Disclaimer: As is the demand of the content, this is a photo heavy post, but I must warn you at the very beginning, although I use a DSLR to take photographs, but the DSLR is nothing more than high-end point-and-shoot for me. No disrespect to the photographers, but I have a hard time venturing out of the AUTO mode.
Every neighbourhood (or para, as we call them in Bengali) has an unique essence. Its almost a small city contained within a larger one. And wherever in the world a person stays, the essence of the para is often hard to forget. I have experienced this deeply, and I have been away from my city, my para for the better half of the last decade, and now returning to my own neighbourhood, I feel amazed. Writing this post has been in the back of my mind since long, but I haven’t been able to make out time to take the necessary photographs.
So on one rainy morning on Ganesh Chaturthi (which is the newest trend in every para), I decided to get out and take the required photographs.
Before leaving my apartment, I was greeted by this dog, who is a permanent resident at our basement. This form of greeting me and then slowly entering his den, below a car, is a ritual that it follows almost every morning it sees me.
Situated near Garia, Patuli, similar to Salt Lake, is a small township within this busy city of Kolkata. It emerged in the 1990s, with the increasing need to provide habitable land. My family shifted here in 1996.
Small ponds and even smaller dobas are omnipresent in Patuli neighbourhood. Inspite of many of them being filled up to raise new buildings, still they are quite a few in number.
And all the ponds and dobas are filled with kochuripana (Water hyacinth). And it stinks like hell, when they are extracted and kept at the sides of the ponds. The stink is something that all Patuli residents having their homes adjacent to the ponds, dread.
One of the greatest benifit of staying at Patuli, is great transport accessebility. The EM Bypass and the METRO RAIL (I witnessed the construction of both), both are at a walking distance from anywhere in Patuli.
Another feature that Patuli very prominently has, is its calm and cool streets. Every road here is parallel to one another, like every other planned township. There is a serenity that you experience while strolling on these roads of Patuli. Above are four roads at different places in the Patuli neighbourhood.
But one thing that is quite rarely seen these days are kashphuls. These are simply weeds of grass that looks like flowers, and they are the ones who mark the coming of Maa Durga. These were previously quite abundant with kashphuls. But in recent years they have almost vanished. Still I managed to find some.
For a panoramic view of Patuli, here are two panoramas. One from my roof, of the EM Bypass. And the other near two of the many pands in Patuli.
Here are some landscapes around the neighbourhood.
During the development of Patuli, the villagers who sold their land, were forced to move deeper into the neighbourhood. This place was a Sedge (Cyperaceae) jungle prior to development. In my childhood, I’ve even heard jekylls howling in the middle of the night during my childhood here. Though building have risen quickly within a short period of 20 years, but evidence of a greener past still remains.
And while I was exploring these landscapes, a village boy taking a leak in these bushes, looked up when I clicked his photograph.
Another speciality of Patuli is the names of the Co-operatives. I still remember the competition organised by a local club, where they would ask the name of any random co-operative society. I along with my friends, roamed for days all over Patuli, to find out and learn the names of all the co-operative housings, block by block.
Among many other stories of Patuli, there exists a story of failure as well. The Satyajit Ray Theme Park was developed wasting lots of money and resources, and as expected, it lies abandoned in the heart of Patuli.
Coming to the end of this post, I would like to invite bloggers to guest post on this series “Exploring a Neighbourhood” on my blog. Please do contact me if you would like to show off your para as well
And, finally I will leave showing four sights that I saw while returning back to my home, after almost one-and-half hours of roaming.
Thanks for reading along.