chosen for awards.

Archisman Mukhopadhyay, CE Block, New Town

“This winning picture was sent for the contest secretly by my friend Iman Samanta. I was very surprised to see it get published but have decided now to send in more entries,” said Archisman Mukhopadhyay, an MCA student. “This ceremony was a heart-felt one. I got to hear from so many accomplished writers. It felt like family.”

Arkaprovo Chowdhury, Kestopur

“I was on my way to the market one morning when it started raining. While others scurried for cover, I saw this specially-abled man make do with whatever he had,” said Chowdhury, who went on to click the winning moment. “I found the scene inspiring. We tend to complain about our shortcoming but watching that man overcome his challenge, showed me the way forward.”

Shriya Basu, Kestopur

“I like clicking pictures and had clicked this one at the Turkey stall at Bidhannag Mela (Utsav). It was on December 31 last year,” said Basu, who works in the state health department. “I enjoy The Telegraph Salt Lake and wait every Friday to turn its pages and see if my picture has got published. I’m happy my entry got selected among the toppers.

Coming up

To join the contest this year, look out for the The Telegraph Salt Lake Super Souvenir advertisement in the Friday supplement of The Telegraph from around Mahalaya.

Last updated on 01.09.23, 10:56 PM

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