Vignettes of a South African Township called Mdantsane

Saturday, January 29, 2011

St. David Road, Selborne, East London

St. David Road, Selborne, East London

St. David Road, Selborne, East London on a cloudy day


Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reddits, Grahamstown

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Harry Owen, renowned poet from Grahamstown organises a poetry evening every Friday at a restaurant there called Reddits. Monks, students, artists and poets find themselves sipping sherry and listening to many such wordsmiths.
I had the pleasure of being there during the launch of Harry Owen's poetry collection, Non Dog.
This rough watercolor on a hand made paper of the venue is dedicated to Harry Owen and his merry friends at Grahamstown.

Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In Exile - Stephen Watson

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Even now, years later when at night the longing comes
nothing matters anymore – nor his memory of the people
the vile, pretentious rich, corrupted poor, those politics
that beggar all description, that all but beggared him-
nothing matters now but his desire, but this mad longing
to know that there is still a place, that it still exists,
that you can come on that same road round Devil’s Peak
and there will be, as there was before, almost an evening,
that softness in the summer dark, the same warmth rising,
breathing from an earth long out of reach of its sunset.

All the rest is irrelevant......


Stephen Watson teaches English at the University of Cape Town
This part of a poem is from his book, In This City published in 1986 one of those few rare books that I have


Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

Friday, January 21, 2011

Balwant Bhaiyya ki Kothi, Gwalior

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This is a watercolour of Balwant Bhaiyya Ki Kothi at Gwalior. People living in Gwalior know about this mansion as it is perched at the top of a hill. The place is in ruins, shrubs, wild grass and creepers have taken over all around the property. Smell of bats pervades everywhere and empty cartridges are scattered here and there. We use to visit frequently with my friends, Suresh Khandekar and Rajshekhar Iyer during our Science College days. As per Wikimapia, this was a palace of Sardar Balwantrao Scindia. He was the brother of Maharaja Madhavrao Scindia. However, he was not considered royal being a son of a dancing girl. My friend Prithviraj Chouhan adds that Balwantrao was known for his deep religious belief and closeness to the common people of Gwalior. The people of Gwalior lovingly called him as Balwant Bhaiyya or Brother Balwant.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bow Barracks, Calcutta

Bow Barracks, Kolkata, India, A Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

This is a watercolour of one of the oldest buildings in Calcutta going back to an era of the World War 1. This building in Central Calcutta houses the last few members of the Anglo-Indian community. This community which was conveniently forgotten by our politicians gave India the best generals, teachers and musicians. Bow Barracks Forever is a film made by Pritish Nandy and directed by Anjan Dutta. It highlights the problems faced by these wonderful people, the building itself in disrepair is in the verge of collapse. The film moved me to an extent that I thought of making this watercolour. I dedicate this watercolour to Pritish Nandy, Anjan Dutta and obviously the Anglo-Indian community who live there.

Waiting for you in Calcutta
Waiting for you my love
Come dance, dance, dance at the Barracks...
Come dance, dance, dance to the end of love
Come dance with me at the Barracks....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Eucalyptus Dreams

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these are eucalyptus dreams
growing in suburban trains
sometimes in the hub
when connaught place turns a zero
and a sky stays behind
we always managed to move out
summer surprises
inhaling
an old delhi rickshawallah
remembers himself
in his last ganja smoke
shadows don’t adhere here
anymore
the edge is just
another place
we stayed
and faintly
you are still with me.


Poem and Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra