Sujata Parashar, is a bestselling novelist, short story writer, poet and activist. Her debut novel, In pursuit of infidelity (2009) was a bestseller. The second in the series, In Pursuit of Ecstasy (2011), was long listed for the Economist Crossword Book Award 2012. Her latest novel the third in the “pursuit” series, In Pursuit of a Lesser Offence, was released earlier this year. Her book on poetry Poetry Out and Loud, was awarded the first prize in 2012 by Butterfly and the Bee, a literary agency. The popularity of her first poetry book encouraged and inspired her to come out with a sequel to the first one titled, POAL – II in 2013.
Presenting the sixth article in CalcuttaScape by Sujata Parashar.
Kolkata: a city of Haat – bazaars and more…
My association with Kolkata (or Calcutta as I still like to call it) goes a long way back. It goes back to my childhood days when my dad told us stories of his own growing up years. The backdrop of most of these stories was the City of Joy and its people. Dad was the fourth among six siblings – five brothers and one sister. The family lived in a village near Dhanbaad (Jharkand). His father was a Zamindaar and a homeopath doctor. When dad was about eight, he was sent to Calcutta to live with his step – brother after his dad passed away and the family came under financial strain.
Dad lived in Kolkata till the age of sixteen and then fled home to join the army. He married mom after he was commissioned and became an officer. Mom was the girl he loved and belonged to the royal family of Raniganj, Asansol. Both my parents had to face stiff opposition for their marriage but finally their love for each other overcame all odds and they were married in a small ceremony.
Dad loved to talk about his Calcutta days with my brother and me. And I loved listening to his stories. He would often recollect and share bits about his school life in Oriental Seminary; the pranks that he played on his teachers and how he bunked School just to watch Western Cowboy movies. But among all the little tales of his past what attracted me most was his narration of the weekly trips he made to the Haat-bazaar near his home to buy fresh vegetables and fish for the house along with his helper. His vivid description painted a fairy tale land, to my young mind, which was always celebrating something. A city which loved its children, food and music: kind vegetable vendors who addressed him as “Khoka” or “choto babu.”