Market Memories

Jayant Kripalani’s first book,New Market Tales offers delightful glimpses the oldest city market in Kolkata.

Written by AMRUTA LAKHE | Published: May 17, 2013 3:00 am

YOU are not a Maharashtrian,Gujarati,Goan or Kannadiga,or even an Indian — you are,if you are not a Bengali,a non-Bengali,” read out Shobhaa De amidst laughter from the audience. The excerpt is from actor Jayant Kripalani’s book New Market Tales,which was launched at the National Centre Performing Arts (NCPA),Nariman Point,on Tuesday.

His first book,New Market Tales is a collection of short stories from his days in Kolkata,where Kripalani paints a vivid picture of the 139-year-old market in the city with the odd and delightful assortment of people who lived there. Speaking of his career,earlier as an advertising professional and then as an actor,he said that the idea for a book on the city had been with him for 20 years.

He said that Kolkata,which has been at the centre of attention in both cinema and literature recently,has not been romanticised in his accounts. “In the quarter of a mile from where I lived,I saw the whole market as a stretch of glittering lights. There were lines of shops,restaurants,coffee shops and shops that sold everything else. People talk about romanticising the city and the garbage,but I don’t believe there is a need for that. It is what it is,” he said.

Put together by NCPA,Literature Live! and Pan Macmillan India,the evening saw Kripalani read excerpts from Mesho and Francis,his short stories that are named after people he knew from the neighbourhood. “These characters and stories are from my memories from Kolkata; I might never want to go back there,but I will always be connected with the place,” Kripalani said.

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