Remember the Bengali movie ‘Sharey Chuattor’? The unfurling of that love story stayed behind the walls of a mess bari and the hilarious consequences it leads to? How can we forget that? However, the modern PG culture accommodation may take over the Mess Bari but the old charm of it will send shivers down the spine.
Let us churn the stories of the Byomkesh movie where the criminal runs a mess bari! Well, over the twist and turns those mess bari of Kolkata somehow became the part and parcel of Bengali ethos. With the constant change and preference of Kolkata dwellers, most of the mess baris are gone, leaving behind few.
Let’s take the example of “Khetra Kuthi Mess Bari” on Muktaram Babu Street. The famous Bengali Shibram Chakraborty lived in this house. Less none fact is, writer Saradindu Bandopadhyay also lived in a mess bari. He stayed in the Presidency Boarding House on 66 MG Road in Kolkata. Now, we know where the plots of his ‘Goyenda Bomkesh’ stories came from!
Bengal’s two stalwarts Mohit Lal Mujumdar and Sanjanikanta Das use to live in mess bari and created history. Mess Bari had a different story altogether. These buildings carry several memories, moments framed in time, behind the old walls.
An era of Bengal seems to be vanishing and the century-old mess baris stand as a witness to that lost era.