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.
Our friends Emma and Simon who visited Lula Bari last week, also spent an afternoon at our boys home. Emma was here on the day that Ratan came, so for her it was very emotional to see him again. The moment he was brought into the house in 2012 was a particularly poignant memory for her.
Emma brought her partner Simon with her this time and it's always interesting to see our homes and young people through someone else's eyes.
In Simon's stunning photos below you can see that he has a great eye and it's no coincidence that his name on Instagram is @polyperspective.
Preparations are happening for Saraswati Puja which will be held here on the roof of our boys home on Wednesday 1st February.
Sunil is helping Jogen by placing old saris around the swan that we have made. A flat marble slab on the swan is ready for the goddess to be placed on. Now we are just waiting for Saraswati!
Saraswati (Sanskrit: सरस्वती, Sarasvatī) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning (Wikipedia).
September 23rd was Sanjib Shaw's birthday and he decided to share his day with the young people at shuktara.
He brought chicken, Indian sweets, chocolate and cakes as well as one sack of rice!
Pappu Mishra (chairman of shuktara) is really happy when local people develop an interest in shuktara.
Sanjib heard about us when he started visiting our locality.
So we say thank you and Janamdin Mubarek (Happy Birthday) to Sanjib!
First trailer for LION released!
Lion is a film that resonates with many at shuktara - it's the story of a boy who gets lost after boarding the wrong train and ends up in Kolkata, far from home. Adopted by a couple from Australia, many years later he goes back to India to search for his family.
When Lion was filmed last year in Kolkata four of the boys from shuktara were called in by the production team to be part of the film.
Here are photos of Raju, Ashok, Sumon and Bablu on the set.
We obviously prefer to give you good news and happy stories but the reality is when you are caring for a large number of young people living together accidents do occasionally happen.
About a week ago Rajesh damaged one of his fingers by slamming it in the kitchen door. He spent the night at hospital where they bandaged his finger.
A few days after his overnight stay he was taken back to the hospital for the dressing to be removed. The medical staff decided to keep him there for a few days so that his finger could be operated on. Clearly his finger needed slightly more attention than we originally thought.
Rajesh came home from hospital August 3rd - still bandaged and he says in a little pain - but home!
Read more about Rajesh...
Bablu Lal is the oldest resident in the shuktara homes. Although we don't know his exact date of birth he is probably in his mid-thirties.
From the very beginning when the boys moved into their home in Behala, this has been Bablu's usual place - sitting at the entrance to the house and watching the world go by!
To read more about Bablu Lal, click here.