Thursday, 25 June 2020

Five Petals - A Collection of Five Short Stories

Five Petals by Chinmayee Gayatree Sahu is a collection of five short stories that bring together different aspects of life, while also sharing their lessons. In her debut book, the author brings to life the characters and the situations they face.

Book Title & Cover

The word 'petals' evokes fragrance and softness. 'Five Petals' is an apt title for five delicate stories. 
The book cover looks fresh with its different colours and assortments. Relationships are delicate and have so many flavours to savour.  

The Author

Chinmayee Gayatree Sahu has a rich experience in the corporate world having worked in various multinational companies and presently working as a Government employee. Her love for the magical world of books and passion for reading and writing has drawn her interest towards content creation. She writes quality articles, be it fiction or non-fiction that can engage her readers and give them wings of imagination. She blogs at - chinmayeecreations.wordpress.com.

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Each of the five stories in her maiden ebook is a revelation imparting lessons.

Life: A Roller Coaster Ride!
This is the story of an enthusiastic and graceful girl and her suitors. 
What does Ridhima have to go through after college when she decides to marry? 
The weight of office-work and marriage how does she carry?
Who helps the star student to shine again?

Quarantined With Family
This is the story of a couple and how they cope with the Covid-19 lockdown.
What secrets does Mrs.Pattanaik learn about her children and home?
What was her husband, Mr. Pattanaik upto?
Set during the pandemic when March year-ending and many other events have gone for a toss, life has been thrown out of gear!
Depression, disorder, disturbance fill one with fear.

Dream Or Nightmare
This is the story of a bachelor who finds love; or does he really? 
What is the cost Vinod pays for freedom and for his job in the new place? 
Whom does he meet there?
Does he fall in love? 
Is there an engagement and wedding?
Do his eyes finally find his loved one?

Neetu & Aja 
This is the story of a girl and her grandfather.
Why is Aja partial to Neetu's brother, Raghav?
What does Neetu have to go through?
What does Aja write to her?

Beyond Borders
This is the story of a couple whose love has withstood time and borders.
What is the specialty of 'Fusion Resort'?
What makes Uncle John and Aunt Meenu a special pair?

To find out the answers of the above questions, do read this book!
In the author's words, this book- 
"can be enjoyed over a cup of tea/coffee and promises to take the readers into the five different worlds and provide a memorable experience."
The author's description of the characters makes them relatable. 
I liked the understanding and enthusiastic partners, family life, and lessons.
The author pays keen attention to details. 
We know exactly how Ridhima is dressed for the first day of college - even what shade of lipstick she is wearing! 
The reader can appreciate the variety of flowers and trees in Aja's rich garden!
"Aja" is the Odia word for maternal grandfather. I liked the author's use of the term. I remembered my Aja while reading the story and got very emotional. I took a trip to my Aja and Aaee's house, which is pretty similar to the one described in the story. The well-written letter brought tears to my eyes.

The author has a good grasp of human relations and has done a commendable job in expressing different emotions through her series of short stories. Her knowledge of the corporate world makes her seamlessly incorporate industry information in her stories.

A Note To The Author-
Dear Chinmayee,
Here are some words to you from me!
I agree what seems perfect may not be-
What's meant to be will happen ultimately.
Life is crazy with its turns and twists,
Keep moving on & emerge out of the mists! 
Just as discovered by the characters in your stories-
If life gives us locks, we must look for the keys! :)

A Note To The Reader-
Download "Five Petals" right away. It's available for free download just for a couple of days.

Just like the author has used words from the local language, it is our responsibility to endeavour to use the local words. Once we all start using, then they can become popular. 
I have shared this in my eBook - about the "Geographical Indications (GIs) of Odisha" that is available for free download here.

Dots & Streaks - Poetic Tales, Musings And More

Dot & Streaks by Ellora Mishra is a delightful book of interesting short poetic tales and musings that makes one think. Creative words with smart and keen observations express the understanding and empathy in the author's sensitive mind.
The short book description is interesting and welcoming:
A few dots
A few streaks
Short poetic tales
Musings of life’s
Crevices & creeks
Book
The Author

Author Ellora Mishra hails from Odisha, India. She has had a bright academic career with degrees in Engineering and Business Management respectively from BITS Pilani and XIMB. Having spent twelve years as a professional corporate banker, Ellora has now chosen to pursue her passion of writing & other hobbies. She is presently based at Netherlands. She blogs at - Live Life To The Fullest.

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Wednesday, 24 June 2020

The Science Project

Ammu was very pleased with her science project.
Her months of experiments had borne fruits eggs! 
She had succeeded in creating eggs in the laboratory at her home! 

These were special as these were the world's first vegetarian eggs- Vegeggs!

Vegeggs had been created using ingredients from plants. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Ratha Jatra 2020 And Odisha Bandha Masks

Ratha Jatra is a special annual festival of the Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha, India.
Lord Jagannath comes out of His abode with His brother, Lord Balabhadra, and sister, Devi Subhadra. In majestic Rathas (chariots) and as per ancient traditions, the siblings set out to their birthplace - SriGundicha Temple about 3 kilometres away.
Many rituals are observed during the Ratha Jatra period as per the customs. 
More images here- Ratha Jatra


Today, June 23rd, 2020, Ratha Jatra 2020 is being held in a tough time during this Covid-19 pandemic with strict guidelines in place. For the past time in centuries, public participation is not allowed.


Sebayats of the Shree Jagannath Temple and police personnel are allowed to pull the chariots this time.
They have been provided Odisha Bandha masks.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

The Prayer

After receiving a phone-call, she prayed, “God! Let this be untrue... My Mintu can't die," before collapsing on the floor. 

When she came to her senses, she was on her bed.

Mintu entered the room with the doctor.

"What happened?"

"I fell unconscious. Mintu brought me to my senses and administered me syrup. I fell asleep. Thanks to Mintu, I’m alive."
PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
The doctor and Mintu were perplexed.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Sushant Singh Rajput - Talented Star Shines On

A rank-holder with a brilliant and analytical mind, 
Chose acting & decided for the Bollywood grind.
He left his engineering course, without nitty gritty;
He rejected scholarship from a foreign University.

His good looks, hard-work, passion, screen presence, 
His raw energy, talent, boyish charms & smartness... 
He trained hard; his extra effort shines in all he did. 
He supported students & sponsored the less-privileged.

He inspired his fans, replied to messages & gave hope.
And then he had to face abuse, battle demons & cope...
He had a cool bucket-list; was already fulfilling dreams. 
Few saw his delicate frame & heard his inner screams.

His disarming smile hid deep secrets & gave no clue.
Many were unaware of what he was going through. 
Some caused/knew about this; couldn't stop him-
Circumstances are responsible for this step extreme. 

A very shocking & sad news for his fans lay in store-
That this dynamic complete entertainer is no more...
We mourn his loss; feel a family-member has gone far;
He'll continue to shine in our sky like a bright star.

Amul Image Tribute
Source: Amul on Twitter

Friday, 12 June 2020

Gajapati Date Palm Jaggery- Geographical Indication Application Filed


Date Palm trees are abundantly available in hillsides of the Gajapati district of Odisha. 
Gajapati Date Palm Jaggery made by the Saura Tribals of cottage industry is being produced under the Odisha Rajya Talgur Samabaya Sangha Ltd (ORTSS). This is a Govt. of Odisha Enterprise.
Thousands of tribals are engaged in the production of Date Palm Jaggery.

Date Palm is called "Tala" and Gur is called "Guda" in Odia.
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Source
Gur forms an intrinsic part of Odisha's food habits. It forms a part of breakfast menu and is used for preparation of many dishes like "Khatta" (e.g. Amba Khatta is a sweet dish made using raw mangoes). 
The importance of Gur can be gauged from the fact that Gur is distributed during relief work.
Gajapati Date Palm Jaggery” -  GI Application No- 690 has been filed.
It has been facilitated by Dr. P. Karthigeyan, IPR Expert, from CTTC, MSME- IPFC, Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India.   

Date Palm Jaggery is a natural sweetener obtained from sweet juice (neera) of the Date Palm trees that are grown in natural climate. Gajapati  Date Palm Jaggery is prepared in trapezoidal form called Patali Gur. This jaggery is produced by traditional method and has unique taste and flavour

Test samples of Date Palm Jaggery were tested in Central Govt. laboratories for establishing the scientific and technical nature for uniqueness. 

This delicious jaggery has the following qualities-
1. The colour of Date Palm Jaggery is dark brown in nature.
2. It is organic as no natural or synthetic colouring agents and artificial sweetening agents are added during the preparation process of this jaggery
3. It supplements iron and vitamin deficiency. 
4. Has medicinal value and used in preparation of Ayurvedic medicines for curing asthma, gastric disorders, cough etc .
5. Contains less sugar percent than sugarcane jaggery, crystal sugar and other sweetening agents and is thus used by the diabetic patients.
6. More nutritive than other sweeteners as it is rich in vitamins and natural minerals.
7. Date Palm Jaggery has the following unique scientific and technical characteristics with respect to other sugarcane jaggery:
It possesses a  PH-5.42 , Total Sugar-80.3%,  Sucrose -65.10% Reducing Sugar -11.81%, Total Ash -4.7%,  Iron-14.02 mg/100gm , Calcium -288.7 mg/ 100gm  as  per test results  of different samples of Date Palm Jaggery from Central Govt laboratories.

The GI tag application process will have to go through the stages, projecting uniqueness from scientific and technical aspects after which the GI tag can be earned. 
GI Tag has its advantages. The interests of tribals can be protected, and there will be more scope for employment, livelihood and saleThe demand can increase.

Odisha had earned the GI Tag for Odisha Rasagola last year. There is more interest about GI. 
More producer groups like the - Odisha Rajya Talgur Samabaya Sangha Ltd (ORTSS) should come forward and share details to support GI application submission so that their products can be registered as GI.
Odisha has 17 GI Tags now.
You can learn more about the registered GIs of Odisha here-
Geographical Indications (GIs) of Odisha 
You can download my eBook that is available for free download for a limited time here-

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

A Whole New World

Roxy was a new researcher in the city.

Having flown in recently, she was still adapting.

There were many cases of racial discrimination and attacks... 

People commented about her reddish-brown skin.

They didn't behave like this back home.

"What is wrong with this world?" she wondered.

Photo Prompt- Ronda Del Boccio

The Covid19 pandemic was not making things any better either. 

Feeling like an alien, she decided to take flight. 

The situation on Planet Earth was better than the previous planet she had visited.

That lay abandoned.

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Roxy wanted a whole new world now.

She took flight. 

May be Planet Xzyqrtpx would treat her better!

Do you ever feel like flying away to a whole new world, somewhere far away from all the madness...? 

Stay Safe.

100 Words Short Story

My Village My Country - Mera Gaon Mera Desh

Roots are very special. No matter where we currently stay, a part of us still resides in our native place and the places we have stayed before. 

Memories have a magical effect as we take a trip down the lanes that have made a permanent place in our hearts and minds. 

Reading Shri Durga Prasad Dash's book, My Village My Country made me experience this connection.

Interesting Title

When I first saw the title of this book - "My Village My Country"; translated into Hindi, the theme means- "Mera Gaon Mera Desh", the Bollywood fan in me instantly remembered some Hindi movies and songs:

"Dharti sunahari; ambar neela; har mausam rangeela- eisa desh hai mera."
Golden earth; blue sky; every season is colourful - that's my country.

Apt and Attractive Cover

I also liked the apt and attractive cover page of "My Village My Country - Glimpses into the Heart and Soul of Hindustan". Don't fail to notice the streamers in the backdrop of the title. They are ubiquitous in every function of Odisha, and perhaps in other places of India too.
When I first saw the cover, I knew this was from one of the remote villages of Odisha, India.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Bande Utkala Janani - Odisha Rajya Sangeeta

I was  delighted to see the ‘Breaking News’ on OTV News yesterday (7th June, 2020) that "Bande Utkala Janani" - patriotic poem & ode to Odisha by Kantakabi Laxmikanta Mohapatra- now has the "State Song" status.
This had been the demand from many for several years. 
Great to see that is finally official. "Better late than never."
Thanks to our honourable Chief Minister, Shri Naveen Patnaik, and our State Govt. for finally ensuring this.
Bande Utkala Janani

Now, many will get to hear, sing & know the meaning of this beautiful song.
Let us all make an attempt to know and understand the song and give it its rightful due.

Many events & functions in Odisha begin with ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ as the opening song.
I feel our national/state anthem/song should be sung everyday in schools & colleges & institutions. This should be mandatory.
This will instill a sense of pride, patriotism & purpose.

Kantakabi Laxmikanta Mohapatra (1988-1953) was a great nationalist poet of Odisha, who penned hundreds of patriotic poems. His creation "Bande Utkala Janani" is accorded status of official song of Odisha state.
Kantakabi Laxmikanta Mohapatra
Courtesy: Odisha Reference Year Book 2020 by B.K.Publications, Bhubaneswar

On May 30 2020, when Odias around the world joined together & proudly sang “Bande Utkala Janani” heeding to our CM’s clarion call, we got to see our song spelled differently by many.

Which of these spellings have you used?
  • Bande Utkal Janani, 
  • Vande Utkal Janani, 
  • Vande Utkala Janani
State Song Odisha

Why should we use "Vande" at all?
It is used for our National Song.
But, for our State Song why are we not strict and use only "Bande" to confirm with the Odia spelling and pronunciation? 

There was/is no uniformity of usage even in different offices and districts of the state Govt.
(A simple search on Google or Social Media confirms this point. Do check the recent posts.)

For the May 30, 2020 event, different English media used different spellings for Bande Utkala Janani.

You may argue that- “So what? Spellings don't matter as long as your intention is clear! Everyone imbibed the spirit & sang from the core of their heart!”
But, spellings do matter.

Let us all use the common spelling & hashtag-
Bande Utkala Janani 
#BandeUtkalaJanani
and certainly NOT multiple ones like - #BandeUtkalJanani, #VandeUtkalJanani, #VandeUtkalaJanani etc.

Our National Anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana' is called 'Jatiya Sangeeta' in Odia.
Our National Song, 'Vande Mataram' is called 'Jatiya Geeta' in Odia.
As Bande Utkala Janani was accorded 'Odisha Rajya Sangeeta' (and not 'Rajya Geeta') status, thus many felt that 'anthem' was more suitable.

When there was this breaking news yesterday, some media and many people wrote about the song getting accorded the "anthem" status! 
There seemed to be a confusion about what it should be called in English- State Song or State Anthem?

It was important for us as we were giving final touches to our video for which work was on by my sister, Amrita Sabat, and creative Team Utkalamrita, Sabat Exports. 
Coincidentally, Amrita had chosen 'Bande Utkala Janani' as the song of our video! 
It features 9 Global Odia ladies wearing different handlooms of Odisha. 
You can watch the video on YouTube- 

We wanted to have the correct information in our video.
Should we write- State Song or State Anthem? 

I called up some intelligentsia for their views.
Well-acclaimed literary personality Dash Benhur, Professor Jatin Nayak, and journalist Siba Mohanty were of the opinion that the word "anthem" should be used only for our National Anthem and we should call Bande Utkala Janani as the "State Song".

While writer Gourahari Das, and senior culture officials of Odisha State Govt., Shri Manoranjan Panigrahi and Dr. Lenin Mohanty felt "anthem" was more appropriate.

Researching online gave different results with both anthem and song getting used interchangeably!
State Song or Anthem
We are a nation first. States belong to the nation. They must have songs and not anthems.
While I was engaged in this research, Ms. Sasmita, journalist from Dharitri newspaper, called me up to ask my views. I shared the above concerns, including usage of uniform English spelling.

It finds publication in the Dharitri newspaper dated 8th June, 2020 here.
Bande Utkala Janani

Bande Utkala Janani

Probably, most English media of Odisha state subscribe to this view and thus many have referred to "Bande Utkala Janani" as "State Song" in their news-reports in today's papers.

We need to ensure uniform spelling in all the media and the public should follow the same.
Just like we joined in for singing our song on May 30, 2020.

Requesting our State Govt. to issue such orders for usage of uniform spellings - BANDE, UTKALA, JANANI, RASAGOLA etc. all across.
Bande Utkala Janani


Have you heard Bande Utkala Janani? If no, do watch the video shared above.

Note: 
The intention of this post is to sensitize people, especially fellow Odias to be particular about using the correct spellings and not adopting the 'chalta-hai' attitude.
If we don't take care of our spellings, who else will?

More in my blog posts-

July 4th 2020 is Niladri Bije (of this year 2020 as per tithi).
We are celebrating it as #RasagolaDibasa.
Request all to please use the correct spelling of RASAGOLA.
We are proud that "Odisha Rasagola" got the GI Tag last July.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Voting Exercise At Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds

On 2nd June 2020, a group of Bloggers including yours truly participated in an online meeting with Mr. Sanjay Sapre, President, Franklin Templeton India.

We got to learn about the voting exercise at Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds along with the following points: 
- Notice and Voting Requirement
- E-Voting and Unitholders Meet Guidelines
- Timelines, Dates and Process for E-Voting and Unitholders Meet
- Investors Money Return 

After Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds has announced the winding up of specific schemes in India, there has been a lot of concern and some jittery investors have many questions especially about these following funds:

• Franklin India Low Duration Fund 
• Franklin India Dynamic Accrual Fund 
• Franklin India Credit Risk Fund 
• Franklin India Short Term Income Plan 
• Franklin India Ultra Short Bond Fund 
• Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund  

Franklin Templeton India is attempting to create transparency and visibility, and to address the issues and queries. 
To make info available to investors, there are FAQs, Portfolio disclosures, money receipts to investors, interviews in business dailies and newspapers etc. 
For more details, investors can check this link.

As per regulation 41 of SEBI (Mutual Fund) Regulation 1996, the approval of the unitholders is required to take steps for winding up of the scheme. The schemes can be wound up only after repaying the amount due to the unitholders.

The steps to wind-up the schemes include active monetization of assets and return of the investment proceeds to the unitholders. In the absence of authorization, the winding-up process will be delayed as further steps will be possible only after seeking a fresh authorization from the unitholders. 

Unitholders Meet

Unitholders need to vote to start selling portfolio. They have to give the authorisation for liquidating portfolio. Thus, a voting exercise has been put in place.

Investors have two options of which they can choose any one of the following-

Option 1- Trustees will take responsibility. Kotak Mahindra Bank will act as advisor of Trustees as the latter have appointed Kotak Mahindra Bank for this purpose. Expertise, independence and governance will be available.

Option 2- Consulting arm of Deloitte; and not Trustees will be involved in the liquidation process. Decision-making will be overseen by Deloitte.

The company wants to know the majority voters choice- 
whether investors (who participate in the said voting process) want the Trustees to make the decision i.e. authorize Franklin Templeton India, 
or 
would rather want an independent body i.e. Deloitte to do the same.
Then, the fund can be distributed to unitholders by the process set up by Franklin Templeton India.

In case the email ids of investors are not registered, they can do so by the 8th of June, 2020.
User-id and password is needed by investors for this opportunity. 

Voting will take place on June 9 – June 11, 2020 and the Unitholder meets (one per fund) on June 12, 2020.
The videoconferencing is being provided by K Fintech.

Communicating and being inclusive and transparent about the process, Franklin Templeton India's efforts have been to ensure smooth liquidation and investor confidence and ease.

We hope the process is completed and all the investors receive their funds soon.

Info is also available in Hindi.



Note: Updated info-

Regarding the E-voting process, please find below, the latest update put up on Franklin Templeton website. 
The process has been suspended till further communication.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The Picnic

"Mom, please let me go for the school picnic!" 
It was her last year at school.
Mona was hopeful that her mother would finally give her the permission.
It was now or never.

"But, Mona, it's a place that you have already seen! Haven't we visited that tourist-spot so many times?" 
Mona didn't argue.
PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz
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