Saturday, 28 March 2020

Telecast of Ramayan And Mahabharat

When PM Modi ji announced Janata Curfew on March 22, 2020 to fight coronavirus, and citizens followed his call countrywide, the streets were deserted that Sunday. Seeing the visuals in the news, I told my father that this was how the streets looked when Ramayan and Mahabharat used to be telecast on Doordarshan in the late 80's.

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I was in school and I remember how the whole family used to be glued to the screens when these shows were telecast. My grandparents, both from my paternal and maternal side, were particularly happy.
My maternal grandparents were seated in their chairs much before the shows were to start, and asked everyone - all my uncles, aunts, cousins and us (when we were around) to come. If anyone was missing, she/he would be called. It was like an alarm or school-bell to signal presence and alertness to imbibe the precious lessons.
The scene in my paternal grandparents house was not much different. They used to also invite all the 'khalasis' (workers) and household staff and all watched together as the extended family-members in the huge hall.
Everyone looked forward to the screening. These were truly mega-family shows. They brought together family members of different ages, and they all enjoyed watching the shows together.
They were popular with all, especially all the elders of the family, who advised everyone to watch.  Their wishes were the family's command.
Also, there was no alternate channel for choice/competition, and thus no jostling for the remote or flipping channels! 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Micro Superhero

"Sorry, we cannot accept this for publication! 
It has some words that are not even in the dictionary! 
Is the plot even possible?"

Amy had typed every word with great imagination.
PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold
She clutched her novel's manuscript and made her way out.

It was their loss that they could not understand her Micro Superhero's story. 

She self-published.

The scientific fraternity was shaken six decades later. 

Lessons From Coronavirus #Covid19

The coronavirus i.e. Covid-19 has several lessons for the world.

Pandemic for the World

World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus a pandemic. Almost our entire world has been affected by the coronavirus, with patients now spread over 195 countries by now. We are all on the same boat and united in our fight against the coronavirus.
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Source
Many have been killed across the world.
Haves and Have-Nots 

Coronavirus does not differentiate between the rich or poor nations, or the non-religious or religious. Age, gender, race, income etc. factors do not matter as now all that matters is - whether we are safe and do not 'have' the virus, and if we do 'have', then how to ensure we do not infect the 'have-nots' (i.e. those who are not suffering and do not 'have' the virus.). Nations are busy working to ensure the 'haves' population in this case is checked and 'have-nots' maintain their status.

But, nations have to address the costly economic aspects too. The 'have-nots' (i.e. the poor- those without social security, bank-balance and income) need support in this tough time.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Nirbhaya Case Justice #NirbhayaNyayDivas

On March 20, 2020, four animals were hanged at Tihar Jail. Calling them ‘animals’ is actually an insult to the animal species. As our motherland was relieved of the burden of the four, we breathed a sigh of relief that FINALLY there’s closure to the Nirbhaya Case...
Bharat Mata, Nirbhaya’s parents, Nirbhaya’s lawyer, and Nirbhaya Case followers & supporters now have reason to rejoice.
Efforts have borne fruit. Justice was delayed, but not denied.
March 20 is special as we celebrate the "International Day of Happiness" & Pakhala Dibasa too.
On Spring Equinox, the first day of Spring, we got the happy news FINALLY.
The strong crowd outside the jail cheered.
For us, henceforth the date will also be memorable as - #NirbhayaNyayDivas i.e. the day to commemorate justice for Nirbhaya.
From the past 7 years, we have been thinking why this ‘rarest of rare’ case of 2012 for which capital punishment had been announced in 2013, and that had extensive media coverage, public anger & pressure, law & fast-track court, & President’s support, was taking so long?
Why were the rapists & their lawyers given so many chances to feel victorious time and again?
Why were they allowed to waste precious time of the court?
Why were the dates shifted & new dates getting fixed?
Why new petitions were allowed to be filed by their lawyers again & again?
Who gave the money & support for the rapists’ case? Don’t those people deserve punishment too for siding up with the devils?

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Copycats And Plagiarism - Real Life Examples

I have experienced people copying my words, thoughts and ideas many times.

I can never comprehend why some people pass off what doesn't belong to them as their own.

I feel the original thinkers/idea-proponents must get their due credit.

In school, I remember two of my classmates surreptitiously copying my Hindi essay. As there was no scope to photocopy the pages in school, they were doing a quick word-for-word copy. Their strategy was- write it, learn it by rote, and reproduce it in the exam. After all, marks matter.

Then, in Class-X, some classmates wanted my Sanskrit to English translations as our Sanskrit teacher praised my answers in class. Ditto for my History answers. Thus, my note-copies became the reference point for model answers with the teachers' recommendations!

Teachers generally praise you in your absence. You can get to learn of their kind words and benevolence when you find your classmates making a beeline to your note-copies! 
You are expected to be responsible to share and contribute positively to uplift the class standards and average score! 
After all, the all-important career-deciding Board Exams are at stake!

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Dream Car

Ever since she was a child, Misu loved cars.

She knew the names of all the models.

She always said, "When I grow up, I will have the best car in the city!"
PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll
Some relatives laughed. 

They reminded her how poor she and her family was. 
"You don’t even have a decent dress!"

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Beware of Copycats! Copycats Beware!

You have not any brain of your own?
Does not your conscience prick?
How dare you take ownership alone!
You showcase my work! You're so sick!

Like an expert magician, who enthralls,
You present my very own ideas as yours!
With praise, recognition, awards & calls,
You get to effortlessly enter many doors!

You have not the 'C' of courage/creativity!
Yet they 'see' you as a cool hero/heroine!
You've copied getting down to the nitty-gritty.
The fruits of my efforts- you get to win!


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

The Spring In Her Life

Folklore says there was an underground spring in that place. 

Rhia's grandparents had heard and read, but never seen it.
"It must have existed some centuries ago, before we were born," all the seniors said.

Archaeologists shared the same opinion. 
The rocks were proof.
PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr
The other proof was the centuries-old structure that had pipes, but there was no water in them anymore. 
The spring was the source of water that fed it.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Refreshing Attitude

When she started her store named "Freggie Fresh", everyone laughed.

She wanted fresh and organic fruits and vegetables to be available. 

She sourced them with great love from local farmers.

Customer reaction baffled her.

Her brand new store's shelves and walls told a different story- new graffiti daily…
PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

That Lady In Red

The musical performance had garnered good publicity and audience. 

He was delighted to have attended it.

The best part of the show was that he finally got to see her in flesh and blood.

He was amazed that she really existed. 

She was wearing a red gown and was looking like a queen.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The Homely Fight

The young couple was fighting again for a different reason. 

It was about the ownership of their house that was in the hsuband's name.

He said, "Everyone has a house. So do you."

"So what? Very few have a home... A home that they can call their own", she said.
PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn Miller

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Make Way For Ambulance

When you see an ambulance or listen to its siren on the road, what do you do? 
Try to make way for it, right? 

When I find myself in such a situation on the road, I pray for the patient(s) and the family-member(s). I sincerely hope that may the patient(s) recover fast and be saved.

From the last couple of months, seeing the heavy traffic-jams and rush on the roads in Bhubaneswar, especially during peak-hours, I have been praying for the ambulance to reach the hospital before it's too late. 
The doctors can save the patient only when she/he reaches the hospital quickly and they have time to do what is necessary.
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Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Morning After

Rizy was sure she had seen that staircase before.
She tried to remember, but her memory failed her.
Why did everything appear blurry?
PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Though she had gracefully ascended up the stairs, the descent seemed tough.
She realized it should have been the other way round.
Rizy was conscious of her realisation.
If her brain was fine, why was she in such a fix?

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Escalator

Rila was terrified of escalators.
She preferred taking the elevator instead.

That day he pulled her to the escalator.
“It’s not tough!”

Rila screamed, "Help! Stop it!"
Losing her balance, she fell on the ground.

She could see people, dressed in white, descending down the escalator and coming to where she lay.
PHOTO PROMPT - Ulrika Undén

Friday, 31 January 2020

Misinformation About Rasgulla Still Continues

Many think that Rasgulla originated in Bengal and belongs to Kolkata and Bengal.
However, Rasgulla/Rasagola is being offered for centuries as 'bhog' on Niladri Bije, the last day of the Rath Yatra at Puri, Odisha.

Puri temple is one of the four holy dhaams for Hindus. Lord Jagannath Temple is also called Srimandir. "Sri" refers to Goddess Lakshmi. Shree Jagannath offers Rasagola to His wife, Devi Lakshmi to please Her and gain entrance to the Srimandir after He returns from the Rath Yatra with His siblings. She is upset as She has been left behind. The sweetness of Rasagolas puts an end to the fight and sets things right for the divine couple. Each year, on Niladri Bije, devotees offer Rasagolas as bhog to Lord Jagannath and Devi Lakshmi.

As many were not aware about Rasagola's origin and Odisha's tradition and celebration, we started #RasagolaDibasa i.e. "Rasagola Day" on Twitter and Social Media on Niladri Bije in 2015, which was the year of the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra.

Thereafter, Bengal got insecure and lost no time to apply for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to claim "origin". Misleading information was spread that Odisha 'lost' and Bengal 'won'.
How can the truth reach when there is propaganda?
Bengal submitted the application for GI tag for "Banglar Rasogolla" on September 18, 2015.
Bengal got the GI tag for Banglar Rasogolla on November 14, 2017.
As per Bengal's "history", Banglar Rasogolla was "invented" by Nobin Chandra Das in 1868 and it is "152 years" old this year.

Odisha submitted the application for GI tag for "Odisha Rasagola" on February 23, 2018.
Odisha earned the GI Tag for Odisha Rasagola on July 29, 2019.
As per Odisha's historical and literary documentation, Odisha Rasagola is centuries old.

Despite this, lies have been and still are being deliberately spread to confuse and establish as truth.
Misleading info persists even now when Odisha has the GI Tag for Odisha Rasagola!

Here are the latest articles about Rasgulla published in Republic World:

Article#1
"Bengali Rasgullas Recipe: Easy Steps to Prepare This Spongy And Light Dessert" has been written by Mr. Nair.
He has shared a "Bengali Rasgulla Recipe".

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Snow King

It was very difficult for King Coby to get his daughter married.

He had already got a number of eligible kings and princes to his palace.

But, Princess Sazy just wouldn’t agree.

They had to first complete her task, which everyone failed miserably.

How could anyone make it snow in peak summer?
PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson
But, King Coby knew something magical was about to happen when a dashing stranger walked in seeking Sazy’s hand.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Ice-Cream

It was snowing heavily.
Lizy still braved the snow to satisfy her craving.
She bought a pack of ice-cream.

It was the last one in stock.
Lizy felt lucky.
PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Babuna And Rasagola Film

"Babuna" is the name of a young Odia boy, who is the protagonist in the stories written by Shri Swaraj Mishra. The name of his book is Babuna. It was published by "Ama Odisha Publication" five years ago.
The stories feature the pranks and adventures of the young lad set in a village in Odisha, India, in the early seventies. Babuna has a field day with his cycle and the village is his field of action!

Shri Swaraj Mishra has based the interesting tales on his own childhood and his village. For him, it was like wearing the shoes of Babuna and taking a trip down the memory lane, reliving and weaving those memories of camaraderie, love, and also pain.

In January 2016, Shri Mishra had uploaded a video of the book trailer of Babuna.

On March 1st, 2018, Dola Purnima, a Palanquin carried Special Cover for Rasagola in Shree Jagannath ji's Cuisine was released by the Department of Posts at Puri, Odisha.
Shri Swaraj Mishra and yours truly were also part of the team that had worked to make this possible.

After our Rasagola postal-cover release at Puri, while we were returning to Bhubaneswar by car, I got to learn that Swaraj Babu is the author of several books including quiz-books and story-books. I asked Swaraj Babu if he had written any stories on Rasagola. I was excited when he answered in the affirmative. He had indeed penned a real-life story! He shared the brief story-line that featured Rasagola and friendship. I enthusiastically requested him to get his interesting story filmed at the earliest.

Thereafter, I called and messaged him a number of times in this regard.
I met him many times while working for the GI Tag application of Odisha Rasagola.
He said that he had been devoting time for the Rasagola film project. He had invested his own funds and the movie was slowly taking shape. Then, work had stopped for some time owing to other constraints.

Then, next year, in January 2019, I came across a poster about the 4th Golden Triangle International Film Festival  (GTIFF) to be held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. 
A certain "Rasogolla" film was also in the list of films to be screened. 

Till then, I was aware of only two people, who were working on Rasagola films, both on my request. Shri Swaraj Mishra was one of them.
But, I was not not sure if his movie was complete.
Had it been over and ready for release, he would have informed/invited us for this, I reasoned.
Plus, the spelling would have been our spelling- "Rasagola" as I had been requesting everyone to use a uniform spelling to refer to the Rasagola of Odisha as- The Spelling is Rasagola.

I shared the Film Festival schedule in our WhatsApp group in which Shri Swaraj Mishra is also a member.
Shri Mishra replied that it was indeed his movie that was to be screened. However, it was a work-in-progress.
Everything had happened so fast and his film's entry in the GTIFF had been hurried, which is why he couldn't inform us in advance. The spelling changes, updates in English translation, and other technical requirements would still need more time and will be addressed later. Though the movie was a draft version and much work was left, yet the incomplete work was being screened for the select audience.

On 12th February, 2019, I attended the screening at the GTIFF and cheered for Rasagola short-film.
Got to learn from the organizers that the Rasagola film was very popular & viewers showed interest to watch it everyday of the screening. Though it was scheduled for one day, it had already been screened for the jury & audience on popular demand!

The very word Rasagola evokes sweetness. And this 'Rasagola' movie was the labour of love that depicted a sweet story of friendship and love for Rasagola.
Though it is an emotional story, the film sparked joy for me as I had sincerely pressurized the story-writer to make this film! I appreciate his commitment as the actual making of a film takes a lot of effort. 

Rasagola film received a Certificate of Appreciation by the Jury at the 4th Golden Triangle International Film Festival, and Shri Swaraj Mishra received it that evening i.e. on 12th February, 2019.

On 17th December, 2019, we got the great news from Shri Mishra that Rasagola film had earned the Film certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)! 

Last evening, on 13th January 2019, Rasagola film was shown to a select intellectual gathering at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bhubaneswar. We thank the organisers of 'Mukta Chintana Mancha' for their interest to screen this film. The touching movie earned a wonderful audience reaction and feedback.


We acknowledge that getting a movie made is tough. 
Am so glad that Shri Swaraj Mishra has successfully completed this work of art.
I congratulate and thank Swaraj Babu & all those associated with this film.
I really feel so happy & proud. 
May this film make it to international festivals. 
May Lord Jagannath bless for many more such movies & books.

Looking forward to the upcoming movie premiere of Rasagola film. The world can watch it soon. 

Odisha Rasagola has earned the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag on July 29, 2019.
The proof of the Rasagola is in the eating! 
In the future screenings, Odisha Rasagola packs can accompany the Rasagola film too. 
Not only should viewers watch the film, and experience the emotions of Odias with this delectable syrupy dessert, they should get to taste Odisha Rasagola.

It is amazing what an inspiring conversation with creative & enthusiastic people can do! 

I love movies. Also, it's great to see ideas in action. What sparks joy in you? 
Do share in the comments below.

Linking with IndiSpire #307 and ABC Wednesday- B for Babuna

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Dropped From Heaven

A billionaire's party was on by the pool side.
Food and drinks made the rounds.

"It is going to rain," she remarked.
The host overheard her. 

"No, it won't rain", he wished to say.

The ethereal sunset and clouds seemed to support his views.
PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr
He wanted to question her sanity.

The very next moment, there was a thick cloud-cover.
Large drops fell on his face.
There was a heavy rainfall.
Everyone scurried inside.
He saw her enjoying the rain.
He was convinced she was insane.


He remembered the last time he had done the same.

100 words story for Friday Fictioneers

Do you feel that we are all insane in our own sane ways?
Do you agree with the saying - "appearances are deceptive"?

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

New Connection

Sila picked up the phone’s receiver with great enthusiasm.
She started dialling the number she knew so well.
“This telephone number doesn’t exist.”
Image Prompt- Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Her family was by her side.
They excitedly cheered while she dialled.

She tried a couple of other numbers that she knew.
Sila heard the same message.
Disappointment was writ large across her face.

Endings And Beginnings!


What begins with anticipation in our heart,
Someday sees the sunset; comes to an end.
Only after an end, a new beginning can start...
We try to figure out and go round the bend!
Enjoy whether complex endings or beginnings start!



41 Words Rhyme for the Weekend Writing Prompt- Complex

Happy New Year! Enjoy!
Which came first- The end or the beginning? Doesn't it seem complex when we try to figure out?


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