Kolkata Book Fair, 2015- More than a Book Lover’s Paradise

Who says the published anthology of zillions of words weaved together has lost its glory due to the penetration of social media and technology? Book lovers’ earnest craving to lift through the pages is not possible tosatisfy even with the introduction of Kindle. To witnessthis fact, you have to visit Kolkata Book Fair once in your life. I, being an avid book lover who prefers her hard copy as much as her e-books love taking rounds through this literary fest (earlier held at Maidan and now at Milan Mela ground) to savour the whole experience.

Completing 33 glorious years, Kolkata Book Fair is a 12 day activity that commenced on 28th January and lasted on 8th February, 2015.  It is an assemblage of highly acclaimed publishing houses from across the globeserving as a big platform for the writers and intellectuals to communicate their ideas, upcoming releases with the enthusiastic mass. It came into existence way back in 1976 when Kolkata Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Guild organized the first fair with 56 stalls to encourage reading habits among the people. The fair traditionally starts on the last Wednesday of January and ends on the second Sunday of February. The fair metamorphosed into a huge one in the recent past and presented with the theme country as the focal point every year since 1990.

Great Britain being the focal country this year, the Book Fair projected its exclusive grandeur making it a happening place for the Kolkatans. The experience I had was way beyond just books and publications.

Britain is home to many great writers and prestigious personalities in the field of Literature. You will find an entirely separate stall assigned to the theme country every year:

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In memorial to the noble British laureates, halls were named after them:

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You will find a huge conglomeration of books and myriads of publishing houses of different states under one umbrella:

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Kolkata has an amazing crowd basking in the glory of the city’s culture and creativity. The inexhaustible energy and thriving life can be felt even on a weekday afternoon. The heavy downpour of life adds to the grandiose of the event:

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Kolkata Book Fair has well spread it wings beyond book. This is a place that juxtaposes the city’s art and culture. Here you will find budding artist displaying theirtalent in the most profound way. The myriad hues blended with the atmosphere making it aesthetically rich.

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From t-shirt painting to hand painted bottle art, it was an exhibition ofpure work of brilliance.

While appreciating these elegant pieces of work, I was distracted by the sounds of guitar. Moving few steps closer I could locate the frenzied “adda” zone. It showcases the vibrant youth of Kolkata, the careless lot, humming and strumming on their own while enticing a bunch of spectators.

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Well it’s an established fact that an event without “adda” and “songs” is incomplete for Kolkatans!

Kolkata Book fair will offer you with immense cultural taste. This time I got the opportunity to listen the rich spiritual music performed by the Bangladeshi Bauls. The rhythmic notes produced from their ‘ektara’ added a charming melody to the atmosphere:

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For a while I was lost amidst this fascinating charm, when my tummy tickled to remind me that it’s time to check out what’s cooking. I headed towards the food court where I found galore of cuisines from some of the Kolkata famous food joints waiting to satisfy my taste buds. From street food to the lip smacking Mughlai dishes – it served all.

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And how can I neglect the world famous sweets of Kolkata that leaves the sweet tooth craving:

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Thus the three main ingredients behind the success of any event at Kolkata- Art, Culture and Addahave blended well that popularized the Kolkata Book fair world-wide. This proper concoction has proliferated this grand literature event beyond the fervid book lovers, to be cherished by all.

 Agniva Banerjee