Neighbours miss Rocketman’s magic this Kali Puja

Barindranath Lahiri made fireworks as a hobby and he would have an elaborate show on his terrace at Ramrajatala in Howrah on Kali Puja night

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An old picture of Barindranath preparing fireworks for display on Kali Puja

 

Residents and children of Ramrajatala and neighbouring areas will definitely miss Barindranath Lahiri this Kali Puja. Popular in his area as Baji Kashi or Rocketman of Howrah Lahiri, who died earlier this year, was popular as a fireworks maker in Ramrajatala.  Every Kali Puja night Lahiri’s terrace would turn into a gallery open for guests,friends and relatives who gathered to watch his creations. Neighbours would also wait anxiously for his show on this night. He would paint garlands, parachutes or a string of colours in the new moon sky.  His fame had travelled beyond his neighbourhood and he would often be invited to display his fireworks. He was called to show his fireworks at Mohun Bagan’s platinum jubilee celebration in 1964.

For Barindranath, making fireworks was a religion and he would not sell his pieces. On Kali Puja every visitor at the Lahiri house got prasad  in the form of fireworks like flower pots or any of the other innovative things that Barindranath made. He used to distribute fireworks among children to give them happiness.

He learnt making rockets when he was only 10 years old from his maternal grandfather Chandicharan Sanyal, who was also popular in Shyambazar area for his hot air balloons and rockets.

For 60 long years, Barindranath entertained his neighbours with his fireworks display and now his son Pradip has kept the tradition alive. “I want to keep the tradition going. He loved making rockets and entertaining people. My father will be happy to see this in his heavenly abode,” said Pradip.

 

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