1. This image from the Kumartuli idol-making section of Kolkata. They are preparing for the Saraswati puja. Sarawati is the goddess of art, culture and learning.
2. One of the countless stalls selling idols created for the puja.
3. Every neighborhood has a community puja (religious celebration). We thought we would take a few photos and continue exploring. Instead, we were invited to sit and talk with our neighbors. We spent all day and ended up singing ‘We shall overcome” in Bangla, Hindi and English. A memorable day!
4. It’s right on the street.
5. After-puja rituals a our next-door neighbor’s.
6. The Kolkata Book Fair has over 1 million visitors each year and everyone is buying books! Imagine this in the U.S. Not going to happen.
7. It’s Mr. K.C. Paul, the street astronomer! I wrote about his ardent belief that the sun revolves around the earth in an earlier blog. He had plastered his fantastic drawings throughout the book fair and was trying to drum up converts. I thought he might remember me, but Mr. Paul actually does not remember that he is on this earth, let alone whom he might have spoken with. And we’ve gotten used to being exotic specimens to be photographed at any given moment.
8. The wonderful New York based group Betty! It’s not all sitars and saris here.
9. A covered head from the Graveyard of the Idols series, Kerala.
10. At the Mahabalipuram archaeology site.
11. The Hari Pradad bookstore, near the Khaligat market, near our house.
12. I’m never buying clothes off the rack again! Getting measured for a custom-made suit by Mr. Singh, a tailor featured in the New York Times. This suit cost less than what I paid when I took Max and Emma out to a fancy dinner in New York. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/the-making-of-a-quality-suit-in-kolkatas-bustling-new-market/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
13. How could we go to Kolkata and not acknowledge the presence of Mother Theresa? This is at her mission, and yes, that’s her remains in that white, marble tomb.
14. We also visited the orphanage she started. This was all courtesy of artist Ritu Singh, who actually grew up with Mother Theresa and has stories galore.