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Your search for civilization
JAIPUR JAUNTS-1
 Shruthi Rao  
 20 February 2018  

Epitome of art, architecture and culture. They are rightly the essence of Jaipur, the pink city. Place so vibrant and colorful can be synonymized as “Gateway to Royal Rajasthan”. Art and Architecture is so vastly reflected in the city that once visited, it’s almost impossible to control the urge to visit other parts of the state.Food and delicacies of this region are something not to ignore either. Rich in spices, flavours and desi Ghee are truly the royal ingredients of a Rajasthani meal. This is the exact reason a clique of girls got lost on the streets of Jaipur looking for that perfect Gewarh,Pyaz ke Samose and Dal bati churma; until they could satisfy their appetites.One of the girls wanted to capture the moments and perceptions, while others wanted to be captured in the moments.While the other girls wanted to take back goodies and merchandises as memorabilia, this girl wanted to take back the memories, trapped in the right words.Again, one among them, wanted to live in the aroma and vibes of the place herself, while others wanted to just experience them temporarily.There was something beautiful about feeling on vacation and at home all at once, that’s what made her pen this down.Four girls landed in the city, early in the morning, unaware of even the places to halt. But were no slow-paced in kick starting the day, all dressed to perfection and making bold statements. “Yes, they believed in travelling in class”. It didn’t matter how their itinerary was, but their attires were sure as hell ‘well planned’. It included colors and vibrancies as a base, two days of modernity with some desi touch, while one day restricted to contemporarily basic ethnic outfits!!Itinerary was something like this, first day included all the outskirts, majorly forts of Jaipur. Second day an excursion to Ajmer and Pushkar. Last day included the local inner-city sight-seeing. Planned shopping was to be done either at Pushkar or on the last day of trip which went for a toss and they ended up shopping on all three days. After all,they were girls and it was a girls’ trip, Duuuhhh!!!!!!! Let me clarify – not being a contra feminist here.Experience differ from person to person and so does the stories of travel, even if it’s of the same place or of multiple times. Amer fort (as pronounced), which is written as Amber fort,is a delight to ones’ senses. Well planned, better maintained and least destroyed of all the forts deserves to be called the best of them all. A person can typically spend minimum of one to one and a half hour within the fort. Jaigarh holds world’s largest cannon displayed for public. The walls of Jaigarh and Nahargarh forts are infamously called Great wall of India similar to that of China’s. The view from above and amidst those walls are surely worth a great deal of calorie burn. Not to miss a couple of stops where a glimpse of Jalmahal can be spotted in all its glory,on the driveway to Nahargarh. One can even have some chai and coffee from the local vendors,while chilling at these viewpoints.Pushkar, girls fell for it the moment they entered the streets. Call them vibes,spirit or energy, there was something totally positive. People tend to get drawn towards the hippie culture and ambience the town has. Hosting its tourists with the world’s one and only Bramha temple,charm of the town lies on the banks of serene and sacred lake of Pushkar. The roads of Ajmer to Pushkar in between the aravalli ranges, a sunset on the countryside as a back drop to the camel safari, all adds on to the drive factor. A stay here wouldn’t harm your pockets provided the kind of vacation being looked forward to is of chilling and relaxation as a main purpose. Add on: There is a lot to shop at this place, bargaining is the key!Ajmer Shariff Dargah is a place of religious significance, where faith of believers can be seen at its highest. One thing to be kept in mind is not to visit the place during the times of prayer, especially on the days of Jumma. Tourists might end up waiting for hours together just to enter the center sanctum. Also, the inner most sanctum is the hardest to get in and out of, it is advisable to be cautious of your belongings and special attention required for kids.The most economical and convenient way of travel around Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar back and forth is by local buses .It's good to keep a track of time and manage the day accordingly. There are frequent buses plying around, reaching the destination within the span of 2.5 hours. However, if there are kids and people with ailments and ageing, it's advisable to hire a cab on fair prices.Final day, girls headed towards city the local way. The most effective way of reaching the local sights is by a rick or a cab. All the major destinations inside city for example City palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar are all within the walkable distance from one another.These structures of Hawa Mahal and city palace are of more recent times as compared to those forts on the outskirts. Peek-a-Boo through those colorful windows is how Hawa Mahal can be described. City palace is in all its splendor and glory of roughness. It is enclosed with Musuems, Art galleries, Durbar halls etc. which exhibit the objects used by the then royal family. Only place of interest in Jantar Mantar for girls was of structures containing zodiac signs, along with which they could get photographed. People with special interest in science and astronomical knowledge would enjoy this more than laymen. Otherwise, it is still a good sight to visit as a place from history, especially with the world's biggest sundial as a main attraction.Girls felt teleported to the era of maharaja, these structures gave them a feel of life within them. How they wished, they could go back in time and visit when these places were inhabited!!P.S. My HApPyy Moments:1.Spotting Colorfully Painted Elephants on the streets.2.Watching ladies cooking roti on the lanes of Pushkar.3.Getting a glimpse of civilization and mountains merging from Nahargarh.4.Buying a palazzo with elephant prints on them Yesss… elephant in it’s any form is LOVE!!! HAppy Vacations and don’t forget to check the next blog“Background Check, Jaipur Jaunts-2”, containing history of the places mentioned here in detail.

Book Review: Pralay: The Great Deluge (Harappa) by Vineet Bajpai
 Shivangi Rawat  
 28 March 2018  

Blurb"“Even death is afraid of the White Mask…”1700 BCE, Harappa – The devta of Harappa has fallen…tortured and condemned to the dungeons of the dead. His murdered wife’s pious blood falls on the sands of the metropolis, sealing the black fate of Harappa…forever.2017, Banaras – A master assassin bites into cyanide, but not before pronouncing the arrival of an unstoppable, dark force. A maha-taantric offers a chilling sacrifice.325 AD, Bithynian City (modern-day Turkey) – Unable to foresee the monster he was untethering, an extraordinary monarch commissions a terrifying world-vision spanning millennia.1700 BCE, East of Harappa – A mystical fish-man proclaims the onset of Pralay - the extinction of mankind. The Blood River rises to avenge her divine sons.What happens to the devta of Harappa? Is Vidyut truly the prophesied saviour? Who are the veiled overlords behind the sinister World Order? What was the macabre blueprint of the mysterious emperor at Bithynian City? Turn the pages to unravel one of the world’s greatest conspiracies and the haunting story of a lost, ancient civilization."About bookReading level: 12+ yearsPaperback: 315 pagesPublisher: VB Performance LLP (19 January 2018)Language: EnglishReviewThe Author has done an awe-inspiring job in its prequel, “HARAPPA” and I was enthusiastically waiting for its sequel and here it is. My tick- tock waiting watch is stopped and finally I am giving my verdict on Pralay – the great deluge.I enjoyed Pralay-The great Deluge which is the second part of Harappa - the curse of the Blood River.Like the volume one, this book holds the equivalent charisma and page turner for all. Several characters role play shows instantaneously in this book, like a historical drama based move rolling.Coming to the story, in the last book we had seen that Vivasan pujari was sentenced to mrit karavas like a hell type place and on the next day numerous torture done by King Chandrashekhar army. He landed to the west of Harappa, at the place of Sura, the mighty demon king, with the extreme mental country of in search of revenge of the fatality of his beloved soul mate Sanjana and his single son. The mighty king agrees to help him, but in exchange for something, which stunned the great devta for an instant. On the other end in Banaras, Vidyut flabbergasted and immobilized to see the sudden alteration of Bala, his brotherhood friend. On which earth Bala tried to kill Vidyut and who is the mastermind behind it. Each passing moment Vidyut condition is getting life-threatening. Does he recover from it? In the meantime, meanwhile, the Masaan Raja, the deity of the dead, Trijaat Kapaalik entered the matth with his 666 maniac followers and his guts left everyone stunned in the matth. What was the purpose to visit in such horrible phases to the Matth? Another fragment of the story, Manu succeeded to get away with the lifeless body of his adored mother with the support of Pundit Somdutt and swift with his horse to the East of Harappa in search of the Black Temple as directed. On the way, he met Matshya, a mystery man.Manu seeks help from this mystical man Masaya for taking revenge for the death of his parents. Did he help Manu on his mission? All mystery will solve, once you go through the book. The fast pace of the book holds you till the end & it’s a single sit read for me. Writing a historical fiction is a tough job and need too much research to make it the best. The Author has succeeded in that case. Language and narration are breath-taking from its first page of the book. Mythology was never my cup of tea, but recently I have read few amazing mythology related novels including this and I just loved it now. I was gripped and enthralled by the transformation of the pujari into evil. Saptrishi and Vidyut played and justified their role. The cover is not unique still simple and good it could have been better. The title is catchy, this book I never thought will be released soon I must pat on the back of author for his creativity and imaginations!4/5 to this book!

DHARM KI STHAPNA
 Atul Agarwal  
 4 December 2018  
Art

Respected Sirs,SUBJECT :- Cleaning of Society by Confession and Forgiving, Opportunity of Self Punishment or PRAYSCHIT, ReformationDHARM KI STHAPNA, is the hour of need. We are in minus, having numerous problems. How much minus? Unascertainable, endless ? Where to start to overcome these problems, no definite way is visible ? One major problem is of dishonesty. I hereby take liberty to suggest a way to overcome this problem. We may try to build a platform. We may restart our civilization. First, we declare ourselves to be on Zero. At different times, Government had launched Voluntary Disclosure of Income and Wealth Schemes (called VDS, VDIS, VIDS, Amnesty, etc.), first in 1951, second & third in 1965, fourth in 1975 and fifth in 1997. The broad objectives of all the VDSs were to unearth the undisclosed income & wealth, provide opportunity to the past evaders of tax to adopt the path of rectitude & civic responsibility, to mobilize resources and to channelise funds into priority sectors of the economy. Though the financial outcome of the VDSs of 1975 & 1997 might had been good, but, from the present scenario, you can very well visualize that, apart from collection of some earthed money (that too, of individuals own choice), none of the other objectives (in particular, returning to the path of rectitude & civic responsibility) were / have been achieved. Please introduce some more schemes. Scheme – I This time, scheme should be, not to only disclose the undisclosed income & wealth, but, a scheme of confession / declaration of every dishonesty / financial sin, including disclosure of all bad / black money / assets and surrender thereof. Percentage of surrender be fixed. Government will have to assign / designate this work to some department/s, which shall work as fast track courts in every district or even in rural areas, by taking cognizance of confession / declaration, by taking possession of surrendered money / assets, thereby implying compounding of offences, and forgiving / acquitting the declarant. However, such designated courts may have the power not to acquit such declarants, whose cases are linked with our Country’s security and integrity. This scheme be the last opportunity to us to return to the path of rectitude and civic responsibility. From the date of announcement of the scheme, dishonesty be put to strict vigil and immediate & deterrent punishment, which be continued for ever. After the closure of scheme, the non-declarants of bad / black money be searched, that money / assets be seized / disgorged and they be put for time bound trial before the fast track courts. Besides the black money in our Country, it has been reported (as read in newspapers) that the black money of over Rs.25 (some say Rs.70) Lakhs Crores of our Country was stashed in Swiss banks. This staggering amount of black money is a big hole in the national exchequer and the same can be diverted to the Country’s growth. Amazingly, each of 6 Lakhs villages in our Country would get a share of Rs.4 to Rs.10 Crores if the full amount of black money is retrieved, only from Swiss banks. Now is the time for Government to regain the black money, for which, aforesaid proposed scheme may be first used. Scheme – II In criminal cases, guilt may be divided in 5 categories e.g. negligible guilt, minor guilt, middle class guilt, major guilt and very major guilt. Cases may be discontinued / acquitted in the event of negligible guilt. Offences of minor and / or middle class guilt may be decided by consent orders by payments of expenses / costs & monetary penalties to the courts and damages / compensation to the complainants, by the accuseds. Cases of major guilt and very major guilt be decided in a maximum period of 02 years (one year at Lower Court, six months at High Court and six months at Supreme Court). Scheme – III All the civil disputes be first referred to system of jury / arbitration, where jury members / arbitrators, in each dispute, should first work towards an amicable settlement / conciliation and if the parties do not settle amicably, jury members / arbitrators will pronounce Order / Arbitration Award. Thereafter, there may be time bound court proceedings of maximum one year, upto the level of Supreme Court. This had been provided in CPC Amendment Bill of year 2000, which, probably, was put in THANDA BASTA / scrapped. Decree and Execution be clubbed. All, at least by heart, will welcome, these schemes, because they will have the opportunity for GANGA SANAN. Over 3 Crores cases are pending in courts across our Country. Clearing the backlog of cases is one of the biggest challenges. These schemes will substantially reduce the number of cases and will ease the burden of judiciary and all concerned & investigating departments of Government. Only by honesty, all plans of Government will truly reach to goal, including vision of Rural India. When honesty will prevail, there will be action (KARM) and that action will be in right direction & spirit. Government should do it. Victory is where justice reigns. With regards, Sincerely yours 

StoryMirror in conversation with author Joyeeta Das
 StoryMirror Feed  
 28 February 2019  
Art

Q: Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life.A: I have completed my schooling from Auxilium Convent. Currently am pursuing my bachelor's in English language and literature from Adamas University.Q: How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write?  A: As a child I used love listening to Ramayana and Mahabharata, both of which my mother used to recite. Then it was Aesop's Fables and Panchatantra which further brightened my world of imagination. And finally, Khaled Hosseini made me delve deep into literature.I never really knew I could compose stories until my the then Creative writing professor- Shrabani Ma'am announced “... chocolate as a reward for the first three best creative works.” Better to say Chocolate acted as a muse and inspired me to use pen instead of sword, to strikeQ: What difficulties did you have to face with respect to literary work? A: Sometimes a few Literary works did turn out to be a bit less interesting.Q: What is your view about the present-day literary work? A: I think it’s more straightforward than the previous works.Q: Do you think that the emergence of digital and social media has given a new opportunity to creative writers? A: Absolutely, the emergence of digital and social media has made it easier for the writers who cant really afford the expenses of publishing their works. People can now simply post their works in social platforms and communicate with the rest of the world. Every literary text is...a mosaic of quotations... as said by Julia Kristeva, I think social and digital media helps bring the right design out of this mosaicQ: Please tell us something about your literary work. A: I am very restless, and thus, try to keep my compositions very concise as it would be definitely be viewed by restless people like me. And I try to make every composition unique. Q: What was your first literary work and how was it published? A: My first Literary work was published online by MyCampusPost, while I was interning with the company as a content writer.Q: How many ways literature can contribute to society in future?A: As rightly said by Jonas Mekas “ In the very end, civilization perish because they listen to their politicians and not to their poets". Literature can contribute to the society in numerous was, the list is endless.Q: Where do you see yourself after 5 years in the literary world?A: I would definitely like to see myself into people's heart. Even of those who find literature boring.Q: What ways would you suggest to build a community for poets?A: A group blog would be fine. Q: What message would you like to give to aspiring new writers? A: Just be yourself and try to bring the best out of you.Q: How was your experience of writing on StoryMirror?  A: Wonderful! Indeed. A great platform it is.Q: Would you like to say something about StoryMirror? A: I love the competitions organised by StoryMirror. And winning them has a separate joy. Every time I win, I feel that I re-establish my name – JOYEETA, which means ‘winner’ in Bangla.Here is the link to read my content https://storymirror.com/profile/jmypngvn/joyeeta-das/stories