Revolutionary ARQ Technology Hits the Market for Financial Investment Planning

Often I have heard about stocks, shares, demats and the like from the gentlemen of my family; but I have never understood their true meanings or their importance until I started consciously gathering knowledge about them. All I was familiar with was the investment of gold which was supposedly to have yielded better results in my future. I would often wonder who guides the elders and how do they go about taking their decisions. In fact, I have seen people waiting in long queues in order to consult a stock advisor or their local opinion leaders before entering into any form of investment. However, I did wonder, that in this digitally developing and productive age, where manual tasks are being overtaken by artificial intelligence, how long would these long queues last? And I have definitely got an answer to my long standing question.Angel Broking, one of the top stock brokers of the Nation, has come up with its latest path –breaking technology called the ARQ.

The ARQ in simple terms is a hyper intelligent investment tool which would guide the user to an investment plan with assured returns. Interestingly, ARQ is a unique amalgamation of nature’s principles and scientific technology fused into an ultra-intelligent guidance tool. Prior to its release in the market, it has been tested thoroughly and the results have shown it to outperform any other applications built to serve a similar purpose. The services of the ARQ can be availed by the customers of Angel Broking through the Angel Broking App.

Digging deeper into the concept of the hyper intelligence of this engine, the ARQ analyses the mutual funds and stock market in a pattern that would almost predict the future. Usually, investment planning is undertaken keeping in mind the past track record of the market; but the ARQ does just the opposite. This unconventional technology of looking into the future has indeed proved to be a boon for the success of this technology. Moreover, the investment strategies would differ according to the unique demands of each individual user. The engine has been designed to interact with the customers asking for some general and specific data regarding their investment plans and assets at hand. After analysing these with its futuristic technology can it tailor make its prediction for the user. In fact, you do not have to wait for a very long time to get the feedback. The ARQ is equipped with instant analysis and feedback technology, through which it would help you foresee your future with investments in no time.

Assured Returns with ARQ
Photo Courtesy: Angel Broking

Angel Broking, one of the best stock broker companies of all times have incorporated all the qualities that one must possess while taking such financial decisions; but unfortunately is rather difficult for humans to showcase them. I have personally noticed that human behaviour is quite impulsive when it comes to taking complicated and instant decisions. Somehow, in the wake of taking better decisions they tend to take their decisions impulsively. It is by nature of man, that they tend to be a little laid back and take their own time in analysing the issue. More often than not, they tend to zone out from their focus while trying to analyse. As a result, their decisions are usually masked by emotions -in many cases with that of the better halves-and quite spontaneous. As opposed to this, the ARQ is a highly disciplined program which verifies all collected data through expert knowledge, mathematical intelligence and market trends before producing instant guidance. Further, people often have very biased views towards their investment policies. This can happen due to past experiences, word of mouth discussions, misleading mannerisms of shrewd guides and the like. But the ARQ is focused and being a program showing traces of high intelligence does not give a chance to emotions to cloud its capabilities.

Angel Broking has always helped in providing the best stock market recommendations and now with its latest ARQ technology, it is slowly proceeding towards fulfilling the company’s vision of a ‘Digital Revolution’. The ARQ technology has been successful in bridging the vacuum between ‘what is ‘and ‘what can be ‘without considering ‘what was’. The company has been one of the leading stalwarts in providing wealth management services, investment guidance and leadership to some of the best stock broker companies. But just as digital technology is slowly taking over our daily life; Angel Broking has found an excellent way of incorporating scientific principles in the planning of a financial market.

The aim of this company has always been to provide ‘Real Value for Money’ which it would do for all its customers, more so through its latest ARQ technology, by making it the personal investment guides for each one of them. What more, your personal investment guide would never leave your side and can fit just perfectly into your pocket. To know more about this technology and application do visit their official website at www.angelbroking.com .

Feature Image Courtesy: Angel Broking

Let the Night Sing: A Whirlpool of Art and Emotions

Should I walk through this maze of reluctance?
Should I paint my hands and feet in mud,
Learning to fall in bones, sphincter and grace?
The water whispers seductively.
Between us, a zebra-crossing of blood and blossoming,
Of sacrilege and promiscuity.

– Lopamudra Banerjee

Poetry is both an art and science of expressing oneself. Poetry is like the gentle breeze which blows past your face; making you experience moments of relief, on a hot summer’s noon. Poetry is the like the beautiful calm on the sea or the light ripples that are formed when that calmness is disturbed. Poetry is that one overarching form of expression, which has the power to express anything in this world. Hence, US-based Poet, Writer, Translator and Editor, Lopamudra Banerjee uses Poetry to express herself in her latest book of poems – Let the Night Sing which was launched at The Doodle Room, Kolkata last month.

The book launch was organised and initiated by PR, Events Manager ,Poet and Artist, Sufia Khatoon. The book launch saw an amalgamation of art forms and literature throughout the evening. The event opened with the inauguration of a painting and poetry exhibition based on the theme Let the Night Sing which was followed by a panel discussion, the panellists to which were welcomed by Lopamudra.

‘Womanhood and its exploration in Contemporary Indian English Poetry’ was the theme for the panel discussion. The eminent panellists were Dr Sanjukta Dasgupta, (Professor, Department of English, University of Calcutta), Dr Santosh Bakaya, (Academician, Poet and Author of ‘Ballad of Bapu’ and ‘Flights from My Terrace’) and Lopamudra Banerjee. The topic was initiated and moderated by Sufia. The panellists briefed the audience on the effect of poetry in contemporary life- the influence it has on the choices that we make.

After finally unveiling the book, it was impossible that in a poetic atmosphere, there would be no reading from the book. Thus, Lopamudra, Sufia and Dr Bakaya read out from the newly launched book which was synchronised with beautiful melodies by the musicians.

A Musical Performance in Progress
Photo Courtesy: Sufia Khatoon

The evening then progressed onto an art and poetry exhibition presented by the Rhythms Divine Poetry Group. Musicians Pavlu Banerjee, Kolkata Music Dairy band, Akash DasGupta and Sahil Sarkar enthralled the audience with their mesmerizing music and made sure that everyone joined in. This was followed by a performance poetry which was presented by poets Sufia Khatoon, Amit Shankar Saha, Anindita Bose, Subhajit Sanyal, Aiman Abdullah, Arjun, Tanya Sengupta, and Aparajita Dutta on the theme Let the Night Sing.

Lopamudra Banerjee
Photo Courtesy: Sufia Khatoon

Let the Night Sing is a collection of 70 poems which highlights on the theme – a journey to womanhood. Its stunning book cover has been designed by Sufia Khatoon. The poems are in a continuous linkage with each other; each one taking the poet one step closer to experiencing womanhood. It is a unique blend of experiences celebrating sometimes a child woman and at times a woman trying to put her life back together from its broken pieces. These myriad hues of life put together in a few pages evoke an emotional journey in the reader’s mind- a journey that every reader willingly undertakes through the poets thoughts and verses.

The evening was a memorable one with a blend of poetry, discussions, music, performances and art. The event saw not only the launching of Let the Night Sing but the evening actually sang and progressed into a beautiful night. One that would be etched in everyone’s memories for a long time. Whenever one would pick up a copy of the book, one would praise it for being the whirlpool of artistic influences at the same place, on one July evening in Kolkata.

 

Segregation to Inclusion: The Way Forward

We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion Max de Pree Society, of late has divided itself into various communities. One such community is what the layman calls the community of the specially-abled which is often subjected to segregation rather than inclusion in mainstream society. However, every individual in this world is differently abled than the other; hence the idea of distinction holds no value whatsoever. But the stereotypes and myths garnered by the society over a period of time has actually lead to an attitudinal problem in the minds of the people. Two of the most important sectors to focus in this regard are early development including parenting and schooling; and employment opportunities. The Transcendent Knowledge Society (TKS)  presided over by Amrita Roy Chowdhury has been working relentlessly in trying to do away with the imaginary barrier created between the ‘normal’ and the ‘specially-abled’ through their work which includes running an integrated school, parental counselling and support groups, vocational workshops and regular awareness seminars and conferences.

 

On the 12th of August TKS along with the support of the Lions Club of Calcutta Roshni ,Julian Day New mission, Down Syndrome Federation of India (DSFI), Keystone Institute India and National Trust organised a seminar on Segregation to Inclusion. It was an interactive discussion on the Rights and spheres of included life for people with disabilities. The seminar opened a platform for a plethora of discussions regarding the specially-abled individuals which included topics on parenting, inclusion in family, integrated schools, and discrimination in schools during admission as well as employment. It saw an array of eminent speakers including Dr Monidipa Banerjee Senior  Consultant Paediatrician; Dr Rekha Ramachandran, Chairperson, DSFI;  Mr Aditya Tiwari, youngest single-father in India ;  Betsy Neuville, Director of The Keystone Institute; and a discussion by self-advocates, Priya , Diya, Pritha and Saptarsha.

The worth of acceptance. . . .

Dr Banerjee started her speech by drawing an analogy between landing in Holland on an Italy—bound flight to having been blessed with a child with special needs. Just as a new destination becomes acceptable and enjoyable after the first few unsettling days; similarly parenting children with special needs becomes equally desirable and fun after the first few days. However, the essence of such parenting lies in acceptance of the situation and letting go of the expectations. Parenting is not a rat race to compete in creating customized children to its perfection. It is instead a journey, one which needs to be enjoyed in every stage and cherished forever. No statement, comment or saying is ever more than the smile on the face of a child.

The value of health. . . . .

Dr Ramachandran focused on few relevant facts which have so found a home in the attitude of certain parents that it restricts their liberal thinking and jeopardizes the scope of giving their children a chance to pursue their alternate paths. It is often the fear of societal pressure that ends up being more prominent than better parenting. In fact, through word of mouth and nowadays the internet, parents gather excessive knowledge which at times can be dangerous. Moreover, teachers and students in school have a number of inhibitions regarding those needing special care. That is primarily because they are not trained or aware enough to handle the situation. This is a lack on the part of schools in giving training to their staff for creating an integrated learning platform. She also touched upon the ‘attitudinal issue’ often displayed by schools who are on the lookout for ‘high level functional performers ‘ to carry their legacy forward. Dr Ramachandran pointed out a very important factor which is almost forgotten and that is the accompanying health issues that the children face. They need to be regularly monitored health wise so that they may lead a better life.

Focussing on employments she stressed on how in Kerala more than three thousand children are made to work in the temples and how in Jaipur most of the Dholak boys are individuals who need special care. But they have made a mark for themselves through their talents and vocations. She rounded up by focussing on support groups for not only parents but also siblings so that problems can be openly discussed and solutions found to deal with certain situations.

Breaking barriers. . . . . .

Aditya Tiwari has become a role model in contemporary India having been courageous enough to fight for the adoption of a child with Down syndrome and compelling the Court to amend its adoption laws. His journey with his son was inspiring for every individual present in the conference. At the end of his speech, his valour and courage was given a standing ovation by the audience.

Meaning of inclusion. . . . .

Betsy Neuville focused on the idea of Inclusion. According to her, ‘This is not a campaign, not a scheme, but a vision.’ This vision cannot be achieved overnight but would definitely be achieved overtime through openly talking about it and accepting it. She spoke about the Stages of Inclusion and discussed the importance of role model or imitation. Children often pick up behavioural patterns from their models and elders. She stressed on the idea of RE-SPECT. One should not only respect them but also re-spect themselves to change their perceptions about the society to make it more inclusive. Betsy too ideated on the need to create social groups as well as taking a risk with the children. The essence of her speech would be to not jump to the conclusion that special children need special assistance; rather to rethink it as special children need a typical environment with a little modification.

My dreams, my aspirations. . . . . . .

One of the great moments for the children and young adults was to be appreciated for their service in the canteen and providing refreshments at the conference through their first entrepreneurial venture Sip and Bite. They were handed out their first pay-cheque at the conference in the presence of all the dignitaries. This boosted their morals and gave them encouragement. They also got their second order from the Lions Club of Calcutta Roshni. If you want to hire their services for your functions or events please drop a mail at chaitali.gami@yahoo.in

Few other self-advocates shared their dreams with the audience. Priya is an assistant teacher and wants to join as a dance teacher later on. Diya wants to pursue Hotel Management as her career. Saptarshi has found his knack in baking and is one of the members of Sip and Bite. Pritha loves to work and opined for being given more work to showcase their abilities.

My biggest takeaway from this conference was meeting some wonderful people. Two things which would always be with me was the fact that the children are not special. The parents are. They were chosen to take care of some of the most beautiful souls in this world. Further, there is a need to change the I and the Eye. Changing the I would mean to change one’s mind set and attitude and changing the eye refers to changing their perception.  I wold personally sum up my feelings through this quote by Theodore Melfi which says, ‘You have a responsibility to make inclusion a daily thought, so we can get rid of the word ‘inclusion.’

Korean Storyteller Spreads Love in City of Joy

Storytelling is very special for me. Having grown up listening to stories by my grandmother, I instantly felt connected to Seung Ah Kim who established Arirang Storytelling in the memory of her grandmother. Seung is on a very special mission- to spread the Korean Culture throughout the world through Korean traditional stories.

She is the first Korean Storyteller to have been bestowed with The Parent- Child Mother Goose Certification. Having visited places like Italy, Greece, Malaysia, USA; she is currently in Kolkata, as part of her K- Culture Storytelling tour. She has been conducting various storytelling sessions and I was privileged to attend her session ‘Stories and Fingerplays from Old Korea’ at The Orange Door. She is being hosted by Priyanka Chatterjee of Wild Strawberry. Priyanka Di, whom I know personally for quite some time is a storyteller of international repute having delivered sessions in not only Kolkata and India but also in places like South Africa and Malaysia. I am thankful to her for giving me this opportunity to conduct Seung’s interview.

Here are the excerpts. . . . .

  1. How did storytelling come to you? Why did you want to become a storyteller?

It’s Destiny! In 2007, I went to Toronto to study TYC course called Teaching Young Children because I was an English teacher and my interest was always in doing research about storytelling. One day I found that there is a storytelling festival. It was the last day and the last programme. I got the ticket and I attended the show. I cried throughout the programme and I decided to become a storyteller because I thought it is very needed for adults. Since I became an adult nobody told me stories, but I thought maybe adults need to be loved and to be talked. That’s it. This is for adults! So I started as a storyteller for adults.

  1. How important do you think is storytelling for a child?

For a child, we observe so many things, by listening to stories. For example, when I was a child, I read a lot of books and my grandmother told me a lot of stories from all over the world. That’s the way I can travel to each country. So I learned a lot from the stories. But you know a child cannot go anywhere without their parents. But through stories they can go anywhere. So, that’s why for children it is very important to explore the world and also explore some experiences which they cannot do it by themselves.

  1. Tell us something about your K-Culture Storytelling Tour.

I learned a lot from telling stories to people. This is one of the popular ways to introduce Korean culture. Also for myself I learned a lot from my culture. It gives me confidence, identity and empowerment. Once you know about your culture, then you can feel proud of your culture and also of yourself. So, that’s why I realized that this is the thing I can share with the people in the world. Nowadays because of K -Club and K- Drama people would like to learn more about Korean Culture, especially traditional culture. That’s why, I thought, if I establish K -storytelling centre in Seoul, it would be nice for everybody who wants to learn more about Korean Culture. That was kind of my dream and how I can make my dream come true. So that’s why I started to think if I tell stories, Korean stories to one million people. If they donate one dollar each, then I get one million dollars. So I can donate the money to establish K-storytelling centre. Then I made a one year plan that I would travel all around the world to show Korean culture and stories.

  1. What made you come up with the idea of storytelling as a platform for parent and child bonding?

One of the reasons I established my company Arirang Storytelling is in the memory of my grandmother.  As a child I couldn’t communicate with my mother, because my mother was so busy. She had to take care of her husband, who is a businessman and also she had to take care of three children and her mother-in-law, who was my grandmother. I missed so many things with my mother but luckily I had my grandmother. So my grandmother told me a lot of stories. Since she passed away I realized that it’s a great heritage for me to keep. But if I keep it to myself, I am not a good person. So, I decided to share it with more people. Just imagine if you are a millionaire and if you just want to keep the money only by yourself, it’s not fair. So it’s time for me to share my heritage, my treasure with the people.

Stills from the Session at The Orange Door
  1. Please share some memorable experiences that you had on your tour.

Oh yes, already I had so many memories especially in America. I met my Facebook friends face to face. They were so happy to see me and then I didn’t have any chance to tell Korean folktale to them. But just seeing me in Korean traditional costume they were so happy. So I find it a good way to share my culture wearing Korean traditional costume.  I thought wearing Korean traditional costume and telling Korean stories is the way I can make people happier.

Then in Taiwan, I participated in a show with my Taiwanese storyteller friend and a little girl came to me and talked to me in Mandarin. I couldn’t understand what she said. Then her mother translated.  The girl had said , “When are you coming back?”. I was so touched.

Another girl, she gave me a box of sweets. The last day I had to pack to go back to Korea. We realised that the box is too big. The wife of my storyteller friend in Taiwan, she said “Okay let’s take out the sweets, outside of the box and then you can just keep it inside your bag. So let’s throw away the box. “This happened in the airport. The people in the airport said that your bag is too heavy so we started to sort things out again. And then suddenly she came back and said, “Seung Ah look at this”. She, you know, tore off the box and then there was a picture done by the girl. She drew me. You know it was very touching. Then I realized that even though children look as if they don’t pay any attention but they remember everything. So it’s a great moment.

  1. Who is your favourite storyteller?

My grandmother. Also, nature. Nature tells me a lot of stories. It gives me a lot of inspiration.

  1. What advice would you give to budding storytellers?

I think if you follow your heart, you can be a good storyteller. I mean, I realised it is very difficult for us to follow our hearts because we think too much. So, that’s the simple rule for me to follow. So sometimes people you know cannot understand what you are doing. But if you truly follow your heart maybe among them even if one person is touched by your story, touched by your love, then that is enough.

Seung Ah will be performing on the 5th of August at Gyan Manch, Kolkata from 10 – 11 am and 11:30 – 12:30 pm. If you want to catch her in action, then do get in touch with Priyanka Chatterjee to get your tickets as soon as possible.

Getting Candid with Vaijayantee Bhattacharya

Last Sunday (23rd July), I was lucky enough to have been invited to the press meet and book launch of Mosaic Vision , a beautiful anthology of poems written by Vaijayantee Bhattacharya, at the Oxford Bookstore Kolkata. Vaijayantee is a Poet, Editor and Journalist by profession.  A true Calcuttan by heart, she has been living away from the City of Joy for the last fourteen years- in Delhi and in Bahrain. Thus, it was a magical moment for her to be able to launch her maiden book in the city she grew up in and is so attached to, amidst well known dignitaries and friends and family.

The Press Meet was organised by PR Sufia Khatoon wherein almost twenty media houses came in to interact with Vaijayantee. Her book was launched , following the press meet by chief Guest Shri Jawhar Sircar. This was proceeded by a panel discussion by Dr Sanjukta Dasgupta (Professor, Department of English, University of Calcutta), Mr Shahenshah Mirza (descendant of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah), Ms Saira Shah Halim (Educator, Activist and poet) , Ms Saheli Mitra (Journalist, Author, Poet, columnist) and Vaijayantee herself. The topic for the evening was ‘ Is poetry a reflection of emotions recollected in tranquillity or disturbance? What is its relevance in today’s morbid world of prosaic reality? ‘

I am humbled that Vaijayantee gave me some time from her busy schedule to answer my questions. She answered an array of questions posed by me . Here are the excerpts.

Tell us something about the first ever poem that you had written.

The first ever poem that I had written was in a train to Chennai when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. I was quite taken by the scenic beauty of world outside. That’s when I composed a poem out of the sheer delight of visualising something so beautiful.

How does a poem begin for you- an idea, a form or an image?

 It is either of these and sometimes it can even be a sound, a sight, a news byte or a piece of music. For me, poetry or writing is triggered by anything that emotionally moves me.

 Do you have a particular time when you sit down to write your poems or do they come to you spontaneously?

They mostly come to me spontaneously unless of course there is a subject that I have been invited to write on like a few other anthologies in Bahrain with a specific theme.

 Do you think at times people find it difficult to connect with poems as it has several layers of meaning to it ?

Poetry unlike prose usually is succinct and precise and to attain this precision it often rides on cryptic phrases or imagery like metaphors, alliteration and so on. While poetry is not written in any coded language that a reader needs to decode or crack, sometimes people do find it difficult to appreciate a poem in its entirety not knowing it’s significance.

Vaijayantee reading a few lines from Mosaic visions
Photo: Abhizit Dutta

What does’ being creative ‘ mean to you?

‘Being creative’ to me means being able to create something new and aesthetically pleasing. The new thing created could be a poem, a write up, a painting, a handicraft, a song, or anything that aesthetically pleases the soul.

Has the publication of your first book and its reception affected your writing style?

No, not really. I remain quintessentially the soul that I have always been, changing, growing and evolving only in response to time. My first publication is a matter of great joy to me but I can’t say it has or can change my writing in any way.

Which, out of the two , do you think is a better medium of reaching out to your audience- through the screen or through paper?

I am essentially a scribe or a writer and poet. If by screen you mean the electronic media, then certainly that’s not going to be my platform aptly. But by screen if you mean the Kindle or the online media then I would say my writings/poems could be savoured well on both media, depending on the comfort level of the reader with his preferred medium of reading.

How do you measure your success as a poet?

Success of a poet to me is not in the number of poem he writes or the number of books he publishes. If at the end of the day, even a single poem of his can emotionally touch a reader’s soul and can resonate similar feelings and sentiments that is where the poet’s success lies. In this context may I mention the great Nobel Laureate and poet Rabindranath Tagore. His poems and songs are the source of succour or sustenance of innumerable people who remember his immortal words of creation in some song or poem at every possible state of emotional upsurge.

If you could communicate with one dead poet, who would it be ; why and what would you tell him/her?

If I could communicate with just one poet, it would perhaps be William Wordsworth and I would tell him that like him I derive absolute joy, love and peace from Nature.

A message you would like to give to your readers . . . .

If you want to savour the taste of different facets of life, through small and big incidents, experiences and observations of a perceptive soul through poetry, then Mosaic Vision is perhaps the book you should pick up. I can’t promise you great moral or material upliftment through my poetry but I can assure you of a more inclusive perspective where you savour the delight of living, loving, longing and appreciating the different nuances of through our daily existence.

Mosiac Vision is not only a book of poems but also a collection of thoughts spanning over eight years . With varied subjects, experiences and emotions intertwined in a few pages, it is bound to bring the reader closer to the poet and also reflect on her take of the world. A review of the book would be published shortly. You can purchase it from your nearest bookstores soon or order a paperback or kindle version through Amazon. Keep Reading !

 

Books, Monsoon and Chai: The Booklovers Gathering

Books, Monsoon and Chai was a unique concept devised by Pradipta Mandal and Aniesha Brahma to get together all book lovers under the same roof. Held at The Chaiwala on the 2nd of July, this event was truly special for me. A small gathering of a few bookworms and a healthy discussion regarding their favourite books was an enchanting way to start the event.

After a brief introduction Aniesha Di, reiterated her love for the young adult genre. In fact, she even pointed out the reference many of them have to fairy tales. For me, fairy tales have been a part of my childhood like any other,  however, I had never given much thought to them after reading them once or twice. The idea of stirring a plot with reference to the fairy tales for the youth has already gained my attention.

Having worked in the field of art education , books on child psychology interests Pradipta Di to a great extent. I believe that child psychology books are of immense help to not only children but also to their parents. Books are a reflection of life and they show us how to deal with certain situations better. She spoke about John Holt, an author she enjoys reading.

Moments from Books, Monsoon and Chai

Subhro Da, gave me many new insights to the world of children’s books and their relevance in contemporary times. He spoke about his interest in the words of Roald Dahl and Sukumar Ray– both evergreen authors of their own time. He quoted from The BFG. – a quote so childishly written and yet so powerful in its versus that it connects with the fate of human beings in contemporary times. With Sukumar Ray, the world of gibberish has been fascinating to the young and the old. It has drawn readers to itself with nonsense-syllables only to emerge them completely into the pages of great classics like Abol Tabol.

Madhubanti Di , escalated the conversation from the different genres and our favourite books; to the emotional and imaginary level. She pointed out how they (the books) have always remained our constant companion in each of our moods. There is always a book to read when we are happy, sad, anxious, angry, disturbed and the like. These books have the strength to calm us down, a strength missing in the real world at that moment. She continued how books are a doorway to understand, relate and form different perspectives and interpretations of the common and uncommon situations. In fact, Madhubanti Di focussed on the fact that while reading a book, we often tend to consciously or unconsciously become a character in it. This is something that I personally believe in. After reading a lot of books throughout the years, I still contemplate at times, how I became the rejected Karna in the Mahabharat ; Mukesh from The Mother I Never Knew (Sudha Murthy) who journeyed to far lands in search of his mother; or Seema from The Teak Almirah (Jael Siliman) who saw the world change around her , a community disintegrate around her and yet held the fort refusing to part with the city she was born and brought up in , waiting only for a lost love.

Pradipta Di and Aniesha Di

The conversation then took an interesting turn with two varied but much debated topic. Everyone was more or less agreeing to the fact that the new authors in the horizon must be given a chance for their creative talent. In fact, it is always good to be updated with the current authors, for their writings are fast- paced, thrilling, action- oriented, bordering more on fantasy than real life; but definitely worth a read. Another interesting topic of discussion was how books were made into movies; and whether one prefers to read the book first and watch the movie later or vice –versa.

Paroma Di , discussed how Pride and Prejudice formed an inevitable part of her life . This timeless classic has always been her constant companion when it came to packing her travel bags. Having read and re-read the novel so many times, it has definitely left a profound impact on her. The second novel which had touched her and many other readers was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Personally, it is one of those books which I can never forget myself.

During my turn, I spoke about the fact that I preferred to enter into the field of world literature and hence have recently taken a liking towards translations. Having read the entire treasure trove of Bengali literature in translations, I had shifted the territory to Indonesia and Kabul for the moment. Though there are many who do not prefer to read translations but in the original language the book was written; it is not realistically achievable as one cannot know all the languages of the world. Hence, reading the translations would at least provide a gist of the story and I firmly believe that reading the gist would also help to understand the crux of a beautiful novel; rather than missing it out completely.

My biggest takeaway from the event was meeting like- minded people. Often there are many who love to read books but cannot write about their impressions of the book or articulate the impact the book left on them. But this discussion was definitely a high for me where everyone came together to share their love for literature. In fact, Subhro Da also informed me about the short stories by Edgar Karat and Peter Bexel from Germany, books that I have already added to my wish list.

I would like to thank Aniesha Di and Pradipta Di for arranging such an event and inviting me as well. It was a fruitful discussion and gave a platform for book lovers to gather around and interact with each other. I am certain that such events would continue and people would take part in it, in large numbers.

Another event for the bookworms is being planned on the 13th of August. If you love books, and want to be associated with this event or just join in for some fun , do come for the event (details will follow soon) and you know whom to contact as well!

P.S Cover Image Courtesy: Books, Monsoon and Chai

 

#NotInMyName Enlightens City of Joy

Not in My Name’ is a phrase which has a powerful meaning to it. It is defined solely by the different interpretations that people give it through their perspectives. 28th June, 2017 saw the gathering of about thousands of people from all walks of life at Madhusudhan Mancha, Dakshinapan, Kolkata for the solitary purpose of supporting #NotInMyName. One of the primary Human Rights that we usually boast of, is the Right to Live. Theoretically, at no cost can that be taken away from anyone in the world. But the reality is far from the written principles where day after day, we read in newspapers and watch in television channels that another life has been put to an end.

I would define #NotInMyName as  an artistic gathering of people and standing in solidarity for a social cause. The evening progressed with an amalgamation of performances including- poetry, songs and speeches. It witnessed the presence of social activists, well- known celebrities like Aparna Sen and Dhritiman Banerjee; and the local people.

The crowd was a very enthusiastic one consisting of the young and the old; known media professionals from channels like NDTV, Times Now, ABP Ananda and others; many entrepreneurs and school and college going students. Such was their enthusiasm that even the monsoon showers could not dampen their spirits. What caught my eyes the most was when the Namaaz was read beside the slogans of #NotInMyName.

‘Not In My Name’ as said earlier can be perceived in various ways. It can be seen as a person being aloof to the current situations; someone who does not want anything good or bad to happen in his or her name. On the other hand, it can also mean that what is happening in the name of society, which consists us, is actually happening in our name and it is time to stop that- by standing shoulder to shoulder against the heinous atrocities.

India is an ancient country with its principles and community life aging back to years best spelt out by historians. However, it has from the very beginning shown co-existence among people of all race, culture, caste, creed, sex and religion. Thus, now is definitely not the time to undo the rich heritage of the country. In fact, if people do witness it being undone, it is time to come together and rebuild it on stronger lines so that no one can ever breach it in future. Thus #NotInMyName is not only a slogan but also immense power given to each one of us to support what is right and raise our voice against the wrong. In the words of  Andrei Sakharo, “Our country, like every modern state, needs profound democratic reforms. It needs political and ideological pluralism. . . and protection of human rights and the opening up of society.”

I would love to know what it means to you and what it stands for you. Do leave a comment so that through dialogue and debate we can take it further and not restrict it to just another evening gathering.

Lastly, I would leave you with some photographs from the gathering.

 

Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust Presents Cultural Cocktail

Cultural Cocktail, the latest venture supported by the Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust is to be held on the 17th of June in Showshaa Hall, New Delhi. As the name suggests it is a very youth oriented programme involving a mix or cocktail of literature and performing arts. The concept of Cultural Cocktail entails the adaptations of traditional literature into various forms of performing arts and showcasing them to an audience. From, theatre, classical dance, contemporary western dance to a short film on the life and works of Kunwar Viyogi are what has been encapsulated by the organizers in the programme. The show has been curated by Ayushman Jamwal, author of Chameleon Lights; and is conceptualized with the help of young International artists whose roots go back to the city of Jammu.

The artists who would be mesmerizing the audiences with their performance include Sanchita Abhrol, Anmol Jamwal and Aarushi Thakur Rana. She is the disciple of Kathak Maestro, Padma Shri, Guru Shovana Narayan and has recently founded Rasadance in Australia which is known for its unique storytelling-through-classical dance performances. Sanchita along with Ayushman Jamwal as the narrator and renowned musicians and singers like Madhav Prasad, Vinay Prasanna , Salim Kumar and others would be performing ‘Ghar: Prem Ki Gaagar’. Anmol is in the field of performing arts as a jazz dancer for over six years. He started his training at the age of eleven with the Danceworx Performing Arts and has now joined them full- time. He has also become a sensation in Youtube through his contemporary and funky dance performances. He, along with his co-dancers would be performing ‘Taboo’.  Aarushi Thakur Rana, as a young theatre director has adapted William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ in Hindi and would be presenting thus in the Cultural Cocktail.

Poster of Cultural Cocktail
Photo Courtesy: Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust

Cultural Cocktail would also introduce the Prem Jamwal Youth Art Innovation Award in the memory of Kunwar Viyogi’s wife, Prem Jamwal. This award is bestowed on a youth who has shown remarkable innovation in the field of performing arts. The first recipient of this award is Aarushi Thakur Rana for having adapted, directed and staged William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ at the Kunwar Viyogi Utsav in 2016.

One of the main attractions of the events facilitated by the Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust is that they are youth oriented in nature. The members strongly believe that empowering the youth of today is the best way to secure the future . As the youth are the future of the country, they can be the sole saviors of dying languages such as the Dogri language. If they start thinking, performing, adapting, translating and reviving the language then Dogri as well as many such regional languages can be saved from the verge of extinction in the future.

The Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust established on the 4th of September 2016, commemorates the works of Dogri writer, Late Group Captain Randhir Singh, also known as Kunwar Viyogi. Kunwar Viyogi’s deep interest in the field of literature, despite being an Air Force Officer; made him the only known Officer to have been conferred with the Sahitya Akademi Award for his most coveted works of all times called Ghar. He is known to have brought out almost six hundred sonnets in this regional language earning him the epithet of ‘The Father of Dogri Sonnets.’ Moreover his involvement in the 1965 and 1971 wars have left a profound impact on his writings, especially Ghar . Having remained the General Secretary of Dogri Sanstha in Jammu, he felt deeply for the revival of this regional language and thus, the Trust carries on his legacy forward by promoting artists in the field of Dogri language.

The Trust provides a platform to all those from the fields of performing arts and literature to come forward and showcase their talents. In fact, it has initiated scholarships for candidates studying Masters in Dogri and those who pursue research on Dogri writers and poets, especially Kunwar Viyogi ji. Further, the Trust is known to help in generating employment for people working in the field of this regional language. The Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust upholds the two prominent ideals of education and innovation; and thus promotes literature and performing arts which have major innovating elements in it.

A few lines from Kunwar Viyogi’s Ghar
Photo Courtesy: Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust

Cultural Cocktail is the stepping stone event that would take place under the aegis of the Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust as part of their five-city Save the Language Campaign Tour. Save the language is a campaign that promotes the revival of regional languages like Dogri and facilitates the incorporation of these languages in daily use or through performing arts so that the language and the identities of people associated with this language do not fade forever. A major reason for all the local languages to die is because people particularly the youth have stopped identifying themselves with it. Local languages or our mother-tongue are an ideal part of a person’s identity. Losing a language is equivalent to losing an identity forever. Thus, to save the identities of the people and to encourage the youth to relate to their local languages and dialects, Save the Language campaign holds a lot of relevance in contemporary times especially among the youth. Languages can be saved with the conscious effort of the family and society; educational institutions and clubs, groups, literary groups and fests and the like. When all these forces come together, only then can an individual realize the importance of their local languages and try to save it from joining the almost 7000 languages which are on the verge being wiped out.

Thus, the Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust has embarked upon a challenging yet much-needed task of making the youth conscious of the need to Save their Languages and guide them, inspire them and provide them a platform to do so. Cultural Cocktail which is about to take place on the 17th June, 2017 is the base of this campaign which will go on with further innovations and inclusions throughout its five city tour campaign. Kolkata Bloggers is proud to be associated with this event as its Social Media Partners. The tickets to this programme can be booked here.

Bohipeer: A Theatre Review

Synopsis: Bohipeer, brought to you by DRAMMAR depicts the story of five individuals who crosses path after a cyclone in a Zamindar’s Bajra. The Zamindar (land lord) who was travelling with his wife and son comes across the boat of a Bohipeer ( a religious Godman) and rescues him and his servant by giving them room on his Bajra. Unknown to them, in the same bajra travels a young maiden who was forcibly given to the Peer in marriage but showing remarkable strength and determination she ran away from an unhappy and unwanted life right before her wedding. She too was rescued and given shelter by the landlord’s family.

Having read the synopsis it can strike you that the main character would either by the Bohipeer who with his faithful servant was out searching for his to-be wife or the young maiden herself; but looking closely you would find that every character had soul, strength and a different personality of their own. A recurring line during the start of the play by the Bohipeer ‘Karor Monai Shanti Nei. ‘(There is peace in no one’s heart) is indeed true.

Bohipeer reveling his sly plan to Hokikullah.
© 2016 Dramar

Be it the strong- willed and determined Peer who plans and plots to convince his to-be wife to return to him; or the generous landlord who has lost his nights sleep because his lands would be auctioned in no time, a fact that he has hidden from his family for days. Be it the land- lady who has started developing concern for the young maiden but knowing that she was to be the wife of the peer, is scared for inviting the curse of the peer to her or her family; or the young maiden who is a symbol of revolt to the society and wants to live in peace without having to go back or being chased by the Peer anymore. The young son of the land lord too is at unrest. His heart bleeds for the young lady they have given shelter to. But knowing the limits of the society and his mother’s views hesitates in accepting his blossoming attraction for her. In true sense of the term, each one is experiencing unrest in their heart, similar to the cyclone that just went by. As the story unfolds scene after scene, one witnesses the complex reactions of each of the characters and how they write their own fates.

Tahera, the young misunderstood protagonist, played by Biyas Saha.
© 2016 Dramar

What is commendable about the script is the boldness of each of the characters who retains their morality and yet goes against the norms of the society. It talks about women empowerment at a time when women were considered to live only within the precincts of the four walls of her house. At such a time, it talks of a young seventeen- year- old who runs away from her marriage because she has a voice and an opinion of her own. If you carefully look at the story line it also depicts how men come forward and genuinely help women in their times of crisis. A striking contrast is also seen in the character of the land lady who holds on to her old-fashioned beliefs of superstitions instead of trying to think in a futuristic manner.

Bohipeer, is thus a play which reflects tremendous social consciousness and is relevant in contemporary times. All the characters are  quite realistic in nature. The situations highlighted through the play are modern day situations too. It would be wrong to think that such cases are only prevalent in rural areas but also in contemporary urban society. Hence, such plays should be staged more often as performing arts have always been a platform to showcase , protest and suggest regarding the matters of the society and its unrealistic dogmas imposed on the people.

Cast: Sukumar Chakraborty, Krishn Sanyal, Raju Sardar, Biswajit Chakraborty, Biyas Saha, Niharendru Bannerjee

Playwright: Syed Waliullah

Director: Sukumar Chakraborty

Production: DRAMMAR

Make-up: Biswajit Saha , Set: Madan Halder, Set Design: Sunil Mitra

Music: Upamanyu Das, Lights: Tapan Bhattacharya

Around the World in 6 Folk Tales

“Pay heed to the tales of old wives. It may well be that they alone keep in memory what it was once needful for the wise to know.”  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

 Folk Tales are a unique blend of the culture and tradition of different parts of the world. Though some are known to the people through translations and graphical representations, there are thousands of them that are still missing from the pages of man’s memory. Kolkata Storytellers, in yet another one of its stellar performances brought to the children six of these lost Folk Tales from around the world. These were enacted by Kavita Gupta and Arpita Nag to a group of around 25 children at the Oxford Bookstore, Kolkata.

“Malaysia is a country unlike any other: Full of promise and fragility. Its history, cultural and religious diversity make it a rich, compelling and surprising land.” -Tariq Ramadan

The first story narrated by Arpita Di, took us on an enchanting journey to the jungles of Malaysia where lived a trickster mouse deer. Being clever and smart it evaded the clutches of a tiger through its intelligence and speed. And the best part of the mouse deer was that it sang- “I am as smart as quick can be, try an try but you can never catch me.”

“I have a better internal and intuitive understanding of folklore and myth than science and technology, so in that way fantasy is easier.”-Sarah Zettel

Moving on, Kavita Di took over with a beautiful folk tale from the North America. She narrated the story of how dream catchers came to exist. Dream catchers are meant to act as filters for years and pass on positive energy and dreams to the people; trapping negative thoughts and dreams in its mesh of webs. A quick discussion about what the children dreamt of each night revealed dreams like ‘a big bowl of chocos’, ‘a swimming pool of chocolate’ and even an ‘Ethiopia without diseases. Often scientists and researchers have studied dream catchers and their exact role; but more than technology and scientific understanding, the folk lores about dream catchers have attracted children since centuries.

Arpita Di narrating a story to the children Source: Kolkata Storytellers

“While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man’s humanity to man.”- Maya Angelou

A story narrated by Arpita Di based on a folk tale from Ghana depicted the story of an eagle who was a big bully and how the other birds taught it a lesson. In fact, according to the tale, if you look at the moon on a full moon night, you might be able to see the trapped eagle waiting to be released, even today! Though a very light- hearted story narrated with beautiful actions, this brought across a very important message- to not become a bully ever and to teach other bullies a good lesson in life. Bullying is a very bad habit which often starts at a young age. Thus, it also needs to be prevented at a young age; and what better than stories to do so rather than moral science lectures!

“Japan, not only a mega-busy city that thrives on electronics and efficiency, but actually has an almost sacred appreciation of nature. One must travel outside of Tokyo to truly experience the ‘old Japan’ and more importantly feel these aspects of Japanese culture.” Apolo Ohno

Greeting everyone with a bow and Konishiwa (Nice to meet you in Japanese) Kavita Di, began her next folk tale from Japan. She involved the children to enact several characters in the tale, as she narrated the story of an old couple who had a naughty pet sparrow. Though she bid Sionara to everyone after completing the story, the lessons of the repercussions of being greedy would be forever etched in the minds of the children through this story.

“India may be a land of over a 100 problems, but it is also a place for a billion solutions.”- Kailash Satyarthi

The penultimate story for the evening was an Indian folk tale narrated by Arpita Di. It told the story of a kind and obedient young boy who wanted a drum. As he was poor, it was difficult for him to buy one. But as the story progresses one gets to learn about how good deeds come back to you and helps you achieve your wishes in the most unexpected ways possible. It taught that kindness, honesty, obedience and humility are important virtues of life that  shapes an individual’s personality.

Kavita Di narrating a story to the children

 “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”- Nelson Mandela

The final story for the evening was an African folk tale by Kavita Di. It highlighted the tradition of Ubuntu in the African tribesmen. According to the story an anthropologist once asked the children to stand some distance away from a basket of sweets and run towards it. The one who reaches first would get all the sweets. Surprisingly, all the children held hands and walked towards it together so that everyone of them can enjoy a piece of sweet. When asked the reason for this strange behavior the children replied that it was Ubuntu- I am because we are. It is a very strong lesson that the world needs to learn as it is indeed impossible to survive without inter-dependency on the other.

Thus, ended another vibrant story-telling session by the Kolkata Storytellers. As usual the stories narrated had much color and vigor to them. Apart from graceful enactment and narration, the involvement of the children in the stories made it more enjoyable for them. It made them a part of the story, rather than being just another silent listener. Folk tales are often lost in modern times, but one must remember that they are ultimately the treasure trove of wisdom and knowledge and reviving them through storytelling once in a while, especially for the younger generation is indeed a commendable gesture.

Kolkata Storytellers hold regular story-telling sessions in different venues in Kolkata. You can always get more information about their upcoming performances here and take your little ones for a captivating session.