By Michael Stephen*
It was indeed a pleasure to have visited Kolkata for Christmas on the 6th January 2012 after a gap of 4 years.
I was extremely happy to meet with all our community members / students / staff of ACPA / Church and Rev. Fr. Khoren Hovhannisyan and was taken around the Armenian College where I found a lot of changes for good have taken place with renovations done very innovatively. Fr Hovhannisyan also said that more students are ready to come but the space to accommodate them is not sufficient. I fully agree with him after I went around the college campus. As indicated they plan to demolish the old Davidian Girls School building and build a new structure in its place once this is done more kids would come.
Also I visited the Sir Paul Chater Homes and the cemetery attached next to it. I was surprised that 70% of the rooms were vacant this really made me very sad I remember in the 80s it was full. Visited the old cemetery nearby but was shocked as it was not maintained well over there. I laid flowers at my great grandpa Vagarshak Stephen & great Grandma's Zenobias grave. The caretaker Mr Cecil Milne was very courteous.
I also attended the church service thanks to Fr Khoren for the very nice service and also attended the Christmas tree party on the 6th. Very few families came for this party. Thanks to the wardens and all for the lovely gifts and eats provided.
I also visited the Bandel church and St Johns Armenian church, I must say the church at Chinsurah is well maintained. I met with the caretaker Ivan who was very courteous with me.
Thanks to the Wardens Mrs. Susan Reuben / Mr Sunil Sobti, Chairman Mr Michael Dutt and Committee members for all they have done and I hope one day soon more Armenian families would come and settle in Kolkata / other cities as the numbers are dwindling fast and this is alarming.
God bless all at Kolkata.
* Michael Stephen is based in Bangalore, India. He has been former Assistant Manager of ACPA, Kolkata, former caretaker of the Armenian Church in Madras and ex-student of ACPA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org