his is not a farewell, rather aabar dekha hobe: Monica Shie – Times of India

Kolkata News

Soon after coming to Kolkata in 2019, Monica Shie, American Center Director and Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate in Kolkata, went on a trip to Kumartuli with CT. It was just before Durga Puja and Monica was all ready to soak herself in the festive fervour. She was thrilled by the works of local artisans. Even in the pandemic, she has explored the nooks and corners of Kolkata. After two years, it is her time to bid goodbye to the city. Before departing, she shared her memories with us. Read on…

Now that you are leaving, how will you remember Kolkata?

I will always remember Kolkata with fondness and warmth. It was a first-choice posting for me. I served at the US Embassy, in New Delhi, 10 years ago. At that time, my family took a trip to Kolkata and other places of eastern India. Ever since I wanted to return here. I have also spent two years at the US Embassy, in Dhaka, where I studied Bangla, read works of Tagore and was introduced to the pleasures of long adda sessions over cha. That experience further prompted me to come back to Kolkata. Despite the pandemic, the lockdown, and the cyclone, I have enjoyed being in this city. It has become home for me, my daughter and even my 89-year-old mother.

You wanted to explore the art and culture of Kolkata. Could you manage to do so in the pandemic?

Yes, I was lucky to have eight months to explore the city before the pandemic hit. I also ventured out a few times as the waves receded. I enjoyed classical performances at the Victoria Memorial, visiting the Indian Museum, discovering artists at the galleries, book talks and the jazz festivals that made this city a perfect place for the culturally inclined. I missed the live performances though.

Will you try draping a sari on your own when you are away?

A long time ago, in New Delhi, I once overheard a woman gently making fun of an American woman who had draped a sari after watching a YouTube video. I decided then that my sari would always be properly draped. Usually, that meant going to the salons, but my partner helped me drape a sari and no one could point out the difference. I am not confident enough to drape one myself, but I always find someone to help me. If I’m desperate, there’s YouTube (laughs).

So, what’s next for you?

My next assignment is in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. But whether it is in a professional or personal capacity, I will definitely come back to Kolkata. This is not a farewell, rather aabar dekha hobe!

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/his-is-not-a-farewell-rather-aabar-dekha-hobe-monica-shie/articleshow/86312186.cms