Alok Som: Artist, Architect, Cook, Weaver, Teacher

“My journey is against being or creating the perfect. Growing and keeping a communion with the common and the general requires some level of education or training,” says Alok Som, our Renaissance Person for the Quarter.

Alok Som chose to traverse a different route – a route to freedom– that led to a vision now known as ‘Jalpath’, a bit away from the city of Kolkata. 

What started as a faint sketch of a soulful idea, Jalpath has turned into a vibrant reality for both Som and his inspirational partner and facilitator, whom he fondly calls Balai Da. Som works between Jalpath and Santiniketan, and has designed the former himself. At Jalpath, he provides others the space to train and practice weaving, pottery, dyeing, printmaking, Dokra, architectural designing, cooking, gardening, landscaping, and music. At Santiniketan, he lives in a mud house, and has been training and working with the Santhalese children for the past two decades.

As seasons caressed Jalpath and passed them by, it has transformed into a source of rejuvenation, for both its architects, and for the ardent benefactors of the space. The spirit of silence sustains this waterway – a kaleidoscope of creative human spirit, ensconced from the dizzying lights and cacophony of teeming humanity.

The renaissance story of our inaugural issue is an undiluted peep into the unbridled spirit of Alok Som and the artistic collage that is Jalpath.

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