On Tuesday at dawn the city woke up to the buzz of a record-breaking 1.5 km long Alpona on Lake Road in South Kolkata. Four hundred students from the Government College of Art and Craft and the Indian Art College worked overnight to create the traditional Bengali floor art as part of a corporate initiative in around Samaj Sevi Puja Pandal in Lake View Road. It was unveiled by Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee on Mahalaya amidst the beats of dhak, and the result is enthralling and, might we add, captivating.
Twenty-four hours later, the vibrant and magical creation is a shadow of its former self as a steady drizzle and heavy traffic took its toll.
While the city laments the fading of this beautiful artwork, Chhatrapati Dutta, Principal, Government College of Art and Craft, has a pragmatic view:
It was a fantastic endeavour. It created great excitement but it was meant to vanish. There is nothing to be sad. It happened. That is the important thing. It wasn’t meant to be preserved. Our traditions fade away. We create them again. This beauty is meant to be experienced. The creative practice will continue.