Monday, December 26, 2011

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle all the way

After many years my family went out on 24th of December. We took the metro to reach Esplanade station from where we walked to the New Market, once known as Sir Stuart Hoggs Market, which was established in 1874. The market is one of the oldest in Kolkata. Now the market has spread its wings around the old building, which shelters hundreds of shopkeepers, small and big. The place wears a completely different look especially during this season, from the Christmas to the New Year. Once upon a time the foreigners were the regular visitors of this place to buy cookies and greeting cards. The foreigners have left, leaving behind their legacy and some Anglo-Indians who still make the place lively during the last few days of the year. This year, there was a huge Christmas tree made of card board right next to the Lighthouse cinema hall (which is now a departmental store) and beside the tree was a picture of a smiling Santa. On top of the tree was the Spiderman. There was another Santa Claus standing tall near the stalls of "Kolkata Hut", a temporary attraction for the festival. There were at least 30 to 35 stalls scattered in front of the Hogg market building. Luckily, I got a chance to shop for fun. The whole place were decorated and the people around were in a mood of celebration. There were bags, purses, decorative pieces, jute bags, Kashmiri shawls, fashionable stoles and scarves; toys made of bamboo, pen stands, bed sheets and pillow covers, teracotta idols etc etc. We first stopped near the stall which had a man selling bamboo products. There were bells, key rings, jewellery box, toy trains, dolls, pencils, pencil sharpner which were made with a lot of creativity. The small little things were nicely coloured with oil-based paint which made them look very attractive. I watched as a child pulled her mother to the shop and made the latter buy one of the toys. I too bought a bright pen stand. The stall next to it was selling bed covers and cushion covers. While I was asking the prices of the handicrafts, my parents happily shopped from the next stall. Next we went to this guy who was selling leather purses with ethnic designs. I liked a cute little coin bag which I bought from that young man. My mother bought a leather purse. There were two or three stalls selling silver jewelleries. One particular shop had beautiful paintings of women's faces on cloth. We saw various kinds of Lord Ganesha painted on paper, cloth and also curved on wood. The sculpted Ganeshas were expensive as beacause their making involves hardwork and skill. Porcelain cups and plates were nicely arranged outside a stall to draw attention of the public and customers.

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