Among Khargpur friends one stood out, Lewin Brown – A very talented Anglo Indian artist, dancer, and an American movie fan.
HE WAS MUCH OLDER, but that didn’t matter. He was a talented artist and performer and a relaxed, good humored person. We spent hours at Lewin’s place, catching up on gossip and enjoying his art, including beautiful books which featured the undraped female form, as the delicate expression put it. Lewin did very good portraits in oil. One particularly good one was a head and torso study of Lee Howard, Gene’s older brother.
Lewin was a devotee of American movies, many which he saw from the film projection booth at the Institute. His job was to letter and draw in India ink the glass-slide announcements which were projected on the screen during the intermission in the program. He expertly dashed them off at a small table in the booth.
Lewin mastered many of Fred Astaire’s dance routines, which he incorporated into his own presentations. He was also a fine dancer in the Kathakali school of Indian classical dance-a remarkable celebration of his heritage at a time when Anglo-Indians found its public acknowledgment difficult. Looking back, it is clear that he was one of those rare individuals who expand beyond conventional limits.
What a pleasure it was for John and me to have dinner with Lewin and his wife Irene in their London home in 1966. We revisited the Khargpur days over prawn curry and paratas (a fried, flat bread made with white flour and ghee-clarified butter). During the same London stopover we socialized with the Laurences and Bunyans. They were all part of the Anglo-Indian exodus to the UK after partition in 1947.