In eastern India, during the winter months when the sun is bearable, picnicking is a pastime that’s taken very seriously. Groups of families, friends, neighbours and colleagues travel far to claim the perfect riverside spot. Vats of freshly slaughtered chicken, sacks of vegetable and an arsenal of pots, pans and gas cylinders are lugged along, taking cooking en plein air to a whole new level. Gigantic loudspeakers blare the songs from Indian blockbusters high above permissible decibels. Men get drunk, brawl and dance as women and children watch, without much interaction, if any, between genders. As the sun sets, the buses pull out, leaving the leftovers of the feast amidst a sea of rubbish.
This book brings together the work realised by Calcuttan photographer Arko Datto about this phenomenon, and an essay combining historical background and personal memories by Kushanava Choudhury, whose acclaimed first novel about Calcutta, The Epic City (2017), shows a deep understanding of the expectations and contradictions of contemporary urban Indian young people.
Dimensions: 29 x 23 cm
Page: 146 pages
Binding: Hard cover
Impression: Norprint, Santo Tirso, Portugal
Publisher: Le Bec en l’air