Every year Saraswati Puja is celebrated on the roof of the shuktara boys' home. All of the young people at shuktara eagerly anticipate wearing new clothes and having kedgeree and prasad. Friends and family are invited to this puja and as you can see, there is always quite a crowd of people having a wonderful time.
In 1999, the very beginning of shuktara, Alison and Bryan stayed in an upstairs flat in the first shuktara home. Their door was almost always open to the first five boys - Anna, Sunil, Shantara, Bapi and Sanjay.
For the next few years they taught computer skills downstairs in David's flat, shared meals with everyone at shuktara, and even went on vacations to Goa and Puri with the boys. While they lived in Kolkata they were frequent visitors to the shuktara homes.
They recently returned to Kolkata for a visit and absolutely loved being back with the young people of shuktara. They took dozens of photos - here are a few of the best.
When Belinda is in Kolkata she always visits shuktara. Usually it's a night out at Fire and Ice to have the best pizza in Kolkata. This time the party included some of the young people from shuktara and a small group of friends. Thank you Belinda!
Our friend Sunnie Nicklaus came back to Kolkata this weekend and she decided that celebrating the Day of the Dead at Lula Bari with the girls would be great fun. First she started off with a couple of hundred photos that she has taken over her previous visits and the girls pasted them all in photo albums and are able to keep their own copies.
Sunnie also brought Day of the Dead masks that everyone decorated. They all decorated each other with paper flowers and the day ended up with some of the biggest balloons we have ever seen.
Thank you Sunnie for coming back to Kolkata!
Diwali is Hindu New Year - also called the Festival of Lights, a holiday that all of shuktara look forward to with joyful anticipation.
The festivities begin at dusk as candles are lit in all of the windows, up the stairs, and around the perimeter of the roof. Everyone enjoys lighting sparklers and crackers as well as watching the fireworks that explode above the rooftops of Kolkata. It's a magical celebration however it's possible that no one enjoys it quite as much as Sunil.
Our friend Emma Christmas is in Kolkata and she brought some leaves from a local forest with her. On her way back from Santiniketan she had an idea for the Lula Bari girls and young women to make leaf garlands and decorate the house.
Lots of paint and lots of laughter - it was messy and a lot of fun for everyone.