Sunday, 10 December 2017

Model Traffic Jam

She honked though she knew that the chances of her car's movement depended on the movement of the vehicles that seemed to be stationary before her car...
Twenty minutes had passed and her car hadn't moved an inch.
She couldn't afford to be a victim of the terrible traffic jam that day.

She soon realized the reason of the jam- Elina, the hottest model in town, who featured on the newest advertisement on the huge billboard on that road. 
The public was totally enamoured by Elina's advertisement and didn't want to budge!
"Why did they have to put this up at this signal?" she thought.
She was getting late for the annual function at her school.
She came out of her car.
No one gave her a second look.
The public continued to stare at the billboard.
WOW - Construct A Story

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Rasagola Project #RasagolaProject

Do you know that Mahabalipuram Stone Sculpture earned the GI (Geographical Indications) tag on Children's Day this year?
Yes, on the same day when Banglar Rasogolla earned the GI tag!

One of the newspapers of India had found this news important enough to be reported on 14th November 2017. A few others reported the same news the next day.

Sweet Fake News On Children's Day

But, in stark contrast, on 14th November 2017, most news channels and media-houses focused on the news that West Bengal had won the GI tag for 'ROSOGOLLA/RASGULLA'!
Why the special status and attention to Rasagola?
All of them reported that Bengal has won the Rosogolla war against Odisha. Most of them spread misleading & fake news

From the news-reports, netizens and viewers inferred that 'Odisha has lost' and 'Odisha's claim for Rosogolla has been rejected' by the authorities of the GI Registry. 
How Odisha's claim has been rejected when the state has NOT submitted her application towards GI tag for Rasagola?
But, the readers and viewers were given incorrect gyaan:
Bengal's Gain Is Not Odisha's Loss

The next day, some papers reported that GI authorities had stated that Odisha can also apply for a tag.

Though some papers presented updated news, yet some information was wrong or kept hidden.
Note- Pahala Rasagola is not the only variety of Rasagola available in Odisha and it's not just brown, as it is available in off-white colour too!
Plus, as per the GI authorities, despite the Banglar Rasogolla GI tag, the Rasagola origin debate is yet to be settled.

Chill! Rasagola belongs to India & to the Mouth & Stomach!

When anyone tries to question the incorrect news-reporting and stresses on the uncomfortable truth, conflict-managers & peace-lovers step in to dissipate tensions and to spread cheer saying there's no reason for a war!
"Rasagola tastes as good in all the states!" 
"Rasagola doesn't belong to any state, it's an Indian sweet!" 
"Rasagola belongs only to the mouth & stomach!"
Why the special status and attention to Rasagola?

If GI wasn't important, hundreds of applications wouldn't have been submitted for GI registration by the states so far.
Subsequent to West Bengal's products including Banglar Rasogolla, a number of products from Bihar and Rajasthan have also earned the GI tag.

Loopholes in the Banglar Rasogolla Application

There are some loopholes in the GI Application that Odisha can challenge.

The Rasagola Project 

As per some news-reports, there seems to be no intention to challenge the Banglar Rasogolla GI tag. Can a project ensure that the truth comes to light?

#RasagolaProject ??!*#!??

Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Rosogolla Race: Odisha’s Inaction, West Bengal’s Gain

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How many of us know that the Gobindobhog rice, grown in West Bengal for the past 300 years in Bardhaman district, got the Geographical Indication (GI) status in August 2017? 
Or that two other Bengali sweets- Bardhaman Sitabhog and Bardhaman Mihidana also got the GI tag this year? Did the media and state’s CM share the above “sweet news” so competitively?
But, notice the GI tag victory claim for "Banglar Rasogolla" ("Bengal's Rasogolla or Rasogolla of Bengal") that has a Banglar history of just 149 years (1868-2017) !
In stark contrast, Odisha's Jagannath Temple in Puri has an 800 years old cultural association with Rasagola.
Even now Rasagola is offered as bhog during Niladri Bije, the last day of Ratha Jatra.
As per tradition, Niladri Bije is the only day when Rasagola is offered as bhog to Lord Jagannath.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"Battle" Over Rasgulla - Misleading Media Information

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"Banglar Rasogolla" was "invented" in Bengal in 1868.
West Bengal had filed an application and has received a certificate for "Banglar Rasogolla" today.

Geographical Indications (GI) Registry is a Quasi Judicial Authority. This impartial authority grants GI status on the basis of details and supporting documents.
Application Number- 533 refers to "Banglar Rasogolla".
It has been available from 14th July 2017.
Today, on 14th November 2017, West Bengal has got the GI certificate for "Banglar Rasogolla".

It may be noted that Odisha Govt. is yet to file any application for Rasagola.
There is a mind-boggling choice as many varieties of Rasagola are available in Odisha. Each region has its unique preparation and specialty e.g. Pahala, Salepur, Jatni, Kukudakhandi, Nuapatna etc.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

MAYFAIR Palm Beach Resort, Gopalpur-on-Sea

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One of the luxury properties of MAYFAIR Hotels & Resorts Ltd., the MAYFAIR Palm Beach Resort is located at Gopalpur-on-Sea in Odisha.
Gopalpur-on-Sea is a picturesque beach town of Odisha.
We started from Bhubaneswar in the morning by car and covered 165 kms via NH16 to reach the resort in Ganjam district. Our journey took us less than three hours.
With a faint sound of the sea in the background and well-maintained greenery, my first impression, when we entered the resort's premises, was that we had reached nature's lap!

In fact, I was so enamoured by the ambiance, that I had nearly forgotten to carry my laptop bag from my father's car!

We were greeted with welcome drinks at the arrival lounge.
After completing the process at the reception, we couldn't wait to explore.
It was interesting to learn about the history of the resort.
The walk to our room was pretty impressive with Memorabilia proudly displayed everywhere.
We greeted the framed photos of important dignitaries & past guests.

I was excited to see the sea-themed flooring. I imagined that I was walking on the sea-bed!
Do you know the sea has gifted a special present? A boat that had reached the resort during the 1999 SuperCyclone !
Stationary tortoises give company too!
Pretty mermaids, pirates and sea-stories depicted in the paintings on the walls, told their own story.

We stayed in a 'Deluxe Room' that was well-furnished.
It had an exclusive balcony.
I was filled with joy to see the verdant green lawn and the sea !
The sea-view was fabulous and I instantly decided that I had to go for my maiden sea-bath!
Later, I found that the resort has dedicated life-guards who accompany guests for the sea-adventure!

There is also a huge bath-tub in the spacious bathroom for those who would rather skip the above mentioned sea-bath!

The resort shop had interesting items for sale.
There are many recreation facilities- Games Room, Sauna, Gym, Spa, Swimming Pool etc.
However, the feedback that we got from some visitors was that the access time for all these can be increased so that the rooms can be open till late evening for the interested guests.
As the resort was full, last-minute plans of an appointment at the Spa didn't materialise.

There are fountains and a temple too!
I loved the tea-shop where the resort serves complimentary tea, cookies, and a spicy and tangy snack called Jhaal Muri.
Jhaal Muri tastes extra special with the aura of the sea! It's great to savour these goodies enjoying the sea's antics!

The food at the restaurant was yummy with a large number of dishes including traditional Odia dishes.  But, I would like the resort to regularly serve some Odia specialty desserts like Rasagola and Chhena Poda.

I interacted with a family that had driven down from Kolkata.
The food at dinner was great with fabulous Hindi movie songs. At first I thought audio-tape was playing. Then I saw a singer singing Bollywood songs in the next room!
When I requested that even I wish to sing, singer Dilip politely informed me that guests are not allowed to sing! But, as I was determined, he finally agreed to hand over the mike and I enthusiastically sang 3 songs on Karaoke!

Though the room was so comfortable, yet I woke up early to witness "Sunrise At Gopalpur-on-Sea".
The fantastic experience inspired me to write a poem.

The resort has a rich plantation with many plants and trees like Curry-leaves, Coconut, Banana etc. Fresh in-house produce is used in the kitchen!
The sustainability efforts are commendable. There is garbage segregation in the resort premises.

I felt everything about the resort was in total harmony and had been intelligently presented.

It is well-lit even at midnight.

Many places of interest are in and around Gopalpur-on-Sea in Ganjam district of Odisha.
Source: Mayfair Resorts
As we have visited many of these places, this visit was exclusively spent at the resort and at the welcoming beach.
We simply loved our two-days stay there!
I strongly recommend MAYFAIR Palm Beach Resort to all. Do plan your visit to Odisha India's Gopalpur-on-Sea soon.
More posts & pics are yet to be shared!

Disclaimer- MAYFAIR Palm Beach Resort sponsored one-day stay for us, while we paid for the second-day. This is an honest review. All views are my own.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Oh My Diwali!

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They blamed me and said things are not fine.
Just because I was dark, the night was dark too.
I thought - can't they see the extra stars shine?
To brighten up the night, don't they have any clue?

Waxing & waning is my nature; always been so!
Why so many people are complaining tonight?
What's so special that they want me to glow?
Why this demand to view my form that's bright?
Image result for amavasya 2017

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

How To Make New Friends

Before you think that this post is inspired by Dale Carnegie's best-selling book- "How To Win Friends and Influence People", let me tell you that you are on the wrong track! However, this post does have some novel ideas that you can incorporate to make new friends!
Disclaimer- This writer does not claim responsibility for any nice/nasty experience you might encounter in your quest to conquer the new 'Kingdom of Friends'! Follow these tips at your own risk!

Embedded image permalink

Okay, so you are still reading this post! It means you are really serious to make new friends! 
Don't tell me that I didn't warn you! 

Friday, 6 October 2017

Blessing in Disguise

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She was rushing as she didn't want to miss her carpool to school.
"I have be on time for my exam".
While hurrying down the stairs, she tripped and fell.
"Mama! I have twisted my ankle and can't move my foot!"
"Never mind. You take rest today. All will be well. We'll visit the doctor", her mother assured.
"What about my exam?"
"But, you can't even walk with your sprained foot... By now your car must have left. And even if I leave you by alternate transport, you can't possibly walk up to your classroom that's on the third floor of your school."
Bearing the throbbing pain, she knew that her mother was right.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Durga Puja 2017 At Bhubaneswar

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Durga Puja is an important festival of eastern India. It marks the victory of good over evil.
Goddess Durga is Maa Durga i.e. Mother Durga. She had the powers to vanquish the evil demon named Mahishasura.

Durga Puja and Dussehra is celebrated with much fanfare and excitement at Odisha, India.
Capital city, Bhubaneswar, and its twin-city and former capital, Cuttack, have hundreds of Durga Puja Pandals. 
This Puja, I could manage to visit only half a dozen Pandals out of the hundreds!

Though it was raining heavily, the rains couldn't dampen the festive spirit. As the public flocked happily, the Pandals were teeming with ardent devotees.

Parking is a nightmare. But, Pandal-hopping is so much fun!

The Bomikhal Pandal was like a white palace with angels on its walls beckoning us.

 Maa Durga and her team looked resplendent in gold.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Shhh! Don't Tell Anyone

Chosen as a WOW Post HERE
A Std-IX girls party was on in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.

"Truth or Dare?"

When Siddha chose "Truth", her friends asked her to reveal a secret.
She had to share a secret which she never wanted anyone to know.

The honest girl that she was, Siddha did share what she had kept hidden for long.
Even her closest friends did not know.

"My nickname is 'Bayani'."

There was a pin-drop silence and then all the girls burst out laughing. 

'Bayani' means 'mad girl' in Odia language.
It is quite the same as the word 'Pagli' in Hindi language.
Anyone who knew Siddha, could vouch how mismatched her nickname was with her know-it-all and responsible personality. Her great grandmother had zestfully nicknamed her 'Bayani' and the name had stuck with her extended family. Her parents called her 'Siddha'- that means 'an ascetic who has achieved enlightenment'. 

The girls were laughing out loud as if it was the funniest joke they had heard.
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