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Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the youngest of three children of an Albanian builder, on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. She felt that August 27, 1910, the day of her baptism, was her true birthday. At the age of 18 she joined the Order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto in Ireland. She trained in Dublin, where the motherhouse of the Loreto Sisters was located. She chose the name of Sister Teresa, in memory of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux....

Durga Puja in Calcutta

Durga Puja in Calcutta [Illustration by Shiju George] Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal. We celebrate this puja very nicely in our city. We look forward to Durga Puja every year It is a joyous occasion for all of us. In Calcutta, Durga Puja is a wonderful celebration. Being vacation time, we enjoy ourselves very much. Durga Puja usually lasts for five days. It begins with ‘Shashti’ and ends with “Dashami”....

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore

Mystic, painter and Nobel laureate for literature, Rabindranath Tagore was a prolific writer (3,000 poems, 2,000 songs, 8 novels, 40 volumes of essays and short stories, 50 plays), who drew inspiration both from his native Bengal and from English literary tradition. His major theme was humanity’s search for God and truth. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his collection of well-known poems Gitanjali (Song Offerings). Born in Calcutta on May 7, 1861, Rabindranath was the youngest of fourteen children....

Rabi, the Budding Poet

Rabi, the Budding Poet

When Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his poems in Gitanjali , he was the first Asian to be so honoured. We’ve seen pictures of him with his flowing grey beard and smiling eyes, clad in a long saffron robe. We know him as the man who founded the unusual gurukula or school at Shantiniketan in West Bengal in 1901. We also know that he’s the only poet whose verses have been chosen as the national anthems of two countries – India and Bangladesh....

Pickpocket

Pickpocket

December 9: Small children on streets running around, darting in and out of traffic seemingly without a care in the world. They are usually homeless and all alone. Even at such a young age they have a profession, where they earn at least Rs 20 a day – pickpocketing. Not a profession any of you would like to practise, would you? But not having much else to fall back upon, some poor young children in Calcutta were lured into stealing....

Road of Jute

Road of Jute

You must have seen jute rugs, jute dolls, even jute clothes. But, have you seen, or even heard of jute roads? A research centre in Calcutta, the National Institute of Research on Jute and Allied Fibre Technology (NIRJAFT), is planning to make a road with jute. It will be 24 kilometres long. Road of Jute [Illustration by Nitin Vishwakarma] The scientists at the centre say the road will be stronger than normal roads....

The Day it Rained Fish

The Day it Rained Fish

August 12: Last weekend saw some ‘fishy’ happenings across the world. In Britain, for example, it rained fish. The Day it Rained Fish [Illustration by Shiju George] It happened in Great Yarmouth, a fishing port in Norfolk. Residents found a shower of dead but still fresh fish called sprats raining down on them. “I thought at first I might have had something wrong with my eyes. The whole of my backyard seemed to be covered in little slivers,” said a resident to ‘The Times of India’, which carried a report....

Street Cricket in Calcutta: Out, Caught!

Street Cricket in Calcutta: Out, Caught!

July 1: Calcutta. A city without playgrounds. But still, a city that has learnt to have fun with what there is – the streets. And street or ‘para’ cricket is one of those inventions. Cricket during the day, under the sun, and cricket under streetlights and floodlights once the sun is down. Cricket played to the cheers of the neighbourhood — the family, the pet, the neighbours, their domestic helps — in short, all. This is nothing unusual for Indians who have always spent a large part of their lives outdoors, sitting on a ‘charpai’ or stringed cot under a tree or playing games according to the season, be it ‘gulli danda’ in summer or throw a stick in mud and let it hold, during the rain....

The Business of Festivals

The Business of Festivals

What is special about Durga Puja is that it’s a community celebration. In Calcutta, specially, almost every neighbourhood has a Puja Committee to organise the Puja in their locality, every year. Come September and the Committee members begin to meet at each other’s houses and chalk out plans for grand celebrations over endless rounds of cha(tea) and adda (discussion). Anyone can qualify – all one needs is boundless enthusiasm. These people set up the pandal or the tents that house the festivities....

Flying Granny, Courageous Climber

Flying Granny, Courageous Climber

Where: Worldwide June 24, 2000 : British grandma Jennifer Murray turned 60 in Calcutta some days ago. But she is no ordinary grandmother. In 1997, she entered the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the first woman to pilot a helicopter around the world. And now she is determined to become the first solo woman to circumnavigate the world in a helicopter. She was in Calcutta for a brief halt in the journey. Grandma Murray is doing it for a cause....

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