Performers Without Borders Mesmerizes Kolkata Audience

 

Performers Without Borders (PWB) is a charity run NGO which believes in the power of performing arts and uses it as a tool to conduct workshops with children in various countries. Their recent tour of India brought them to the Amherst Police Station where the Nabadisha project—which provides after school education for underprivileged children—is run. This centre is also where Peaceworks—an initiative of The Seagull Foundation for the Arts conducts its storytelling project- Share Stories Open Minds.

The first meeting

 

Welcoming Performers Without Borders

 

The PWB team came to the police station dressed in colourful clothes, which made all the children run towards them in the first go. What surprised me the most was the fact that they were so comfortable in conversing with the children using at times even Hindi to talk to them. They were welcomed by the children who performed a small skit based on the traditional Indian folktale of The Rabbit and The Tortoise. Avi, the project coordinator then went on to discuss some of the techniques that they use during their acts covering juggling, mime, clowning and a few others. This was translated by the centre volunteer Swarna Di into Bengali for children.

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Workshop in progress

The children were divided into four to five groups lead by two of the PWB volunteers. What followed then was mesmerizing to watch and at times had the onlookers in splits. They tried enacting various situations purely by actions and without any dialogue. From being happy-go-lucky birds flying about to a hound of dogs being chased by another hound of dogs; were some of the scenes that we were lucky to witness. They were even given big, red round noses to feel like they were playing the part. The children participated with sheer excitement and joy. This session taught us that language is never a barrier. Actions themselves speak so much that at times one does not even need any language to communicate. Thereafter, they went on to two more sessions, one where they sculpted statues—where most of them sculpted their partners for the perfect selfie with them, and the other, unleashing the power of imagination by imagining a simple object to be used in different ways.

The balancing Namaste

Then began the performance of the PWB that the children and the audience were eagerly waiting for. From juggling to riding a unicycle and even trying a leg at skipping with it enthralled the audience. What appealed to them the most was that the acts were in tune to a short story that they prepared regarding a wonder mixer. At one point, they even called the children on stage to help them with their acts. The performance glued the children to their seats for almost an hour.

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The performance in progress

‘The children enjoyed themselves and do not usually get to see such amazing acts. That is why they are liking it a lot and enjoying their performances,’ said Anima Dutta, a teacher from the centre.  Pooja, a student of the centre said that she loved the performances a lot and a particular mime of a monkey attracted her the most. Jayasree di, another teacher from the centre stated that according to her juggling was the best.

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In Deep Focus

Further, the programme being conducted inside the police station saw the presence of some interested police officers too who joined the audience. Bapi Ghosh, a sergeant from the police Station said, ‘Programme khub bhalo hocche. Erom aro hole bhalo hoye bachader jonne karon bachara anando korche.’ (The programme is very good. There should be more programs like this for the children because they are enjoying a lot. )

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Quaack !

The students from the opposite college (left their classes) and came to watch the special programme conducted in the precincts of the police station. Mehed Islam, a student of the nearby college said, ‘Ami college e jachilam, eita dekhte dekhte ekhane chole eshechi. Amader Bengali culture theke ektu different. Eitai khub attractive.’ (I was going to the college. I saw their performance and came here to see it instead. Their acts are different from our everyday Bengali culture. This is what is attractive about them). The highlight of the performance was when they started dancing to the tunes of ‘Koi Dance Pe Chance Maar Le’ from the film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi with the children.

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Performers Without Borders with the audience at the Amherst Street Police Station

After their performance got over, I got a chance to talk to some of them. Dan said, ‘I very much enjoyed performing here. The crowd is really engaged, there was a good atmosphere and the kids seem to really enjoy it.’ According to Avi, ‘The kids were really engaged in the workshops that we offered. They loved clowning. They loved to play. Speaking about the space, the stage was amazing, the whole community came and we really enjoyed performing for everyone.’ For Jonny, ‘Performing here was great. The crowd was definitely really nice. It felt really nice to have a lively audience.’

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Performers Without Borders with the Peaceworks Volunteers

We hope that they would come back again next year and perform for the children and the elders both. Their performances have been truly commendable and so is their objective of spreading love and happiness through performing arts. Keep Enjoying love and spreading Happiness all over! If you would like to know more about the Share Stories Open Minds Project or join us as a volunteer do check out the details here.

 

Happily Never After: Jane De Suza

 

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Happily Never After is a witty, coming-of-age, story describing the plight of a lonely, internet addicted , mother of five ( three humans, one dog and one cat) ; who lives in Bangalore managing home front while her husband is in Singapore looking after his plumbing business.

Contemporary themes like loneliness, bonding with friends and family, parenting, suspicions in marriages relationship and internet dating are humorously dealt with in the book. What is way more interesting is that the entire narrative of the book is written in the form of a blog entry and a diary entry of a ten years old kid.

Today, many married couples live in distant lands- one earning for the family while the other brings up the children. At times, this arrangement becomes almost mechanical with each one having no “me-time” or “quality –time together”. An unavoidable side -effect to such a lifestyle is also doubting the partner- “Did he go back to continue his hilarious conversation with the other woman . . . . “

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 Parenting is yet another difficult task in hand- whether both parents are bringing up the child or a single parent is working double shifts. With the attention span of a fly and the influencing cosmopolitan magazines, it is difficult to understand the mind of a growing child, or his/her growing adrenaline punch. Further still, it is difficult to understand their adulterated terminologies with quite unwanted equivocal meanings.

“ -‘We was playing Bloody Coop’

-‘WHO taught you to say Bloody? . . . . .’

-‘No, a bloody coop to kill all dictators’

-‘ Ah a Bloody Coup!’ I said realizing what had reduced the house to its current status.”

Loneliness and its side-effects, though wittily dealt with in this book, has become a part and parcel of life and contributes a lot in making marriages an estranged relationship. It gives rise to doubts regarding the fidelity of the partner as well as self-doubts. It restricts pent-up thoughts to your minds, builds anger and emotionally strains a person. Thus, to find solace from this emotional vacuum, the protagonist ends up taking to a blog and cyber dating. While the blog is a great way of expressing one’s feelings; the sentinel of consciousness would always keep on asking how much exposure of your private life on cyberspace is too much exposure of your life?

Happily Never After also subtly deals with the psychology of men. Unlike women, men need their own time and space to express their feelings. They try to help in their own little ways which are usually often over-looked or misunderstood by their better halves.

To end this discussion, I would highlight that the points and situations put forward by the author are very practical and true; but does the constant nagging, self-doubt and emotional exhaustion portrayed by the protagonist paint her in a weak light instead of a strong woman? With this, I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the book and wish that you can survive the kind world and live Happily Ever After.

This book is available for purchase in all the leading bookstores. You can even order a copy online through : Amazon , Flipkart and Snapdeal .

 

 

 

Storm Still: A Review

Numerous poems, drama, and stories have been written on the National Socialist era when times were tumultuous and full of fear. One such drama—Storm Still— was written by Austrian writer Peter Handke and published in the year 2010. It was translated into English by Martin Chalmers and published by Seagull Books in 2013.  

The drama is composed mainly in the form of a monologue which the narrator, who refers himself to, as ‘I’ has with his late mother. He revisits scenes from his childhood from the South Austrian province of Carinthia. In fact, critics have often drawn resemblance between the narrator and the writer himself; as few distinct characteristics of the writer can be well reflected through the dialogues spoken by the narrator. Throughout the conversations, many characters are revealed which have uncanny similarities with Handke’s own family. Thus making the readers wonder if this is a quasi –fictionalized version of his own story.

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The performance in progress

A musical adaptation of Peter Handke’s Storm Still was recently performed by Varun Kishore and Tanaji Dasgupta at the Victoria Memorial Hall, which after two years of waiting, I was lucky to attend. It was brought to us by Victoria Memorial Hall and The Seagull Foundation for the Arts. A trailer of the show is attached above and the copyright goes to Mr. Varun Kishore. 

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Storm Still at Victoria Memorial Hall.

Storm Still was a complete two-man army. One cannot praise Tanaji enough for remembering all the dialogues and performing them with the necessary pitch, voice modulation and expression all throughout the almost 70- minutes long performance. His graceful oratory was complimented by Varun’s music. The highs and lows of the scenes were brilliantly captured with the background music; which he self-composed and played the pre-recorded and live versions during the performance. I have often seen people discussing whether the oratory is better or the music; but for Storm Still both win. It’s almost as if the music blended with the oration so that both ran in tandem with each other. One would be incomplete without the other.

Storm Still has been previously performed in many places in Kolkata and outside. In case you have missed those performances and want to catch the next, or simply wanted to attend it for a second/third time, then you can keep a lookout for the dates on Facebook. For those in Kolkata it is being performed at the Padatik Theatre on March 30 and 31, 2017. So hurry and fix your dates!

A Lesson Through the Eyes of Art

A meaningful life – this is what we look for in art, in its smallest dewdrops as in its unleashing of the tempest. We are at peace when we have found it and uneasy when we have not.-Bjornstjerne Bjornson

I still remember the chilly Wednesday afternoon back in 2012, when Peaceworks—an initiative of The Seagull Foundation for the Artswas first introduced to me. The unique concept and the work—telling stories—attracted me the most. Well, when something attracts me I try to get myself involved in it and after four-and- a- half years I am still associated with PeaceWorks, in whatever little way I can contribute to the programme.

Share Stories Open Minds is a project under the PeaceWorks umbrella that uses the powerful art of storytelling with children from underprivileged backgrounds.  This project is completely volunteer based and is run in partnership with the Kolkata police project Nabadisha and non profits like Women’s Interlink Foundation, Anandan and Hamari Muskan. The volunteers associated with Peaceworks come from all walks of life- school/college students, teachers, home-makers, corporate professionals and the like. They share one hour from their busy schedules every week to conduct storytelling sessions in different parts of the city.

The project aims to take stories, something that many of us take for granted, to children who may not have access to them. Storytelling is a powerful tool, which sparks the imagination of the listener, stimulates critical thinking skills and encourages children to think about topics and ideas without actually imposing it on them!

The Share Stories Open Minds project also involves art and theatre. Every now and then the volunteers conduct an art session with the children. The theme might be connected to the stories that they have heard, or one based on the community they live in and so on. The children are given complete freedom when it comes to how they want to present their art and what medium they wish to use. Sometimes classes on origami and mask making are held. These artworks are displayed in the annual storytelling festival- GolpoMela. Theatre sessions are also conducted in the centres where the children put up short skit, which they write themselves or adapt from sources and present to an audience under the guidance of their teachers/ volunteers. The Share Stories Open Minds project also hosts various workshops for the volunteers so that they can revise their skills of storytelling and learn new techniques to incorporate in their sessions.

This year, PeaceWorks is privileged to welcome Performers Without Borders, to perform for the children of the Amherst Police Station centre on March 29, 2017 from 3:30 pm onwards. They will show that storytelling can be done in a variety of ways. Performers Without Borders are a travelling group of performing artists who believe in the power of performing arts as an important tool of learning and inculcating values. They work with children in India, Nicaragua and Kenya and have been teaching circus in India for nine years. Many of the children they have worked with and taught have gone on, in turn, to teach others their skills.

For more information regarding the Share Stories Open Minds Project you can connect over social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If you would like to be a part of the project then you can contact PeaceWorks at peaceworks@seagullindia.com.

'Cursed at Kedarnath' Launched in Kolkata

The much awaited second book by Author Deepta Roy Chakraverti, Cursed at Kedarnath & Other Stories was finally released on the 24th of March, 2017 in Oxford Bookstore Kolkata. The launch was followed by a panel whose members were the Wiccan High Priestess, Author and Chairperson of the Wiccan Brigade, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti; Publisher, Life Positive Books, Mr. Aditya Ahluwalia; Principal, South City International School, Mr. John Bagul; the author herself and Mona Sen Gupta who moderated the panel.  The Welcome address of the evening was put forward by Mrs Maina Bhagat. After which, the book was officially launched in the presence of a huge audience and the panel discussion commenced.

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Mrs Maina Bhagat giving the Welcome Address

The foreword for this book has been written by Author Ipsita Roy Chakraverti . She read the foreword at the onset of the discussion. Excerpts from which are quoted below: “But I must admit that as far as the subject of the supernatural is concerned, the Western World is far more advanced than us. They take it seriously- as seriously as the word science is taken in India.  . . . . In India, Rabindranath Tagore believed in other worlds. So did the great mystic Shri Aurobindo. Who are we pygmies to say ‘No ghosts please. We’re scientific.’ Utter nonsense.. . . ’’

Mr Ahluwalia gave important insights regarding books like ‘Cursed at Kedarnath’ which might go on to create a new genre in the field of Literature. In fact, according to him as Kolkata celebrated the launch of the book, the title had actually “gone for a second print”. This is enough to let the audience know that these books are slowly carving out a niche for themselves parallel to mainstream Literature and are appreciated and read with equal enthusiasm and interest as any novel, drama or poetry. He further adds about the information vacuum created due to less factual and validated information and research conducted in the field of supernatural. This, in turn, gives rise to people moving onto various online search engines to find their answers which might not always be true and at times gives rise to superstitions . Thus, the need of the hour is to publish more books by authors like Deepta Roy Chakraverti and Ipsita Roy Chakraverti which spreads enough light on such topics backed by research and experiences which can fill in the information vacuum created in this field.

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Mona Sen Gupta

Mona Sen Gupta moved on to Mr Bagul asking him what he liked the best in the book as he himself is a man of academic background. To this he replied “As a reader and as a person of science, I feel the best thing that came across in the book is at the end of every story or narration, there is a diary entry. What I appreciate is that the diary entry at the end of each story which is not fiction is given in a different font. As a reader it becomes so simple to slip over from what you have read as a narration and then the amount of research that has gone into it. “Mr Bagul went on to say and praise the amount of scientific research that backs every narration in the book. Several researchers have been delving deep into the subject of supernatural but hardly are there any from India. Mona added that ‘ if you pick up a copy of the book and read, more than Deepta’s experiences her sharpness of mind, her research ability is amazing.

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The panel for the evening. (From left: Mona Sen Gupta, Mr John Bagul, Deepta Roy Chakraverti, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, Mr Aditya Ahluwalia)

When asked about some of the themes covered in the book, the author replied that her experiences take place in different destinations but the bulk is Kolkata based. She explained the background behind some of her case studies like the The Possession of Charulata, Voices, Weeping Child and so on. Ipsita Chakraverti then went on to explain the fact that apart from the isoteric , these stories would also appeal to the people as they have a human interest factor regarding them. The panel continued to talk about out-of body experiences, the use of mirrors as portals and so on. The launch ended with a book signing session by the author herself.

You can buy her latest book at: Amazon , Flipkart and Life Positive Books Or Grab a copy from all leading stores near you as well as Booktique,

Her previous book, Bhangarh to Bedlam: Haunted Encounters can also be bought in Amazon , Flipkart and Life Positive Books , apart from leading bookstores.

I will be soon back with a book review of Cursed at Kedarnath.

 

 

 

Kolkata Storytellers Enthrall Young Audience on World Storytelling Day

The 20th of March marks the World Storytelling Day and the World Theatre Day for the young Audience. In this regard, Kolkata Storytellers along with Oxford Bookstore Kolkata organised a wonderful session of storytelling for children and their parents. It was an open to all event wherein guests and audiences joined in as the evening progressed.

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Kavita Gupta, Arpita Nag and Priyanka Chatterjee Photo Courtesy: Samit Biswas

Kolkata Storytellers  is a group formed by professional storytellers. Priyanka Chatterjee, Arpita Nag and Kavita Gupta were the storytellers for the evening. They performed various stories in Hindi, Bangla and English using different props to keep the children engaged and interested. Storytelling is not only an art to express stories through powerful oratory, narration, voice modulation and expressions and gestures; but also an art of involving the audience themselves as important characters in the story. In fact, as Kavita Gupta puts it, “I love stories and I love listening to stories and telling stories. A lot of times I find stories in my audience so I create stories out of that. Stories are a reflection of who we are. I think stories are a nice way of getting them out of their shell.”

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Priyanka Chatterjee and Mangal Patro translating the stories for the children with special needs. Photo Courtesy: Samit Biswas

The audience comprised of children accompanied by their parents and children from three special institutions- The New Age Society for All, Lions Club of Calcutta Roshni and Anandan. Interestingly, with the presence of special children with their translator, Mangal Patro , the session became all the more memorable as it shattered the traditional barriers of oral storytelling ; and instead brought in glimpses of storytelling through translations for meeting the special needs of the children. According to Arpita Nag, Performance always gives any artist a very big high. But this was more special because when we came around we heard that we had quite a few children who were hearing impaired. Now we do not work with special children, we have not. So we were a little skeptical. But we realized that they were the ones who were responding the most and I was just communicating with them and they said it was excellent and they said Thank You. I think I should thank them in return and it was an amazing experience especially today and we would like to do more such performances.

 

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Arpita narrating a story. Photo Courtesy: Samit Biswas

The stories were rather engaging and used a variety of props to attract the attention of the children. The various storytelling techniques involved narration, action, involving the audience to be characters in the stories themselves, props denoting the involvement of puppetry in storytelling and the likes. The stories for children ranged from the traditional Monkey and the crocodile to the Ramayana with a twist to a narration of how Lord Buddha colored the world. The highlight of the evening was the story of the Zamindar and the Genie where all the three storytellers shared the stage. Rekha, from Anandan also narrated a self -composed story regarding her newfound best friends. According to her, the entire programme was ‘Khub Bhalo’ (Very Good). Rekha had come on behalf of the NGO where the Share Stories Open Minds project is run by Peaceworks from The Seagull Foundation for the Arts. You can read the full report written by Peaceworks, Program Officer, Paroma Sengupta here.

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Rekha, telling her self written story. Photo Courtesy: Samit Biswas

The event received a very positive response from the audience. According to Swagata Sanyal Lahiri, who accompanied her son to the event, “The event was wonderful. It’s very innovative and for me it was first of a kind. My son enjoyed a lot and that’s what matters as a parent you know.” Kamal, Raja and Amar, spoke to me through their translator and conveyed that they found the programme very entertaining and engaging. According to Tiyasa Biswas, the president of Lions Club of Roshni, “Every student and children out here enjoyed. It’s like portraying the past when our grandma’s used to tell a story. It’s just taking them out and ornamentally presenting them to the students and the children, making them take more interest in the moral stories.” On asking Arpita regarding the future events of Kolkata Storytellers, she replied, “We have events planned up every month. Earthcare and Oxford are our regular venues. We are doing performances at different other places also. This week itself we have many other events planned up. This apart, every month we are looking towards at least three to four sessions in the city.” Thus, if you missed this session, you can always keep a lookout for their next session and enjoy a wonderful time listening to stories and being a part of them.

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Arpita, Priyanka and Kavita performing the Zamindar and the Genie. Photo Courtesy: Samit Biswas

Story Slam Marks the eve of city's first Storytelling Day

Poster for Story Slam made by Squares and Circles

Are we not fond of stories? Story telling has come a long way out of our grandmother’s kitties in our childhood to becoming a  prominent part of mainstream art , with storytelling groups, professional storytellers, workshops, lectures, theatres , start-ups and the lot coming into existence. Interestingly, each year India celebrates various ‘Days’ but never until 2017 has it celebrated World Storytelling Day on the 20th of March. Thus, Priyanka Chatterjee of Wild Strawberry came up with the concept of having a week-long celebration of this grand event which was to be celebrated in the City of Joy for the first time.

Arpita Nag, giving a performance at the Story Slam Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas
SanjuktaSarkar Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas
ShubhashisGhosh Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas

As a prelude to the World Storytelling Day on the 20th, Wild Strawberry organised the Story Slam on the 19th of March from 5pm to 7pm in Au Bon Pain, Park Street. The concept of the program was very simple with 14 registered participants telling stories in front of an audience. The narration of these stories were of different types from puppetry to dance drama to simple narration. Each participant enthralled the audience with their storytelling skills.  Shubhashis Ghosh , a story teller for the evening says,  “When a storyteller by heart, gets an opportunity to tell a story and listen to a wide range of stories too on the occasion of World Storytelling Day, then you can understand how glad that person will be. Thank you Wild Strawberry for providing such a platform. I’m ready with lot more interesting stories for upcoming events like this” Another performer, Sanjukta Sarkar went on to say, “The process of telling stories adhered to the theme of ‘Transformation’, because it was a transforming experience in itself. With so many story tellers reading out their souls, we were part of an inspiring session, where we traded magical words.” Paroma Sengupta also commented, “I loved the concept of the Story Slam and think it is a wonderful way of celebrating World Storytelling Day. I enjoyed participating in the event and hope there will be many more such events in the city!” 

The participants for the evening were: Biyas Dutta, Priyanka Chatterjee, Arpita Nag, Somolekha Sur, Pragya Goel Gupta, Sanjukta Sarkar, Shubhashish Ghosh, Paroma Sengupta, Sriradha Paul, Kamala Kanta Mistri, Shesadri Shekhar Das, Indrajit Lahiri, Swapna Sen and  Sougoto Sarkar.

A Sanskrit Story in progress Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas
A dance recital by Sriradha Paul Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas
Somolekha Sur Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas

Apart from the story telling sessions by fourteen participants, there was also the newly introduced concept of book tasting. Here, people could browse through some of the best-sellers and read their reviews written by readers. The audience had appreciated the performances and the concept very much.  Raymond Rozario , who attended such an event for the first time said, “Being my first time at a storytelling event, it was a wonderful experience. Enjoyed the unique forms of storytelling through dance, recital and puppetry. Perhaps simple, low-key events such as this will spread the love for & interest for art forms for many years to come.Shilpa Bhaskaran, another spectator also commented that, “The Storytelling Slam was an event to celebrate the storyteller in each one of us. Every story shared was unique, beautifully narrated, and had a touch of innocence that added to the hues of the canvas called Life. I look forward to similar events, which would bring out the creative genius in each one of us.

A Glimpse of Book Tasting Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas
Puppeteers in actions Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas
A performance by Biyas Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas

What interested the audience in general were the different forms of art- oratory, voice modulation, acting, puppetry , dance  and even the use of Sanskrit language to narrate stories – that were used while performing. This created an interesting atmosphere in the event and captured the attention of the audience with a wide array of performances. The event was open to everyone, from all walks of life to come, share, listen, participate or just watch. In fact our tiniest storyteller Biyas was only seven years old.

This event gave a platform and an impetus to all to display their skills of story-telling in front of an audience. Certificates and gifts were given to not only the participants but also to the audience to encourage them into the field of story-telling and also be supportive and attend such events in the future .

Pragya Goel Gupta Photo Courtesy: SamitBiswas
Priyanka Chatterjee in action Photo Courtesy: Samit Biswas

To conclude, it would have been impossible to host such a successful event without the partners –Squares and Circles , the Design partner; Au Bon Pain , the Venue Partner and Mesh, the Gift Partner. Assitej India and Assitej International have always been a boosting factor for events such as these. They have always supported and helped in the implementation of artistic events for the city and the country as a whole. In fact, with their support, it has become possible to continue the celebrations for almost over a week throughout the City of Joy.

Paridhi – A Technological Bonanza

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Image Courtesy: MSIT

Meghnad Saha Insititute of Technology is back with the Sixth Edition of it’s Annual Techno- Management fest which is organized by the technical wing of the college, MEGATRONIX. Paridhi is a college fest which brings forth an opportunity for students to challenge and test themselves against a vast range of  events.This year the fest  is back with 41 events and the teams not only compete with colleges of Kolkata but also the best and toughest teams across the whole country. Megatronix,the Technical Club of Meghnad Saha Institute of Technology invites each and every student to this college fest Paridhi on 18 th ,19 th and 20 th of March,2017.

This year come over to push your limits and win exciting and beautiful prizes as Harder the Battle,The Sweeter is the Victory. Some of the interesting events are Game of Death,Chanakyeeti,Pool-O-Soccer,SOS,Royal Rumble and many more which are a craze amongst the students of Kolkata and even outside the State.The manual Robotics events include Horror House and Game of Death.1 st years have a coding event called Code-off- Beta,Pandora’s Box,Bug Hunt,Droid-Up and Web-Head.They have a Business Plan event for the budding entrepreneurs as well.The events start from 10 am in the morning with a break at 2pm in between for an hour and then again continues till 6pm in the evening.

Image Courtesy: MSIT

The fest is powered by T2. The event has education partners like Oracle Academy,Erudite,Time, ICFAI Business School,Endeavor. Pizza Hut is the food partner while the publicity partners are Siti Events,Cashtag and London -Paris Multiplex. Coca-Cola are the beverage partners; 91.9 Friends FM, the Radio Partners and Wedding Rings, the Photography Partners. NACS and Shop-inway are the co-sponsors and Net Wizard Technologies are the Coding partners. The online partners include KNOWAFEST.COM,DARE2COMPLETE.COM,BTECHJOSH.COM,KOLKATA BLOGGERS,festpav.com.

The link of the college website is www.msitparidhi.com .

So this 18th ,19th and 20th of March come and witness a high tide of technological extravaganza at our own state and get ready to have a gala time.We hope to see all of you there.

 

Author Bio:

This blog is written by Progya Baul ,a first year student of Loreto College Kolkata pursuing her degree in Economics.She has a passion for acting and reviewing and writing about food has been her latest fancy too. She is currently pursuing her internship with the Kolkata Bloggers and has written the post on behalf of Kolkata Bloggers who are the online and publicity partners of the event.

Progya Baul: Photo Courtesy: Sabyasachi

‘United We Stand’ Featured Special Attractions for Calcuttans This Holi

Orchid Gardens was colored with the aroma and various hues of Holi colors on the 13th of March. The United We Stand, an initiative of the United Music Festival, a property of a2z events saw a gathering of around three thousand people at the venue. Prior to the event, United had hosted a Whatsapp Holi themed photography and Dubsmash contest. Some of the best videos were screened at the event. Furthermore, Calcuttans made their City of Joy proud by making it to the Limca and India book of records. This was done by a hundred and eighty people who consumed 1500 jalebis at the same time within 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Upon entering the venue, the first thing which hit me was the typical aroma of Holi colours. They were herbal and were smooth on the skin. Apart from colors, I saw the people, especially the children and the youngsters grooving to the dance beats of songs like ‘ Balam Pichkari’  or ‘Lets Naacho’ played by the DJ’s. A star attraction of the event was the folk fusion dance Troupe Bawalia. Interestingly, the members of the group themselves came down from the stage and danced with the audience making the atmosphere very homely and enjoyable.

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The crowd enjoys themselves Photo Courtesy: Mr Sagnik Karmakar

The centre stage made out of recyclable materials appealed to the audience a lot. It was the first time that an event had created a stage out of recyclable materials. It was here that famous DJ’s like DJ Akash Rohira, DJ Girish, DJ Felix and others played Bollywood, Fusion and Special Holi Mixes for the enthusiastic crowd. Co-organiser, Aparajita Chowdury from a2z events said, “We like to offer something different all the time and contribute to society in our own small way. Apart from using recycling products for UNITED stage, we have ensured a minimal water usage in our event. . “

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The DJ’s play grooving tracks on the stage. Photo Courtesy: Mr Sagnik Karmakar

Foam blasts, colour blasts, paint ball, flower shower etc. were the major activities one could take part in. According to me, there were a few highlights of the event. I loved the idea of mobile phone cases to protect the phone from damage. The stall selling masquerade masks, Rajasthani pagdis and other little tit- bits was my favourite. The unlimited Thandai glasses gave a fresh respite to those weary with dancing and playing colours for a long time.

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At one of the games corner. Photo Courtesy: Mr Sagnik Karmakar
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Thanks to the Food Partners of the Event: Pugalia Photo Courtesy: Mr Sagnik Karmakar

United We Stand was a really fun way to celebrate Holi with friends and family. It was an opportunity to have fun, enjoy, make new friends and of course create innumerable selfie memories with your near and dear ones.

Kolkata Bloggers have been the proud online partners of this event. A big shout out to the organisers for having organised such a successful event! 

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Friends having fun at the event. Photo Courtesy: Mr Sagnik Karmakar

Book Review: Chameleon Lights by Ayushman Jamwal

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Mr Ayushman Jamwal

Upon picking up Ayushman Jamwal’s book Chameleon Lights, the first thing which attracted me a lot was the unique book cover. What seem to be great body tattoos and blue neon light waves are more than just aesthetically appealing and simplistic; rather it is symbolic. Symbolic, of the various themes that I would find inside the pages of the book. Ayushman dedicates the book to his grandfather Late Group Captain Randhir Singh, also known as Kunwar Viyogi, a man of many virtues and a well-known writer in the Dogri language.

Let me perish draped in the banner of my making, 

Let my ashes ride winds across the world, 

Let my memory hoist a new sun for tomorrow,

Let me breathe beyond existence, forevermore. 

-Prayer to the God of Rebellion.

Chameleon Lights in an anthology of twenty poems written by the poet during a span of around ten years. Interestingly, during the author’s meet we got to know him better learning intricate facts about his life which have been well-reflected through the poems. For instance, his enjoyments with his friends while he was studying finds a mention in the poem ‘ Party of the Magi’ ; or the ‘Love Letter’ which was written for his girl friend; his love for his dog is portrayed through the poem ‘Canine Love’ ; these poems bring the reader closer to the poet and gives a peek into his life. Ayushman has dealt with subjects like romance, love, war, rebel, wisdom and many others in his long -versed poems. An assemblage of numerous themes break the monotony of mono-thematic poems and gives a fresh flavor to the book.

You infused life in us wanderers,

Showed us joy we’ve yearned for,

A happiness we can hold onto, 

To melt away life’s recurring blues. 

-The Artist of the Soul 

Personally, I have a few favorite lines and poems from the book. The first poem which left an impact on me is ‘The Honest Soliloquy’. It describes the feelings of the powerful and the mighty who are often worshiped by the people,but who think of themselves as nothing more than being ‘made of baser things’. The hollow vacancy in the heart of the most powerful is well accounted through this poem. The Second poem which touched me is ‘The Artist of the Soul’. It recounts very beautifully the scenario of a set stage, a singer with a melodious voice and the ambiance all around. ‘A Beautiful Mind’, on the other hand gives the powerful message to ‘Identify your mind’; which is very crucial for any individual to do. The power of the mind is often not recognized, blinded by the emotions of the heart. But, it is indeed necessary to acknowledge it. Last but not the least, ‘Canine Love’, for I too share the poets love for dogs.

A yearning grips me as I see her,

A fiery maiden on the restaurant’s wall, 

In a distant world I may hold her close and be absolute,

But I may even ruin it all by blurting my heart out,

We humans are such cowards.

-The Unlikely Pilgrimage 

In fact, to conclude, I would reiterate what Mrs Poonam Jamwal had said during the book launch “Such wisdom at such young age is lovely.” Thus, Chameleon Lights is a book which I would recommend everyone to read and contemplate on the poems written in it. If you have still not purchased the book, you can do so by visiting Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lYFWSD