A Kolkata resident has covered his neighbourhood with murals of Bengali cultural icons

The colourful art painted on electricity boxes is a welcome change from campaign posters.

Bishop Lefroy Road in Kolkata is famous by association – one of its residents was the late film-maker Satyajit Ray. Before he moved there in 1970, he lived on Lake Avenue from 1948 to 1959 and then in an adjacent lane, Lake Temple Road. In fact, Ray made some of his most celebrated films – Pather Panchali, Charulata, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne and Sonar Kella – while living in these neighbourhoods.

Mudar Patherya, a resident of Sarat Chatterjee Avenue near Lake Avenue, knows this history well, and now thanks to him, the neighbourhood can visualise the part these addresses played in Ray’s life. Patherya, who runs a content and design house, has been using the electrical boxes installed by the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation as canvases for art educating the residents of Lake Temple Road and adjoining neighbourhoods about their cultural heritage.

One electrical box sports a pair of opera glasses painted on a maroon background along with the words “Satyajit Ray lived at 3, Lake Temple Road when he made this film”. This iconic image is from Ray’s Charulata, a film based on a Rabindranath Tagore novel that tells the story of a married woman living a lonely life. Another box shows an image of filmmaker Debaki Bose, who lived on SN Roy Road, to highlight his contribution to playback singing in Indian cinema.

Pathreya got the idea when he saw an electrical box in his neighbourhood that had been used by someone to make cartoon graffiti. “While it was an improvement from the usual barrage of half torn and fraying posters, it was still a very childish visual,” said Pathreya. “I thought, let’s take the idea to another level and bring in the aspect of neighbourhood pride in this. If everybody started talking about their neighbourhoods and its heritage, Kolkata would be so much better for it.”

Over the next few weeks, Pathreya immersed himself in research about the neighbourhood’s history. “Talking to the older residents and scouring the internet unearthed many iconic personalities who had lived on Sarat Chatterjee Avenue, Lake Avenue and SN Road. The project for me was not even about Ray or Bose living there, but the entire aura of this neighbourhood, highlighting the flavours, noises and conversations associated with these places.”

Along with a designer and a painter, Pathreya has managed to make 11 murals. Apart from Ray, these feature artists like playback singer Hemanta Mukherjee and actor Soumitra Chatterjee.

“We have also been engaged in ridding the neighbourhood of all kinds of visual pollution,” said Pathreya. “Wherever we see posters and stuff, we rip it out, but we can’t weed these out really. They come and stick these in the middle of the night. With this initiative at least they will think twice about putting a poster.”

Earlier this year, other parts of Kolkata too were covered in artworks as part of a beautification initiative called Kolkata Street Art Festival. Around 15 artists from the city covered the walls in prominent areas like New Alipur, Ballygunge Tram Depot and Shyambazar.

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It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.

If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.

June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.

Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.

August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival

Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas

About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.