A farmer in India’s West Bengal state has been working on an unusual-looking house modeled after the famous RMS Titanic ship that sank after colliding with an iceberg.
Mintu Roy, a man from Bengal’s Darjeeling district, has been dreaming of living in a house shaped like the Titanic since he was a small child growing up in Kolkata. One year, during the Durga Puja festival, he was so impressed with a Titanic-shaped pandal – a temporary structure built to venerate gods during Hindu religious celebrations – that he decided to one day build his own house to resemble the iconic passenger liner. Today, at age 52, Roy still hasn’t given up on his dream and he is working hard to finish his already impressive Titanic house in Darjeeling.
“Most of my childhood was spent in Kolkata, around the Bowbazar area,” Mintu Roy told Indian reporters visiting his home. “The time of Durga Puja is one of my fondest memories. I watched people flocking to pandals even days after the puja ended. It was one such pandal that set the spark to make a memorable home for me and my family.”
After moving to various parts of India in search of employment and a better life, Roy settled in West Bengal and began making plans to begin the construction of his dream house. But finding someone to help him build a Titanic-shaped house proved easier said than done. Most construction engineers didn’t believe in his vision and those who did requested more money than the farmer had to pay. So he ultimately decided to design and build it himself.
After going to Nepal for three years to study masonry, Mintu Roy started working on his unique 3-storey house. He has been at it for 13 years now, because he lacked the funds to complete it sooner, but he hopes to one day live inside it with his family.
“Though we have not kept the record of how much money has been spent so far, I guess it should not be less than ₹15 lakhs ($182,000),” Mintu’s wife, Iti, said. “We were very poor and after the birth of my daughter, we started hiring land on lease from others and started cultivating vegetables.”
The Titanic fan hopes to finish the house in the next to years and hopefully open a small restaurant or tea shop on the top floor, as an extra source of income. Even in its current unfinished state, the 39-foot-long, 13-foot-wide, and 30-foot-high house has become a major tourist attraction in the area, with reporters coming by regularly to snap photos and interview Mintu about it.
The 52-year-old farmer wants to make the Titanic as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside by installing a grand staircase as well as intricate woodwork, a main deck, and a special control room.
“This is my husband’s dream, so it is mine and the children’s. We all want to help him accomplish that,” Mintu Roy’s supportive wife said.
“It makes us happy when people even from far-flung places visit our neighborhood and click photos of the building. Journalists have been regularly visiting the family and enquiring over the phone. I also want to help my father financially to realize his dream come true,” Mintu’s son, Kiran, added.