Write choices from Puja pages

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By Here are the results of the eighth The Telegraph Super Souvenir contest.
  • Published 12.04.13

Early bird

Winner: BL Block Durgotsab

Why: The souvenir, bearing glimpses of kash and sheuli phul on its cover, arrived on our desk on the morning of Mahalaya. In a township where puja souvenirs by and large get printed in winter and distributed in spring, long after the autumn festival is over, such punctuality is rare. What is praiseworthy is the fact that the souvenir also carries a fair bit of literary contributions from residents, making the early release a feat of persistence of the editors.

Best fiction

Winner: Kumkum Chattopadhyay of A2/11, East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town, for Banpulak

Why: The story traces the inner and outer life of a woman, as she journeys from care-free student days, when love blooms, to years as a successful professional when a heart-break has made attainment of mental stability a bigger achievement for her. At one juncture, the boat is suddenly rocked as the past collapses back on the present in the form of the return of the object of affection, posing a fresh challenge to the fragile foundations on which she had built her new life. The plot is simple but the story scores because of the mature writing style and the power of characterisation. The author is a familiar name on this list, featuring here for the fourth year running.

Special mention: Debidas Datta of NBCC Vibgyor Tower, Rajarhat, for Taruner Bhalobasha

Best non-fiction

Winner: Narayan Dhar Chowdhury of Flat A/12, East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town, for Jeeban Theke Neya

Why: The doctor’s booty of moving experiences collated from years of practice in government hospitals in the city and beyond seems to be inexhaustible. This is the fourth year that he has made it to this list. Man lays bare the most striking aspects of his character when his back is to the wall and death is staring him or his dearest in the face. The author’s credit lies in managing to mix fact, emotion and observation in appropriate literary proportions in describing these moments.

Special mention: Asim Sanyal of FE 64 for Phiriye Dao Shei Kolkata and Arun Biswas of AK Block for Balir Math - Phire Dekha

Best Poetry

Winner: Manjari Basu of DA 195 for Lakshya

Why: The theme of the poem is a steadfast solo journey. The poem deserves kudos for the choice of words that lets the rhyming couplets flow seamlessly while throwing up surprises at every other bend through metaphors and imagery.

Special mention: Saswati Kundu of DA 166 for Samparka

Best Cover

Winner: Millennium Tower Residents

Why: When most pujas do little more than select ready formats available with the printer, a resident here has actually taken the effort to produce an original painting. Nataraj Das’s work of a village woman on a bull connects with Durga puja through the woman’s third eye. In fact, the only feature on her face are the eyes, which draw all the attention, and lends the painting a mystic touch (picture left).

Special mention: East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town, and HA Block Residents Forum

Best Editorial

Winner: Chandana Gupta, president of Salt Lake City DA Block Residents’ Association

Why: Who says editorial columns have to be staid thanksgivings and lists of encumbrances? Who says small-budget pujas have to be on the backfoot faced with the publicity blitzkrieg of big-budget neighbours? The writer thinks out of the box and delivers a fun-filled piece propped up by a chin-up attitude. She makes it to the honours list for the third time running.

Special mention: K.P. Saha, general secretary of DL Block Residents’ Association, and Asit Baran Saha, puja committee president of East Enclave Co-operative Housing Society, New Town.

The Telegraph Salt Lake Super Souvenir 2012

Salt Lake FE Block Residents Association

The block which had won the crown for the first four years of this contest has wrested the title back after a gap of three years.

The souvenir starts with an explanation by the chief priest as to why, in a break from tradition, Durga puja did not take place in the month of Ashwin last year. This answered the question why puja was held so late and also reminded those who accepted the dates unquestioningly as a del-ayed holiday that the raison d’etre of the festival is the ritual which is dictated by its own set of rules. The articles on health and well-being are useful. Children have a section to themselves, be it for painting or for writing in the language of their choice. There are even a couple of crossword puzzles, one of them dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, paying the monk a novel tribute on his 150th birth anniversary. The souvenir also scores for a well-designed cover.


(Results based on entries received)