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10 ways to avoid distraction and stay focused in busy Calcutta- " The City of Joy"

Dr Sampurna Roy MD                             July 2016

Learn more about your city, culture, history of imperialism and let your creative juices flow.

 

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I donít feel very creative when Iím abroad somehow. I need to be in my chair in Calcutta -   Satyajit Ray.

 

As a pathologist residing in Calcutta, I find it is easy to create a path wiki, write a review on a disease or post a path quiz case. To be creative and write something different can be difficult for a hard core medical professional.

Here are some quick creative cures for writer's block which I found useful.

1) Listen to enchanting Indian music like sitar recital by Ravi Shankar, evergreen Rabindra sangeet , Bengali songs of Hemanta Mukherjee and Manna Dey and ghazals of Begum Akhtar and Jagjit Singh.

2)  Take a boat cruise on river Ganga. Viewed from Hooghly Calcutta has the appearance of city of palaces.  A row of  large beautiful buildings extend from residence of Governor General along Esplanade. It gives a fairytale  effect in early dawn or late evening.

3) Visit the local museum.Calcutta was once characterized as a city of palaces. It is also known to many as a city of museums. There are more than 50 museums in the city for all tastes and interests. Several museums are devoted to art and archaeology, contemporary art galleries, a science and industry museum, a municipal museum, crafts and folk art museum. There are various specialized museums of pathology, geology, and botany.

4) Let your mind wander in the art galleries of Calcutta and enjoy the paintings of collection of some of the famous painters  like, Abanindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Surendranath Kar, Jamini Roy, Paritosh Sen, Ganesh Pyne, Bikas Bhattacharya, Somnath Hore and many others.

5) Visit Kalighat or Dakshineswar temple and watch the evening aarti . Meditate and say your prayers.The most appropriate characterization of Calcutta would be to refer to it as the city of Kali. Goddess Kali was present long before Job Charnock decided to establish the British foot-hold in Bengal. Kali, the goddess of death and destruction may well be one of the oldest personification of divine power on the subcontinent.

6)  If you want to get lost in the world of books visit the famous landmark of the city College Street. Bengalis call it "Boipara" land of book  stores with huge collection of  rare books. Have a cup of coffee in the renowned "coffee house" which was the meeting place of the city's artists, writers and other intellectuals.

7) Visit the local market and listen to the stories of the local bengali shop keepers. You may get the idea of your next story from these simple people leading an extraordinary life. Do you know how to bargain? I never bargain. I read somewhere Indians are very good at bargaining. If you donít know how to bargain you are not a proper Indian.   

8)  Cook an authentic Bengali meal and use a wide range of colourful Indian spices. Please eat the delicious fish curry with your fingers.  This reminds me Oprah Winfreyís  famous innocent remark - "I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still?  If an American asked me this question,  I would have asked an equally innocent question - "Why is  Gun Control not working in America and why mass murder of innocent people still so common?"  It is all about culture of a nation.

9) Watch a theatre. Theatre is part of Bengalís culture and heritage. Bengali theatre was initiated by a gifted Russian scholar Herasim Lebedeff.  Places like Star theatre have been associated  with Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansadev, Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, Girish Chandra Ghosh, Nati Binodini, Sishir Bhaduri  and the list is never ending. Read books about their creative lives and inspire your soul.  There is tremendous contribution of Calcutta towards the development of film, dance, music and the theatre. In all these areas the city is often regarded as well ahead of its time, with new ideas that had a wide ranging effect on the entire subcontinent.

10)  Number one creativity killer is social media. Personally, I like to keep away from Facebook and Twitter culture. I'm not against those who use it because it is a free world.  Computer, cell phone, social media, various search engines are playing an important role in everyday life, for many people. That is wonderful as long as it is not used for cyber crime and espionage.

I am born in a free country and I don't want to be a slave of technology.

I still remember my ride in  "Itís a Small World " in  Disney World - Florida. As a child I was wondering why India was shown as a land of snake charmers and only famous for Taj Mahal. Snakes are kept in the zoo. I have not seen a single snake charmer in my entire life. Even my maid and driver have not heard of snake charmers in their locality. This shows complete ignorance and distorted view of  "creative people" of a so called developed nation.

In Indian culture guests are treated as God and given full respect. (Atithi Devo Bahava', which means "Guest is God"). Sometimes they are welcomed with garland of flowers and showered with expensive gifts. 

May be it is time to change this slave mentality in matters related to cyber world  and sometimes in real life.

When it is a question of personal security it is better not to treat our unknown online friends as God.  Cybercriminals, hackers and sociopaths can be a man or woman and may be from within your own country or from any part of the world.

If you keep away from negative people you will be less distracted and more focused on things that really matter.

I can see that in Calcutta statues of British imperialists are removed from public places and replaced with those of Indian heroes. 

Like them or hate them, the fact remains Calcutta was creation of the British. Victoria Memorial a landmark of our city was the brain-child of Lord Curzon, the greatest and most uncompromising imperialist. Victoria Memorial was one of the last architecture created by the British in India.

Both native Calcuttans and our foreign invaders have enriched the cultural heritage of Calcutta.  The imposing buildings are a constant reminder of our colonial past.

Travel in all the four quarters of the earth, yet you will find nothing anywhere. Whatever there is, is only here.- Ramakrishna

 

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Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)

 

 


 

 

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