Month: October 2019

shuktara - Diwali

Happy Diwali!

For 20 years now we’ve been celebrating Diwali on the roof of shuktara. Diwali is celebrated with fireworks and crackers all across India. In Kolkata Kali Puja signifies the end of the puja season and usually takes place the night after Diwali. This year both festivals were on the same night so everyone set off their fireworks together.

Sunil loves pujas but this is perhaps his very favourite one because it involves extremely loud noises he is able to hear despite being profoundly deaf. Pappu took him to choose the fireworks and the choices were overwhelming – just take a look at this shop selling only fireworks (below).

Last Sunday (27th October) at dusk small clay containers were filled with oil and a wick and placed all around both homes. As darkness fell the lamps were lit and the feeling was absolutely magical.

Then the firework show began with rockets, pinwheels, fountains and sparklers. All over the city colourful lights and sounds continued for most of the night.

Happy Diwali from all of us at shuktara!

shuktara - lamps on Diwali
shuktara - Chaturdashi

Chaturdashi – the evening before Kali Puja

Lighting of 14 candles at Anna Bari

Chaturdashi is observed on the night before Kali Puja. Fourteen lamps were lit and placed around the house to remember 14 generations of those who have died.

In the video Sunil is lighting the candles around Anna Bari.

VIP Guests at the Kali Puja Inauguration

On the same evening Pappu took Guria, Prity, Aakash and Bappa to a Kali Puja inauguration where they were VIP guests and Pappu was able to speak to the audience about the work he does at shuktara.

shuktara - Anna remembered

Remembering Anna

Anna died on Sunday 21st October 2018.
He had been in hospital for one week during the celebration of Durga Puja here in Kolkata and on the last day of the Pujas, which is called Bijoya and is the day that the goddess returns back to her heavenly abode, we received news from the hospital that Anna was coming home the following day.

He came home and died the next day surrounded by the shuktara family.

According to the Hindu calendar his first year death anniversary and the rituals around it were held on Thursday 10th October which is when all of these photos were taken at Anna Bari, his home, named in his memory and during the course of the day Pappu did the the rituals for Anna’s final shradh.

It included lots of fire and very significant and meaningful moments, like walking outside the house with his favourite food, leaving it by the pond – walking away and not looking back.
Painful, but one more lesson in letting go.

Everyone came to Anna Bari, the girls all came from Lula Bari and the two older boys who are now married and living independently, came with their wives and daughters.
It was an exhausting day for everyone but important in so many ways to honour the memory of Anna who meant so much to us and along with Sunil were the first boys and the beginning of shuktara.

Shuktara Trust (UK)

Changes at Shuktara Trust (UK)

Shuktara Trust (UK) - Mike Tungay
Mike Tungay
Mike Tungay has been Chairman of Shuktara Trust (UK) since 2006, soon after the Trust was registered in November 2005.

This means that Mike has been a Trustee for 14 years and Chairman for 13 years. Earlier this month on 18th September at a Shuktara Trust (UK) Trustees Meeting held in London Mike expressed that it is now the right time for him to step down as Chair and suggested that Adam Thompson takes over the role. Adam confirmed that he was happy to do so.

Adam Thompson first visited Kolkata back in 2001 and has been involved in all things shuktara since then, including being a trustee since 2005. In February, earlier this year he visited again with his son Frankie and you can read his description of the visit here:
Adam’s visit to shuktara

Adam Thompson

Mike will of course continue to be a Trustee and we thank him for his commitment over the years and look forward to working with him and socialising with him and Sue much more – now they have more time.

We are all also grateful for their promise to support Adam as he takes over this important role.

We welcome Adam as Chairman and all he can bring to shuktara in this role. His care and love towards the young people at Lula Bari and Anna Bari that we witnessed in February brought a smile to everyone’s face.

Thank You Mike Tungay and welcome to the role of Chairman Adam Thompson.

Some words Adam wrote on his return to London from his previous visit seem just as relevant today:

“I like to imagine myself in another twenty years, grizzled, perhaps lame in one leg and once again drinking tea on the roof of shuktara as the sun goes down. If this shuktara of the future has fostered even half of the love it has shown over the past twenty years we will all as supporters, feel incredibly proud of the work that David, Pappu and the team have done. I donโ€™t bet (much), if I did, my guess is that all the right foundations are in place for a home of much happiness for many, many years ahead.”

shuktara - Guria

Gift Aid Awareness Day

shuktara - Guria and her physical therapistGift Aid allows UK charities to claim back the basic rate tax already paid on donations by the donor (only UK donors are eligible). This means we can claim back from the government on your behalf 25p for every ยฃ1 donated, boosting the value of the donation by a quarter.

We are grateful for your donations, both the one-off gifts and the standing orders that you have set up.

This extra money makes so much difference in Kolkata, it means we can do things like pay for more physiotherapy classes for Guria, who has cerebral palsy and lives at Lula Bari.

If you are a supporter of shuktara and haven’t filled up a Gift Aid Declaration form please think about it.

It’s really easy and all the information is available here:
So, if you pay Income Tax in the UK your donation can go much further if you take a few minutes and fill out the form.
Thank You!