From Manjari.... Founder - “Ask Jari” - is like the planned first child. It’s a labour of lot of discussions and hope of spontaneity under the weight of expectations. But if I have to start, I would pay homage to where it all began – Birbhum, that red soiled, rustic district of W. Bengal where I and my forefathers belong.
That devastating wit and my college senior @ JU – Joy Bhattacharjya, recently made a numerical observation that there are 4 famous sons of Birbhum. Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Pranab Mukherjee, Amartya Sen and Allaudin Khilji. It may be hazardous to health to comment on Khilji Saheb, but I can claim the rest. Ex President is from the neighbouring village from our Bolpur. Nabonita Deb Sen, the Nobel laureate’s wife taught me comparative literature and finally Bengali novelist Tarashankar Bandhopadhyay is my great uncle.
But what beckons me is the bucolic soil of Birbhum, colors of Shantiniketan, Poush Mela, the intricate designs of khatha stitch sarees, colourful leathercrafts, fabulous handloom, village weavers, tribal dances, earthy smell of the land & the lingering aura of Rabindranath Tagore.
Is it all? Or maybe there is more, that roots me there. At every puja I spent with my grandmother there, I met writers, poets, artists and artisans. For every poem, there was also a talk about a new weaver of katha & his work. For every short story discussed, grandma also had a tale of a new batik saree that she got. Or some tribal jewellery that some Santhal tribal had brought for her. And somewhere in that cauldron of experiences, “Ask Jari”, was perhaps first seeded.
I do not know where this journey of “Ask Jari” will take me. But come with me, hold my hand and we will have fun together, as we explore handicrafts, handlooms, sarees with tales, tribal jewellery, kinky home decor and others. - Jari
PS : The editorial team – Sutanu Mukherjee, who cannot write anything short. Anita Mukherjee, who cuts Sutanu to size. Shamik Chatterjee, the creative guru. And Manjari Mukherjee, the true north.
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