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10 things you must know about Assam startup – The Nest

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Among several issues plaguing Assam, unemployment stands as one major constraint. The fact that the state has a dismal number of literate and semi-literate unemployed youths strikes a sorry picture. Keeping this in mind, the Government of Assam decided to give shape to an initiative that will support and encourage the youths of Assam to convert from being job seekers to job creators.

The Department of Industries and Commerce, Government of Assam, took it upon itself to formulate the Assam Startup Policy in 2017. The core objective of the Policy is to promote a culture of entrepreneurship in the state that would help develop self-sustenance in Assam and largely address the problem of unemployment in the state. The IIM Calcutta Innovation Park has been roped in as the implementing partner to execute the initiative by the Government of Assam.

Given that the average state population has traditionally been service-inclined, merely motivating the youth towards entrepreneurship isn’t enough. They need a certain amount of grooming and hand-holding until they are confident and skilled enough to drive their business independently. Hence, the need for a world-class startup incubator that can provide complete entrepreneurial grooming and practical coaching to the startups.

Keeping this mind, a state-of-art marquee incubator was inaugurated, as part of the Assam Startup Policy 2017, on 20 January 2019 by the honourable Chief Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal. Assam Startup – The Nest is Assam’s first state-owned startup incubator located at Ambari, Guwahati and is dedicatedly working to help the startups grow into master entrepreneurs.

Months into the initiative, there has been a lot of curiosity among people about Assam Startup – The Nest. A feeling of wonder engrosses the mind about what goes on inside the swaggering building! Here’s an attempt to clear the clouds and pull out answers to everything one wants to know about the Assam Startup initiative.

 

  1. What does Assam Startup – The Nest do?

As a startup incubator, Assam Startup – The Nest helps the startup entities to tailor their entrepreneurial mindset in order to align it with the market. Selected startups are incubated at The Nest for a period of 6 months, wherein they go through intense mentoring, capacity building training and get access to co-working space, support services, and crucial network connects to help them get cracking and take the next big leap.

 

 

  1. How can Assam Startup – The Nest help fulfill the entrepreneurial aspirations of a startup?

Entrepreneurship is a tough call involving several highs and lows. Being an entrepreneur requires a strong frame of mind, problem-solving mindset, and a never-say-die attitude. Through its rigorous capacity building programs and mentoring sessions, Assam Startup – The Nest tries to train the startups to align their thoughts with the tough demands of entrepreneurship so that they are skill-equipped to turn a startup idea into a scalable business venture.

The startups are also introduced to formidable figures from the industry that include national and international entrepreneurs, investors and startup mentors. They get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with those industry gurus, indulge in knowledge sessions with them and turn those sessions into fruitful networking opportunities.

What more, in the final phase of the incubation, The Nest organizes a Demo Day, wherein top investors are invited to consider investing in the ventures pitched by the incubated startups.

 

  1. What kind of mentoring is provided at The Nest?

The incubated startups are assigned mentors based on their sector, startup stage and specific needs. The pool of mentors at The Nest consists of industry experts from across the country with elaborate experience in entrepreneurship. Most of these mentors are already mentoring startups incubated at IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (Kolkata).

The assigned mentors do a review of the startups and offer them insightful suggestions as well as give them monthly targets or action plans to work on so that by the end of the 6-month incubation, the startups could have a thorough business model in hand.

 

  1. Does Assam Startup provide technological support to the incubatees?

Assam Startup – The Nest is essentially a business incubation hub and does not provide direct technological support. But it helps the startups to connect with institutions offering suitable tech training and support.

 

  1. Is there a fee for incubation?

No fee is charged for incubation.

Startup Assam

  1. Does Assam Startup provide fund?

Assam Startup – The Nest connects the incubated startups with investors. Apart from this, the startups can apply for Startup Recognition on the website www.startup.assam.gov.in to become eligible for a number of fiscal and non-fiscal benefits provided by the Government of Assam. Startups deemed eligible for Startup Recognition following a rigorous process of evaluation are granted a unique My Assam Startup ID (MASI), which the startups must use to apply for the various benefits enumerated on the website.

One may go to the website and click on “Resources” to read the Assam Startup Policy 2017 and learn about the benefits under MASI in details.

Please note that startups who aren’t incubated at The Nest are also eligible to apply for MASI.

 

  1. Apart from the MASI benefits, what does Assam Startup – The Nest do for startups who aren’t incubated at The Nest?

The Nest conducts a special Startup Adda every month, especially for the non-incubated startups, wherein they get the opportunity to interact with industry experts and ask them for suggestions regarding the various challenges of entrepreneurship with special focus on their own ventures. Besides, The Nest also conducts topic-based workshops for the non-incubated startups to acquaint them with the motley nuances of business and management.

 

  1. Does Assam Startup give startup ideas?

Assam Startup – The Nest does not offer startup ideas. It offers the right direction to execute startup ideas.

However, the startup incubator organizes Hackathons and Ideathons, inviting youths to come together and brainstorm over a popular local problem in order to come up with interesting startup ideas and solutions.

 

  1. Are all activities of Assam Startup confined to The Nest alone?

It’s understood that none of the facilities under the Assam Startup Policy would bear fruits unless and until there’s far-reaching dissemination of knowledge about startups, the challenges and scope of startups in the state, and comprehensive familiarity with the provisions enumerated under the Assam Startup Policy 2017. As such, it’s been made sure that The Nest holds awareness sessions and workshops at different academic and training institutions across the state from time to time. In fact, within 2 months of its launch, The Nest had connected with around 2500 students and aspirant entrepreneurs across the state.

 

  1. Is there any sector specification or preference in order to be considered eligible for incubation?

Startups from any sector, except for liquor and tobacco, can apply for incubation at Assam Startup – The Nest. The startups are evaluated on the basis of Innovativeness, Market Potential, Revenue Model, Traction and Team Capabilities.

 

  1. How to apply for incubation?

Incubation at The Nest is run on a Cohort mode. The contest for the second Cohort is currently let open. In order to apply, one must go to the website www.startup.assam.gov.in  and “Apply for Cohort 2.0”. The applicants need to fill-up the form and submit. The applications are rigorously evaluated by industry experts from across the country after which the top list of startups are invited to pitch their venture in front of jury members at The Nest. The final list of startups from the pitching process is selected to be a part of the Cohort.

A Lost Chess Game Made Him One Of World’s Best Known Bodybuilders, And Yet He Faced Discrimination! The Unbelievable Story of Pradip Kumar

Prodip
Pradip Kumar

 

It is a bright morning in Imphal and the smile on the face of my host is just as bright and friendly. He greets me with his charming smile at the Khuman Lampak Sports complex at heart of Imphal city, the capital of Manipur the powerhouse of Indian sports. K. Pradip Kumar, the man I have come to meet is a sportsperson of international repute. The former Mr. Asia and Mr. World bronze medalist is an internationally renowned bodybuilder and trainer. Several bodybuilders have gained national and international fame under his guidance till now. But behind this story of success and fame, there is a saga of struggle and perseverance that motivates people to be positive about life. His story is as exciting as a blockbuster movie and a source of inspiration for people around the world. It is the story of a man who not just refused to succumb to the cruelty of fate and society but also emerged much stronger than ever both mentally and physically. Destiny tried to beak him but he had other plans.

 

A normal childhood

Born in Manipur, K Pradip Kumar’s childhood was just like any other kid. He went to school and spent time playing with his siblings at home. “I never skipped school and would often arrive home very late after classes were over. To evade punishment I would instantly come up with some stories. I was creative.” Says Pradip Kumar with his signature smile. Young Pradip would prefer the company of older boys rather than his contemporaries. The conversations and games of his contemporaries did not impress him. A few years later, this would change his life forever.

 

One little mistake

In the early eighties, Pradip started taking drugs when he was at 6th or 7th standard.  At that time the drug peddlers had just infiltrated into Manipur and narcotic substances were made available at very low prices. People were still not aware of the dreadful consequences of taking drugs or sharing hypodermic syringes. Drugs had become the ‘in’ thing.  Pradip too fell into this trap. He was lured into the world of drugs by some of his friends. One of his cousins was from a rich family and he had no dearth of money. They would frequently party along with other friends. Gradually Pradip started to realise that he is being addicted to drugs. He tried to get over his addiction but it was not easy. The more he tried to get rid of drugs, the more he was gripped by withdrawal symptoms.  After completing his 12th standard he went to Odisha for graduation. He made new friends and some of those friends were into drugs. Soon Pradip found himself in the tentacles of Drugs again. “It was not easy to buy a syringe to inject drugs. We were scared that someone would suspect us and so we reused the syringes. The same syringe and the needle would be shared by many over and over again. We were not aware of the dreadful consequences then.”  Pradip recalled the dreadful experience. After completing his graduation in Odisha Pradip Kumar went to Nainital to pursue MSc in mathematics. However he could not complete his studies because of his addiction.

 

Sometimes in the late nineties, Pradip Kumar read a newspaper article about the dangers of taking drugs and sharing the same syringe. He learnt about HIV AIDS for the first time. By then some of his friends had already died because of addiction. This article sent shivers down his spine and he decided to give up drugs at any cost. In 1997 he took the last shot of narcotics. He gave up drugs altogether but the deadly withdrawal syndromes came back and he found himself heavily dependent on alcohol. His alcohol addiction increased but the only solace for him was that alcohol was less harmful than drugs. He was hopeful that quitting drugs would save him from the harmful side effects of drugs as well the dangers of getting infected with HIV AIDS. What he did not know, however, was that it was already too late and he had already been infected with the virus and the disease was waiting for the right time to raise its ugly head.

 

The demon strikes

One day in the month of December in 1999 Pradip Kumar fell ill. It was an attack of viral fever. He also felt severe pain in the throat. The doctor prescribed him some antibiotics. As he reached the pharmacy to get those antibiotics he collapsed on the ground, unconscious. When he opened his eyes he found himself at home. Next day morning he went to the doctor with his mother. This time the doctor prescribed him another medicine but he decided not to take it. The pain all over his body and his throat increased and soon he was unable to eat or drink. His health deteriorated fast and within a couple of days he could neither rise from the bed nor move his limbs. Eventually he was admitted to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Manipur.

 

At the hospital Pradip Kumar was subjected to various tests but his condition worsened day by day. Blurred vision, frequent incidents of passing out, inability to talk and eat and other symptoms became alarmingly severe. After several tests he was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the lymph glands of the neck. After some treatment his condition became better and he went home. But he was again hospitalised after a few days. At the time of admitting he was unconscious and in a critical condition. He regained consciousness after three days. He did not understand what the doctors around him were saying but one word was being repeated several times and his intuition told him that word was important. Sero positive. He asked one of the doctors what was the meaning of that word. The doctor told it meant detection of the presence of a disease in blood samples and in this case it was HIV AIDS. At that time he was only 30.

 

This information hit him like a thunderbolt. The hope of being safe against the disease was now gone. He could not evade it. The virus finally got him. He broke down into tears. At that time his mother entered the room. Pradip somehow controlled himself and told her, “Let’s go home mother.”

 

Pradip Kumar’s mother and other family members took care of him at looked after him at home. One day his mother said, “Tell me what you want? I will do anything for you.”  Pradip said he wanted to go to Guwahati for better treatment. The same day his mother and sister took him to Guwahati and got him admitted at a government hospital. Unfortunately, this was a very unpleasant experience for him. He realised for the first time what it is to be discriminated against for AIDS. He was kept in confinement with mental patients. The patients around him had their hands and legs tied up to the bedposts. It was a very depressing environment. He was mentally devastated. But that was just the beginning. He faced a lot of ill treatment in the hospital. One particular incident hurt him deeply. A nurse, while removing a saline needle was so careless that blood squirted out of his veins and the bed sheet was covered in blood. The nurse did not even look back and left the room. The pain of this insensitiveness was much stronger than that in his veins.  The same day they went back to Manipur.

 

Death! Not today! I am not ready for you!

Pradip and his family lost all hope as they went back to Manipur. It was imminent death that he was waiting for now. But just at that time, they met a new doctor. Dr. Noren, an HIV specialist. He told Pradip that an AIDS patient can also live normally with the help of medicine. But the medicine was very expensive and was not easy to get. At that time one dose of the medicine cost 36 thousand rupees. Yet the family decided to somehow bear the cost. The medicine was to be preserved in a refrigerator and they had no fridge. So they kept it in the fridge of a neighbour. His treatment started with this new medicine and by the advice of Dr. Noren, the medicine for TB was discontinued. Taking the new medicine was not easy either. Every time he swallowed the medicine his weak body reacted and he had to vomit it out. The medicine was too costly to be wasted and therefore the vomit was collected in a pot and then the medicine was recovered from it to be swallowed again later. Gradually he started to regain the strength to move a little. Pradip says- “Most of the AIDS patients think death is knocking at the door. Instead of thinking like this they should think about living a normal life.”

From 2000 to 2004 Pradip Kumar was confined to his house for almost three and a half year. During this time not a single relative or friend came to see him. Even those who once taught him to take drugs did not come to see him. He spent all his time with his family members. However , he was very careful that no one touches the blades used by him for shaving or that no one comes in contact with his blood in case there is any cut or injury. He maintains such caution till today.

 

A lost game that caused many victories

Soon after Pradip Kumar regained a little bit of strength his sister gifted him a flower plant. He looked after this plant and a thought came to his mind that this plant is an inspiration for him to stay alive. Soon he started to collect and look after more such flower plants. The collection grew and soon it became a nursery. He even started participating in gardening fairs. Little by little he regained the hope and energy to stay alive and he thought of doing some light exercises to maintain fitness. In 2004 he went to a gym named Eagle gym in his neighbourhood.  At that time some friends were playing chess and the condition was the loser would have to lift some weights. Pradip joined the game and lost. That was the beginning of a new life. The defeat in the game of chess was the beginning of his international career in bodybuilding.

 

I am still alive!

With every passing day Pradip Kumar’s confidence grew and he increased the intensity of his workout. His doctor had advised him to do some light exercises and warned that his body was too weak to bear the intensity of heavy workouts. But Pradip kept on pushing his boundaries. In 2006 he participated in the Mr. Manipur contest for the first time and secured silver medal in the 60 KG category. He was elated. Just two years back he weighed less than 30 kg, was unable to move and today he was the silver medalist in 60 kg category in a bodybuilding competition. “My heart was racing. I had got a new lease of life. I was still alive. My life was not over yet and that made me rejoice.”  He says. The oganisers, however, knew nothing about Pradip’s disease.

One morning in 2007 a friend had brought a journalist to Pradip Kumar’s home. The journalist was from a national newspaper. He said he wanted to write about Pradip if he has no objection. How HIV has not been able to stop him on his journey can be a great source of inspiration for a lot of people all over the world. Pradip agreed but put forward a condition that he should publish the article only after the Mr. Manipur competition 2007 is over. The stigma that he had faced, the insensitiveness and the emotional violence he was subjected to because of his condition was still fresh in his mind.

Pradip Kumar won a gold medal in the competition and the article was published as soon as the competition was over. This article took entire Manipur by storm. The media in Manipur went berserk. No one knew anything about Pradip’s condition. Everyone came running to him. “Is it true?’ They asked. His answer was simple-

 

“Yes! I am HIV positive. But HIV does not kill a person. It is the society that kills with its insensitiveness. I am an example.” 

 

pradip 

National and international recognition

In 2008 Pradip Kumar participated in the Mr. India competition for the first time and secured fifth position. In the same year he participated in Mr. India competition 2008-09 held at Aurangabad and secured fourth position. In 2010 he won silver medal in 50th Mr. India competition. That was the last time he participated in Mr. India. In 2012 he won bronze in Mr. World competition held at Bangkok. He also won Mr. South Asia title same year at Mr. South Asia competition at Ludhiana.

In 2008 an NGO had provided financial assistance to him to participate in Mr. India competition. Apart from that he has got no assistance from any organisation or from the government. Bodybuilding is an expensive sport and his mother and sister have been helping him even by selling their ornaments. However, he has not participated in any competition after 2012 because of side effects of the Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) to control HIV. Moreover, he is currently undergoing the second line of treatment under ART and during this time he has to be more cautious. So by doctor’s advice he has refrained from participating in competitions. Still he is continuing regular exercise. Presently he is a Physical Training Instuctor under the Manipur Sports Department.

Much has been written about Pradip Kumar and several documentaries and TV programmes have been made on him. Prominent among these are documentaries Mr. Manipur by Aribam Shyam Sharma, the father of Manipuri cinema and Mr. India by national award winning film maker Pawan Kumar.

 

Yet the stigma continues

Despite all the recognition Pradip Kumar is still subjected to discrimination and stigma. “Most of the people do not like to use the bar that I touch. They even hesitate to touch my water bottle. Most of the gyms do not want me to go there. Therefore I prefer Eagle Gym in my locality. It does not have all the facilities but that is where I started bodybuilding and I feel at home there.” He says.

Another aspect that often pains Pradip Kumar is that he sometimes feel that his achievements as an international bodybuilder is often eclipsed by the fact that he is an HIV positive.

Apart from discrimination and stigma Pradip Kumar has been subjected to apathy as well. In 2008 Manipur State AIDS Control Society appointed him brand ambassador for a remuneration of 6000 rupees. But they were never prompt in releasing that amount and according to him he had to request them every month for his remuneration.

Pradip Kumar is a source of inspiration not just for Manipur or the country but for the entire world. He is an example of indomitable human spirit. His philosophy of life is clear-

“Life is a journey and we have to keep going. Death is inevitable but we cannot stop. We are not immortal but we should do some good wok so that we can become an ideal for others.”

 

(With Imomacha Heisnam)

 

‘Equality In Indian Democracy’ through the eyes of a 12 year old

A lot is being said and written on the occasion of Independence Day. But what do the future of our nation, the children feel about our democracy. What do they feel about Equality in Indian Democracy? Are they excited about this? This write-up by Hiya Choudhury, a seventh standard student of DPS Guwahati tells a poignant story. It was written by her as part of civics summer vacation homework based on ‘Equality in Indian Democracy’.

 

An incident in my life in which my dignity was violated and how I felt about it

I am 12 years old and I love to play badminton. I have not only participated in Intra & Inter school badminton competitions but have also taken part in some state level tournaments. My parents have registered me with the Board of Sports of Assam under the Ministry of Sports and Youth* Welfare Govt of Assam to train and practice the game at Kanaklata Indoor stadium Guwahati.

But sadly, I and my fellow players are being deprived and not allowed to utilize all the five courts available at Kanaklata Indoor Stadium. Board of Sports Assam have gifted three of the five courts to be used by players who are not registered with Board of Sports Assam but can afford to pay more fees to an NGO (nongovernment organisation).

Denying “Right to Equal Opportunities”, “Right to Equality”, Right against Discrimination” and “Right to be protected from Social Injustice” as enshrined in the Constitution of India at a government / public social service facility, is where my dignity is being violated by the Government of Assam.

I feel I do not belong to this state. I feel like a second class citizen of this state. I feel frustrated.

I want justice under the provisions of the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and Child Rights under UN Convention.

I want to play in a fair and just environment.

I hope the Chairperson of the Board of Sports of Assam that is the Chief Minister of Assam Sri Tarun Gogoi is listening.

 

*Youth is defined as aged between 15  and 29 years in The National Youth Policy 2014 by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) Govt of India and as  aged between 15 to 24 years by United Nations Organisation. Hence providing sports facilities to persons above that age at infrastructure facilities under Sports and Youth Welfare Department Govt of Assam such as Kanaklata Indoor Stadium is grossly inappropriate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Death of a Terrorist | Yakub Memon |

[Note from Fried Eye: Views expressed are the writer’s own. The blog should NOT be taken as an official stand by Fried Eye Media. A freelance journalist based in Guwahati, the writer uses his right to express as a citizen to talk about his angst at the way the Yakub Memon execution has courted controversy.]

On July 30, something interesting happened. A man was hanged for his undeniable involvement in a terrorist attack that left 257 people dead in 1993. Strangely, a high voltage drama had built up to the point where he was hanged and it continued even after that. What was surprising was that the reactions which were flooding the social media over the event during the course of the day left me all confused. Was this man a terrorist? Or was he a hero? Either I was going nuts, or all the people with those statuses and tweets were from a stressful and sleepless night.

Yakub Memon, was hanged at about 7 am in Nagpur for his involvement in the 1993 serial blasts in Bombay that left 257 people dead. As soon as the plans for his execution was proudly announced by the Maharashtra government sometime back, all hell broke loose in the media and among certain sections of citizens who began to see him as the ultimate victim of a system which had been unfair to him. A group of activist and ‘prominent’ citizens signed a petition asking for the commutation of his death sentence. MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi even stated that Memon was being targeted because he was a Muslim. What was surprising was that a few leaders of the Congress leaders also echoed similar views. The leftists also cried their lungs out for Memon, but that was expected of them anyway. When the repeated petitions over Memon’s death sentence were reviewed and rejected by the judiciary several times, the activists resorted to something which none of us had ever dreamt of. The Supreme Court was made to open up for a case at 3 am in the morning under the supervision of the CJI. So many people have suffered injustice in this country during the course of their lifetime, but never was it felt necessary to open up the Supreme Court in the middle of the night for any of them, no matter how grave their issues might be. But this privilege was finally enjoyed by a terrorist, who many like me feel did not deserve any of this in the first place.

This activism circus, for me, brought forth the truth of this group of activists and ‘prominent’ citizens who made a spectacle of a terrorist’s hanging by converting him into a hero. This group was comprised of people who are of largely leftist leanings and whose secular credentials I dub as ‘pseudo seculars’ and not even ultra seculars as in the case in some other countries. For this group of people, everything hateful and demonic in the country can be associated with the majority community. And this is not the case in India only. The leftists in USA demonise the majority evangelists there, while the leftists in Pakistan glorify Hinduism for its inclusive nature and blame the majority Muslim mindset. This is the tragedy of leftists everywhere. They are their own worst enemy.

At first, Memon’s involvement was made to look like a lapse on part of the system and judiciary. But the truth was that there were overwhelming evidences that proved Memon was as guilty as his co-conspirators in the case. This man was responsible for the death of 257 people and was a confirmed terrorist. No amount of petition or pleas could not make the judiciary budge from their position to send this man to the gallows.

Now when that did not work out, Memon’s champions now took a different course to save his skin. They now began to harp on the point that capital punishment was inhuman and it must be abolished. I was aghast at this duplicity! These were the same people who demanded for the hanging of the Nirbhaya rapists when the issue was a burning topic. At that time, they were shouting their lungs out as to why the rapists had not been hanged yet, and why was the judicial procedure taking so long? I want to ask them one thing. Why did they not feel any such sympathy for the rapists then? Why this selective sympathy for the human rights of a terrorist who is a proven mass murderer? Did not the people who died in the blasts have their own human rights which were violated by Memon and his co-conspirators?

Death penalty happens in the rarest of rare cases. And Yakub Memon’s case merited this punishment. Not giving him the death penalty would have sent out the message to other terrorists that they can do whatever dastardly acts they want to, and they would not be given any death penalty. Why? Because there are a bunch of prominent morons among the media and activists who are ready to save your skin at any cost if you are a terrorist belonging to a particular community which has serious vote bank value. Death, for me, is the ultimate deterrent to stop anybody from committing heinous crimes like terrorism or rape. And this is exactly why we want death for the Nirbhaya rapists. Not handing out the death penalty to Memon would have been the ultimate insult to the bomb blast victims and their kin.

But does this signal a closure for the cases of the 1993 serial bomb blasts? Of course not. That is not going to happen until Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and the others are brought to justice. Let’s see if that ever happens.

yakub-memon copy

Of course I will criticise the slow judicial process of this country. Memon should have been hanged years ago. There are so many grave cases pending in the courts of this country that seem to drag on forever. This disturbs me greatly, but the truth is that there can be no pronouncing of judgement till the person has been either convicted or acquitted after the due procedure. I also want to talk of the riots that preceded the blasts that had a great role to play in the unfolding of the serial blasts of 1993. The communal riots that followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 left scores of people dead. The riots that took place in Bombay in January 1993, were the main factor behind criminals like Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon enlisting the help of Yakub and others in carrying out the deadly blasts. Most cases of those riots remain pending even today. I say this is a major shame on our judicial process as well. But here I have to ask these ‘five star’ activists as to where the hell was their conscience and concerns for these people who have been struggling with their cases for all these years? I would have been really happy if these people would have opened up the Supreme Court in the middle of the night for these wronged people instead of a proven terrorist.

A total of over 900 people died in Bombay in the post-Ayodhya riots, which included people from all faiths. I would urge all these activists and ‘prominent’ citizens to take up the causes for these people and speed up the procedures of their cases. Only three convictions have taken place in the Bombay riots cases. Why don’t these activists see to it the rest of the other culprits are brought to book too?

On the social media, many were mourning the death of Memon, and there were many others who were celebrating it. For me, this incident is something which can neither be celebrated nor mourned. We should silently take it as an act of justice, which though long delayed, has been finally served. I was jubilant when Ajmal Kasab was hanged. But that was because he was a foreigner who had attacked our country. Yakub Memon, even if a terrorist, was still one of us. It is a defeat for every Indian when a group of Indians indulge in terror activities against their own fellow countrymen. Yakub’s hanging is a sad reminder for me as to where exactly we, as a nation, have failed in the course of history. The Babri incident is something that I, as a member of the country’s majority community, feel thoroughly embarrassed about. It was an issue that remains unsolved, that was raked up with uncredible sources, and resulted in the biggest communal carnage post independence that my generation was unfortunate enough to witness. I feel it is my duty as a member of the majority to highlight the fact that the perpetrators of those riots, must be brought to book before it is too late. The convictions have been too little, and in most cases, the judicial system has disappointed us all. I believe we, as the majority community must reach out to all the minorities in this regard and atleast try to give out some sort of an apology to the victims. I have always regretted what happened at Ayodhya in 1992 and at Gujarat in 2002. I have never celebrated these incidents for any reasons whatsoever. I want that all the culprits behind these riots must be brought to book and punished as per the law. But I want them all to be convicted in a court of law with proper evidences and procedures, and not in some farcical trial that is done by the media or activists in their frenzy for publicity. If tomorrow, people like Maya Kodnani or Babu Bajrangi are handed the death sentence by a court of law for their involvement in rioting, do you think I would cry foul and call them as victims? Certainly not! I have faith in the country’s judicial system and the sentences it gives out to offenders.

In this regard, I’m reminded of a statement by Prashant Bhushan, who acted as one of Memon’s counsels. Here he said that the hanging reflects a defeat for the judiciary and that it was carried out in a haste. Let me remind him and Memon’s other counsels that had it been the case so, then the Supreme Court would not have functioned at the odd hour of 3 am to have a last hearing for the human rights of a convicted terrorist.  Every consideration has been taken by the judiciary in this case when repeated petitions and pleas were heard by them. And I stand by the judiciary when they find no reason to go soft on a mass murderer like Memon. And I dare anyone to call it a vendetta against a particular community! I hope people like Owaisi keep this in mind.

I was not really surprised to see the huge turnout at Memon’s funeral. While I know that there is something grossly wrong when the collective mentality of a group of people begin to regard a terrorist as a hero, it was however fairly expected of the crowds residing in Mumbai’s areas like Mahim and Bhindi Bazar. It was due to this that police and law enforcers were already present at the procession to prevent any untoward incident from happening. From what I have heard from several accounts, people like Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon are idolised and romanticised by the people of their respective localities. The large turnout at Yakub Memon’s funeral was also largely from the fact that the Memons are one of the prominent families in Mahim. So this came as no surprise to me.

While I admit that the prevalence of such a mentality worries me, I wonder what can the state do to offer solace to such a people who have come to the point of idolising a terrorist. These are people who have been offended or wronged at some point in history. The answer is very simple here. If we can talk of closure for the victims of the bomb blasts, then we must also talk of closure for the victims of the post-Babri riots. Atleast one area where these five star activists and lawyers can use their clouts for justice is to speed up the procedures for the pending cases in the riots of Babri and Gujarat. Perhaps that is how we as a nation can make amends for these people. Or else we will have to constantly face the harsh reality where people from the Muslim community would continue to feel alienated from the rest.

Something has to be done fast here or else the situation would continue to be exploited by political rabid dogs from outfits such as MIM and Shiv Sena. And I also have a few words to those morons from the Congress party who tried to gain mileage out of this issue while stating that Memon was not given a fair trial. Let me remind people like Digvijay Singh and Shashi Tharoor that Memon was sent to the gallows after all his legal options were exhausted. But looks like these people have forgotten what their UPA government did to Afzal Guru (another convicted terrorist). His family was not even informed of his execution and his body was held back and buried in the jail. So the jokers from the Congress party are in no position to talk anything in this matter.

When you think about it, you realise it’s all connected in one way or the other. Yakub Memon, though he ended up being a terrorist, was a Chartered Accountant, and could have had a bright career in his life. It is really sad to see the course his life took and that things ultimately had to end this way. Had the Babri demolition not have happened, he could have made a great career out of his qualifications. People like Dawood and Tiger were only criminals back then. But the post Babri riots turned them all into mass murdering terrorists. This is why I stress on the fact that culprits of those riots must be brought to book as well. And when I talk of closure, I mean closure for all. If the culprits of the 2002 Gujarat riots have to be punished, then so do the people who set fire to the train at Godhra, which led to the communal carnage. And no way am I going to ever give in to thoughts of the death penalty being scrapped. We can’t afford to have any more emboldened terrorists, rapists or mass murderers doing the rounds.

In conclusion, I just want to state that you, the reader, have every right to disagree with my points. I did not write this article to prove my points to anyone or even hope that people end up agreeing with me. I wrote it so that in the midst of all the pro-Yakub Memon propaganda that some people were spreading in the media and social networks, the alternate viewpoint also needed to be brought out. I would always raise my voice, even if it remains the lone voice in a crowd that speaks a different language. We can disagree on any given point, but we can’t silence each other. Afterall, we all live in a democracy, right?

Aamgasms in the Delhi Heat: Goan Fish Curry With Raw Mangoes

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    By Padmapani Patowary

     

    This is the best of times. Why? Mangoes! It’s almost mango season. It already is actually- but the varieties out in the market are selling at the price of elephants, as the Assamese saying goes. Whether one can afford mangoes now or not, the fruit allows wonderful opportunities for harmless voyeurism. When I was studying for the Civil Services exams with Anmol, we would stand by the street corners of Chittaranjan Park, or at Market No. 3 and gawk at girls eating mangoes. It was a highly sensual act- the girls would bite off a portion of the skin, squeeze the pulp out of the hole and suck on the fruit, juice running down their chins and arms. Since Anmol is visually challenged, I would describe the scene to him and we would giggle like teenagers. He would also ask me to describe the girls’ faces and I would do my best.

    ‘Big eyes’, I would say, ‘short, small nose, protruding chin’

    ‘Like a mango?’

    ‘Yes, exactly like a mango’.

    Anyway, it is wonderful here in Delhi- the weather is mostly pleasant: because of the rains in Kashmir and because Delhi lives on borrowed weather, spring has stretched for a week more- time for a lazy walk in the Lodhi Gardens or Lutyens’ Delhi, a cozy evening on one of the roof-top restaurants at Paharganj (don’t go there for a meal though! I had the most horrible steak ever at Sam’s Café, a popular watering hole at Paharganj- a chunk of grilled (almost charred) unidentifiable meat in a gravy of mashed potatoes accompanied by potato fritters and boiled vegetables… horrible, horrible), a bicycle ride in JNU or a ramble through the Kamla Nehru Ridge where bougainvilleas and violets are in bloom and monkeys are in heat; the end-semester exams are near meaning there are fewer people at the gym (more time for my own work-out): in short, it is one of the best times to visit Delhi before the loo (dry hot summer wind) rides in and you feel as if a fire breather is blowing down your neck. This is also the worst of times: erratic showers of rain destroying crops, high pollution levels, and people murdering people in broad daylight in front of their children. But this is Delhi. And of course there are mangoes!

    As Ghalib, the resident poet of Delhi once famously blasphemed,

    Ask me! For what do you know?

    A mango is far sweeter than sugarcane

    Perhaps from the great heights above

    The gardeners of heaven’s orchards have sent

    By the order of God

    Wine filled in sealed glasses

    Delhi is where mangoes come to enjoy their youth. As the city is the nerve centre of North India, Delhiwallahs are spoilt for choice. Come February and chikoos, watermelons, kiwi fruit, musk melon and all the varieties of mango, oh glorious mango- Langda, Chausa, Malda, Alphonso Himsagar, Ratnagiri… I could go on and on… dance on carts and through your door, enter right into your hearts. In this wave of sweet pieces of heaven, one thing gets forgotten- the cute little raw mango. The potential of this condiment is immense. Dried and powdered, it can be stored and used for soups, curries and chutneys. Raw, it can be mashed into chutney, or eaten with crushed coriander leaves, chillies and rock salt. Finally, it can be cooked with fish. This is where the humble little fruit rocks! It adds just the right amount of tang to the curry and if properly stewed, it can also be eaten with rice. The following is a recipe I picked up in Goa. Goans claim that it is a traditional Konkani dish, so variations of the same dish can be found along the Konkan coast. Well, here is the recipe:

    The requirements:

    Sea fish- 500 gm. (All strong smelling sea fish will do. I personally use mackerel and sardines.)

    For the masala:

    Freshly grated coconut- 1 ½ cup

    Kashmiri chilli powder- 3 tsp

    Peppercorns- 6-7

    Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

    Coriander seeds- 1 tsp

    Methi- 1 pinch

    Ginger- 1 inch (cut into juliennes)

    Garlic- 4-5 cloves (cut into juliennes)

    Tamarind- to taste (Use a marble shaped ball of tamarind if you want it to be just a little tangy or a lemon shaped ball for more zest.)

    For the Curry:

    Raw Mango- Half, cut into wedges

    Coconut oil- 2 tsp

    Turmeric- ½ tsp

    Onion- Half a small one chopped lengthwise

    Tomato- A small one chopped finely

    Salt- to taste

    Curry leaves- 8-10  (Optional)

    Coconut milk- 1 tbsp

    Water- 2 cups

    Procedure:

    AamGasm-3Step 1: Wash the fish thoroughly and make long cuts on the sides. Salt them and keep aside.

    Step 2: Roast cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, methi, garlic and ginger on a pan for a minute. Add grated coconut and roast for two more minutes.

    Step 3: Put the roasted ingredients and the rest of the curry ingredients in a grinder and blend to a fine paste with some water. The paste should be super fine as coconut chunks swimming in gravy don’t look appetizing at all.

    Step 4: Heat oil in a deep pan and fry onion, curry leaves and tomato with salt. When the mixture turns into a paste, add turmeric, fry for thirty seconds and then add the masala.

    Step 5: Cook the masala on a low flame until it is properly done. Keep stirring the mixture every minute. The masala when well-cooked should turn golden brown and the oil should separate from the mixture. Add water to get the required consistency and cook for a few minute over a slow flame. If you want the gravy to be thick, add coconut milk. Add the powder to a cup of warm water and stir properly. Then add it to the curry. It is important to know that the curry should be cooked over a low flame.

    Step 6: When the curry bubbles, add fish pieces and mango wedges, cover the pan and let it stew for four to five minutes. Reduce the flame to a minimum. It is important to not let the gravy stick to the bottom of the pan, or worse, to have the fish half cooked. Slow cooking will release the flavor from both the fish and the mango wedges. The slightly sweet taste of coconut will enter the fish and make it nice and tender. Do not stir the curry at this stage. We don’t want the fish to crumble or let the mango wedges lose their shape.

    That’s it. The Goan fish curry is done! This might be quite different from the traditional Goan fish curry but extremely yummy. Garnish it with warm ghee and serve with warm rice and Malabar papad. Eat with steady hands and be prepared for a Aamgasm!

    AamGasm-2

    The reinterpretation of dreams!

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      By Sayantan Ghosh

       

      Last December when I was called inside my manager’s chamber and told that I have exactly two weeks to empty my office desk, it had taken me by surprise. It wasn’t particularly shocking because our generation is well-seasoned with many such drastic horror stories of unemployment within the first few months of their careers. When we realized that the entire department was getting dissolved due to a ‘structural shift’, some of us got together, ate, drank and found comfort in each other’s resemblance of fate.

      Three months later. Most of us had found jobs elsewhere and had adjusted to the changes that followed. But during those days of crisis, the one phrase that we all periodically got to hear was ‘Chase your dreams!’ Whether it was from friends, family members, or people we had worked with who still had their jobs and posted selfies from the office lunchroom tagging some of us.

      grand_canyon_sightseeing-674x1024
      Following one’s dreams…

       

      I won’t deny that there was some kind of mystical thrill in those three words. The first thing that came to my mind was that now I could tweet about the managing director’s desperate attempts to look like Indira Gandhi’s body double and get away with it. But as the weeks passed and the consolatory messages stopped coming, my ideas about having a dream and then chasing it began to change.

      I had always wanted to write and so I did. First I was happy writing plays for the annual school function, then penning rebellious communist articles during college and the occasional short stories to impress girls. People who know me a little are aware of this even if they don’t know which city I come from or the name of the girl I am seeing. So this unexpected torrent of suggestions about maybe this was a sign to give my dream a chance, caught me plumb in front of the wickets.

      Like most Indian children who are fortunate to receive a formal education, I too have grown up hearing success stories about ambitious people. Those who made it big despite starting from a room with a tin roof on it or sleeping on the park benches of Bombay city. According to a running joke in my family when my father was still in college, my grandfather used to give him examples of Alexander the Great, comparing them like they were first cousins and harping on my father’s failure in matching up to the emperor’s achievements at a similar age. In reply my father always compared him with Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, and congratulated him for keeping up to his reputation.

      Among people I know, there are both the kinds who have regular jobs and families as well as those who despite topping their classes and landing up cushy placements have quit and are now pursuing music and even yoga. I am sure they all have their moments of contentment and rejections. Therefore this standardized notion of harboring and hunting a dream being a definite method of being happy is somewhere flawed.

      It is also a representation of our country’s position in the global economy which manipulates us to make phrases as these a part of our pop culture referendum. A few years ago when I met one of my neighborhood boys who had moved to the United States after his plus two, he narrated me stories about how he went to college in the morning, worked at a canteen in the afternoon and at night dreamt of building a computer which can cook food for us after automatically assessing our bowel movements for the day. I thought he was crazy but the fact that he didn’t make a mountain of it proved that he really thought it was possible.

      Our academic structure has historically been such that we have seldom been able to determine or choose what we want to learn. As a relatively tolerant nation we have allowed administrative and political organizations to define the education that is important for us. While a certain structure is essential, it also has often removed the young people of our country from organic learning. As a remainder of this unsolved mathematical problem is the social conviction that dreams are meant to be chased while careers keep you floating.

      Doesn’t chasing something also mean triggering it away from us? As a child we are always taught to not run in front of dogs to avoid being chased by them. Why do our dreams need to be cautioned of our existence then? Instead of chasing them, why can’t they become long term companions one can have alongside.

      When being told that I do not want to join our family-owned business, my father had quizzed me about my life choices ahead. As frankly as I could, I had told him that I was mostly unaware. I remember him staying temperately calm till I informed him that I wanted to write. He couldn’t understand for a minute why a hobby was so important to me that I didn’t want to take his company forward.

      He hails from a past where only after overwhelming struggles he has managed to earn a fairly affluent lifestyle for us. Pursuing literature, despite not having a degree in it, is an alien concept for him and many others of his cohort. In a recent online interview of a famed international author who is booting a writer’s programme for aspiring authors, he said that the candidates will be paid while learning and working for the programme; to send a message to writers around the world that writing cannot come for free.

      While it makes for great news, it’s also alarming how not just writing, but almost every other non-corporatized medium of art has been deemed as a “passion” and not a paid profession in several countries like ours.

      There are thousands of articles online which tell us how reading is going out of fashion and how books don’t sell anymore. Consider this. If all the writers in the world decide to go on a strike for a day, what results will Google throw up when someone types in that date? It’ll be nothing more than an empty slate. Without comic book artists where will the summer superhero blockbusters go?

      Exclusivity of ambition is something we all want to attain. But the idea of a dream can be as simple as visiting the village in Bangladesh where your grandparents were born. When we are young dreams enthrall us even during our waking hours. I remember I could see the seven-legged monster even inside the school library. As we grow older we lose relevance of dreams in our lives. We still wake up sweating, get chased by masked murderers and often hang out with Benedict Cumberbatch. But our phony sense of maturity forces all such thoughts out of our system so we can feel like grown-ups. In trying to keep with time, we forget to keep with the wonders of the mind.

      It was summer I think, many years ago. Raining possibly. My mother and I were sitting at the window when she asked me what I wanted to become when I grew up. Like every mother asks. I looked up at the sky and told her I wanted to become an astronaut.

      Half the boys in our class wanted to become an astronaut I remember. It was the coolest word we knew—astronaut! The boy who sat next to me in class even told his father so. In turn, his father blamed his mother for allowing him to watch too much television. I had expected a similar reaction from my mother too. That’s what parents are supposed to do, I thought. Tell us what’s possible for us and what’s impossible.

      But the next morning she gifted me a small action figure of a space traveler. It was a neatly designed figurine, and was strangely yellow in color. “This is you,” she had said. I was so thrilled with my new present that I immediately ran out of the house to show it to my friends who lived in the colony. Later when I returned, she was folding my clothes and keeping them inside the cupboard.

      When I asked her again if she really thought it was me, she nodded. Then she said, “But this is all I can do for you. The rest of the journey is yours. I will keep reminding you that it is you. Whether you become an astronaut who travels to the moon, to faraway planets, to other galaxies or remain in this house and yet imagine more wonderful worlds than even those galaxies, is for you to decide.”

      I definitely didn’t become an astronaut. In fact my palms still start sweating every time I fly even on a passenger airplane. But it is because of that one summer afternoon at my ancestral home in Calcutta, that I never feared trying new things in my life again. Or at least speaking my mind. Nothing seemed easier of course, but nothing seemed improbable either. Sometimes, it seems, the unfulfilment of one dream keeps the others alive.

      At the Stroke of Midnight

      By Joi Barua

      At the stroke of midnight, the notes from David Neveu’s piano sliced me like a silent bullet. In the silence, which I was beginning to enjoy, like the quiet company of a trusted friend, music killed me again.

      I didn’t want the music tonight. No. I wanted some silence, some thinking, some recollecting, some contemplating, a drink, and yes…the quiet, which a city doles out to us, like blessings from an uppity stingy god. DAMN HIM. I was thinking of thinking. And made a quiet note, that I would not be swayed by the twelve intervals. No matter, which instrument, no matter which artist, no matter which song.

      I was thinking of a few things I’d read the day before. Dante’s Divine Comedy, Rome, home, and lot of things that came in between. I was looking at the walls and ceilings of the Vatican, the saints, the sinners who dwell within and without god’s pristine chambers there and here. I was thinking if serial killers could have common ground with the people who treated them, if one wanted out and the other wanted a peaceful redemption. Wasn’t that enough for two people to hold hands and walk a common ground. Why not? Their choices, like most are prone to say these days. What if one was a player?Acoustic-Guitar

      I was thinking of how fast as a people we were evolving, or possibly mutating? My biology is weak. So, one’s the same as the other. Thinking of technology, we didn’t have one-tenth the content of what we have on the Internet now. And that has bloomed exponentially. And we are taking it all. Are we getting crazy? Who cares? Are we getting intelligent? You tell me. Who is writing what for whom? Who’s reading? Who cares? There’s too much. Information and knowledge overkill. The wit of an Oscar Wilde has been forever lost in the last decade, to just 140 characters on an app we think is godsend. Fastest finger first. You are king for a minute. Somebody from halfway around the world acknowledges your 140 character published line. You have a high and before you know, you are more ancient then yesterday’s news. But you live, to fight another minute. Your warriors? Your samurai fingers.

      I was thinking of the 150 children killed in Kenya. What must have transpired? Can’t even fathom the seeds of darkness from whence they sprung. What were their parents doing now? Was some country working up their air force to smoke the killers out of their holes? Did Kenya have oil to offer, so that peace could be outsourced to the 1st world? Well we haven’t heard of anything. So probably the oil isn’t there and nobody cares. And every country has enough problems of their own to worry about world peace in general. Will we need another Hitler to unite us? Will it take us to the devil, to call out for god? And then, who’s God? I will kill you for mine.

      I loved math in high school. For the last few years I have been thinking of getting back into calculus, as a hobby. It was my favorite. It gave us methods to estimate and calculate the incalculable. Have infinity as one of the variants. 1/infinity could become the logical part of a mathematical equation. It fascinated me to no end. Wasn’t this the language of the gods? This was the secret code to the workings of the universe. And lastly Stephen Hawking was still trying to put it across in one line. And tell us how. You could roll that dice.

      But…but then some Austrian violins made their way into the soundscape of my ear. The reality of my math and the universal code was destroyed. Music made its way back into the soul like a demonic psychotic lover. And it didn’t have to do much. I was slain. The world has its natural born killers. I have mine and she finds me, every night.

      Thank God for the ban

      By Bhavna Devchoudhury

      Thank God for the Streisand effect, I watched the documentary ‘India’s Daughter’. Watched it and made it a point to download it so that I can help others to see what I saw in the documentary.

      Yes, it was a horrific and disgusting sight to see our stinking society stripped naked in front of my eyes, frame by frame. Yet it was unsettling to see Mukesh Singh, the ‘educated’ lawyer and Jyoti Singh’s parents co-exist in the same society. I don’t know whose society this is. Apparently society is made of people; people like you and me, and refuse to believe that after all these years and years of cultured civilization, this is what we came up with. THIS?

      I don’t care if the documentary was made to garner TRP, or to shame India on an international platform or any such alleged reasons, but I am so glad that this documentary was made. Mukesh Singh may not be a hero or a celebrity who deserves to be heard but he did tell us certain things which need immediate attention:

      a)      Mukesh Singh told us that rape is not about sex. It is about anger and frustrations. It is about power play in patriarchal conditioning that gives men the apparent right to show women their place.

      b)      Mukesh Singh told us that he shares his view points with many uncles and aunties that we grow up listening to. These uncles and aunties are not bad human-beings mind you and they have been equally shattered by the 16/12 incident but they don’t know that they share something very common with the rapists. They must know that. Now. Before it’s too late, because this is where the ‘rape’ mentality breeds. Not biology, not dress code, not surroundings.

      c)      Mukesh Singh made us realise hard that education doesn’t mean just holding a fancy degree. You can be a lawyer or a school dropout, but If you think rape is justified in any form, you are not educated. This society is in dire need of ‘educated’ beings not degree holders. I repeat,  educated beings.

      d)     Mukesh Singh pointed out the stark difference between him and Jyoti Singh’s family, despite having almost similar financial background. He showed us that all we need is change in mentality and education in its true sense to prevent rape.

      e)      Mukesh Singh showed us the dangerous edge of society we are hanging on to where his circle of people considers lip to lip mouth ‘inappropriate’ but raping an immoral girl justified. Please note that these are the people that make up the society and these are the people that also consume ‘Item girl’ entertainment. These are also the people that make up more than 70% of our population.

      “India’s Daughter” urges us to look at ourselves in a new light and build a society based on a civilization that takes pride in Sita and Draupadi. It pleads us to stop faking how women are worshipped in our country. It nibbles our brain to talk, criticize and analyse why rape happens and condemn the mindset of many Mukesh Singhs in India. We are doing much to empower women but we need to empower men too to bring in the equality that we dream of. Because the empowerment that we think men are privileged with is pointless as long as such mindset exist in the society. Rape is not a gendered issue. It is a social issue. We can’t blame the men for rape nor can we blame the women. We need to blame all of us who are contributing towards building a messed up society, brick by brick, consciously or subconsciously.

      But instead of doing all that, we took the easier route. We chose to ban the documentary and shut everyone up.

      P.S: I am more than glad that the documentary is banned. Now more and more people are making a beeline to youtube to watch it. As i said, thank God for Streisand effect.

      The Hidden Place

      By Pranav Bora

       

      Let me confess two things honestly at the first place. First, I was not supposed to be here & secondly, I cursed myself for wearing the hideous cap. I sat quietly on one of the unreserved table. It is after a long time that I had been to a pub. The restaurant was dimly lit. The blue neon lights and the live band playing slow country music at the other end made the atmosphere livelier. The place was once an Iranian bakery serving delicious muffins, pastries and above all, the famous shrews berry biscuit. After the death of the old owner, his son converted it into a swanky pub and restaurant. The pub is at the basement.

      Young couples held hands and some are swaying to the lively music. The crowd is gradually starting to swell, today being a Saturday evening. At the next table are seated two young guys, must be in their early twenties. One of them is toying with the cell phone while the other is trying to eye one of the girls seated across the table. I thought I saw one of the girls smile at him. I turned my head away moments before the young guy’s eyes caught mine and caught me staring. A familiar tune distracted me. The band was playing Lobo’s once famous hit track “I did love you to want me”. The Disguise 1crowd went hysterical. Some things never change, I thought.

      Suddenly, my mind raced back many years back, years ago, when I was a student, maybe in fifth or sixth standard. The day is still so vivid, as if it happened yesterday. There was this band of seniors whom we used to idolize at school. The day was teacher’s day celebrations. We were eagerly waiting for the last performance. The band took on to the make shift stage of the church and starting singing, “I did love you to want me” much to the disdain of the teachers sitting in the front row. The crowd of student went berserk. I let out a smile at the thought.

      “Sir, would you like to order something?” The waiter asked me inquisitively for the second time. I said politely with my best impressive smile, “Not now, I am waiting for a friend, thank you”. The waiter smiled at me and walked away. I am sure he must have cursed me under his breath. Where the hell is he, I thought. It still amused why of all the places, I asked him to come to the restaurant named “The Hidden Place”.

      I cursed myself for calling at the number displayed in the advertisement.  It has only been a few days that I had come to the city. “Don’t worry, it is just a matter of few months and I will be there soon”, I remember my wife say at the airport. I lazily went through the menu and looked at the price list against the items. I cued the waiter and ordered for a Murphy’s stout beer. I watched as the waiter poured the contents into a tulip glass. I took a sip of the bitter beer and the aroma of the malted barley hit my nose. I looked around. By now, the girls from the other table had joined the guys and were laughing playfully.

      “Mr. Kumar”, called someone from behind. I turned around and saw a tall guy standing next to me. He was wearing a green floral shirt and a white trouser. “Yes”, I said a bit surprised. “I am Vinod, we spoke in the morning today”, said the guy. “Oh, yes, please sit down”, I said pulling the chair next to me. I called the waiter triumphantly and ordered for another beer. Vinod looked around the place and I could decipher from his look that he had never been to this place before. He spread his arms around the leather chair and felt the leather with his finger tips. He ogled at the girls, looked wide eyed at the bartender as he used one of his many tricks as he mixed a martini for the guy in the blue suit at the counter.

      “Do you have the number? I need it urgently. I am all alone at this place, I hope you can understand”, I blurted at one breath. He smiled, “Don’t worry, my services are the best, there will never be any room for any complaint. So, what is your preference?” I just shook my head and said, “I got no preference, just that my requirements should be met”. “Okay, how much can you afford?” he asked as he took a sip of the chilled beer. “Well, not quite high, maybe in the range of Rs.1000 – Rs 1500”, I said. “Sir, are you mad? You got to raise the bar more”. I wiped my lips and said, “Okay, I cannot give more than Rs.2000.” He thought for a moment and said, “You seem to be a nice gentleman, I will give you one at Rs.2500”. I thought hard and reluctantly said, “Okay but I hope I have your guarantee that there will be no room for complaints”. “Sir, believe me” he said reassuringly.  He called the waiter and asked for a pen and paper. He wrote a number neatly on the paper, folded it and handed the piece of paper to me. I finished the beer at one gulp and walked out of the restaurant.

      Once inside the car, I pulled the cap away and smiled at my reflection in the mirror. I could not believe my luck. Finally, the long wait is going to be over. I am a married man. So what if my wife is not with me right now, I thought. I couldn’t stop thinking about the luxury that awaited me the next day. After coming here, tomorrow is going to be the first ever Sunday that I am going to relax and enjoy. I stopped the car a few meters away from the beer shop. I brought a few cans of beer. A whiff of air brought the magical smell of the kababs from the nearby Marrakesh Restaurant. It is okay, I said to myself reassuringly as I ordered for some Makrana kababs.

      My mind was lost in ecstasy at the thought of the events of the next day. The few more hours seemed to be eternal. It was as if I couldn’t wait for the night to end. I closed my eyes and envisioned her at my door step. I will let her do the work while I will just lie down and relax. Oh, just the thought of it brought goose bumps. Wow, sheer bliss awaits me tomorrow, I thought as I opened the door to my flat. A wicked smile beamed on my face.

      As I set in the balcony sipping the chilled beer, I recalled the incident that took place a few weeks back.  I felt the need of it within a week since I came here. I thought I could manage but I was wrong. Being new in the town was the disadvantage. I hardly knew any place where I can get it. I could not discuss it with my colleagues. It had only been a week or two since I joined the new office and moreover, I haven’t been much friendly with anyone either. I used to look furtively at the agency every time I used to cross it on my way to office. The agency was rather small and I was skeptical whether it will be able to meet my requirements or not. Finally, one fine day, I went to inquire. I was dressed rather shabbily that day, the day being a Sunday. I was dressed in shorts, a t-shirt which had seen better days and a pair of chappals.

      “Yes, what can I do for you?” asked a guy sitting on a huge brown worn out leather chair. Must have been brought from the Wednesday flea market, I thought. A mahogany table was in front of him. About four to five mobile phones were spread haphazardly on the table. I cleared my throat and said my requirement. “Okay”, he said without even caring to look at me. At that moment, one of the many phones rang. “Oh sir, why do you have to bother to come to my office? I will be there in the evening.  Ok, sir, ok. Today evening for sure” He disconnected the phone and said to the guy sitting next to him, “The deputy engineer called” and they started talking amongst themselves.

      I shifted my weight on the chair and cleared my throat. The guy turned and asked, “Ok, so where were we?” “We were talking about the services”, I said a bit agitatedly. My anger was evident on my voice. “What is your budget”, he asked rather curtly. I said, “Between Rs1000 – Rs1500”. He looked at me with a confused look and started to laugh thumping the mahogany table wildly. I felt rather embarrassed. I got up and said, “That is my budget, if you can provide me one in this budget, let’s talk else I am leaving.” They were unmoved by my words. I said exasperatedly “Okay, what is the minimum rate?” I asked swallowing my pride. He spread his arms and locked them over the back of his head. “The least is Rs.6000. If you are willing to pay that much, I can provide you one which fits your requirement”, he said. “What, Rs.6000? Is it not a bit high?” I almost screamed.

      At that moment, a red SUV stopped in front of the office. He leapt from his chair and almost ran out. “Please come in” he said as he let in a burly man wearing big gold rings on every finger of his hands. He looked menacingly at me and looked quizzically at Vinod. There was only one chair inside the office. “Sir, if you don’t mind, can you come tomorrow”, he said to me smiling. I reluctantly got up from the chair. He immediately grabbed the chair and pushed it towards the man. They started talking, least bothered to my presence. I felt belittled in my shorts, tshirt and chappals. I held my head down and walked out. I was filled with embarrassment and anger.

      That night I couldn’t sleep. My big male ego had been hurt and my mind was scheming on how to avenge it but could not find any way out. I finally gave up the idea and dozed off. I would have completely forgotten about the incident had I not noticed the eye catching advertisement from the same agency in the newspaper a few weeks back. I went through the advertisement and dialed the phone number. A male voice answered the call. I said to him about my requirement and waited for the usual reply. “What is your budget?” said the male voice lazily. I was well prepared this time. “The budget is not an issue as long as the services are good”, I said with an authoritative voice. There was a silence at the other end. I heard the male voice talking to somebody else. “Why don’t you come over to my office?” he said after a few seconds. “Well, I am a bit busy these days. Moreover I got to finalize the deal before I leave for my holiday to Pattaya”, I said. He did not reply back. “Would you mind meeting me at this restaurant which is located at Koregaon Park?” I asked. “Of course not sir, it will be my pleasure”, he said enthusiastically. I could barely hold my laughter at his changed tone. I gave him the address and the timing.

      When I met him at “The Hidden Place”, I couldn’t help noticing him gazing at my imported watch every now and then. I purposefully wore it on my right hand so that it grabs his attention whenever I motion my hand. There was no way he could recognize me in the faded blue jeans and the white Armani shirt. The chilled beer was the icing on the cake.

      I took a bite of the kabab and finished the beer. Finally I had my revenge today. I beat him in his own game. I took out my phone and dialed my wife’s number. “Honey, we got a new housemaid from tomorrow. The deal was struck at Rs. 2500”, I said triumphantly as if I had claimed my piece of lunar land. I heard laughter at the other end of the line. “Did he not recognize you?” she asked. “C’mon, with that hideous cap even you could not have recognized me”, I said laughing out loud. “Now do you finally agree that honesty is not the best policy always?” asked my wife. “I completely agree now”, I said.

      The current scenario of Archery in Tezpur

      “Nothing clears a troubled mind better than shooting a bow”

      -Fred bear

      The history of archery can be traced back to the ancient civilization, when bows and arrows were used as a weapon to hunt wild animals and used for warfare. The heroic efforts of the archers at the battlefield helped them gain triumph over several kingdoms. Studies suggest that pines served as the arrows in the ancient times, because they consisted of a long fore shaft and a flint point. According to the history of archery, bows were first developed in either early years of the Mesolithic age or the late Paleolithic age. The oldest bow used by archers was native to Denmark. Archeologists have discovered arrow shafts in many countries where archery was prevalent, which includes Egypt, Sweden and Denmark. Archery was also developed in Asia and other Islamic kingdoms.

      Archery 2

      India’s tryst with modern day archery started in 1975, three years after the game was chosen as part of the Olympic discipline in the 1972 Munich Games. In 1973, the Archery Association of India (AAI) was established, which proved to be a milestone in the history of archery. The organization helped uplift the standard of archery from just being a primitive game to a sport with national and international recognition. The Archery Association of India has played a leading role in promoting archery in Asia, apart from its homeland.

      This very indigenous game of our country, first established its roots in Tezpur with the inception of the Sonitpur Archery Club in 1994 and in its twenty years of illustrious service it has given us fifteen national players to boast of with six of them even clinching various medals. In an interview with the current secretary of the club Mr. Surojit Deka we were briefed on various aspects of the game and how they have managed to produce some amazing players with the least facilities for practice.

      Archery 4

      The training sessions are carried out every Sunday evening from 3:30 to 5:30 at the Hazarapar Stadium. Mr. Deka says that the bows that they provide to the students for practicing cost from three lakh to fifteen lakh rupees and the organization doesn’t charge any fee from them. Moreover, when the students are sent to participate in the state and national level competitions, all their expenses are born by the club itself. However, what grieves Mr. Deka is the fact that not many youngsters show interest in this game: there are at present only forty students training under them. Secondly, another disheartening aspect to the scenario of archery in Tezpur is that most of the students who come to seek training belong to deprived families and as such they can’t afford to buy even the minimum requisite equipment for the game. Such barriers, however, are never allowed to deter the players’ ambitions and it is the result of such undaunted efforts by the association that players like Priyanka Sarmah,(daughter of a carpenter), Bacchenam Sarmah (son of a juice seller), Sikandar Rai (son of a sugarcane juice seller) and Plassey Das (daughter of a meat seller) have gone on to win medals even at the national level.

      Archery 1

      Another venture that has been contributing towards uplifting the scenario of archery in Tezpur is the Archery Club of Tezpur University. It was formed on 11th June, 2014 as an autonomous organization within the university campus by Mr. Raju R. Singh, a national level archery player and also the former coach of the Indian archery team, with the intention of promoting the game among the students of the pioneer educational institution. There are at present fifteen students seeking training under Mr. Singh and four of them were sent to participate in the inter-institutional archery competition held at Kurukshetra University on the 3rd and 4th of November, 2014. In the course of a tête-à-tête with one of the novices of the club Sujit Muktan, he told me how within a span of seven months Mr. Singh has succeeded in incorporating the club as a part of the university’s ‘Games and Sports Section’. Sujit is all praise for his coach’s dedication towards his students; he says that it’s solely because of Mr. Singh’s efforts that the game of archery has found rejoinder among the students of the university.  However, this noble undertaking is yet to secure financial aids from the university, let alone from the government. Analogous to the plight of the Sonitpur Archery Club, the students seeking training under this club has to buy the necessary equipment on their own and this, according to Sujit, is one of the main reasons behind the low number of players in the institution. Nevertheless, Mr. Singh’s indomitable enthusiasm is sure to provide a much needed impetus to the game of archery in Tezpur in the coming days.

      Archery 3

      Mr. Surojit Deka is of the opinion that Tezpur harbors a number of “talented” archery players but it is the lack of favorable practicing amenities and resources that has prevented them from making a mark in the international archery scenario. He seems to entertain prejudices against the Ministry of Sports for being completely indifferent to this magnificent game and appeals to the authorities concerned to help promote the game among the masses. Mr. Deka’s grievances appear completely justified considering the availability of poor facilities: there isn’t even any provision for artificial lighting to continue the practice after sunset. Furthermore, there are hardly three to four bows available with the club which makes it difficult for all the students to practice together and as a result of which they are not allotted equal practicing time. The scenario is evidently somewhat better in Tezpur University for the availability of convenient set-up and equipment helps the players to practice the game with more adequacy and perfection. However, on balance it seems the game of archery in Tezpur definitely needs more assistance and cognizance lest we don’t want the game to cease being played at all.

      Archery

      English Premier League – The youth’s favourite

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      English Premier League 2014-15

      The English Premier League season is here again, with a number of teams champing at the bit to claim (or reclaim) domestic league glory.

      Manchester City is the defending champion after pipping a rampant Liverpool late in 2013-14, but it might not be a piece of cake to clinch the title for a second straight year with Chelsea, Arsenal and local rival Manchester United all strengthening.

      Chelsea emerges as this season’s favorite with manager Jose Mourinho bringing in Spain’s super striker Diego Costa and former Arsenal midfield magician Cesc Fabregas into an already-strong squad.

      Manchester United’s appointment of Louis van Gaal makes things even more interesting this year, after the calamity that was David Moyes’s only season in charge of the Red Devils ended in an ignominious seventh-place finish.

      The EPL brings to us some wonderful games of football which is something to die for. The craziness of the game, the injury time equalizers, last minute winners, the thundering screamers, all the long yard goals, the entertaining celebrations, those ultimate skills displayed by the players, and everything else about it makes our love in our hearts grow more and more day by day with each passing season for the English premier league.

      No doubt this league is the best and most watched football ball league in the world.

       EPL

      English premier league 2014-15 so far as on 1st January 2015.

      • 525 Goals Scored.
      • 200 Matches Played.
      • 2.6 average goals scored per match.
      • 74 goals scored from outside the box.
      • 367 assists.
      • 42 penalties awarded.
      • 33 scored.
      • 7.1 million fans attended.
      • 112 clean sheets.
      • 136 woodwork hits
      • 3734 shots taken.
      • 1640 shots on target.
      • 749 yellow cards awarded.
      • 40 red cards awarded.

      Top Goal Scorers

      • SERGIO AGUERO (14 GOALS)
      • DIEGO COSTA (14 GOALS)

      Top four on the League table

      • CHELSEA FC
      • MANCHESTER CITY FC
      • MANCHESTER UNITED FC
      • SOUTHAMPTON FC

      We are just half way through the EPL season 2014-15 and the excitement continues to run in our veins as we move on for the other half of the season.

      Keeping calm is what we can never do when it comes ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE .

      The energy of the game is so high which you will never want to lose.

      Watch EPL and grow your love for football.

      Felis Catus and all that Jazz

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        Shamvabee Chakraborty

        I collect records. And cats. I don’t have any cats right now. But if I’m taking a walk and I see a cat, I’m happy.

        Haruki Murukami

         Winter mornings have an air of sordid calmness about them.

        Stealthy the sunshine crept in through the boxed windows and fell upon a portrait whose eyes were nothing but Death. Sleep induced brain registered later, that I was looking at a portrait of Kafka that hung sadly in my room, but in that hazy confusion, the eyes were all that mattered. While I was trying with my might to understand those eyes, I remembered few lines from Eliot’s Prufrock.

         When the evening is spread out against the sky

        Like a patient etherized upon a table.

        His eyes were that ‘evening’ to me and I shuddered and found myself under a sky with two moons and fishes pouring from the sky. I shuddered and remembered that socially challenged person, thrusting me in a vacuum of real and unreal, dream and illusion. I remembered the cat lover, the Jazz lover, Haruki Murakami.

        I met Murakami in an accurate time setting, when my Time was hard and things were  amiss. The journey started with Norwegian Wood which was a ‘million copy bestseller’ and also paved his way to literary success. A story of love, sexuality and loss and Murakami’s de facto opinions about his generation, I was taken aback to read such a unique love story.

        In an interview for The Paris Review, Murakami mentioned that writing this novel was nothing but a strategy. Being a surrealist writer, he wanted a breakthrough into the ‘mainstream’ because he understood that though his style and prose were easy to read but ‘the story is complicated and very hard to follow’. The strategy was implanted to attract readers to fall in love with him so that they rack their brains and assimilate all that he wrote, writes and will write. Thus, the pleasurably painful obsession began.Murakami

        Undoubtedly Norwegian Wood was a literary success but the pangs of loss and confusion, torn apart between heart wrenching pangs of love that is so fundamental like the perpetual sunrise and sunset is evident in the short novel named South of the Border, West of the Sun. Your mind will feel a repressed anger for the protagonist, Hajime but deep down somewhere, in an abyss filled with secrets in you, you will empathize with him.  When the novel ended within two sleepless nights in a row, I looked at things differently. I looked at Time and Space in open spectrums: at least I tried. In a documentary made on Murakami, Jay Rubin, who has translated many a works of Murakami from Japanese to English, rightly said that readers are bound to undergo an undeniable metamorphosis, almost equivalent to a physical transformation at times.

        The colossal existence of fantasy, the border line of real and unreal is evident in Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84 and Dance Dance Dance. In the first mentioned novel, the protagonist Kafka Tamura turns out to be the ‘strongest’ fifteen year old boy accompanied by his alter ego named Crow. Murakami touches the chord of oedipal curse through the character. Latent sexuality oozes out through the story, so poetic at times metamorphosing into boundless romance concerning the character of Miss Saeki. Satoru Nakata conversing with cats will leave you with an indefinable awe where you will feel perplexed about the fact that whether you should feel mesmerized or feel an uncanny chill. 1Q84 is an amalgamation of all fundamental secrets of your existence. A world of two moons, incomplete love reaching its climactic completion- the novel minutely wove perfect fictionalized characters and situations in such a realistic manner, that I sometimes found myself looking out for two moons up in the sky or waiting for the NHK man to come knocking at the door. Dance Dance Dance deals with loss, abandonment and the surreal adventures of the unnamed protagonist who goes back to the Dolphin Hotel that he had been once, to solve the complex riddles that he has been infected with. The protagonist meets the Sheep Man there who is awkwardly dressed in sheep skin and speaks in an unpunctuated manner, and is said to be hiding from War and Civilization. The novel includes alienation and finally the curtain falls with human connection. The novels by this literary genius are not mere novels on paper and ink. They are metaphors and allegories that we need to detect, almost the key of our pithy existence. A mere lifetime won’t be enough in decoding these. Fantasy is a word that has been often used here to explain the texture of Murakami novels. In the interview for The Paris Review, he mentions that fantasy is a ‘way of escape’. He questions ‘If you can’t have fantasy, what’s the point of writing a book?’ In the introduction to Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, which is a collection of 24 short stories, Murakami mentions that writing a short story is like a ‘jazz improvisation’; he will flow with the story and indeed he does. The two noteworthy stories that attracted attention were The Mirror and A ‘poor aunt’ story.

        The fourteen year old Murakami developed an interest in Jazz and Classical music. He later opened a coffee house and jazz bar named Peter Cat. There is an undeniable presence of music in his novels. Norwegian Wood is named after a Beatles number, so is South of the Border, West of the Sun, South of the Border being a Nat King Cole number. Murakami manifests silence with Leos Janacek’s Sinfonietta in 1Q84. A friend who has been practicing music for the last 24 years did hit the right chord when he listened to the track. In broken phrases, he had emphasized on the word ‘quest’ and ‘transition of thoughts’ that was parallel with the transitions in the texture of music’. Aomame too had a cloud of thoughts and she too was searching for something unknown while she waited inside the cab amidst a traffic jam listening to this ethereal piece. He also stressed on dynamics and damage, a combination of steady and unsteady, a process of perpetual destruction and construction. The characters of 1Q84 are synonymous to the pattern of Sinfonietta. Everyone is rediscovering themselves, testing their limits, amending the loopholes and is going back to the motion of life. Therefore, Janacek’s Sinfonietta emerges out to be a metaphor in the novel.

        There is a common saying that every good thing come to an end. In a stretch of nine months, completing some of the major works by Murakami has left me with an unquenchable thirst for the rest of his works but something stops me. Rewind is a warm word when it comes to these infinite creations by him.I shall rewind yet again, for the next nine months with these same novels again. The journey has begun with Kafka on the Shore. He rightly wrote that ‘once you let yourself grow close to someone, cutting the ties could be painful’. Indeed, it will be painful, or rather impossible to make this socially crippled man nonexistent in the novel reading process and post novel hangover mechanism.

        Arphew-Khatsan – Cheeky Illustrations feature Shillong

        “Shillong is not a place where you reside, but you belong to the hills of Shillong. “

        Okay, it’s a tweaked up version of a Ruskin Bond quote about the Himalayan Mountains where he belongs to but it’s equally true for Shillong. Samrat Ray, an illustrator who spent his childhood and a major part of his youth in Shillong is no exception. He has released a calender for 2015 featuring cheeky illustrations of Shillong.

        CCover

        Jan

        Feb

        Mar

        Apr

        May

        Jun

        Jul

        Aug

        Sep

        Oct

        Nov

         Dec

        Samrat is based in New Delhi and working as an Associate Creative Director in O&G. It’s not a surprise that Samrat has not visited Shillong for more than a decade. Last year also, he released a New Delhi based calender दिल्ली का Kalendar with cheeky taglines.

         

         

         

        9 Indian wedding customs you had no idea about

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        Indian weddings are known around the world for the grandeur and aplomb they display. But being the culturally diverse land that India is comes with the implication that there is a wide array of customs and traditions that remain unexplored in the mainstream representation of the big fat Indian wedding. Following are some not-so-famous rituals of different types of Indian weddings. [by Ashvin Gidwani Productions]

         

        1) In an Iyer wedding, the groom customarily has a change of heart and he decides to spend the rest of his life in celibacy. The father in law must then persuade the would-be son-in-law to give up the thought and marry the bride. Props like a jewel-studded umbrella, the Bhagwad Gita, a hand fan and sandals are used in this dramatic persuasion. The father in law also washes the groom’s feet and promises him that the bride will help the groom in his spiritual growth.

         

        2) Indian Christian weddings are preceded by a custom called Roce, which is held at the houses of the bride and the groom separately. Family elders and friends anoint the bride and the groom with dabs of coconut oil before rubbing their arms and feet with coconut milk. In recent years, however, the coconut milk is being replaced by rotten eggs, tomatoes and chilled beer as a prank. The bride and groom are not allowed to meet each other in the period between this ceremony and the wedding.

         

        3) In East Indian Catholic weddings, fig leaves are submerged in two pots of well water overnight and the bride and groom are bathed at their respective houses by their respective family elders in that water on the morning of their wedding day. This ritual is called ‘Umracha Pani’.

         

        4) Bengali weddings happen in two installments. On the first day, after the marriage rituals are over, the couple is expected to spend the night at the bride’s house. The ‘bidayi’ (farewell from the bride’s family to the bride) only happens on the afternoon after the day of the marriage.

         

        5) In Manipuri weddings, one woman from the bride’s side and another from the groom’s side release one taki fish each into a pond. If both the fishes move side by side in the water then it is considered to be a good omen for the couple.

        gujarati wedding

        6) In Gujarati weddings, when the groom enters the venue of the wedding, he is supposed to seek the blessings of the bride’s mother by touching her feet and she is supposed to try and catch his nose as a reminder that she is giving him her precious daughter and he must be gentle and good to her. The groom’s brothers and friends are expected to protect his nose from the mother-in-law’s clutches.

         

        7) Before a Marathi wedding takes place, the bride’s family invites the groom and his parents to have a meal with the bride and her family. The bride’s father is expected to wash the groom’s feet with water in a plate made of silver. This custom is called ‘Srimant Puja’.

         

        8) In Malayalee weddings, the ‘muhurat’ (auspicious time) for the marriage is not the time the marriage actually happens, but the time when the groom’s family leaves for the venue of the wedding. In Malayalee weddings, unlike most others, the bride and groom take only 3 pheras instead of 7.

         

        9) After Bihari weddings, the bride is made to balance multiple earthen pots on her head while she bows down to touch her in-laws’ feet upon entering the groom’s house for the first time after the wedding. The number of pots she can balance is believed to be an indicator of her ability to sustain balance in the household.

         

        The list has been provided by

         

        FOR MORE ON unique rituals in North-east – click here

        10 unbelievable facts about the History of India

        0

        India is a diverse country which possesses a varied cultural heritage. A lot of this can be attributed to its glorious history and generations of citizens who have passed on this legacy. However, as citizens of modern India, are we really aware of our pastglory and the ‘cradle of civilization’ we are renowned as?

        Following are ten facts about history of India that will blow your mind.

        sanskrit

        Language:It’s a well known fact that Sanskrit is considered to be the mother of all higher languages. But the fact that out of all the languages in the world, Sanskrit is the only and most suitable language for computer software is not something many might be aware of. It’s the most precise language containing a perfect syntax appropriate for a computer programming language.  Apart from the report published by the Forbes magazine, in July 1987 it’s a claim that even NASA supports.

         

        Medicine:Ayurveda and Siddha, the earliest schools of medicine known to mankind, originated in India. Charaka, who is known as the Father of Medicine, was an Indian who consolidated Ayurveda around 2,500 years ago. It still remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems.

         

        University/Education:The world’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects at this university. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.

         

        Mathematics:Most of us are aware that the concept of zero was invented by the Indian mathematician Aryabhatta. What isn’t known, however, is that Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus also originated in India. Quadratic Equations were used by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Indians used numbers as big as 10*53 (i.e. 10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 B.C.during the Vedic period.Even today, the largest used number is Terra: 10*12(10 to the power of 12).

         

        Surgery: The ancient Indian physician Sushruta was the world’s first person to perform cataract and plastic surgery. These surgeries dated back to 2000B.C., and his works were later translated to Arabic and gradually passed on to European countries. People from far off countries came to India to seek treatment from Sushruta.

         

        Astrology: The correct time taken by the earth to revolve around the sun was calculated by the famous Indian astronomer Bhaskaracharya. His calculation showed that the earth takes around 365.258756484 days to go around the sun once.

         

        Navigation: As many as 6000 years back, the art of navigation was developed in the River Indus, which was known as Sindh then. In fact, the word ‘navigation’ is a derivation of the Sanskrit word, ‘Navgatih’.

        Pi

        Geometry: The importance of the value of Pi and the famous theorem proposed by Pythagoras is highly popular among most geometry students and professors all over the world. However Budhayana, had already discovered this in India at around the 6th century long before the European mathematicians.

         

        Dams: The concept of constructing dams to stop the flow of a river and creating a reservoir for various purposes like agriculture and production of hydroelectric power is the most commonly adapted innovation of today’s modern world. However the earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built first in India at Saurashtra during the reign of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya around 150 BC . According to Saka King, Rudradaman I, the beautiful lake was aptly called ‘Sudarshana’ and constructed on the hills of Raivataka.

         

        Games: The famous game of Snakes and Ladders is highly popular among children of today’s time. It was originally called as Mokshapat and was created by the Indian poet saint named Gyandev in the 13th century. The game had a significant meaning since the snakes stood for vices, while the ladders represented good virtues. The essence of the game was that the ladders or good virtues take people to heaven while snakes or vices take people to a cycle of re-births.

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