For last 20 years Milon Mancha is catering to the Bengali elites living in Mumbai. Thus far, entire burden in terms of labour and money, to arrange for cultural events, are borne by two dedicated souls—Shri Rudra and his wife Sharmistha. Immediate last two such events, which we enjoyed and still ringing in our mind, were an evening with Jatileswar on 22.10.2017, and Vijaya Sanmilani on14. 10. 2017, respectively. Both were very good. Before these immediate two, there were many such events arranged successfully, during last 20 years. It is a platform where Prabasi Bengali elites come together.
Milon Mancha by virtue of its commendable performance, earned several hundred elite friends in face book , many of them are real life friends also. At the time of writing this article, they are sharing their concern about the burden of Sri Rudra and Sharmistha bear on their shoulder to arrange those events, and weighing various options sorting out as to how to reduce their burden. It is because Shri Rudra and Sharmistha, although highly motivated, but undeniably, are past their youth, no longer command that endless strength and energy of youth.
It is a senior stage of life– Rudra at 60 plus. Shifting heavy plank of wood, to mount and dismantle the make-shift stage for the artists, bringing and returning the chairs, and arranging other many accessories, are not an easy job, a colossal amount of labour, time, energy and sweat, are required. Anytime this may cause injury of back, waist and spine. God forbid, if in the process they get any injury, there is no third person at home to take care of them. To arrange for an event spanning three hours, they have to work for three days.
These all reminds me of preparing a house for marriage of a girl, and then sending her off next morning before the advent of present day Marriage halls. The deserted house after marriage, would take a lot of work to set back in right order. Many of us have experienced this back home. The house of Milon Mancha requires similar amount of labour for arranging an event.
Milon Mancha is very badly in search of an innovative do-able idea, so that their burden of labour and cost are greatly reduced in holding such event. Breaking point has reached, until any innovation is discovered, it is almost impossible to sustain the activities being maintained for last twenty years.
Milon Mancha where it is presently housed, was originally bought and used for purely living purpose. But the owners were committed to cultural activities, and needed some permanent place to hold that. Arranging another independent accommodation only for cultural matter, was and is provocatively costly in Mumbai. Owners then decided to make double use of their own flat for using it as an effective venue for cultural events. Then its owner Rudra and Sharmistha renovated it, created the present set-up in their home, so that it may serve as a make-shift auditorium for the audience. The set-up has a raised platform, special powerful lighting for stage, and large screens, etc etc. Elite Bengali audiences of Mumbai have been visiting this venue for last 20 years. But we cannot forget that essentially it is a living place as you and me have, for our resting, sleeping, cooking, caring/loving etc etc …. before each event, the living space is converted into a full purpose auditorium and after the event, it is again brought back to the original living place. Huge labour, time and money is involved in effecting the changes.
An innovative idea is required to use their home for daily living for most of the time, and to use it as an auditorium as well, with least shifting of articles/ furniture so that it will do away with the requirement of space to hold articles not in use. Milon Mancha’s need of the hour is an easy convertibility between two forms of above said use of the residential flat.
Some might suggest to collect donation from members to conduct cultural events in an outside auditorium, but members of Milon Mancha do not think that it will be equally enjoyable outside the house of Milon Manha, further, there is an emotional attatchment of the founders to it, there is a holiness associated with it. It is entirely the opinion of this blog writer that as soon as you collect donation from others, somewhere your independence is compromised.
Artists like, Shova sen, Sunil Gangopadhaya, Subodh Dey, Milon chakraborty, Jatileswar ( twice) and many other came at Milon Mancha in response to invitation. A function was organised in memory of Kalikaprasad Bhattacharya which was attended by a large audience.
We are lucky Milon Mancha has a reservoir of talents. We have distinguished people from different fields who are highly educated, influential , served in different high positions, changed many similar things in their work places for improvement. I think somebody who worked in industrial engineering can deliver the present requirement.
What I want to stress here is that we have all required talent among us. All we need that some of us to think hard to produce an innovative workable idea that can make necessary changes in the house of Milon Mancha so that labour and cost involved as of now can be brought down drastically so that present stress/strain of Rudra and Sharmistha can be minimised. There is a crisis in Milon Mancha, Milon Mancha’s existence is threatened. Treat this as an SOS.