Spirits and Haunts : The Fairlawn Chronicles

Fairlawn is a beer garden in Sudder Street, off New Market. Afternoons, you can sit under the shade of big, dirty, yellow and green striped umbrellas and have a beer or two. Evenings, you can sit under same┬ábig, dirty, yellow and green striped umbrellas and maybe have a beer or 4, but now, you’ll be surrounded by flickering little electric lights strung up on the trees, the walls, winding up and down like creepers.

And you can smoke. Because it’s an open area drinking place, one of the few in the city. And you can have chilly chicken or jacket potatoes, which will be brought to you, carefully wrapped in foil paper. They are hygienic that way. Evenings, it’s a bustling place. A lot of students and a whole lot of tourists, mostly backpackers who usually stay in and around Sudder Street when visiting Calcutta.

These are the pretty lights and big, dirty umbrellas I am talking about. Along with beer of course. Everything gets nicer with a beer, right?


And here’s Fairlawn in the afternoons. A little less magical, evidently, much nice just the same. (sorry, the photo shrunk by some mysterious way)


And here’s Aveek and Biswa. Being their general, goofy selves after many rounds of beer.


And here’s Biswa talking about the wholesome goodness of South Park and a comparative analysis between Eric Cartman and Jennifer Lopez. Clearly the former wins.


Fairlawn is my go-to place when I am in need of some cheering up. It’s an instant mood lifter, and what makes me the happiest? Well, there’s this very benign girl cat who lives there. Black and white, thin young girl cat with a beautiful face. Large, expressive eyes and regal cheekbones. She’s always hungry and always in need of cuddling. Breaks my heart every single time. It is strange how all these little animals wander into your lives, fleetingly, and carve a place for themselves forever.

Beyond the Garden



Sunlight on the tips of dew drenched leaves.
The smell of wet vegetation overpowering the air.
Verdant. Evoking newness, the promise of spring.
The cacophony of songbirds as the small, naked feet run out the kitchen door, into the garden.


Somewhere in that garden with its orchards and thickets and dangerously twining vines and a dried up fountain with an angel looking up towards the sky with its mouth wide open. Naked. Like the small feet. Innocent in its nakedness. Without a sense of shame. Without the infiltration of sin.


The skin breaks into goose-flesh as it grazes the cold marble. As pure and lifeless as ice. The feet now hurry along the wet pebbled pathway, beyond the orchard. Past the tree house. Never looking back at the wooden fences. The kitchen door stays wide open.