WAREHOUSE ON WHEELS – KOLKATA SKATEBOARDING (2015)
Let me share with you an inspiring story of how a dilapidated warehouse in my city became the birthplace of a thriving skateboarding scene; empowering economically disadvantaged kids from the locality. This is the story of our Warehouse on Wheels – a coin we termed to fondly remember the place where we made memories for a lifetime.
It all started with American social worker Aaron Walling, who introduced skateboarding to economically disadvantaged kids in an abandoned warehouse in south Kolkata. The scene grew slowly, catching the attention of curious locals like me who were drawn to the irresistible charm of this foreign sport and the unmistakable vibe of the space. We soon had a core volunteer team of about half a dozen members under the brilliant leadership of Aaron and his wife, Deborah Walling.
Every Saturday at 3:00 pm sharp, we, the volunteers along with Aaron and all the kids gathered at the warehouse for their weekend session of skateboarding. It all started with a weekly ritual of cleaning up the space with brooms and draining out the pool of water that often gathered in the rainy season from the leaky roof above.
Once the place was cleaned up, the magic was ready to being for the weekend. Rather than trying to capture the vibe and the energy of our Warehouse on Wheels, through words; Why don’t you take a peek and experience the magic of the place yourself?
Now that you’ve got a glimpse of the KS vibe, let me share some memories of some Help-Portrait, Kolkata sessions ( official and impromptu ones ) that we’ve had over the years at the Warehouse. The first one was back in 2013 when we handed out the photos of the kids from their practice sessions. This one was special for me as ( unlike the earlier HPK sessions that i had done till then ) it was a complete surprise for the kids and they didn’t see it coming. The photo-handout day was a riot of fun, joy and jubilation for both the volunteers and the kids!
In the spring of 2023, our founder, Aaron Walling, made a trip back to Kolkata for a few days on his work trip and he made use to drop by the Warehouse for a grand reunion of the original batch of KS. He also got along with him, a bunch of printed and priceless memories back from the good old days, which made this an impromptu Help-Portrait session of sorts!
Take a look at the photos below to see for yourself how some of the kids have blossomed into young teens.