As a kid, I have heard many adults say with a firm conviction that, even though we could not see Jinns in their true form, animals could see them and that is the reason why sometimes at 3 a.m. at night, we can hear a dog bark without any reason at all.
For a long time, Tagore wasn’t allowed to leave the premises of his house. But he wanted to see the outside world. When someone visited their house, young Tagore asked them to narrate stories of the world outside. The more he heard, the more his desire rose. Yet, there was no escape.
No age had ever been able to produce such a great talent. A common belief goes that one cannot complete reading all his literary works in one life – such is the vastness of his genius. No doubt, he is almost worshipped by the Bengalis. Tagore wrote short stories, poems, novels, dramas and songs.
Written with simple prose and heart-warming sketches – the illustrator and author takes us on his journey through Penang as he presents us a with slice-of-life narrative through his travels. From music to places of worship, from man-made monuments to natural beauty, from tradition to modern-day Penang – this book has it all.
History greeted us as soon as we stepped on the town of Murshidabad—the land that holds Bengal’s greatest pride as well as its saddest past. The last capital of Bengal before British rule, Murshidabad stores many hidden stories of love, friendship, loyalty, patriotism and betrayal.
There is a certain sense of bittersweet beauty that comes along with relating mythology or history with the life that we currently lead. Wars, epidemics, lockdowns – our generation has been fortunate to have only read about these and to have the freedom to choose if we want to imagine what life was in those times or to dismiss it as the past. But now, as our lives turn into an event that will be remembered for several years to come, like how we remember the Black Plague or the Bengal famines, it may be soothing to look back to instances like ours, where we have fought and survived.
The concept of people packing their bags to explore new territories is as old as time itself. And despite coming from a long lineage of Gujarati merchants – I know that we are not alone in our desire to chart uncharted terrains in the names of commerce. There are others like us – from all cultures and creeds from around the world.
As I made my way down Jonker Street, I found myself at The Royal Press – one of the world’s oldest surviving polyglot letterpress museums dedicated to preserving the craft of letterpress printing. Located in one of Melaka’s many shophouses, I was immediately hit by a sense of nostalgia when I walked in. As a descendant of Southeast Asian merchants, I am all too familiar with the concept of the shopfloor on the ground floor and a living space on the second floor.