Boi Toi Khabar Dabar: An Initiative by Gulmohar Resources

Early November, Gulmohar Resources embarked on a unique initiative called: Boi Toi Khabar Dabar (BTKD) . Preparations for the event had begun sometime back. From conceptualizing the event by Paroma Sengupta, founder of Gulmohar Resources; to designing an interesting invitation graphic by Manasij Dutta all added to the flavour of hosting this unique event which culminated on the 5th of November.

About Gulmohar Resources:

Gulmohar is an initiative that works on creating locale specific educational material through the use of stories, poems, games and theatre.It also takes keen interest in trying to save the already dying environment by adopting eco-friendly methods in going about its resource developments. You can know more about Gulmohar through its blog  and Instagram Page .

About Boi Toi Khabar Dabar:

Books assembled for exchanging

BTKD was a one-of-its kind event curated by Gulmohar. It was an event where book lovers gathered together to exchange old books that they would no longer require, wrapped in newspapers; to maintain the level of surprise among the audience. The guests talked about books, literature, poetry, environment, social causes and anything that they wanted to talk about. Then there was a book exchange session where one could pick up a book or two. . .three. . .four and ultimately  the gathering concluded with lovely home-made vanilla cakes, pasta and the ever-present Bangali Cha! Participants who attended the event came from all walks of life- college-goers, IT professionals, bankers and social workers. The discussions began with an introduction of the participants and then moved straight onto books, poetry, favourite authors, poets, contemporary and classical literature and much more. Many present were associated with social causes and they spoke about their initiatives as well. The participants were given postcards, Gulmohar Resources Illustrated Books and bookmarks in brilliantly made paper bags by Anushka. A donation box was also conceptualized where the guests contributed and the proceeds of which would be used to purchase books for the children of All Bengal Women’s Union.

Stills from the event I *(From Left: Paroma Di, Altaf , Monishita)

The key takeaway from the event was to meet like-minded people and talk about the joy of reading. Every individual has a different reading habit or a different genre that they favour. It was wonderful to hear such people talk so passionately about their preferences in books and why were they so. In fact, apart from books, I am sure most left the venue making a mental note a long list of books that would add to their list of To-Be-Read soon.

Who Participated?

Being a small event and the first of its kind, we had around 15 participants- Paroma Di and her mother; Anushka (researcher at JU and a fellow Volunteer at Share Stories Open Minds); Prosenjit Da and Altaf; Monishita, Ravi, Priya (fellow Xavierians); Smita Di;  Nayani Aunty ; Debjani Ma’am; Neha; Sayan and Suman Da. (Not counting Yours Truly in the list)

The Feedback:

Gulmohar was overwhelmed with the responses and feedback it garnered through the event. Prosenjit Da commented, “It was wonderful to meet so many people who are passionate about books as well as social causes! Thanks to all who organised it. The Pasta was to die for, by the way!’’ Many who could not attend the event for various reasons had also extended their warm wishes and good luck for the event.

The organisers hope to be able to bring out a Second edition of BTKD soon. If you would like to know more about this initiative, you can stay connected to them through their blog and Instagram accounts. Here is a report of the event on their blog. Alternately, you can also stay connected to regular updates through my Instagram and Twitter Profiles.  Do leave a comment if you liked this initiative and would like to be invited for the next edition (NOTE: This is open to residents of Kolkata only)

Dr Will Tuttle Speaks on Veganism in Kolkata

Mankind has degraded the land and life in their environment through lethal weapons. Yet there remains a fair chance of trying to correct the wrong by making small differences and leading a healthy life. One such small difference is welcoming veganism. Veganism is a specialised form of food habits within the purview of vegetarianism. Here, one not only gives up meat but also gives up dairy products and by products, leather, honey and all forms of products which are derived from the animals. To enlighten the people more about the concept of Veganism, The City of Joy hosted the acclaimed Vegan philosopher, Dr Will Tuttle and his wife Madeleine, early November. They discussed about Veganism, eating healthy, his much acclaimed book, World Peace Diet and lots more in a completely packed auditorium at the International Management Institute, Kolkata.

What is Veganism?

Veganism is based on the principle which translates to the meaning “to seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man”. Vegans eat a lot of tasty foods. Their diets primarily comprise seeds, grains, beans, nuts, vegetables especially leafy ones and fruits. A direct effect of veganism falls on the medicines that are prescribed . Veganism, by no means is against prescribed medicines; however it looks forward to medicines which are not tested on animals and are not made up of lactose or gelatine. Vegans also do not support zoos and aquariums, but they do stand by animal adoption, sanctuaries and shelter homes where animals are taken good care of.

About Dr Tuttle:

Dr Tuttle with his wife Photo Courtesy: Mr Shubhasish Ghosh

Dr. Tuttle is an American visionary, author, educator, and inspirational speaker. He is the author of Amazon #1 best-seller The World Peace Diet , which has been published in 16 languages. He is also a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award as well as The Empty Cages Award, among many others. He has created and curated several training programmes. In fact, VeganPalooza, the largest online Vegan event has been gifted to the world by him. Dr Tuttle has been featured in many documentaries like Cowspiracy, Vegan: Everyday Stories, Hope for All and others. A former Zen monk and a Dharma Master in the Korean Zen tradition, he has created eight CD albums of uplifting original piano music. With his spouse Madeleine, a Swiss visionary artist, he presents extensively throughout North America and worldwide at college campuses, spiritual centres, conferences; and peace, social justice, animal protection, health, and environmental gatherings.

His Indian Tour:

Photograph taken during Dr Tuttle’s program in Kolkata with the City Hosts . Photo Courtesy: Mr Shubhasish Ghosh

Dr Tuttle had come to India during late October and early November and gave a series of inspirational talks in major cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mangalore, Surat, Pune and others. Each of his talks were attended by hundreds of people. This highlights the fact that society is slowly becoming conscious of the concept of Veganism and is trying to find its way into adopting a healthier lifestyle. A full list of his scheduled talks can be found here . In Kolkata, he and his wife were hosted by Mr Shankar Narayan  and Mr Shubhashis Ghosh . From sharing his own experiences on being a Vegan since the 1980’s to talking about the positive aspects of veganism, Dr Tuttle enthralled the audience for over two hours.

Scepticism Regarding Veganism:

Many are a little sceptical regarding the kind of nutrition that the body gets if one adopts veganism. This is because meat is a rich source of protein. As vegetarians do not consume meat, they derive their proteins and a major portion of their nutrition from cereals and dairy products. But with the giving up of dairy products the question which haunts people is how they would derive the necessary nutrients for the body. The answer to this question lies in an in-depth analysis of Veganism and its advantages.

If you want to delve deeper into Veganism:

In fact, if you are interested to learn more about Veganism, you can definitely join the Facebook Group and keep in touch with fellow vegans. To keep in touch with Dr Tuttle you can always subscribe to his website or contact him through the form here . You would also be able to keep yourself up-to-date with his various tours and travel itineraries and be able to listen to him live if you happen to be in the same place.

Do tell me what you think of the concept of Veganism. If you are a Vegan yourself, then do enlighten me a little more from your personal experiences.

*Disclaimer: I was asked to cover the Vegan Awareness event held in Kolkata by the city host Mr Shubhashish Ghosh.

Here’s why you should watch Byomkesh on Hoichoi . . .

Byomkesh Bakshi has been recreated innumerable times on screen. But Hoichoi App has given it a twist by creating Byomkesh for a younger and a global audience through a web series. Today, most of the information and entertainment are consumed by digital platforms; thus the idea of blending the old and the new to appeal to the next generation audience worked quite well with the viewers of Bengal Digital Content on Hoichoi. Quite truly put forward by the makers of the series that the originality of the storyline penned down by Sharadindu Bhattacharya can hardly be modified; but the freshness to the character has been brought about by changes in the mannerisms and behavioural patterns of Byomkesh. The web series is progressing successfully after having launched two of its episodes. Each episode is gripping than the last and has a lasting impression on the audience.

Cast:

Byomkesh- Anirban Bhattacharya

Ajit: Subrat Dutta

Satyabati: Ridhima Ghosh

Directed by : Sayantan Ghoshal

A Still from Episode 1

Episode 1: Inspired by ‘Satyaneshi’ and ‘Pother Kanta’

The first episode of the web series was an introductory episode to re-establish the image of a man named Byomkesh Bakshi. Despising both the terms Detective and Investigator, he likes to call himself Satyaneshi or The Truth Seeker.  Episode 1 was a merger of two well- known stories – Satyaneshi and Pother Kanta. While Satyaneshi was too fast paced and ended within minutes, Pother Kanta being a longer story gave the audience more time to imbibe the nuances of this intellectual truth seeker.

Byomkesh, from the first scene appeared to be reserved, calm and quiet and a great observer. His observation skills made it easier to listen to people and objects thereby recreating entire incidents in his mind. His keen ability to take note of the tiniest information, which otherwise one would preferred to ignore and link them to a greater bad is commendable.  While he takes on a drug mafia and a contract killer, who kills through an innovative way, Ajit his faithful friend is always by his side. He adds a much needed comic relief after some gory scenes of murder or theft. It is usually noticed that no detective story is complete without the faithful side-kick and here Ajit fits brilliantly in the role.

Since the setting is that of old Calcutta, care had to be taken to create the ambience, sets, costumes and even make-up adhering to the norms of that time. The challenge lay in the fact that even after adhering to old Calcutta norms, the director had to introduce something modern to attract viewership. This newness was well brought about by the music , especially at high points and during the well-choreographed action scenes which were in sync with the adrenaline pumping music.

A Still from Episode 2

Episode 2: Inspired by ‘Makorshar Rosh’ and ‘Arthamanartham’

In the second episode Byomkesh is seen as the leading investigator in the murder of a wealthy elderly citizen while also figuring out the means of smuggling in the spider’s juice for substance abuse.

Contrary to his nature, Byomkesh is seen to be very restless and agitated in the beginning leading the audience to wonder the secret behind his agitated demeanour which is quite opposite to his usual nature. He shifts onto investigating the murder scene where small and subtle evidences are picked up by him which evades the eyes of the police inspector on duty. Collating these seemingly unsubstantial evidences does Byomkesh solve a case more twisted than it normally met the eyes. Throughout the episode the police versus detective dichotomy prevailed where the former tried to establish his superiority as against the later; but successfully failing each time.

Still: A hesitant marriage proposal

The episode ended with a much needed relief, in the form of a romantic proposal where he, like any other gentleman, hesitated to propose the lady love in his life. This highlights that not only is Byomkesh an epitome of intellectual brilliance but he also has an emotional shade to his character.

With Byomkesh now entering into the role of a husband and a lover apart from being a Satyaneshi, it would be interesting to see how the web series progresses in the following episodes. The latest episode of Byomkesh would release exclusively on the Hoichoi App on the 11th of November. For more information regarding the App and its subscription models, the official website can be looked up.

Photograph Courtesy: Hoichoi App.

Disclaimer: I am thankful to Kolkata Bloggers to give me this opportunity to review the first two episodes of Byomkesh.

 

 

INFOSEC GLOBAL 2017: Combating Cyber Crime

Cyber-crime is that coiling invisible serpent which has found its way to the digital domain. As it is not substantial like a theft or a murder and since people are less aware of it; not much thought is being given to mobilise and make the public armed with tools to combat it. Cyber-crime may affect the society in various levels- personal, business and government and security. Thus, one needs to be armed in all three levels to be able to combat this growing terror in the society. One of the first steps to generate awareness regarding cyber –crime was undertaken by the INFOSEC GLOBAL 2017. This non-profit organisation initiated a platform which brought together individuals, government officials, police and other respective stakeholders, for the first time in Kolkata, to discuss and seek solutions for the various aspects of cyber-crime.

Held on the 3rd of November, 2017 at The Park Hotel, the INFOSEC GLOBAL 2017 saw an array of speakers like Dr Sanjay Bahl, Mr Debashis Sen, Ms Rama Vedashree, Mr Bratya Basu and Mr Hari Kusumakar who analyzed topics like ‘Cyber Security Readiness for Digital India’, ‘Creating Next Generation Cyber Warriors’; ‘Digital Forensics’, ‘Opportunities in Cyber Space’ and various other existing and emerging scope of cyber-crime and cyber security measures.

According to Mr Sushobhan Mukherjee, Chairman INFOSEC Foundation, the platform initiated a ‘cross-connect’ of people from different verticals who came together to ‘share knowledge, ideas and problems.’ He focussed on the fact that the ‘main problem is not about technology, but ignorance and over-confidence’ shown by the people. Today, anyone with a laptop and knowledge of social media or the internet calls himself a pro in cyberspace. But this is only the tip of the iceberg and he is entirely ignorant about the dangers of cyber space in his self-proclaimed overconfidence, with the limited knowledge that he has acquired. Thus, the primary step would be to make sure that ‘relevant information could reach relevant people.’

IPS (Retd) and Former Governor of Nagaland, Mr Shyamal Dutta, focussed on statistics to show how vulnerable India is as a whole to the threats of cyber security. Very correctly put forward by him was the mind-set of the people that is tuned to respond and recharge after the catastrophe has already hit, instead of aiming for its prevention in the first place. He focused on the amalgamation of private and public sector to fight against cyber-crime by maintaining a ‘digital balance of power’.

Mr Debashis Sen explains Block Chain Technology during the meeting with the Media

Mr Debashis Sen, Additional Chief Secretary IT, Government of West Bengal discussed that cyber-crime is ‘an opportunity and West Bengal Government is thinking of harnessing it in a useful manner’. He focussed on the requirement of a centre for a specialized mode of training, which according to plans would be set up soon in Rajarhat, Kolkata. It would aim at spreading education, skills and leadership to deal with the vices of the dark cyberspace. He stressed on a ‘firm partnership between the private sector and the government.’ Mr Sen went on to enlighten the audience regarding an in-house laboratory with a panel of internal experts to develop resources that can fight against the vacuum caused by growing cyber-attacks and comparatively lesser weapons against it. Another important aspect which he focused in details was the idea of alternative methods to make cyber-attacks difficult through block chain, cryptocurrency, bitcoin and the likes.

Block chain is a method of keeping registrations in distributed mechanism so that it is very difficult to hack it. Whenever you store in the State Data Centre or the National Data Centre, any person can break the firewall and get into the system. But in a block chain technology, the whole data is basically distributed amongst thousands and thousands of people and there is a public key and a private key and it is encrypted. So it is virtually impossible for anyone to make any changes in the database. It is this invincibility of this database that is being used in very innovative uses. – Mr Debashis Sen

Mr Vineet Goyal pointed out that nowadays, anyone with a mobile phone enters the cyber space. With a rough estimate of 300 million illiterates in India, who own a phone and have already entered the cyber space domain; how would people with no basic knowledge cope up with cyber-attacks? This is a challenge thrown at the Government which it has to take care of with the help of research institutions, businesses, and cyber security experts. One of the burning issues put forward by him was ‘Can the industry create a product that delivers this education to anyone who enters the cyber domain? ‘

Dr Sanjay Bahl addressing the audience

Chief Guest Dr Sanjay Bahl, Director General, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT) deliberated on the current scenario of India vis-à-vis combatting cyber-attacks. He highlighted that risks are a part and parcel of the cyber space and it cannot be ignored, avoided or outsourced. In his Keynote Address he spoke about the various different ways in which the ICERT trains individuals to take necessary steps during a cyber-attack. Some of these steps include, The Cyber Security Act, Cyber Crisis Management Plan, Cyber Security Drills and special workshops and training.

INFOSEC 2017 brought together experts from various fields on the same platform to deliberate on combatting measures against cyber attacks. With  new and advanced emerging technologies everyday, no one method is holistic enough to fight against cyber-crime. In fact, these methods themselves need to be regularly reviewed, monitored, updated and improved in order to suit the needs of the types of the cyber-crimes occurring throughout. With this conference, INFOSEC aims to enlighten the general public in the burning issues, so that they are aware of the cyber-attacks, and know that the Government, police, private sector and educational institutions are all beside them in this battle. Thus if you remotely suspect that you are becoming a victim of cyber-crime, then do contact your nearest police station or cyber-crime expert teams to help you deal with this grave offence. To know more about INFOSEC and its undertaking, please do visit their official website.

Swad Sanskriti Brings Together Food, History Culture and People

Food forms an important aspect in culture building. When we talk of the culture of a particular place or a region, apart from the society, its practices and traditions, we never miss to mention food as an integral part of the conversation. The history and culture of a place has a profound impact on the culinary tastes of the people . Prosenjit Paul comments, “Well,the British exiled Wajid Ali Shah to Kolkata from Lucknow! And he brought his cooks who introduced Lucknow Biriyani to Kolkata. And due to paucity of funds, and availability of cheap potatoes, the present day Kolkata biriyani was born! Now exiled Bongs clamour for Calcutta style Biriyanis wherever they go in this world, and eateries/chains like Calcutta Kitchen (Delhi)/Calcutta Cabin (Bangalore)/Calcutta Street in London and many more!!” However, often food and culture are seen as different entities. According to Prantik Sengupta, “The cultural ethos and history of a place is not influenced by the gastronomic habits and preferences of the people, because both are distinct entities and neither depend upon the other for existence.” This is a debate which can go on forever like the age-old question of Who came first The Egg or the Hen?Whether food and culture are related or not is for you to opine. But to assist you in opinion building, Swad Sanskriti would be launching its innovative concept.

It will be inaugurated by The Hon’ble Minister of Culture, Government of India Dr Mahesh Sharma Organised by The Food and Beverage Buzz magazine. Swad Sanskriti, is a celebration of food, culture and philosophy.  It will be held on the 26th of November 2017 at The Radisson Blu, Paschim Vihar (Saphire 1&2), New Delhi from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Every delicacy has a strong reflection of the region it has been prepared in. Subtle differences in the methods of making or the ingredients used give it a completely different flavor.
Photo Courtesy: Swad Sanskriti

Curated by Dr Ashish Chopra, well-known culinary historian, TV Host, Author and Senior Consulting Editor of Food and Beverage Buzz magazine, Swad Sanskriti as the event will look into exploring the wisdom of our cultural philosophy through food that has shaped Indian history and which today has become the identification factor for us Indians. As Paroma Sengupta opines, “History and culture affects the food of a place. For instance, if there are Parsi settlers in a particular place then the food in that area will have a Parsi influence. Similarly, Mughals in a particular place means Mughlai food.”  Rimbik Das focuses that “both [culture and food] can work simultaneously”, influencing each other throughout its evolution. From time immemorial it has been stated that without exploring and discovering the past, the future cannot be successfully harnessed. Thus, Mr Pawan Agrawal, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Media Private Limited, that publishes Food and Beverage Buzz, says, “Understanding our past is imperative to understand our present food habits. So, how do we come to an elaborate understanding of our cultural habits? These are some of the questions that we will look at exploring through these events.”

Destined to be one of the first conclaves of many to come, Swad Sanskriti will host the theme of Cultural Gastronomy and Diversity in its first chapter. It will explore the diversity and unity of Indian Food and how its influence has helped develop and evolve Indian culture. To discuss some key issues that pertain to Indian culinary heritage, Swad Sanskriti will bring together eminent stalwarts from various food verticals including Chefs, Hoteliers, Restaurateurs, Food Historians, Anthropologists, Researchers, FMCG, food packaging industry, representatives from the Dairy companies, E-retailers and Food app companies among others.  Shuvam Manna says that, “Food is definitely an influence on the history and culture of the place and vice versa. There’s the notion of how people who love to eat are content with their food and peace-loving, thus the diverse the cuisine is, the better the chance of a place to maintain peace. Next how cuisine is AN integral part of a culture of a place, and so if the food had not been good, the place would’ve had a bad reputation among foodies, thus hampering tourism, even if that’s to a small extent.”  This proves that food as a subject or research in an interdisciplinary one. All other disciplines like history, geography, logic, philosophy, psychology goes into the thought process behind the food of every region. Each dish has an associated history with its inception and evolution. Rummaging through the past would give answer to numerous such questions which would lead us to rediscover our culinary preferences in contemporary times Vis-a Vis their older versions.

Photo Courtesy: Swad Sankriti

The advisory board of Swad Sanskriti  includes eminent personas from the field of culinary studies, history and culture. Some of the members are, SK Misra, IAS (retd.), Chairperson, Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development, Pradyot Manikya Deb Burman (Maharaja, state of Tripura), Pramoda Devi Wadiyar (Rajmata, Royal family of Mysuru),Pushpraj Singh (Maharaja, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh),Jose Dominic, CEO, CGH Earth Group, Rakesh Mathur (Former President, Welcom Heritage by ITC group), Sanjeev Pahwa (Sr. Vice President, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group),Chef Rakesh Sethi, Corporate Executive Chef, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Steve Borgia, Chairman & Managing Director of INDeco Leisure Hotels, B.R. Oberoi aka Diamond Oberoi (Chairman, Elgin Hotels), Pritha Sen (Food Anthropologist) and Dr Pushpesh Pant (Food Historian & Critic).

Ms Urvashi Jaahnvi Agrawal, Editor-in-Chief of Food and Beverage Buzz magazine says, ““Swad Sanskriti isn’t just about discovering the culture of food and taste, it is a platform to bring together food lovers and those who are always excited about experimenting with different combination of ingredients.” If you are a patron of good food and would love to discover its evolution and future along with playing with new flavours and ingredients, then Swad Sanskriti is the event to look forward to. There is no better way to strike a conversation with people than the one happening over food. You can check out their official website for more details on Swad Sankriti.

Photographs Courtesy: Swad Sanskriti

INFOSEC Spreads Cyber Security Awareness through International Summit in Kolkata

In today’s age, with the rapid advancement of the internet, one cannot be too careful regarding the digital platform. Along with the boons of the digital landscape, comes in the vices of such an open platform. This has paved way for cyber-crimes to take place all over the world. In fact, the recent occurrence of the NHS security hacking in the UK is one of the major cyber-crimes of the year. The old proverb is not unheard of, ‘with great power comes great responsibilities.’ Similarly when you venture out into the digital landscape; a certain amount of knowledge of cyber security is beneficial for you. This immense need of the hour has also been identified by the youth. Arjyak Bhattacharya from The Heritage Institute, Kolkata comments “In the digital world we live in today, cyber security is even more crucial to protect yourself than any physical security system to keep you from harm. Quite simple, almost all of us have every aspect of our private identities out on the World Wide Web, and without protection we are sitting ducks against a million kinds of cyber-crimes which could ruin our lives.

Much that we do talk about cyber security being the need of the hour not much action has been taken to make the general public aware of its tools and resources. In fact, Surya Shekhar Chakravorty from VIT Vellore states, “It’s [cyber security] something grossly underappreciated in our country; there is barely any coverage of data breaches. It’ll do us good as a society if we worry less about how a song by an Internet troll can be interpreted, and worry more about giving permissions to stupid apps on FB to check Which Friend Should Date You. If we are bothered by our parents peeping into our phones, why shouldn’t we be bothered by absolute strangers who get permissions to literally read our messages?” This is precisely why the INFOSEC Foundation has taken a brilliant initiative in this sphere by organising The International INFOSEC Summit 2017. Deemed to be Eastern India’s largest Information Security Summit, it will be held at THE PARK, KOLKATA, on November 3, 2017 from 9 AM to 6 PM. The theme for the Summit is Information Security in Digital India – Threat, Challenges and Opportunities. There is an exciting list of speakers who would be speaking on the various aspects of cyber security. If you are interested to attend the event kindly contact the organisers here .

Cyber Security being an International concern and quite a few countries being involved in extensive research, product generation, treatises and the like; the Summit provides them a good opportunity to get together and initiate dialogues pertaining to the current issues and ways to solve them. Speakers from countries like Singapore, Bangladesh, United States and Europe would be taking part in this summit. Among the many supporters of this initiative are DSCI, NASSCOM, Kolkata Police,West Bengal Government and The Government of Bangladesh. Dr. Gulshan Rai, CISO, Govt. of India is expected to be the Chief Guest at the program. The agenda also includes the launch of the First Cyber Security Helpline with the police.

Glimpses from last year’s INFOSEC SUMMIT

The International INFOSEC Summit would bear witness to an amalgamation of around 300 individuals from different arenas – CIOs, CEOs / IT Heads of Midsized  organizations, Govt. officials, Police, CID, Cyber Security Experts, Cyber Law experts, Policy Makers from India, Singapore, Bangladesh, Start-ups and Academia. The program content is designed for leaders in the domain of Information Security, Data Security and IT Infrastructure. Some of the eminent sessions include Cyber Economics, Creating Next Generation Cyber Warriors, Digital Forensics, Cyber Security Initiatives in Bangladesh, and more.

The Summit will have speakers like Dr Sanjay Bahl (Director General, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team-ICERT), Shri Bratya Basu (MIC-IT, Govt of West Bengal), Rajeev Kumar (IPS, CP – Kolkata Police),Vineet Goel (IPS, CISO-Govt of West Bengal), Hari Kusumakar (IPS- ADDL CP IV), Rama Vedashree (DSCI-NASSCOM), Dr B M Mehtre (IDRBT), Col Inderjeet Singh  (SmartCity Expert, Ex- Director-Military Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence), Dipanwita Roychowdhury (IIT Kharagpur) and others.

Siddhartha Das  from KIIT, Bhuvaneshwar comments, “Cyber Security means to me secure browsing, access to required information without being snooped on and having to answer questions about why I need such information. In this age of information, when almost everything is available on the internet, and people access the same for information/knowledge, cyber security is absolutely necessary to protect the privacy of users.” Rightly so, no matter how public the digital domain has become, an individual has to remain as private and secure as he/she wants to be. An individual has the right to disseminate information and also hold it back when necessary. Thus, cyber-security is important in contemporary society and especially among the youth, multinational companies, start-ups, IT sector and Data Science sectors who channelize their communication mostly through the internet.

The International INFOSEC Summit is expected to provide the much desired platform for experts, students and others related to this field to come together and share a common zeal and exchange ideas towards living in a society which is aware of and has the right means and knowledge to secure itself from the undesired cyber-attacks.

If you want to register yourself as an attendee, please do it here. I am sure you would leave the venue with knowledge , network and ideas to give you food for thought for the forthcoming days.

Byomkesh Bakshi Creates Hoichoi Online

When you talk about Bengali Literature and that too thrillers and mysteries, one of the leading characters is Byomkesh Bakshi , the brainchild of  Saradindu  Chattopadhyay. According to a famous quotation by Bakshi, he calls himself Satyanveshi or the Truth Seeker. Numerous adaptations of Byomkesh Bakshi on big and small screen has still kept the enigma and charm of this age-old character alive. Adding to this list is the  Byomkesh  Bakshi  web series launched by the only Bengali originals, movies and songs streaming Application –Hoichoi – by Shri Venkatesh Films.

I was recently invited to the launch of  the  Hoichoi  Originals  Byomkesh  Bakshi  on the 13th of October at Park Hotel where the trailer and the first episode were screened especially for the  media. The event also gave us the chance to interact with the cast and director of this series.

Director Sayantan Ghosal addresses the audience.
Photo Courtesy: Tanmoy Biswas

The name of Anirban Bhattacharya, who plays the ace sleuth, has been added to the list of names like Abir Chatterjee, Sushant Singh Rajput and others who have amicably pulled off playing the titular roles in various adaptations of the character. According to Sayantan Ghosal the director of the series, the aura of Byomkesh lies in his crime solving abilities and his perception of the world beyond the distinct Blacks and Whites. He added further, that the storyline could hardly be modified; but the real challenge was to present it in a web series format which attracted the youth as well as make slight modifications in the behaviours and mannerisms of Byomkesh to suit the storyline among contemporary audience. Actor  Anirban  Bhattacharya  accepted  that he certainly felt the pressure of playing a much-loved and renowned character on screen. But he was also extremely happy and proud to know the fact that in times to come when people will recall the actors who played Byomkesh, they would count him too.

The trailer seemed promising. It was followed by the first episode which would be available on the Hoichoi App from 14th October onwards but was exclusively premiered for the media on the 13th itself. The episode was an amalgamation of two stories- Satyanveshi and Pother Kanta. The episode is fast paced. It has some adrenaline pumping action sequences performed by Bhattacharya with high scoring contemporary music. Mimoh , the music director for the series has indeed done a brilliant job in bringing out the character and the flavour of the series through its background score. Ajit, played by Subrat Dutta adds the much needed comic breaks throughout the episode. The director has kept in mind that it is a period series and has arranged the situations accordingly in terms of location, sets, props etc. The only visible newness would be in terms of the background score and gestures and postures of Byomkesh. Since, the App aims to reach out to the global audience; there is provision of subtitles as well. On the whole, The First Episode was quite gripping and I would recommend all my friends to download the App and watch it. The second episode is scheduled to release on the 21st of October on Hoichoi.

Anirban Bhattacharya who plays the titular role talking to the Media.
Photo Courtesy: Tanmoy Biswas

Hoichoi is the first of its kind exclusive Bengali International digital content screening platform.  It is headed by SVF Co-Founder Vishnu Mohta. The best part of Hoichoi is that is available for downloading among all major electronic devices- Computer, Laptops, Mobiles etc. It supports Android and Apple and can be downloaded from Play store or I-store respectively. Its portability options provide for great new series, music and movies straight in your pockets. So, if you are tired of waiting for a delayed flight, what better way to spend your time than by watching an episode of Byomkesh Bakshi on Hoichoi originals?

If you want to know more about the Hoichoi App , please visit their official website here. Hoichoi is the maiden Bengali digital content streaming App and it should be explored and appreciated for its ventures. As we Bangali’s often put it across to encourage something new, it would  be a great boost to the morale of the entire team if we support it and say #Hoyejak Hoichoi.

 

How I celebrated Lakshmi Pujo this year?

Adi Lakshmi Namastestu Parabrahma Swaroopini

Yasho Dehi, Dhanam Dehi, Sarva Kamamscha Dehi Me

The first two lines of the Lakshmi Stuti beautifully sums up the ode that is to follow hereafter to the Goddess of health, wealth and good luck. Since, I was a child; I have been attending Lakshmi Pujo at my grandmother’s place. For decades, it has only been about the food- From fruits to Sandesh, from Pulao to Luchi, from salad to sugarcane –all my favourite delicacies were present on the table only at this time of the year. But with changing times and mentality, the Prasad too saw changes. Soft Drinks, chips, chocolates and even wafers were added as Prasads (maybe on my insistence!).

My grandmother is no longer as fit as she used to be. Well, she is a wise old woman of 86 maybe 85 or well forget it, above 80! But her physical strength has given her away in recent times. A day long fasting has been reduced till midday fasts (and I have completely given it up on my part!). Also, with the declining audience, the frequency of the dishes and offerings on the table has started to decline as well. (And yes I have given up on the additional stuffs!)

Prasad

This year she performed the pujo at midday contrary to it being held in the evening for decades. Simple dishes like Pulao, Payesh, Alur Dum, Luchi, Cheere Makha  (puffed rice mixed with grated coconut and jaggery/sugar) and Sandesh graced the offering table. The smell of the incense sticks filled the air. The small Thakur Ghor (altar) was decorated with marigold flowers. Earlier, the same room had been decorated with flowers, alpana, rangoli which extended right to the gates. But incapability or inability of resources has led this year’s pujo to be a very small homely affair. After my grandmother performed a small ritual of reading out from her books which have become old, dusty and are now covered with newspapers to keep them intact; we proceeded for lunch.

Interestingly, this is the first time that I was invited for Lakshmi Pujo by my friend Monideepa. She is a very bright student at NSHM and hardly two months into college she is doing wonders in her field. I truly loved the time spent at her place. The beautifully decorated altar with loads of food- From fruits, Nadus , almost 5 types of fries and many others. It reminded me of my childhood days. I will definitely thank Kakima for packing some great food and Monideepa for making those tasty Nadus. It was great meeting Alimpan who I had last met at the SMIPKol in 2014.

The gang at Monideepa’s place. Pic Courtesy goes to Kaku.

On my way back, I managed to have a sneak peek of most of the Pandals near my house and checked on their Lakshmi Pujo. Here are some of the photographs that I took.

Friends Union

Samaj Sebi
Ballygunge Cultural

Do keep a lookout on Instagram for more photographs and videos. Thanks.

Throwback to Durga Pujo 2017

Having spent two Durga Pujos in Manchester, I was really looking forward to this year. Little did I know that it would be the best one till date. My Pujo had been restricted to South Calcutta for a long time, but it was time to break boundaries and enjoy like never before. As I write this blog post, I hear the Dhakis for the last time this year, beating their instruments to glory during the Sindur Kheyla at the neighbourhood pandals. Their beats reflecting on the good-byes for this year, and strengthening the hope and anticipation for the Sharodotsab next year.  Here are my highlights for Durga Pujo 2017.

Tritiya

I would never forget my Xavier’s Gang. You would find people who are personifications of emotions- Sweet, Composed, Talkative, Caring, Practical, Understanding. So, 8 of us set out on Tritiya afternoon to explore the pandals of North Calcutta. Our first destination was Kumartully Sarbojanin. They replicated the ISKCON temple at Brindavan and their idol was a feast to see. However, we were not allowed to enter as the inauguration ceremony had not yet taken place.

Kumartully Sarbojanin Park

From there we went on to witness the Maheeshmati Palace from Bahubali at Sreebhoomi Sporting Complex. It was beautifully decorated with lights, chandeliers and intricate wall works. (Confession: I have not seen the movies so I cannot say how beautifully it was replicated. But I liked what I saw! )

Our last pandal for the day was Salt Lake FD Block , which again had not yet opened for the public but we were allowed to have a glimpse of it from outside. The last destination for the day was Kix at City Centre 1. What followed was history and should best not find mention in this blog! Nevertheless, Monishita, Shayari, Anindita, Poulami, Survi, Ravi and Suman Da – this was one epic day out and I hope it happens every year after.

US

Chaturthi

I woke up to a Sunny Sunday morning, got ready and stepped out of my house for Pujo Parikrama. We had reserved this day for touring the South Calcutta Pandals. Deshapriya Park was our first destination. After wreaking havoc with 110 feet idols and 1000 hand idols, Deshapriya settled for a beautiful Japanese Wat . The pandal was pearl white and glowed when sunlight fell on it. Tridhara, startled the visitors with its pandal. It was decorated with birds and bats made of paper and huge sky scraper like structures made out of empty boxes.

Tridhara

Metal was the theme of Ballygunge Cultural and it brilliantly adhered to giving each idol privacy by building them in separate compartments.

#ashlopujo #ashlopujomymoments #ashlopujo1stlook #ballygungecultural

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Samaj Sebi, had been in the news since Mahalaya due to its Longest Alpona which made it to the Limca Book of Records;  and its designer dress , designed by Tejas Gandhi.

Samaj sebi #ashlopujo #ashlopujomymoments #ashlopujo1stlook #kolkatapujo #festivalseason

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After stopping briefly at the Dakshinee Sangha , we headed on to Hindusthan Park. I must say it came as a surprise. The pandal beautifully decorated in myriad hues reminded me of the Incas of the past.

Hindusthan Park

By now it was time for lunch and what best than stopping at Oudh 1590. My personal tip is try their Galawti Kebab and Aam Ras. They are amazing!  After lunch we headed on to Kasba where we saw the Bosepukur pandal. It was time to call it a day. I had gone on a marathon Pandal hopping after a long time. The heat of the sun had been wonderfully ignored and the enthusiasm to celebrate Pujo after two years swiftly took over. Thank You Bulu Da and Suman Da , without you guys, this would not have been possible.

Panchami

Samya is my self-proclaimed husky-lover best friend. An early start at 10 am to visit the Suruchi Pandal and then proceeding towards visiting the Behala Pandals was on charts for the day. We were joined by my college friend Sudarshana and Suman Da (he’s not a college friend). Sudarshana coming from Behala knew the place better than any of us. She was our guide for the day and took us to Barisha Club, SBI Park, Behala Friends and Nutun Dol. We stopped for lunch at The Eye Within Club and went to chill at the Rabindra Sarovar Lake. And Yes, even made a long distance call to Anirban Da who is now in the States for his IVLP Program. You can know more about his programme here.

Suruchi
Barisha
SBI Park

Behala pujo #durgapuja #durgapujo #calcuttapujowalks #pujoshots #pujoofinstagram

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Sasthi

I took a day –off from Pandal hopping and immersed myself into some left over work and a story book.

Saptami

Saptami can be described best as travelling from one part of the city to the other. We started at Mudiali and Shib Mandir; then went straight onto Naktala. Naktala impressed me a lot. Their theme was 3D and yes the pandal was so cool that I think it had AC in it. We stopped to have lunch at Dalhousie and called it a day after that.

Mudiali

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Asthami

Yes, I missed Onjoli! Please don’t think of me as a sinner. Even though I missed Onjoli I did not miss the Bhog. The best part was that I had a friend to accompany me, who by chance I found out had work duty near my house. Nagendra and I had met at NASSCOM and became good friends. After lunch, I took the metro to Shobabazaar where I was joined by Monishita and Teetan. We visited the Shobhabazaar Rajbari (My first ever Bonedi Bari Pujo) and the Jagat Mukherjee Park. JMP had made a submarine pandal with special effects and I so wanted to see it this time. A quick stop at McDonald’s Mani Square and I was back at the customary Maddox Square. Maddox had been the centre of Adda for ages. After a  chance meeting with Arjyak my friend,  my friends and I headed out for dinner.

Shobabazaar Raajbari

Nabami

A lunch plan at Mocambo got spoilt by looking at the queue which would have allowed us to enter the restaurant around two days later, at the earliest. Instead, we went to KFC , after a long time. Monishita and I, had both expressed our desire to go to KFC the last day and it was heard by the Goddess a little sooner than we expected. We headed out to Jodhpur Park where we were joined by Rushati, Sagereeka and Suman Da. We saw 95 Pally which was themed around the principles of Buddhism and its sound vibrations. The pandal was so designed that each structure moved swiftly creating a beautiful and peaceful sound. The Pandal at the Jodhpur Park Sporting complex was too colourful and at some point hit the eyes. Selimpore Pally and Babubagan were next in line and they were pleasant pandals to visit.

95 Pally
Selimpore

Dashami

No more pandal hopping for this year. Instead I visited my grandmother and had lunch with her while watching Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Also, since I wanted to let everyone know of what I did this Pujo, I wrote the blog post on Dashami.

A few pointers for this year:

  • Pujo was very well controlled and crowd was managed by the police and traffic guards. Kudos to them!
  • I met a lot of friends and had fun which I had not even expected. All my plans were literally made in an hour or two.
  • There were pandals which actually had to hang boards stating ‘ Selfies not allowed’. In fact, Tridhara even confiscated cell phones.
  • My top three pandals would be :
  1. Naktala
  2. Jagat Mukherjee Park
  3. Hindusthan Park

As they say, Ashche Bochor Abar Hobe. I will look forward to such enjoyable moments and such amazing company year after year. P.S even if I do move out in future, I will make sure to return to celebrate Durga Pujo.

 

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