The Man From Calcutta- a memoir by Sabyasachi Mukherjee



Illustration Inspired by the following narration :


"A few years ago, I attended a Bengali wedding. A family of barristers. The first thing that struck me was the extraordinary amount of Jamini Roy paintings that were almost irreverently displayed on the walls. Baccarat and Osler chandeliers hung solemnly from ceilings,and priceless Ming vases were gathering dust in the corners.


But it was the gentry that made the wedding atmospheric. Shehnaiwalas served as accompaniments to the melody of animated chatter amongst the lawyers,doctors and barristers,who were catching up with one another in their immaculate dhoti kurtas,whiskey glasses in hand. The women wore exquisite benarasi sarees,with jasmine in their hair,delicate gold filgree jewellery and a large dollop of sindoor smeared as a bindi on their forehead. The evening's intimate energy felt to me more like a family gathering than the extravagant weddings that social media conditions us to expect.


And the food- it was exceptional ! Bengali cuisine,beautifully edited and cooked to perfection. Decadent,indulgent but completely authentic.No fusion, no confusion.


There is another memory of that wedding that I revisit often,especially when I'm conceptualizing menswear collections.It's that of a gentleman, who held my undivided attention throughout the night. He was old,inexplicably distinguished in appearance and demeanor. He sat in a quiet corner,conversing with who I presumed was an old friend,removed from the music and the banter. He wore a simple khadi kurta and dhoti ,and humble shoes from Bata--comfortable and unpretentious. Eventually ,he motioned to someone his intent to leave. An attendant hurried over with the man's walking stick : a polished wooden beauty with a gold tiger head encrusted with the most beautiful pigeon blood Burmese rubies. I watched transfixed,as he strode commandingly across the room,to the porch outside,and disappeared into a black ambassador car."