B./Baobab/Da/Dada/Dr. Nawn/N./Nandan/Nandan-da/Nandan Nawn/Professor Nawn/S./Sir*
nawn-sen-se | non-sense
Ordinary meaning: nawn’s way of making sense of his reality
Alternative uses: nawn-sens-ing verb
Ordinary meaning: act of expressing thoughts through nawnsense.medium.com
* The author of this work is variously called by these. He considers himself to be a Teacher, Researcher, Mentor, Supervisor (of many kinds) Academic Worker, Author, Reviewer, Homemaker, Partner, Carer, Father, Friend, and Dreamer. This list is non-exhaustive. It is not in any order either, as the prioritisation changes as described against the meanings of the term ‘gender fluid person’ (in the last para here). He is ‘work-ing’ to call himself a healer as well. Copyright © Nawn 2021. Released under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC 4.0) by the author. Published on nawnsense.medium.com.
Author’s Notes on the “naming scheme”
[in the line of ‘Namkoroner Sarthokota” that all students of Bengali in Madhyamik Pariksha in West Bengal had to know at least during 1980s ].
While the second part of the ‘Name’ of this blog is obvious, I take this opportunity to offer some light on the first part.
Of course, its pronunciation is motivated from what some of my peers (including one of my Bengali co-editors) say jokingly: “if he is Nandan non (in Bengali my surname is pronounced as Naan, same as butter Nan!) who is he?”. I provided some evidence in the footnote marked * on my efforts to provide an answer to this really existential question!
Well, origins of my ‘last name’ are still hazy to me. Surely, it was a ‘title’ given to one of my ancestors several generations ago. I have plans to travel in search of my Roots as Alex Haley did, as and when I can ‘grab’ a sabbatical (no one will give a fellowship to an economist on this). May be I will collaborate with a historian.
Before shifting to Kalighat in South Kolkata on 04.02.1980 we (my parents, younger sister, a resident-domestic help, and me) stayed at 53A, Ramdulal Sarkar Street close to Hedua in North Kolkata (above Mahadev Mistanna Bhandar, a sweetshop known for its singara — its shape and cooking method is same as a samosa but contents different and hence taste; more later). This part of Kolkata is known for several (quite famous) sweetshops till date. Its quite close to Simla Street (for its rich history see here), where one of the greatest philosopher-cum-practitioners from Bengal lived. There is a major artery in his name. Its one end is at a place named after one of the most famous theater personalities from Bengal (who at least once did not “rise to the occasion”, eloquently captured in Rukmini’s Ph.D. thesis).
I use this road, when I visit this place in search of good sweets from the third place in Kolkata where I stayed, at CB Block, Salt Lake. On the way comes a big market, which apparently my ancestors made and owned. According to Wikipedia, this “market, along with Hatibagan, Sealdah, Lake Market and Gariahat markets, is amongst the largest markets in Kolkata“.
In my understanding (motivated by one chapter in Prothom Alo and author’s notes in it), like every other “rent seeker” such as zamindars and large commercial ‘families’, ‘Nawn Estate (P) Ltd’ too decimated to just a legal entity after 1970s, with signs of a collapse of “Nawn family” (see, Nawn Estates (P) Ltd vs C.I.T., West Bengal on 14.10.1976) emanating some years ago. Sensing this collapse, my father started his own business ANOROC Conductors & Accessories Pvt Ltd on 20.04.1968 (three years before his marriage, and four years before I was born) at the majestic Mercantile Building (a part of then Nawn Estate and sold later), and just opposite to Lalbazar police station (when I visited IIAS, Shimla first time in 2006, sight of Viceregal Lodge reminded me of this building). Many of my friends and teachers have seen and used the calendar with ANOROC in its masthead. He sold the company a few years ago.
Most of the Nawns still stay on Ramdulal Sarkar Street, including a (now partitioned) large house which has seven courtyards. On its one edge is the Kalachand Temple where I used to be taken on some festive occasions during my childhood. Daily rituals are performed there till date. Someone commented against the earlier link that “Kalachandji, literally translated as ‘the beautiful moon-faced one,’ is worshipped as the Supreme Personality of Godhead by thousands of devotees”. Google-ing reveals that one such temple in Bishnupur is recognised by Tripadvisor. Even the Wikipedia entry on Bishnupur mentions this temple.
On this very moment, when seven members of the 4255 household (more later) are inside it, when incessant raindrops just decided to give it a break, when darkness is slowly fading and sensing it, birds starting their morning calls, I press the ‘publish’ button (technically, its not publishing but ‘releasing’; more later).
As Rukmini says, every ‘first’ thing, occasion, moment and other such has a special significance. The spirit is beautifully captured by the poet through “Pratham Sob Kichhu”.