Akalbodhan: Memoir of a festive city

Vinod is an architect / urban designer and educator with over 10 years of working experience in master planning, urban design, architecture and interior designing and 7 years in academics. An alumni of SPA Delhi, he has worked with various masters, including Ar. Tony Joseph and Ar. Ranjeet Sabikhi, and travelled extensively across the country. His primary interests are photography, sketching and travel, and always try to connect with society, culture and urban form. He currently associated with School of Planning and Architecture- Bhopal as assistant Professor. you can check more of his works from /

“The spring breeze with its magic breath
May well set your heart on fire
And resurrect with in your breast
Slumbering desires”.
(The amatory conversation of young Bengali couple.)
Sri Rabindranath Tagore

“Those places where sadness and misery abound are favoured settings
for stories of ghosts and apparitions. Calcutta has countless such
stories hidden in its darkness, stories that nobody wants to admit they
believe but which nevertheless survive in the memory of generations
as the only chronicle of the past. It is as if the people who inhabit the
streets, inspired by some mysterious wisdom, realise that the true
history of Calcutta has always been written in the invisible tales of its
spirits and unspoken curses.”

– Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Midnight Palace)

The City of Joy always poses an element of surprise at every turn
and the moment you unmask it, another one poses leading to
another story to get enchanted. Every person, every moment you
encounter in the streets of Kolkata will turn into a new story. For a
story, the city sets up a stage where it happens. They are playing
for those around it. Through these plays, where each citizen will be
an actor, the informal city is formed. Though the built city forms
the backdrop of this play–the stage, people define the time; a
moment in the daily chores of the city and its citizens, this is rather
spontaneous and unintentional.

Each person, who is a part of this strange and rather frequent
connection of stage and moment, will interpret the same
differently. The memory that they carry from each of these plays or
stories will be the key element that helps them to identify the city,
place, and people.

In my encounters with Kolkata (in 2013) I cherish the night, the
busy roads, small gullies lit by dols and dances, faces of joy and
hope. I seldom felt the city was celebrating the goddess Durga,
her victory over demon Narakasura. Those are mere reasons for
people to come together, and that’s what I feel it was celebrating togetherness.













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