Hometown

In November 2016, I finally got my only chance to document my native home in Calcutta.

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Collapsible gates to the garage which once sheltered two cars

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The characteristic yellow with the common Calcutta green lines compensated the cuboidal structure of the house.

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A bathroom placed outside the house.

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As all old houses do, this one features a large backyard too.

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Spacious balcony terrace which has always been a space for commonly drying laundry, big gatherings during events, and for dry leaves and moss now.

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Simple decor railings and worn out wooden doors.

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Small balconies attached to every room on the top floor which faced the road made primary facade of the house.

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The color palette and textures that remain distinct over the years.

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Orthogonal lines and staircase on the inside.

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The main living and dining area of the house.

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The kitchen which is strategically partitioned for vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and God.

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Only God related vessels allowed here.

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The living and study room.

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My grandparents’ bedroom.

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Almost every room owned a table and a chair which is a rarity in most houses today.

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Simple spaced rooms.

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Iconic rings which served as window knobs.

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Infested with cobwebs, such windows are classic to Calcutta in general and this house too.

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Caging bar window grills layered with rust are my earliest memories of this place.

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The garage which blew its shed and only homes trash now.

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Flora of the house showcased trees like banana, Indian bael (aka Bengal quince), and Mangoes!

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While the fauna included cats, rats, few snakes, and a scourge of mosquitoes.

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For time has only set this house to creep into rust.

Images Copyright © 2016 Ankit Banerjee. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction for any reason is prohibited.

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Person: narcissistic note to self.

Another rainy afternoon in the city, and I watch through my window the people grasping on to the collars of their coats and umbrellas running to meet up deadlines to free some space for a glass of wine by the fire place with their persons escaping from their mundane schedule. So many people and their daily impact on one and another, each one significantly contributing to the life of other for better or, for worse. Some shake hands, hug and spread smiles while some push the other off the cliff by looting them for their own greed. Who remains with us when we differentiate the materialistic things from the humane behaviour that we exchange?

You were always there with me.

You were a critic, a support, a necessity, a foe and a partner: that somebody who patiently sits by me without saying a word while I hear you. You were me, but just not within me. I can see you standing by the door looking at me. You carefully learnt the ways of others, the style of my friends and carefully integrated them within. The many forms you took to never make me feel the absence of anyone else, who would otherwise not be there. By your simple objectivity and acceptance, you left a significant impact on my life. You were me, just not within me.

Such is the person who has significantly made an impact on my life. In moments of extreme emotions, the third person always jumped outside my body to restore normalcy. When I grew weary, he talked to me and made me understand with a rational explanation and did not let me feel small. He celebrated my victories but reminded me nobody has seen what tomorrow brings. When she and the rest made decisions for themselves, he told me it’s alright and I must not expect. When I escaped to a new dimension to seek solace, he told if I was doing it right, and whether the photographs conveyed what I wanted to say. He critiqued my work with great finesse and found the flaws that needed to be corrected, advices and quick tips to be kept in mind such that I could make a good picture, great. When I am on stage, I see him sitting there in the audience knowing exactly where I stumble and point out the pros and parts that need improvement. He established the fine line of right and wrong and through simple and effective humane connection of friendship, he introspected for my self-improvement.

He was I. You were me, just not within me. My principles, morals and all that I believed, mastered like a lawyer.

Disclaimer:

I am not a loner. I have friends whom I cherish. This is just a practice of being empathetic to myself first, and then to others. We need answers to all that we face and it is best to go back, place ourselves there and relive. The span of life is a long journey to 00different places. It would be irrational to expect and depend myself on to another person to everywhere I go, unless the person is me

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

“….No college? You plan to just sit at home for a year?”

The magic of growing up in India is that, every individual has a unique story to tell. I was born to a typical Bengali family of high academic rank holders and toppers. When I graduated from high school, I had boldly decided to take an unconventional detour because I believed that I was more than a piece of paper judging me. The concept is not anew, but it was a life decision uncommon to my background. To most people it was hard to accept the fact that I was not attending college. Many often reminded me about the adverse effects and dreadful uncertainties of my “wasteful” decision. People often confuse a gap year with inactivity whereas my reality was far from it.

My fulfilling experience included photography shoots, trying my hand at videography, learning new software like Adobe Illustrator and Premier Pro, classical piano training and music making, reading mind expanding books, studying neuroscience and economics via online courses, attending my first MUN conference, and so on.

In the age of online tutorials, learning image post production is a just click away. As an amateur photographer, it was indeed an exciting challenge to understand all the technical factors that made a photo ‘great’. I interned at a photography firm called Oodio where, along with technical skills and work responsibilities, I also learnt priceless people skills. The work environment gave me a taste of the real world; decisions have consequences. It also helped me network and interact at entrepreneurial hubs such as the Microsoft Accelerator and Startup Leardership Program.

Further, I took my passion to argue – to the masses through The Debate Club, and ever since I have been better informed about the world and myself. In this active life I led in exploration, I met very interesting people and built truly wonderful relationships.

Although I felt quite scared, I chose to add value to my life and engage in things that I felt a personal connection with. I set goals and began to venture into things that I had very little experience in. By pursuing what I love, for the first time I was not living someone else’s life. My motivation was not to build an impressive résumé, but to acquire important life skills that took me closer to a happy place— mentally and physically.

If you were to look back on your high school years, what advice would you give to someone beginning his or her high school years?

My high school years have been full of revelations, and the three important ones that shaped my world-view are:

First, question! Always question what you study, question how basic things that surround you work, question beyond the examination, and question to seek your personal truths. Over time, this skill you will help you spark ideas. Asking ‘Why?’ and ‘What if?’ helped me identify the things that I could improve upon. Currently, Quora is my homepage as it helps me interact with people, and increase my understanding on varied issues to a higher plane.

The second is confidence. Acquisition of knowledge will liberate you of fear. You realize that your biggest fears are nothing but illusions. Upon this realization, you are instantly better equipped in your pursuits. This may not be the end of fear, but is the beginning of building character.  

The third is to build a varied friend circle; one that has multiple interests across myriad spheres. This will ensure that you are in a constant cycle of sharing and learning. Further, understand that it is okay to be different from your peers. You must identify friends from acquaintances and build relations that you can save, or that will save you one day.