Lost Addresses

70

Author: Krishna Bose
Translated from Bengali by: Sumantra Bose
Publisher: Niyogi Books (Pp 204, ISBN, 9789385285066, Rs 450)

What could be found in Lost Addresses: A Memoir of India (1934-1955) is a history of Calcutta (present day Kolkata), Bengal or India to larger extent, written by Krishna Bose, recollecting years of her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. Krishna Bose is wife of Sisir Kumar Bose, son of the nationalist leader Sarat Chandra Bose, nephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Born as Krishna Chaudhuri in Dhaka, to East Bengali parents, she brought up mingling with great people who turned out to be her relatives, her father’s friends and some landmark historical incidents she witnessed or involved before and after India’s independence.

Among the friends or frequent visitors of Krishna’s father was Bibhuti Bhushan Bandhopadhyay, author of Pather Panchali (Song of the Road), published in 1929 and became a pathbreaking movie of the same name by Satyajit Ray. In the later years, both the movie and the book gained big global recognition; then Satyajit further made two more movies in form of sequel, namely Apu Trilogy, which Bandhopadhyay published in 1932.

Krishna’s uncle Khirode is the famous Dr KC Chaudhuri, India’s pioneer paediatrician—after him founded the Dr KC Chaudhuri Foundation. From Chowringhee Road, her first address and first memory in life at age three, to Dover Lane to Rashbehari Avenue… addresses Krishna had lived while growing up and coming of age summed up in this memoir called Lost Addresses. Beauty of this book is the author’s elegant style of storytelling, describing the social, cultural and political milieus of the time, connected to the heritages of Bengal (both East and West) and intelligentsia. In the story, Krishna relives how she experienced the Quite India Movement, World War-II, Bengal Famine, Red Ford Trails of INA Officers, Great Calcutta Killings, Partition and Independence of India.

Krishna began her career in 1955 teaching English in a women’s college in Calcutta, where she served in the capacity of the principal. Then she joined politics and elected as MP (Lok Sabha) three times. In his note on the translation of his mother’s memoir, Sumantra Bose, youngest of the three children of Krishna, says Lost Addresses is a nostalgic blend of the private and public, personal and national experiences, distinguished by the simplicity of its style and expression.

– Jyaneswar Laishram

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