Life Simplified


The wind spread across the coast
Said few words,
In it’s silence.
No matter how complicated life is,
Just follow me.

The sands
Could make it simple and sweet
Be it the confusions of life
Or relationships
It is needed, the believe & trust
to keep it running
to make it loving.

Come…
Have bath at my courtyard
Let me wash your stress
Let me clean you
From sorrows and agony.

From the Horizon
A voice came
You are beautiful.
From heart and from soul
You are beautiful.

Focusing on things
That are beautiful and pleasant
Are the best moments & best captures
are not by the lens, but with the eyes.

_MG_8780 - CopyObjects in the mirror (with love)
Are Prettier than they appear.

Just a little step ahead
Be the person you want to be.
Change the things you want to
Chase the target you dreamt of
I am with you.

It was never the wind,made me fly.
It was always me, myself
Who wished to be a bird

Being cage free, To fly high… higher… highest

Look at the eyes of the machine.
Which has an eye,
To make you believe,
what you saw.
But I suggest
Be the eye, Be the vision

Walk against the flow,
It will make you or break yo
But you will win
Because you tried

Beauty lies in the eyes of
BEHOLDER. Then i see you.

Moments I miss the most,
Are not gonna come again.
But memories…
Can you wipe them out.
Thousand images
and reflections
of your presence.
I see you,
through the eyes of my heart
through the lens of those memoirs.

#EveryWordisForYou

Happily…

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One Night inside JNU


I was getting late for my morning flight so I had to leave the gathering and meeting early.  After a 15 Minute walk loaded with heavy thoughts to pen down this article, I reached the Gate No 1 of JNU. It was almost 3am at the night. To my surprise almost a huge herd of media persons with camera and boom were standing and trying to get some sneak peak of incidents happening inside JNU. Few of them were facing the camera to give a P2C (Piece to Camera). To my surprise among the few, I could recognise Rahul Kanwal of TV Today group was standing holding the boom and mike. At this odd hour, though it was unusual I could understand the importance of the situation and the dedication of the journalist.

I spent around 3-4 hours inside the campus and tried to get the feel of the JNU heat. Since the controversy has started. There has been a fight within us. Some of us support the ‘Anti Nationals’ being termed by a few so called ‘Nationalists’. Well, that’s a million dollar question who is a real Nationalist. To find an answer to this I took pain of watching more than 20 YouTube videos related to issue and also read more than 50 such most shared articles covering both the perceptions.

Some people we call rightist and some leftist. But there are a large number of people who are free thinkers. They decision is evidence based, logic based and mostly biased with first-hand information. They keep one foot on rightist philosophy and the other feet on leftist ideology to take a stand based on their own judgement. On the same note, being liberal and logical I took another step to go JNU and get in more details about it. The atmosphere there must guide me, was the idea which I am sure I can convey properly to all.

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Image Courtesy : Indian Express

A fact has evolved now, the judicial authority in India being the court has now being partially transferred to people like Arnab Goswami and channels like Zee News. If the whole country is divided in the name of National and Anti-national, then this is not because we had anti national slogans enchanted by few students. Rather because the media trail led by Arnab Goswami and Zee News provoked the whole country to do so.

While walking along the deserted roads of JNU along few of my friends from JNU, I could hear the slogans from Ad block and we headed towards that. It was around 11.30pm at night. I was trying to overheard different conversations of students discussing in different groups amidst pro JNU slogans by JUNSU. I was trying to get the real sense of democracy and the gaps. Was it antinational and violation of democratic rights or fight against the hypocrisy?

What does our democracy teach us !! To question or to blame?

I do not buy the slogans of picturing Afjal as Martyr but questioning the trial of Afjal won’t make anyone anti-national.  But who is there to take decision of sedition charges or booking someone as Anti-national; Arnab Goswami who in a way spreading hatred by his rudeness and biased media trial or Zee News, who produced the doctored video to get maximum TRP. Media as I have learned it from the best Media Institute of India, is ethical and it’s a service. Serving with facts and information is something media should be doing rather put forth the decision creating mass hatred which leads to Patiala House court incident.

Shehla Rashid started with addressing the legal complications that the JNU movement has been facing and this time her stand was much logical than before which I could see getting praised by the crowd. Mind it, this crowd is not the crowd pulled by any political party, rather gathered suo-motto in solidarity where, i could over heard, the ABVP crowd in the campus was having some DJ night in any one of the boys hostel.

My eyes were then on Umar Khalid, who said in his speech last night, ‘I am Umar Khalid and I am not a Terrorist”. Though an extreme leftist, he has also put very valid question on the media trial and without any court trial how can one be termed as Anti National. I am not at all defending him rather my views are towards the safe keeper of democracy. I was more interested to listen to Rama Naga, the GS of JNUSU originally hailed from Koraput, Odisha who is also accused of being an Anti-National. As he stated he is the only member in his family to go beyond matriculation. His anger and outrage got translated to his words and he started addressing ‘Sathiyon’ to the gathered crowd. With confidence, not very loud voice, he started and addressed the biggest question which many were asking since last few days. He made it clear, that they had not escaped. They were very much presence in the campus rather, they were avoiding legal complications.

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Image Courtesy: Indian Express

Again Naga addressed with the basic idea of why the fight!!!! It is not about supporting Afjal or being Anti-National. It is being the fight against injustice. He was worried and he was concerned about his parents and family being targeted by media and others which, he has appealed not to do so.

Many people may not like me or dislike me after my this post, which may sound like pro-communist. But let me be very frank I believe in free thinking and liberal politics rather than biased decision making and fooling the whole country with miss-information which may harm the communal harmony in the country. The latest video by India Today exposing the Lawers who had beaten Kanheya and other journalists is just so pathetic in the name of patriotism.

I am amazed again to see the irresponsibility of Indian Home minister issuing false information believing on a fake social media updates. The stand of HRD Minister of putting flags all across Indian central universities and the most popular Mr Modi is silent on the issue. Where is the country heading and how the government is responding to the whole fiasco, along with unfair arrest of Kanheya Kumar has united the student mass. The #StandwithJNU tag is now trending and leading to unite more student groups all across India against the system and government.

There are questions unsolved, the release of kanheya, and trial of other accused students and so on. There is a challenge to be tolerant and face this issue. The social media fights have gone to a different level and the leaders are in making. The future of India seems bright. The leader of India is in Making. Inside the Tihar Jail.

While writing this piece inside the flight, I could see the silver lining in the sky and could feel ‘Achhedin aa gaye’.

The Irony Of A Festival That Celebrates Menstruation


I belong to a rather poor state and the State government often demands funds from the Centre to alleviate this dire issue of poverty. When I say poor, there is a lot that can be added to this definition of poverty. A state which is infamous for witchcraft and the violence on women leading to murders has a long way to go before it sees a change in the mind sets of people. This state is still witnessing pregnant mothers migrating from native villages to work in the brick kilns of neighbouring states, giving birth to babies inside dingy settlements in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This state is still struggling with an open defecation problem which is a rampant habit among men and women, but the irony is that women can only go to defecate either before sunrise or after sunset to ward off and avoid onlookers.

Amidst many such issues which put women in the back seat, there is yet another concern which is still a taboo and not much effort has been made in that direction and not many social media campaigns have been initiated to make people understand that women’s menstrual cycles are commonplace occurrence just like any other act of daily life. Being a man, I may not be able to justify the issue to others to a life-changing extent but, yes I can definitely set an example by talking about it in the open.

If I look back on my graduation days, I can still remember that menstruation was a funny topic used to crack dirty jokes against those girls who were both our batch-mates and friends.  I came to learn more about it only when I first had a girlfriend and there was this guilty feeling I underwent when I came to know about the pain and suffering she went through every month. Now however, I have been seeing a lot of awareness about this on the internet and in other forms of social media but the state is yet to become fully aware of this problem. Hence, it is now time to educate statesmen about some very important facts of life which they may or may not be aware of.

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Courtesy : Menstrupedia.com

While I was listening to Mr. Anshu Gupta, the Magasaysay awardee, speak on this issue, he mentioned the poor and unhygienic sanitary practices of women and girls in many rural parts of the state. I could relate quiet well to it since I have seen that in most of the villages, shopkeepers do not even store sanitary pads and this is an indicator of the seriousness of the issue. However, in urban settings and cities even, menstruation is ridden with myths and many don’t like to talk about it In public; shopkeepers in fact use a piece of newspaper to wrap them up in.

Funnily enough, the same state celebrates a four-day long festival across the region and most importantly in rural areas, in celebration of womanhood. This festival is primarily meant for young girls and symbolizes those cultural practices which applaud the fertility of mother earth. Symbolically, the young girls celebrate the festival as a matter of joy and enjoy these four days with great enthusiasm. During the first three days of the festival and on the last day, it is traditionally a time to get cleaned up which is symbolically done by women washing their grinding stones with turmeric paste and adorning it with flowers and sindoor.

During the festival, girls wear new clothes every day and they do not do any other work apart from sitting, relaxing, roaming around and playing on tree swings since they are banned to walk about barefoot. They apply make – up and walk around in groups, visit friends and eat locally made cakes. There are several other customs and traditions and flexibility that these young girls enjoy without knowing as much as the crux the festival is premised upon. Some historians and cultural enthusiasts are absolutely clueless about the origin of this festival. However, many have admitted that the seriousness of the festival lies in the fact that people do not actually know why it is being celebrated in the first place.

‘Raja Mahotsava’ or ‘Raja Paraba’ is an annual festival that is dedicated to the celebration of womanhood, fertility and more importantly, menstruation. The word ‘Raja’ comes from ‘Rajaswala’, which actually means menstruating women. It is believed that during this time, mother earth menstruates and hence she must be given respite from work. It is even believed that the rain god/s pours heavily during this time in order to lessen the pain that mother earth undergoes. Unfortunately, this festival is being celebrated among ignorant young girls and hardly any of them even know the basics about it. It is high time they did. When people and mostly young men and women are vocal enough in many Indian cities to talk about menstrual taboos and practices, there is a further requirement for everybody to talk more about it in public spaces. Fathers should make their daughters comfortable enough to discuss these issues with and this should be included in educational curriculum across the country to make both girls and boys aware of things which are natural processes and certainly not taboos.

In most parts of the state, when people annually celebrate womanhood, it is much more welcoming and important indeed to let people know the reasons and importance behind celebrating this festival. Given the many problems when it comes to gender issues in my state, it is now time for everyone to open up about the fact that just like mother earth, every single woman menstruates as well and there is absolutely nothing to hide or be ashamed of!

This Article was first published in Menstrupedia.com

Happily…

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Into the Blue


The clouds and flowing against the wind
The irritating sounds of the diesel engine
The cotravellers and their highness
I was sailing consciously with subconscious mind
I felt indifferent with the little tides
Striking along the boat and giving me Goosebumps

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It roared, the thunder peeped out
The empty bottle of tuborg and kingfisher
Looking at different shades of sunglasses
I thought if i could read the minds
If I could read the hearts
I was sailing with imagination with full of romanticism

Those tall piles of Jhau trees safforning the shore
Those dark blue curves of the water
Those faded black clouds
And white shining sands
I heard someone is calling me
I followed the voice. Into the horizon

She was blushing
May be in love, may be being high
Could see the eye lashes moving ups and downs
It was going to to be dark soon
I see her smiling again
I see her blushing again

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It was chilled..
Better than the beer
Sweeter than the sunset
It was the hope
Being loved being adored
I was blushing I was smiling

I loved the presence of the moment cherished for
Looking at different layers of the cloud
Bluish black and darkish blue skies
Few drop of rains
I wanted to dissolve in the waves
To sail and to enjoy the independence

The unclear foot steps on the sand
Made me realise and convinced my conscience
Life and nature are just realisation
One you live it and one you feel it
You just need to sail yourself being calm, being content

Took a deep breathe
Started realising the difficulty of the narrow path
I choosen knowing its gonna blow up
My fate and my future
My efforts and my intentions
I want to fly high… I want to sail into deep
I want to dissolve with the nature.

Happily…

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Kodak to Canon; My journey to see things differently


I do not remember exactly but it was sometime around when I was in class 6-7. I was quiet active in extracurricular activities and used to win prizes in many competitions. Those days, digital camera had not hit the market. During all those prize distribution ceremony most of the kids would come with their parents and with a camera to click a photo of their child getting prize. That was the time when I got developed the craze of being photographed but I was helpless and I never have a photograph of any award ceremony till 2006 when I got my first camera gifted by my brother-in-law Mr Biswa Bhusan Chhotaray.

KODAK EC 200

It was also a funny incident when the marriage proposal of my sister got confirmed all were happy for the obvious reason but I was happy more than anyone because he was a cinematographer and I could now get a camera gifted. I told my sister Anusruta that I want him to gift me a camera, because he must have loads of camera, which I was perhaps too ignorant of then. However, I got my first camera KODAK EC 200. It was not a digital camera but I kept clicking. My first guide in photography was a friend who is a great artist now Sitaram, who had amazing ideas of photography. No wonder he was amazingly creative then and happens to be a very popular before he joined JJ School of Art. It was a silver color glossy Kodak which I still have and I cherish my memories with the beauty. However, the irony remained same though i had a camera but i had no one to click when i gets prize. However, this made me trying my hands on photography. The journey started with KODAK EC 200.

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Quest to Succeed: A scene at Gopalpur Beach My only Photo which got awarded and i had got Rs 3000 cash prize.

I used to save money to buy reel and get those photos printed.  I still remember I was growing and my craze for a digital camera was increasingly growing. Then it came a time when i took admission in my mass com. I took this as a huge opportunity to buy a camera of my own as I was supposed to apply for study loan. It was Dhenkanal and Indian Institute of Mass Communication and I got a brand new black color Fuji Film HD 1000 Camera. The real journey of color, light, distance, micro, macro everything started with the sexy black beauty whose curves were my weakness those days.

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FUJIFILM

I kept clicking with that for more than 3 years apparently which gave me loads of good names as a photographer, which I never had considered myself neither today I consider. Those days It was like I used to sleep with the camera and it had become my companion. It was very close to my heart still it reminds me those good old days.

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Sometime in 2012

It was a time when it started showing issues and I wanted to upgrade to a DSLR. I had then revived from my joblessness and struggle. However, I wanted a good decent DSLR which could give me both experience of digital photo and video where I can experiment a lot. However, I had no money and I wanted to get it by loan which was a difficult task for me to get it from bank. At the same time I was also saving money , so that I can afford the down payment of a new car which I needed badly as doctor had strictly restricted from riding bike after my ligament tear surgery. However, it was also a fact that i had got the phobia of riding bike. So I wanted to go for a car which I still do not have. One of the sad angle of the story. Anyway, according to the plan, I messaged a lot of people who were very close to me and asked for some money, I had thought I will get small amount of money from these people who won’t ask for it for next 2-3 months. It is worth mentioned that these were the people whom I had helped a lot both in cash and in kind earlier; ever few had borrowed money from me. But not a single person replied and helped. So I had only option to buy either car or camera.

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Canon 550D

For both the thing I needed 50,000 ruppes and only one friend Bikram who still is one of my closest friend borrowed me 10000 rupees and went Narayani Motors. Car was my first priority and that time only Maruti Alto 800 was available with a down payment of 50K. I went inside. Discussed everything and all documents were verified. They took me to show the car and comfort. I get into the car. Sat onto the driver’s seat and I could feel my extra-long legs were touching the steering wheels and it was such a discomfort to people with height. With the stroke of that disappointment my wishes of buying car got scattered and I am yet to have since last 3 years.

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My First Solo open Air Photo Exhibition at Anjali National Children’s Festival in 2012

I came from the Narayani Motors and then immediately headed towards Bapujee Nagar, Spectra Vision. Our very own Prasant Bhai was waiting eagerly with his typical smile. I got the beast CANON 550D wit 18-135 Kit Lens.

Alok Mohanty, is the person who taught me basics of DSLR photography. I owe this to him. In due course i learned a lot of techniques. Starting from Sankar, Sunnil to Raj Sampad a lot of people have influenced me in their work. A lot many people have appreciated my work and i owe them for their constant encouragement. I would like to thank few subjects, who inspired me to click them. Anuradha, Madhu, Puspa these are few of my friends whom i loved to click and some of my best shots have featured their beauty.

The rest is history. I still consider myself an amateur and feel ashamed of saying myself as a photographer. Yes. I am a story teller with visuals. But there are a lot more to learn in photography. But yes, one decision I feel I took right that I never learned Photoshop. Because someone initially had told me Photoshop makes a photo better not a Photographer.

HAPPY PHOTOGRAPHY DAY.

Happily… 

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I share a unique bond with him


In my life, I always see Him walking along holding my hand and showing me the light. It may sound like a miracle but then I have experienced it; the reason why I firmly believe in His existence and feel that I share a secret and special bond with Him.

I remember it was the Bahuda Yatra of 2005. Along with two of my friends Ritesh and Mahesh, I was on a mission to pull the sacred rope of all the three rathas. After Taladhwaja and Darpadalan, we headed towards Nandighosha. The crux of pulling Nandighosha is that, once it starts moving, it stops at its own wish. It is believed that no one has any command over it.

Photo Courtesy : Nigam Patra

Photo Courtesy : Nigam Patra

Over excited and with loads of courage when we headed towards Nandighosha, I looked at the big black eyes from a distance and felt as if those were calling me. I was exhausted by that time as I had also danced for hours with the sankirtana mandalees but looking at Him, I felt re-energised. While pulling the Nandighosha, a mishap took place and there was a stampede. However, Nandighosha kept moving on its own making all the noise. I saw two huge men next to me, almost stepping over three to four middle-aged women who had fallen on the ground and were struggling to escape. I tried my best to lift them up with one hand. Somehow they managed to escape but I fell on the ground. I realised I was a part of the stampede and was being literally dragged on the Grand Road.

My friends tried to help me but in vain. I was lying on the ground. The Nandighosha was still moving and I was almost sure these were my last few moments. I closed my eyes and surrendered myself to the Lord. The next thing I felt was someone trying to wake me up, holding my hands. A few seconds later, when I finally opened my eyes, I found my friends Mahesh and Ritesh lifting me up and the next moment I found myself holding the rope once again. The Nandighosha was still moving at its usual speed, making noises, amidst the chants and sound of the ghanta and I could feel few drops of tears rolling down my eyes. I knew I was reborn.

Photo Courtesy : Debi & Parul

Photo Courtesy : Debi & Parul

There have been many such incidents in my life where I have felt that the Lord has come to my rescue, lending His hand to me. My connection with the Lord, the temple and the festival of Rath Yatra is therefore very special. It can be hardly expressed in words.

My first formal meeting with Him was in 1996, during the last Nabakalebara. Although I was a kid then, I have fond memories of the grand event. It was during that time that I had made Him a friend and though 19 years have passed, our friendship continues. I have been witnessing the Car Festival for more than 18 years now and every time it comes, I feel energised. Last year, I was in Bangalore and there also at the Bangalore Jagannath Temple, I experienced similar feelings. I could almost feel Him, smiling at me, almost telling me, “Wherever you go, my shadow follows.”

As far as changes over the years are concerned, lots of them have taken place but this year is something different. It’s more like a techno-hyped Car Festival! With advanced social media campaign, launching of mobile apps and wi-fi services, the festival seems to be more digitalised this year. At least eight TV channels and other agencies are doing the live broadcast and streaming of Nabakalebara Ratha Yatra this time. But the connection between the devotees and Lord remains the same.

Selfie with the God 🙂

Although the current chaos regarding a few bitter truths that have emerged and the shameless acts of a few individuals that have been brought under limelight have disheartened several devotees like me, what remains same is the excitement and eagerness to see the Lord with the Tahia coming down from the Sri Mandira to sit at the Nandighosa. Be it any controversy or mismanagement, the Rath Yatra will never lose its identity and nothing can stop devotees from coming to the Holy City to immerse in the religious fervor of this grand festival.

All I can say at the end is that if you have ever felt depressed, disheartened or heart-broken, just visit the Shri Mandira. Sit inside the temple in front of the north gate. Look at the Patitapabana. Life will appear simple and resolved. This isn’t spiritualism, this is self-realisation. It’s a belief that He exists.

(Brought up in Puri, Ananta Prasad is a development sector professional who calls himself a Jagannathia. Incidentally, this 26-year-old young guy was recently in limelight for getting a huge tattoo on Nabakalebara done on his back!)


The is the article that got published in My City Links (Tabloid published from BBSR) in is last issue which has a cover story on Nabakalebara and Ratha Yatra 2015.

Happily…

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You own Me


The desire of the whole universe
To see the living lord
Incarnated on own wish
Hey! Lord of the Universe
Show me path to reach you.
Teach me ways to preach you.

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They whispered;
You were dead and was born again
The ignorant crowd, the innocent souls
Hey! Lord of the Universe
Sprinkle away your blessings
Let them feel your existence in their breathe.

I read it in the newspaper
They saw your soul
Even, they touched it
Hey, Lord of the Universe
Let them be in illusions
Let them be the victim of their stupidity.

I see you in the sea
I see you in the sand
I see you every where
Hey! Lord of the Universe
You even exist in the darkness
Of my closed eyes.

The time when I saw life
The time when I saw death
The time when I realised its you
Hey! Lord of the Universe
That thin line of life and death
Is what made me believe on you.

Happily…

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