Thursday 30 July 2020

Naked Truth - Star And Sweet

naked truth

Plain unadorned facts, without concealment or embellishment. For example, What I've told you is the naked truth. This expression supposedly alludes to a fable in which Truth and Falsehood went bathing, Falsehood then dressed in Truth's clothes, and Truth, refusing to take another's clothes, went naked. [Late 1500s]
                                                                                                  - Definition in

The reason for asking the above questions about "naked truth" is as I am totally baffled with what is going on.

Let us take a Star and a Sweet for example.
Star- Sushant Singh Rajput 
Sweet- Rasagola 

It was declared that Sushant Singh Rajput, a top highly talented and promising Bollywood actor, has "committed suicide" on July 14, 2020.

We trust the police and thought that their statement is true.
I could never believe that one of my favourite stars, who has such a positive outlook and spirit could ever do so.
The same thoughts had come to my mind when I had learned of the so-called "suicide" of Sunanda Pushkar.

But, now we know that both these "suicide" cases, and many other cases like this, are actually made to appear in such garb.
Within a few minutes of Sushant's mysterious death, despite the police knowing the truth and technical flaws in the suicide theory, they never gave an inkling of the reality- that SSR has actually been murdered.
The "suicide", mental health", "depression" news was made to spread like wildfire.
So many social media posts, videos etc now have the wrong news- suicide theory.
Problem is replication as whoever sees such wrong info in the future, continues the same theory...

I pray that may the killers of Sushant Singh Rajput be nabbed and punished and may our star get justice soon.

It is being constantly declared for many years that the king of sweets, Rasagola or Rasgulla (or spelled in any which way- Rasagulla/Rasgola/Rasogolla/Rosogolla...) is "invented" in Bengal.

Odisha has centuries-old connection with Rasagola, but many are simply unwilling to accept the reality of this continuing tradition on the last day of the Ratha Jatra at Puri, Odisha! 
Misleading info and fake news is still being spread! 
Many posts, videos, articles etc. have wrong information. 
This despite Odisha having earned the GI Tag and having shown that the word 'Rasagola' has existed in Odia literature even before Kolkata city was established! 

Having spent more than the last five years of my life being deeply involved with the Rasagola case, I am totally at a loss for words!
Exactly 5 years ago, on July 30, 2015, had started #RasagolaDibasa- celebration of a Rasgulla Day on social media.
Last year, on July 29, 2019, Odisha earned the GI tag for Odisha Rasagola.
Yesterday, was the first anniversary of our Rasagola GI tag.

Being enthused, I shared the video of a newly-wedded Doctor that I received on WhatsApp. Doctor Babu's maiden visit to his in-laws place is to be seen to be believed! His loving in-laws have taken great efforts to prepare and serve 105 Odia dishes including Rasagola. I loved the thoughtful video oozing great honour, love, care, and the loooong list of dishes that I shared it on some groups in FaceBook.
Today, I saw many comments that informed me that some people still believe that Rasagola belongs to Bengal!
I instantly felt transported to back in time- perceptions haven't changed much despite doggedly trying to promote the truth on social media! 
But, the eternal optimist in me soon saw that many had provided the correct info as reply to the ignorant comments. Hard work hasn't gone waste!

I pray that may we never have to encounter any 'debate/controversy' or give explanation or defend Rasagola-origin-in-Odisha case!


In both the above-mentioned Star & Sweet cases, the narrative has been decided and set.
All the conversations, perceptions, attitudes etc are based on this.
Further conversations are based on the first-hand information provided.
Thus, if an influential/wise/learned/authoritative/reliable person has stated or published something first, it is accepted as truth.
Blindly accepted and promoted as truth! 
No one suspects any foul play or vested interests or cultural appropriation!
No one knows the naked truth! 

Many do not care.
Lies are wearing the clothes of truth and have made their presence everywhere! 

If Y, who is not well-known (but has research/experience), says something serious, you don't believe her.
But, if X, who is a well-known trustworthy culture/media personality, either says something frivolous or copies the exact thing as Y has been saying (and worse, claims to be his own original idea), you believe him!

Star & Sweet cases thus have dark and sour dealings.
If such high-profile cases with solid evidence and backing meet with a fate, then imagine how the truth will be possible for the lesser-known reality...

Truth is whose responsibility? 
Please let us be responsible citizens and report correctly.
No, SSR did NOT commit "suicide."
No, Rasagola has NOT originated in "Bengal."

Why is it so tough to accept, support and promote the truth?

We believe- "Satyameva Jayate".
Truth always wins.
"Truth is still the truth even if no one believes it; Lie is still a lie even if everyone believes it."
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes." 
There is hope that truth will be out one day.
But, how will this happen if we don't support/say?

What do you say?
Do share your comments below.

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Kendrapara Rasabali

Rasabali is a traditional sweet of Odisha that is prepared using  chhena i.e. cottage-cheese and thickened sweetened milk. 
This sweet is being offered everyday for the past several centuries at the Baladevjew Temple at Kendrapara district of Odisha. 
It is also one of the bhoga of the Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha.
Rasabali is a very popular sweet dish and has many fans.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

The Missing Diary

My diary was missing.

I had looked for it everywhere.

It had my deepest secrets.

I was not too worried that anyone could read it.

I write using 'invisible ink' and only I can read the text...

I had been documenting for long.

Had someone stolen it?

Wednesday 15 July 2020

The Parcel

Leela got a call from the courier delivery.

The parcel had her name. 

She opened the box. 

It was a pink dress that was a size smaller! 

Who could have gifted her? 

Her birthday was some days away...


She did not recognize the sender's name and address.

The given phone-number wasn’t in her contact.

Dil Bechara : Missing Sushant Singh Rajput

Exactly a month ago, we lost a young and talented star, Sushant Singh Rajput (SSR).
The nation is still mourning and many are looking for justice for him.
We really do not know what happened and why we have to face such a situation.

We watched the movie trailer of Dil Bechara and the super song that Sushant has pulled off in one shot.
SSR has such a happy personality in the movie and in the real-life videos with his disarming smile and cool and smart style.

In Dil Bechara, these inspiring positive words sound so nice in his voice-:
"Janam kab lena hai aur marna kab hai- Hum decide nahi karsakte hain;
Par kaise jeena hai- woh Hum decide karsakte hain."
"We cannot decide when to take birth or when to die;
But, we can decide how to live life."

Sunday 12 July 2020

News Reports About Rasagola Dibasa 2020

Ratha Jatra 2020 came to a close on a sweet note with the celebration of the Niladri Bije ritual on the last day of the Ratha Jatra when Rasagolas are offered as prasad/bhoga.

It was great to see news reports about the Adhara Pana and Niladri Bije rituals in many dailies.
Ratha Jatra 2020 made history being celebrated despite the #Covid19 shutdown.
This year, Rasagola Dibasa was on 4th July, 2020. Rasagola Dibasa celebration in 2020 was unique as the event was celebrated at homes and many prepared Rasagolas for the first time to offer to the deities as per our continuing tradition.
The following news report about "Rasagola Dibasa" celebration this year was published on 5th July 2020 in the Sunday Times of India, Bhubaneswar edition.
Rasagola Dibasa
We have been advocating the use of our terms for long. 
At least the local papers based in Odisha should report the celebration correctly. 
As we have been celebrating #RasagolaDibasa, the spelling "Rasagola Dibasa" should be used as has been done in the above report in TOI. 
But, this article is not available online.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

The Eyewitness

She had a feeling something sinister was happening on the street. 

Her kitchen-window overlooked the road from where she could hear the commotion.

She went ahead and opened the window.

PHOTO PROMPT @ A. Noni Mouse
She heard loud shrieks, but couldn't see anything. 

Friday 3 July 2020

Ratha Jatra 2020

Jai Jagannath!

Rasagola Dibasa is celebrated on Niladri Bije, the last day of the Ratha Jatra (Rath Yatra).
This year (2020), the tithi date is - July 4th.

It feels great that the Ratha Jatra 2020 is being celebrated this year.
Covid-19 had nearly succeeding in stalling celebrations.
After the June 22nd verdict that permitted celebration, sans devotees and with restrictions, many like me were super-thrilled.          
Shree Jagannatha had interfered and imposed His will.
The Ratha Jatra must go on and it did, just as per His direction.

On June 9, 2020, the Orissa High Court had directed the state Govt. to conduct Ratha Jatra as per the guidelines of Covid-19. The other Jagannath Temples around the state had already conveyed their decision about not conducting the event this year.
However, on June 18, 2020,  Jagannath devotees like me were shocked to learn the Apex Court’s judgment that circumstances do not allow the Ratha Jatra this year.
How can a virus emerge victorious?
Shree Jagannath is the highest authority and identity for Odisha and Odias. The previous tagline of Odisha was- ‘The Soul of Incredible India’. 
Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath is the soul of Odisha. He is the living deity, who dresses up, eats, sleeps, and even goes for an annual journey with His siblings, that too following set rules and centuries-old rituals and traditions.

In emergency meeting, Odisha state cabinet decided to obey Supreme Court (SC) ban on not holding this year’s Ratha Jatra owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and had directed district administrations to strictly implement the SC order.
As per Govt sources:
“The sense of the cabinet was that since SC has given primacy to life and health and the prevailing pandemic situation where social distancing is important, the Ratha Jatra should be avoided. It was unanimously decided to obey the direction instead of challenging the order. One has to accept that it’s the Lord Himself who does everything.”
Supreme Court announced Ratha Jatra won’t be held.

People resigned saying: 
“It is God’s will. Accept it.”
“Everything happens as per His wish.”
“God can’t save.”
“Don’t put lives in danger.”
“Everything is pre-planned by Him.”
“He is saving His devotees from coronavirus.”
“When devotees are not allowed (as He wants to save them and it is His will), for whom should the Lord come out?”
“Lord Jagannath does not want to see Bada Danda without devotees.”
“It’s not Supreme Court, but the Mahaprabhu, the supreme authority, decides what’ll happen.” 

Supporters of Ratha Jatra like me wrote to the state Govt. and the Supreme Court requesting reconsideration and favourable verdict.

Chief Justice Of India (CJI) had said, “Lord will not forgive me.”
Harish Salve stated about huge “crowd".
They gave their judgment based on the facts that they were communicated that 10-12 lakhs devotees from around the world would congregate to participate in the festival. They assumed that crowd cannot be controlled and infections will increase. But, how can lakhs of people assemble in such a short duration when there are no special trains or travel convenience as in previous years?

The petitioner Odisha Vikas Parishad is not even clear about Ratha Jatra’s duration – for how many days it is held- “10-12 days”. They had demanded for Ratha Jatra to be “stopped or postponed”. It certainly could not have been postponed as there is a particular tithi – Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya- when Ratha Jatra is held each year as per continuing tradition.

Why was the Supreme Court dragged into this and why was wrong information communicated as the grounds of this case?
Some devotees, who wanted the Ratha Jatra to be held this year, took to social media to express their disappointment. Puri was closed for 6 hours on 20th June, with some protestors demanding Ratha Jatra celebration.
“God won’t forgive those who have sabotaged and planned this outcome.”
Many felt sad and vented out the frustration amongst family and friends in closed WhatsApp groups or via phone-calls.  
I was surprised to see this message of an advocate of Supreme Court –
“I am so sad I will observe fast on Rath Yatra”.
Despite having knowledge of law, instead of giving info to the ignoramuses like us about the remedy and the next course of action even he had accepted the SC verdict like many others.

When the Moghuls attacked Odisha, that time, the idols of the deities were taken to safer places and no Ratha Jatra was held at Puri as the Lord was not there. Out of the 164 years and 4 months Shree Jagannath had stayed out of the Srimandir, Ratha Jatra had been stopped for 155 years. It was held 8 times outside Puri and once inside Srimandir.

Why should we stop a continuing tradition when arrangements were being made for the past couple of months?
I always believe- “God helps those who help themselves.”
But, it’s also true that- “Man proposes, God disposes.”
If man does not propose, then man is stopping the chance of getting any outcome, leave alone favourable or unfavourable.

Not taking a decision or action is also a decision.
Some people pride themselves of being mature and understanding law-abiding citizens and caring for the safety and interests.
And yet, there are some non-understanding and non-cooperative people, whose sentiments had been so hurt that they dared to raise such issues and voiced and requested and demanded a review hoping for a modification in the order.

Devotees and Sebayats were unhappy.
Thankfully, many filed review petitions in the SC against the Ratha Jatra judgment. 
When God interferes, no one can stop an event from happening.
That Ratha Jatra 2020 has been conducted smoothly so far and tomorrow is the concluding day, proves the supremacy of Lord Jagannath.

Ratha Jatra 2020 has proved that celebration with restrictions is possible. 
We could never have excused ourselves for stopping our tradition.

Ratha Jatra's elaborate preparations begin on Akhyaya Tritiya each year. 
This was the first time in several centuries when the situation did not permit crowds.
We devotees felt blessed to watch the LIVE telecast on TV.

There was administrative support. Curfew has been imposed in Puri city and all entry and exit points have been sealed, with extra focus on the Bada Danda, to make this celebration possible.
“Where there is a will, there is a way”.

Ratha Jatra 2020 is unique.
Police and Sebayats pulled the Rathas.
Sebayat, dressed in traditional attire, and Odisha Bandha masks, pulled the Rathas barefoot.

Triumph of Hope and Prayers

In the Bhakta, Bhagaban & Bhutanu tussle, the Bhutanu- Covid19 virus was not allowed to triumph. That would have been a wrong precedent to show the virus as winner against the majority will and hope.

Merciful Lord Jagannath listened to our prayers and decided Ratha Jatra celebration.

He directed Supreme Court to reconsider the judgment! Many are elated that the Lord has answered our prayers.

Rolling of the Rathas  has spread cheer and hope. Even a leaf can’t move without His permission. Whatever is happening is neither Government’s will nor Supreme Court’s imposition; it’s Shree Jagannath’s grace.

Mahaprabhu is the supreme deciding authority!

Some important dates of the Ratha Jatra celebration in 2020-

Ratha Jatra- 23rd June

Hera Panchami- 27th June

Bahuda Jatra- 1st July

Suna Besha- 2nd July

Adhara Pana- 3rd July

Niladri Bije- 4th July

We celebrate Niladri Bije as Rasagola Dibasa. 

This time we will totally celebrate it online on social media. Please share posts with  the hashtag-#RasagolaDibasa.

Jaga Sabu Dekhuchi! - (Shree) Jagannath is watching everything

Chaka Akhi Sabu Dekhuchi! - Round eyes (of Shree Jagannath) see everything

What is your experience with Ratha Jatra 2020? Did you watch it on TV?

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