History of Utsarga

The quality of mercy it is said " is twice blessed..it blessed him that gives and him that gets". Utsarga has its roots in the disposition of Late Smt. Protima Ghosh, our grand-mother, who in her lifetime and beyond, took the Shakespearean anecdote to another level. As we flitted in and out of our grand-mother's house in 1970s and 1980s at 2/14 Netaji Nagar, Tollygunge, Calcutta, we picked up snippets of her largesse. From giving up her gold bangles to Gandhiji to giving all her monthly earnings for her grandchildren's well being, her strength of character formed the back-bone of the thinking of our generation.. a thinking that centered around building blocks for the society around you.

Fast forward to the 1990s. The ground floor of the Netaji nagar house was handed down to my mother Mala Roy. She , my father Dilip Kumar Roy, my aunt Tripti Dutta put in endless hours to create a center of education , a school for the under-priviledged... a dose of healthy food, knowledge and education. In 8 years the place became a buzzing center for children , whose lack of economic wherewithal should not be a hindrance to their going forward in life.

By the middle of the first decade of the millenium I started thinking about this with a longer term plan. This organization should do more and it should survive for longer. It should not just be " twice blessed" but infinitely so. We thought of creating an art studio for budding yet unknown artists.. a place where hopefully he will be launched into future fame. We wanted to provide the proverbial first rung of the ladder , which in today's world is often an economic one. My cousin Madhumita Bose, spent tireless hours looking for artists, talented and yet in need, motivating and guiding them. We faced difficulties ( that will only be a part of folklore). When our friends started buying the first paintings that came out of the Utsarga stable, it was an emotional moment . We knew our grandmother's legacy will live on. My friend Ramanendu Chatterjee ( a technology entrepreneur) lend his helping hand and we transformed the premises of Utsarga on Sundays to a computer skill coaching center for the same set of kids who come on weekdays. Bridging the digital divide is probably going to be the most important bridge to cross for the next 25 years. The sparks in the eyes of the kids, whose education started with what a mouse was as an animal of scorn on weekdays to an object to grasp for the next leap forward, said it all.

October 2007 , Durga Puja time. At a cousins get together , we decided to formalize, institutionalize and hopefully immortalize this effort. An Utsarga ( dedication) to the life and ways of our grandmother.

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