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.

HOW IT ALL STARTED – The first batch of Kolkata Skateboarding (KS) KIds and their official ID cards. ( Circa 2013 )

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. 

Skateboarding teaches you how to take a fall properly.

(L) An early press coverage of Kolkata Skateboarding, (R) Our revered founder and overall superman, Aaron Walling caught in one of his usual moments; making the near impossible look like a walk in the park, with his trademark grin!!

(L) The leader volunteer group along with Aaron, flaunting our DIY hand-painted ramp (R) The volunteers on the day of Aaron’s Farewell gathering at the Warehouse.

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.

Weekly clean-up ritual in progress!

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?

Welcome to our warehouse on wheels….

(watch video below)

Cinematography, Script, Narration & Direction by Sudhyasheel Sen | Music courtesy: M83 | Special thanks to the entire crew of Kolkata Skateboarding & the amazing skater kids of Kolkata.

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!

A riot of fun, joy and jubilation.

One of our friends, professional photographer and educationist, Neil Chouwdhury from California had paid us a visit with his gorgeous pin hole camera. He did a session with the kids during their Saturday Skate class and amused a lot of them with his antique equipment.

The 2023 Kolkata Skateboarding team reunion

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.

Aaron (in cap) handing out the photo prints to the (once kids and now) young teens of our first Kolkata Skateboarding batch. The background in this photo gives a clear view of the space where we had our Skateboard Saturday classes back in the day. It is indeed a wonder that this old and dilapidated warehouse still stands strong after a decade, albeit with a few more cracks on the walls and leaks in the roof.

(L) Rahul poses with his iconic green Tee photo, (M) – Skating the concrete on a hot summer Saturday, (R) – This is perhaps the most recognizable photo of Kolkata Skateboarding from the early days. We used this one a lot for our Press coverage and Social Media. Special thanks to Gavin Gough for this brilliant capture.

(L) Bobby flaunts a photo print that dates him by a decade! (M) – Early days, Early Ways: Balance is Beautiful
(R) Bobby strums his skateboard.

(L) – Aaron with sisters Samiksha and Shweta (M) – Samiksha in a mood of intense focus on the board (R) – Samiksha poses with Sudhyasheel ( yours truly ) during a Skate Saturday session sometime in the summer of 2013.

(L)Monu flaunts a group photo in front of the warehouse graffiti (R) – A 2013 version of Monu skating the streets of south Kolkata like a champ.

(TOP) – The KS gang at the Happy Streets event at Park Street, Kolkata back in 2015
(MIDDLE) – The 2023 KS reunion with the OG volunteer team and kids!
(BOTTOM) – Arron gifted me this beautiful custom skate deck which has a collage of priceless KS memories printed all over it.


( 2013-present)

A farewell song and video that we made for Aaron and Deborah when they returned back to their home-country.

A behind-the-scenes video that we made about the making (and unveiling) of the DIY ramp that we made at Kolkata Skateboarding in the summer of 2014.

Al-Jazeera covers Kolkata skateboarding. Special thanks to our friend and freelance video journalist Anirban Mahapatra for this wonderful coverage.

LINKS of Articles published on Kolkata Skateboarding ( If you’re interested in our origin story and some lesser known trivia about Skateboaring in Kolkata and how it all started, do check these out!)

1.) https://www.redbull.com/in-en/when-there%E2%80%99s-a-will-there%E2%80%99s-an-aaron-walling

2.) https://www.redbull.com/in-en/build-paint-skate-kolkata-s-diy-ramp

3.) https://www.redbull.com/in-en/must-watch-kolkata-s-skateboarding-kids

4.) https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/school-for-skateboard-spunk-kids-feel-free-on-skateboard-american-ngo-workers-turn-warehouse-into-cradle-of-sport/cid/1285575

5.) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/city-skateboarders-get-fresh-hope-from-the-olympics/articleshow/84940741.cms

Sudhyasheel Sen Written by:

Just Breathe | Memento Mori | :): ☯ Be PRESENT in a world of distraction.

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