It was drizzling. The sky was a beautiful grey. The bright white grand Limelight stood proudly against the monsoon backdrop of Kolkata. I stood admiring the beauty and grandeur from across the street. This was Rippon Street in Kolkata.

This was the first time I noticed the Kolkata Police Museum. The gates were open wide so I walked in to discover more than what I had expected. At the reception I learned about the history of the place and was amazed to see what restoration of heritage buildings can do. Original photographs of the house were in total contrast to post restoration and even the original spiral staircase, doors and windows were very well-maintained.

The house was a constant reminder of the Bhawal Case and the rumors around Ramendra Narayan Roy a Zamindar prince in the 18th century who was supposed to have died at the age of 25, but returned a sanyasi several years later. This sprawling building was where he stayed and fought his legal battles. It was a very popular case and was made into a famous regional film Sanyasi Raja where Uttam Kumar played the key role. When I went to keep my bags the film poster and the old restored photographs of the sanyasi stood framed near the desk. It was such a reminder all the time of all the myths and mysteries of history.

Escorted into the building I came across many more displays that were equally very rare. A history of the police force, rare and old guns, swords, turbans, police medals were all displayed. The ground floor housed some old and interesting relics. Amidst history there was also a simulation machine that would be able to teach driving without actually moving out into the streets. One of the other interesting displays were the files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a constant reminder of the generational shift and its implications in our times today.

The first floor was more modern and something I could relate too. There was a very well- spaced library both for adults as well as children. The Kids Zone was very bright and attractive and the collection of books displayed a variety of subjects. There was also a beautifully encased search engine box.

Beside the library, I found a cafeteria run by Chai Break. You could speak with the chef and request your meal of choice and enjoy it along with your favourite DVD. This was a wonderful place to have a cup of tea with sandwiches or samosas. The overhead antique lighting, framed the large painted portraits of the majestic Zamindars, the Maharajas of yester-years that hung on two opposite walls with an original elegantly crafted round-table in sight.

As I walked out of the building, I was filled with a sense of awe. The museum stood as an example of what restored heritage structures could become. This one though steeped in dispute and mystery had now been converted into a friendly and approachable museum by the Kolkata Police initiative ‘citizen connects,’ thus creating history in our modern times.