Page 1

Edition I 1st May 2005 MOMENTS………………. Expressing Emotions


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3


CONTENTS From Bhaina’s (Editor’s) desk............................................................................................ 4 REMEMBERING HER................................................................................................ 10 The Secret Of Lies............................................................................................................. 21 “The Fear Of Being Alive”............................................................................................... 43 SUCCESS RE-TOLD...................................................................................................... 51 BEING PROUD OF WHAT WE ARE......................................................................... 76 The Bond From No-Where............................................................................................... 84 Teddy................................................................................................................................ 92

By MalanchaChakravarty

From Bhaina’s (Editor’s) desk I cannot express my joy seeing this wonderful collection. I have finally managed 4


to create a magazine to my name. Funnily, I have done it without incurring any cost. My writers are either my siblings or friends who have whole heartedly contributed without expecting any returns. Ten years back

me

and my brother tried to have magazine with the name “Family Times�. It never took off due to lack of consistency and efforts on my part. After 10 years the desire to have a collection of thoughts together as a document is still high. The result is phenomenal. I cant foresee a better collection of writing from a pool of writers who are so young in age and experience. MOMENTS is an expression of emotion in all of us. The idea is to put in paper whatever 5


we hold close to our heart. Its more of an inspired writing. I take the privilege of introducing my contributors: Abhishek Mishra: Abhishek is my younger brother. He is classy when it comes to art (music, literature, poems to name a few). He is an Electronics Engineer. His hunger for novels makes his contribution quite unique and special.

He also contributes the only

poem in the magazine. He has helped me in editing some articles too. Subhra Sohini Mishra: She is my cousin sister. She continues her engineering in the 6


same college as mine. She is an avid orator. She is more of an emotional person. Hence, her writing comes straight from heart. She has written a piece similar to mine but with a completely different flavor. Shruti Mishra: She is the younger sister of Subhra. She studies people very closely. This is clearly reflected in her writing. She has many publications in school magazines and newspaper to her credit. She would be completing her 12th standard this year. She had initially given us 24 pages to be typed. With the help of Abhishek, I was able to prune it down and it is a master piece in the magazine. 7


Malancha Chakravarty: She is a friend of mine. She is the guest columnist of our magazine. I am publishing her writings without her permissions for two reasons. One, ideas of a person other than a family member, gives versatility to the magazine. Two, she is superb in expressing her ideas. Her writings mislead one to believe that she is a practicing lawyer. Samyak Mishra: That’s me. It has never been a habit for me to write articles. But somehow, now I have a repertoire of my writings from which I have chosen 4 for this edition of the magazine. I am the oldest of 8


the lot. Personally I cannot judge my own writings and I have tried here not to make the magazine monotonous. I gave all of them a very short notice to write for the magazine. I have typed all the articles myself and tried to edit them too. Still there might be errors which should be ignored. The idea is to preserve the spirit of the article without making many changes. I personally thank each of them for trusting me. As we go forward, I would like to have a publication like this every quarter. And for that we need healthy contributions. One can send

the

entries

to

mishrasamyak@yahoo.com or just drop them at 252-A, Sahid Nagar, Bhubaneswar-7. 9


Hence with the blessings of all the elders and most importantly our grandmother late Smt Netramani Devi, I bring out the first edition of “Moments�. Samyak Mishra REMEMBERING HER It has been 10 years since we lost our grandmother. I have written about her a couple of times earlier too. But today as I sit in my room dated 15th August 2003, without electricity, I am tempted to write about her again. When

I

actually

realized

that

the

spectacled woman, in the white sari was my 10


grandmother, she was well past her sixties. She used to call me “Kuna”,which no one after her does. She was a pious lady and came from a very well to do family. She had lost her husband at a very early age. It had actually taken her lot courage and will power to see her children stand on their own feet. She was never short of grand children. Before I was born, she was a proud granny of 12 others. But the fact that I was the eldest son of her eldest son, made me special. She was proud of me. After every exam, she would give me Rupees 2/- for an ice cream. The money was meagre, but the fact that you don’t have to ask it to your parents, and your grandmother gives you ungrudgingly, was a 11


great feeling. It was a feeling of getting pampered. But I was not always pampered. There were times, when she would lock me inside rooms when I would be adamant. But there also were times, when dad would give me a good bashing; I in return would revolt and sleep in bed without food. Always “Bou�, I fondly called her so did my parents, would come, wake me up and make me eat. I always knew she would, and she always did. It unfortunately stopped, after she died. One thing really special about Bou was that she used to read a lot. It would start in the morning with the Oriya newspaper, and end in the afternoon with a novel. She had once told me that she was very fortunate 12


that both her mother as well as her mother-inlaw read a lot. And they encouraged her to study too. Honestly I can perfectly count in Oriya because of her. My grandmother came from a very conservative family. My great grandfather, her father-in-law was a celebrated Sanskrit scholar of his time. He was highly respected. Our family God in Puri was Durga. It is said that we used to have one of the most famous Durga Puja rituals in our family. I have not seen that. But I have seen my grandmother worshiping our deities in our house in Bhubaneswar. It was a very unique exercise which she performed daily.

13


Every morning, after taking bath, she would enter the puja room with flowers, Prasad and water in a brass pot (“kalash�). She would start with washing all the deities one by one, all the while chanting Sanskrit slokas all through. She would put sandalwood paste and flowers on all of them. Then she would light the lamp, the candle stick and begin the puja. Soon the entire house would ring with the hand bell. She held the hand bell in left hand, lamp in the right hand and would continue worshipping the deities one by one. Among all the deities I liked one very much. When I was very small, I would come running when Puja began, and ask her to show the miniature Hanuman idol. I never 14


knew why I liked it, but it always looked lively to me as if it too wanted me to appreciate it. It is still there in our home and is regularly worshipped. But it seems to me like an antique, probably because the person who adored the deities so much is no longer there. I would always pester my grandmother to finish the puja soon, so that I could play with her and listen to Ramayana the 150th time. She would bribe me by saying that if she did not finished the puja, I wont get the prasad. I would be silent. When the puja got over, I would devour it with one go. Today very few would believe when I say that the manner in which the month of 15


Karthik (a ritual) was observed in our house was quite unique. During the entire month, a special meal was cooked daily for dinner. No non-vegetarian including onion and garlic entered our house. Our kitchen got allotted to Bou and there she cooked the rice and the white dal which is called “habisa�. After the cooking was over, she would close the kitchen and offer the food first to God. This exercise was very unique and I made it a point that I was inside the kitchen with her. She would make 4 small circles with chalk and rice powder, place 4 small banana leaves on the circles and put on all of them a small amount of rice and the white dal. Next she would perform the puja and would also be 16


the first person to eat. Interestingly enough, I ate the contents of the small banana leaves. It tasted amazing and I can say for certain that its one of the most unique recipes that I have ever eaten. Such was the popularity of “Habisa� Bou cooked, that I would not be boasting if I say that 20 people eating in our house was a daily feature. Today, when I look back, I am awestruck so are people whom I say that food for 20 was cooked on a daily basis. My mother is a classical singer. I don’t know how much of music Bou understood. And

considering

her

very

orthodox

upbringing and lifestyle it was a great thing for her to appreciate Ma singing in a movie, 17


radio or traveling to places for performances. I distinctly remember, Ma was performing in an auditorium and Bou suddenly raised her hand in the most serene way as if giving Ma all the luck and wishes world could give. Bou was the grandmother of the entire locality where we lived. I can write pages about her without stopping. I used to sleep beside her. There would be times when she would proudly speak of her Guru who had given her the Bhagwad Gita, about her in laws house in Puri, her youngest brother or about my grandfather who was a doctor. She breathed her last 10 years ago. But she is still as vivid in my memory as ever. To be honest, all her grandchildren owe their health to her. 18


She did not miss any opportunity to rub oil on all of us, when we were babies. And today every time I enter the puja room I remember her. I remember all those wonderful moments I have spent with her. I wish I could worship the deities with as much care as she used to. I fail. A lot has changed. Bou died of lungs cancer. This small piece is not homage to her. It’s just to remember a very special person in my life. I have never heard her speak ill of anyone. Probably that’s what made her very unique and special. “Bou”, I thank God that she gave me you as my grandmother. 19


Samyak Mishra 15th Aug 2003

20


The Secret Of Lies “I am going to become a bollywood actress”, declared Jema amidst a roar of laughter from my classmates. The idea of ugly Jema in bollywood was difficult to digest.

But

Jema

looked

at

us

with

reproachful eyes. “I know you all think that I can’t become a heroine as I have dark complexion. But remember, there are many dark, yet successful actresses in bollywood.” She stormed out of the room, throwing a mysterious glance at me. Once again the class broke into fits of laughter. That day as I walked beside her while returning from school, she was very quiet and 21


looked very sad. On my asking, she told me that she had never expected me to laugh with the other girls. I tried to console her by many false explanations. But she did not look convinced. I never admitted or liked to admit the fact, but in my heart of hearts, I knew she was one of my best friends. Jema was a tribal girl, whose father was a telephone operator in Bhubaneswar. She was neither good looking nor rich. In fact, to be brutally frank, she was down right poor. But because of the difficult conditions in which she grew up, she had developed a craving to become rich and famous like a film actress. She would always talk about recent movie releases, stars, clothes and about the 22


glittering world of cinema. She would also boast of her acting potential being better than most actresses. Whenever she had bought a new dress, it always resembled the dress worn by a star in a film. She would also tell about her rich Santa Clause like uncle who used to buy her presents and about her luxurious

stay

in

his

mansion

in

Bhubaneswar. I knew all these were damn lies, for Jema never had more than two nice dresses and her Santa Clause uncle was a figment of her active imagination. I knew she told me all these lies, because I often told her about my spending the holidays

at

Puri,

at

my

maternal 23


grandmother’s house and at Bhubaneswar, at my uncle’s house. For a little tribal girl, staying

at

a

small

town

like

Jatni,

Bhubaneswar and Puri were like dream cities. But she never wanted to accept, that I was in better than her in any field. So she would always resort to lies to outshine me. And that in turn compelled me to tell her a fresh set of lies, like our owning a “Black Tiger Car”, although I did not know whether such a car ever existed. Both of us were aware of the others lies, but still we enjoyed them. And strangely these lies brought us closer to each other. As days passed, and we grew up, we could not spend much time together as we 24


used to, but our friendship remained intact despite many temporary breakups, quarrels and misunderstanding. But gradually our lies were getting replaced by some harsh realities. One day Jema came to my house, but instead of the usual small talk, she started telling me about the financial strain her family was under. Her father had begun drinking and had become a terror to her mother. Her younger siblings were not studying properly. She was both a parent and sister to them and she had herself admitted them into school. I could clearly recognize and understand the frustration in her voice and the precarious position she was in. Then she told me about 25


this uncle who stayed at their house but was in no way her relation. He was a bus driver and whenever he got leave from his work, he came to stay at their house. Her father hated him; she herself hated him and suspected his intentions. But her mother had a soft corner for him. That day I saw a deep-rooted but unspoken anguish in her eyes, which I had never seen before. I did not know how to console her. She did not look filmy that day; rather

she

looked

very

practical

and

responsible. I had always seen Jema as an extremely ambitious, carefree, adamant and plain looking girl who always used to dream big. I realized the other side of her character that day. 26


But the next day, she was the same old Jema again. She had the same smile on her lips and the same twinkle in her eyes and the same sort of dreamy look. It was difficult for me to understand the sudden swing in her mood. One black day, I came to know from Anjali that Jema had spoken not so kind words about me. I wanted to hit back at her. When she started to talk about movies, I interrupted her and said –“Jema it’s high time, you must realize that unless you study, you won’t pass the exams. You should become

responsible

now,

seeing

the

deplorable condition of the family. Glamour is not everything in life. And when there are 27


so many beautiful girls in this world, why would they make an ugly person like you a heroine”. I felt elated seeing the pain in her eyes. After a while Jema spoke quietly-“I know that I am not beautiful, but I want to feel that I am. I know I can never become an actress, but no one can stop me from dreaming can they? These dreams and fancies, give me happiness which I have failed to find in my real life. Accepting the truth will make my life more miserable. I want to live my life in my own way. And you will see that I live it”. And she ran away in tears. I was taken aback at this philosophy of hers- See the truth but don’t accept it, be 28


happy when there are things to make you dejected. Till date I have not understood this. Then we moved to Bhubaneswar, and I lost touch with her. But I heard from friends that she had passed the class 10 board exams with poor marks and had got admitted in RD Women’s college in Bhubaneswar. One day she came down to my house and we once again relived old memories together. But I could not bring myself to ask her about her father and the condition of her family, as she looked happy. But I wondered whether she had stopped dreaming. But she shattered all my hopes. She pointed me to her hand bag and asked if I had seen a similar one in a recently released movie. 29


One year later I heard Jema’s voice at the door. But on opening the door I was shocked to find a short young lady with dark complexion, tight jeans, skin fitting top, dangling ear rings and black boots. She had even dyed her hair with Burgundy. I exclaimed- “Oh my God, Jema you look extremely different”. She blushed. She told me that she was in Bhubaneswar because her father had been admitted to hospital. Excess of alcohol in his body had made his heart and lungs very weak. She told me in a very casual voice that, anything could happen now and she was prepared for the worst. I just could not believe her words. Her father was in hospital 30


and she could still afford to dress so lavishly. But when I looked at her carefully, I discovered the truth. Her hair had become grey on which dye had been applied. Her nails were broken and chipped, enamel had been applied on them. Her face was full of pimples and her cracked skin was concealed by jeans. It was once again clear to me, that she was trying to ignore the truth. She continued talking in a calm voice. “You know my younger sisters and brothers have again failed in exams and that uncle has become a permanent source of nuisance for me. I feel like committing suicide. But I would never do it “. When I started to console her, she changed the topic and said in 31


a flippant voice – “Actually I have come here to withdraw some money from the bank. I have joined a dance group and I am now working in Oriya album songs. I am going to Chennai with my dance group to perform in a few days time.” She rose to go. A certain desire caught hold of me. I wanted to stop her, advise her, guide her and tell her that whatever

she

was

doing

was

not

a

respectable thing. She should study so that she gets a job at least. But then I thought who am I to advise her? She probably herself knows that she is in the wrong. But at least she is happy; that happiness, which she could not get from life, as she was not endowed with beauty, intellect or luck. I could not get 32


angry with her. I knew she would again be back with her tall stories again. I don’t know whether our friendship will stand the test of time, or whether feelings of superiority and inferiority are going to destroy it for ever. I don’t know what future awaits me and my friend, but I only know one thing, I will never forget to pray to God to keep that carefree, ambitious, enthusiastic, yet responsible and brave spirit alive in her forever. Shruti Mishra April2004

33


Book-O-Mania Whenever nostalgia transports me back to those

days,

when

my

innocence

was 34


complete, I always see myself sitting unobtrusively in a corner with a book in my hand, even though a party may be in full swing around me. Sometimes I fail to recognize myself as that serious looking boy in those thick rimmed glasses. I was introvert to the extent of being highly unsocial, someone

whose

countenance

changes

depended upon the stories he was reading, not his surroundings. I now wonder what I could have seen in those books, those larger than life characters. Could I relate to those characters? Could I envisage myself in the role of an Edmund Dante taking revenge on his enemies, or a DArtagnan riding to the rescue of the king? 35


Or was it only my disappointment with the realities of life which encouraged me to get lost in an imaginary world where I could be the protagonist and where I knew everything would be alright in the end. Perhaps it was a mixture of both. Anyway enough about a book worm turned amateur author. I simply adore books. In a lonely place where you have nothing better to do, having a book beside you is the second best thing (the best thing is to have a girl beside you, of course!!). Books are those loadstones which give a definite direction to a person’s life. Let me cite some examples. When a person reads the “Little Women� he rediscovers his love for the family. If a 36


person chances upon a copy of “Pride and Prejudice”, he realizes the common human fallacies of ego and unjustified prejudice against somebody. And if you read a book like the “Don Quixote” you come to revere the indomitable human spirit. And for you lovesick morons out there, romantic novels like “Gone with the wind”, “Vanity Fair” which celebrate love. Anyway the point I am trying to emphasize is that almost all books leave an indelible mark on your personality. There are various types of books. A broad classification would be fiction and nonfiction. Fiction can again be of various types

37


like short stories, novels and also classics and best sellers. From time immemorial the classiest and best seller readers have never seen eye to eye. I don’t want to get embroiled in controversies although I have read and appreciated books from both genre. In my book enthusiast’s heart, I believe there are only two types of books, good and bad and nothing else. Fiction can again be a thriller, a fantasy, a love story, a tragedy, a satire or sometimes like the writings of yours truly, totally pointless. One can always say that books are only as good as their authors. Only a good author can 38


turn a drab and boring story like that of “Old Man and The Sea” into a master piece. And the opposite can be said of a less competent writer. So, I have listed down five authors whose writings, I find remarkable and enjoyable to say the least. • AYN RAND According to me, she is the highest intellectual among all the authors I have ever read.

Her

controversial

philosophy

of

objectivism which preaches selfishness and egotism may be a little hard to swallow for some, but the way she has justified them in books

like

“fountainhead”

and

“Atlas

Shrugged” is simply brilliant. • JULES VERNE 39


She was one of the visionaries of her time. She lived in a time, when people had newly discovered that the world is not flat. So one has to appreciate the fact that, her novels were eons ahead of their times, be it “The 20000 Leagues under the sea”, “Around the World In Eighty Days etc”. • ALISTAIR MACLEAN I like him for his inimitable style of writing a thriller and who is so graphic in his description that it feels as if one is watching a movie. Although some may label him as a best seller author, I would beg to differ, since his language is very prim and proper, in short very English. • JK ROWLING 40


Don’t

say

this

self

proclaimed

book

enthusiast is not acting his age. I don’t feel ashamed in admitting that I love her “Harry Potter” series. In my defense, I would only state that it is very difficult to imagine and create such an endearing character like Harry Potter and dwell on taboo subjects for children like ghosts, goblins, witches etc. • SAKI / O HENRY I cannot distinguish between my love for both these authors, so I have clubbed them together. Saki for his sardonic black humor, satire, and for his creation of the remarkable character “Clovis”. I like O Henry for his impeccable idea of comedy, in human emotions and follies. Both these writers have 41


written innumerable short stories, many of which have been adapted to various plays and films. My editor has been threatening to cut my long tail short, for the last ten lines. Anyway, my intention is not to showcase myself as a very well read intellectual (which I am by the way!!!). This article has been written entirely to initiate those unguided souls who are yet to discover the magic of books into book reading. I hope I have succeeded in this to some extent. Abhishek Mishra April2004

42


“The Fear Of Being Alive” I have been thinking a lot about how nature plays its nasty games of destruction. Well its really sad, rather horrifying that after two days of the Tsunami disaster that stuck South Asia, we are still not clear as to what the final numbers of death would be, they simply keep on mounting. Today we boast of science having reached heights where in we control the earth, the skies and the seas. When Jules Verne wrote “Around the world in eighty days”, it was a challenge for people to travel all over the world. Today connectivity is absolutely amazing and if Jules Verne would have been alive she would have re-coined the 43


name as “Around the world in the number of days you desire�. Well talking about the skies, we have had successes to Mars, Venus, moon and what not. Seas had been conquered long back. Expeditions by Christopher Columbus, the great East India Company to name a few have been immortalized by our history books. So the point is, today we are in position where in we have succeeded in conquering the land, water and skies. Have we actually? I am actually confused. In our ancient Vedas, it is said that when Sristhi (life) began, God created prithvi (earth) sampurn (full of) jal (water) and bayu (air). This was a gift from 44


God as without water or air, life could never exist. But as always, God made man vulnerable to all these. Scriptures say that God wanted man to conserve all these natural resources and not to take it for granted. Hence whenever prosperity of man kind lead to arrogance and indiscipline, earth showed its fury by earthquakes, volcanoes, avalanche and landslide; air showed its fury by cyclones, tornadoes; and water by storms and floods. Such was the wrath of these wonderful gifts of Gods that they never came alone, and that’s what made devastation more horrifying. A quake would be followed by a hurricane or a cyclone would be followed by floods. And such was the impact of all these 45


natural calamities that humans questioned the gift of life by God. History records of civilizations being wiped out by natural calamities and there was always an immense damage to man and property. It is believed that Dinosoraus were wiped by a natural calamity, Indus Valley civilization by an earth quake, Dwarka the kingdom of Lord Krishna is still believed to be inside water. And all these beliefs have been corroborated by facts. When we dig, we find a Nalanda university, simply means that the level of earth 1000 years back was much lower than what it is today. When divers get a silver conch, it simply proves the fact that

46


there was something below, which has been covered with water now. Today when I see the footage of Tsunami striking Indonesian coast and dead-bodies floating all around, I don’t doubt that there would be some part of Srilanka island or the Andamans which will be completely under water and 100 years hence some divers may find something which he would comprehend in his own way as we do today about Dwarka or Indus valley civilization. I have been witness to one of the worst nature made disaster- the super cyclone in 1999 which struck Orissa. Bhubaneswar, the capital city of the state was without electricity or connectivity for 10 days. This 47


was minimal compared to the 100s of villages that were wiped off or thousands of people who died. We all love nature. Poets talk about their beauty and have articulated well about how it makes our heart dance to the blue sea waves dancing to the tunes of nature. It is always easy to describe beauty and dreams, but when reality slaps on our face, as in suddenly the sea recedes and then comes back with a wave which is 10 floor high and takes with it, men jogging on the sea beach, women sleeping, children playing, it’s a different story altogether. I pray for the well-being of the all those fortunate like us to be have alive and not 48


witness to such catastrophic calamity. Let the souls of all those who died rest in peace. SamyakMishra (28th Dec 2004)

49


50


SUCCESS RE-TOLD So often I have been asked by many to write something while I truly lack the motivation. Hence it is for them that I put on pen and paper my experiences of September 2000 when I had been on a trip to Bhopal to be recruited by the Indian Army. It was during the sixth semester that out of a total strength of 100 students from my college, I was among the 15 selected to appear before the Services Selections Board (S.S.B) of Indian army. We had been asked to report at Bhopal. My batch had 5 boys from my college. 51


After a tiring train journey, we arrived in Bhopal at around 2.00 o’clock in the afternoon. An army bus was waiting for us in the railway station. Soon 35 others joined us in the bus. All of them had come for SSB. The army cantonment was on a hill top, on the outskirts of the city. It was surrounded by lush green trees all around. The buildings were more like cottages, each complete a gate and garden. The testing center was a huge cordoned area and it had at its back drop a huge mountain overlooking the campus. The piece would not be complete if I don’t draw the SSB testing center.

52


RanaPratap Dorm

R R

Rani Jahnsi Dorn

MESS

P A T Rest Rooms H G CNTN R A V TEST ROOMS E OFFICE ROOMS

PHYSICAL Test GROUND

The Rani Jhansi Dorm was for girls and we boys stayed in the Rana Pratap Dorm. “DISCIPLINE” was the keyword for us during our stay at the campus. Despite our inherent instincts to get to know the girls, we had to restrain ourselves for fear of being driven out. We got our first taste of discipline when we arrived at the mess 5 minutes late for tea and the

mess manager fired us 53


saying-“ there is no place for people late in life�. The next day was critical as those who would qualify would stay, the rest would be sent back. To me nothing could be more horrible than being sent back in disgrace within 24 hours of my arrival. I was perhaps the only one who did not even know what to expect in the tests. However, I knew I had to keep calm and let things take their own course. We started the day with two written tests, followed by a psychometric test and group discussion. The written and psychometric tests were ok. I think the turning point was the group discussion. We were asked to 54


discuss on a blurred image shown to us. The image was that of a hut and something burning behind it. Most of my friends described it as the aftermath of bombing where in a hut was burning (something that goes very well with the context!!). For me, an eternal optimist, it was a depiction of a normal hut in a village and the fire behind it might be smoke from cooking of a special meal (here again, my penchant for food had its say!!!). I won and won handsomely with my logic. Out of 39, 9 stayed and I was among the lucky ones. But I could not be complacent as I knew that the difficult days were yet to come. A little about our daily life in the army 55


• You cannot come out of your room without full trousers on • Room-lights have to be switched off at 10.00PM sharp, failing which a barrage of unrefined abuses would follow. • Break fast till 6.30AM, Lunch till 12.30 and Dinner till 8.30PM, each of one hour duration. • If you are out of the army campus, be sure to be back by 8.00PM, otherwise you have the entire city to go but not the army cantonment. • The most important mandate: Boys can’t talk to girls and vice-versa, inside the testing center. Hence people would coolly walk out of the gate, talk as if they had 56


known each other for ages, and when it’s over, would walk back, behaving like absolute strangers. Among the nine of us who went through the next 4 days, I was the least experienced when it came to an Army interview. I had never appeared in any before. I was quite content in knowing nothing as it was entirely a new experience for me. Besides, I came from a family where there was no precedent of getting into the army. Hence I used to ask Surjeet whose dad was a Lt Colonel about the tests on the following day. He would explain to me about what to do. In short I used to play a One-day match and fun of not 57


knowing what to expect brought in me some sincere and honest effort to do well The psychological and Logical written tests went of ok. I still remember when I was shown a blank picture and asked to write a story on it, I wrote about OM (ли) and its essence in our Hindu culture. I did well in the personal interview with the Lt Colonel. I simply bared my heart out, spoke about the beauty of life, my small triumphs, my great experiences and my idols in life. I succeeded in spinning nice stories around all these and succeeded in marketing myself all through. Unfortunately, it was during the first day of the physical tests that I felt absolutely frustrated as all the others displayed their 58


leadership qualities and devised strategies to cross the hurdles. I was a silent spectator. I managed to cross the hurdles but my team did not win. My problem was entirely in my attitude. I was thought of as a cool non assertive guy, so the rest always took the lead.

I

was

so

disappointed

by

my

performance that when the colonel us asked to rate our performances, I rated mine as the worst. In the evening, I called up dad and told him that there was no way they would recruit me. There was something wrong in my attitude and I simply could not assume the role of a leader. Dad had a one line answer, which rarely comes out these days.

59


”You have done quite well till now, and enjoy whatever you do”. The next day was the last day of the physical tests and it was the toughest. One had to individually cross the hurdles and as a leader lead others to cross the hurdles too. I knew this was my last chance to prove myself, but something else was uppermost in my mind. This was the last day of enjoying myself in the Indian army. I had been given a lavish treatment all through, I had my shoes polished, clothes washed, tea served in bed and had been called a “sahib”. I felt that I should not bother about failure on the final day as I was there to enjoy. I had great fun and I give the entire credit to colonel who 60


was

our

evaluator.

I

remember

his

words-“take everything as a game�. I did just that. And I could not believe myself and till date I cannot. I climbed a huge Banyan tree which would make monkeys proud, I swung like a Tarzan from a height of 20 feet, crossed a double ditch, and walked confidently the commando walk. I was at my competitive best. I crossed 10 hurdles in 2 minutes which was quite amazing by my standards. I had finished 4 days of grueling tests in the Indian Army on a spirited note. They

say

I

was

tested

logically,

psychologically, and physically, but I knew they had actually tested my level of patience, 61


will power, attitude towards life and most importantly my spirit. To be fair to statistics, in the four days, I had three group discussions, 2 debates, 3 interviews, 3 rounds of physical tests, apart from 10 written tests. I had thoroughly enjoyed my first and the only stint with Indian Army. I knew these 4 days had been the most crucial ones in my life. It had transformed a person like me, to stand out to challenges. It had made a happy-golucky man like me to reach out to a level which would make him proud forever. I never bothered about the final results as in my heart of hearts I thanked the Indian Army for giving me the opportunity to prove

62


myself and to compete on a national platform. On the day when the results were to be announced, I had the final interview; where a panel of 9 interviewed us. These were the same people who had evaluated us separately in logical, psychological and physical tests. I was asked just one question and that was –“Do you have any advice or feedback to give to the Indian Army”. I said that I would like more publicity to be given to the various entry schemes of the Indian Army, as unlike the northern states we didn’t have an army culture in the parts I came from. I wanted more people to come and experience the 4 days of challenges. The next was a moment I 63


could never forget in life. The chairman of the interview board came to me, extended his hand and said “Welcome to Indian Army�. The world was at my feet, I was part of the Indian Army.

Everyone in the interview

panel shook hands with me and repeated the same golden words, which till date rings in my ears. When I was returning home by train, I cherished each and every moment of those four days. I remembered how I was late for dinner and ran straight to the ladies dormitory by mistake. Fortunately I did not get caught. I remembered how the same guy, who had abused us for arriving late for tea,

64


saluted me and started giving me extra special treatment after my selection. I wanted blow my trumpet and tell everyone in train that I have got through Indian Army. If per chance I was lucky, people would give me a great smile and ask me to help them with their luggages, when they heard that I was with the Indian Army. Finally When I reached Bhubaneswar, early in the morning, I found my dad waiting for me at the railway station. He gave a broad smile and said-“Welcome Home Captain�. I could never join the Indian Army, despite being invited to join the Indian Military

Academy,

Dehradun.

But

the 65


experiences, challenges and most importantly memories of SSB will remain with me forever. Samyak Mishra July2004

66


67


Elegy

of

a

broken

heart

She came into the room like a breath of fresh air She was followed by many a stare I fell in love with her then and there When she did not even glance at me I felt life isn’t fair I was smitten hard with her as were dozen others I then appreciated how a lover suffers I told her my heart with many stutters 68


But she smiled and called me her prince and the rest paupers Then started those golden days It was just like those romantic plays Romeo was I with Juliet by my side I looked at those rest losers and my chest swelled with pride All good things don’t last I know But I never thought that into my summer would fall snow Winning a bet is a good thing no doubt But in Las Vegas, not over a heart not so stout

69


She won the money I won the ridicule She did not even give me a second glance and I felt like a fool I took to drinking day in and day out I started looking like a lout One day another woman entered my life I wanted to make her my wife What turn did my life then take? I will tell about that in my next poem about heartbreak.

70


Abhishek Mishra Feb 2005

Breeze This story is going to be different ...different in the sense, it wont talk about the heroic deeds of any “giant� gladiator nor about any lovely little girl who was rescued by her 71


“prince charming” nor it talks about all those fairies and angels who change the lives of poor and helpless people with their magic sticks and chants. Right at the heart of a city there used to be a small house. It was white, neat and peaceful. No one used to live in that house but still it was clean, it was new. The house was SPECIAL and the specialty was a breeze … the unseen angel of God. Nobody knew her name, nobody thought about her but everybody enjoyed her pleasantness. She used to cast a sweet magic spell on every soul irrespective of whether it’s a human or a plant or even a caterpillar. Yes !! even a caterpillar ... how strange it seems when one sees an ugly spiky worm changing into a 72


beauty of colors. The very thought that an ugly

insect

like

a

caterpillar

can

metamorphose into such a beauty cant just go away without triggering some kind of reaction in you. Let me continue the story in the words of the caterpillar. “I was a caterpillar occupying an insignificant part of the garden in front of the house‌ it was my home. My mother, with lot of care, had put me there inside my pupa where I slept for quite a long time. One stormy night my pupa got blown away by a sudden strong wind and I landed on a green leaf of a rosemary tree. I was ugly, timid with spikes all over my body and those always used to put others in trouble. People ridiculed 73


me, hated me, and avoided me … for obvious reasons. Still then there was one with whom I could share everything … the magical breeze. She always used to tell me that things will change they wont be the same for ever… and ultimately the day came when truly things were on the churn. Strange things happened one night when my spiky skin fell off my body and I became beautiful, colorful soft and on top everything God gave me wings … everything changed my entire world was dancing to the tunes of nature and at the same time people’s attitude towards me changed. Change change change so many changes it created such a havoc in my mind and body. I kept on laughing dancing and 74


singing the entire day with my one only partner…my sweetest breeze. That night, mom came in my dream and told me “never forget your bad days my child and always remember that basically u are a caterpillar”. Malancha Chakraborty March 2005

75


BEING PROUD OF WHAT WE ARE I don’t know what made me coin this name. Hopefully by the end of the piece, it will make sense. It has been close to 4 years since I last took the staircases of ITER, my engineering college. Ours was officially the 76


second batch of the college. But for reasons more than one, we were actually the first batch. I still remember, we were all very apprehensive, when we started our career in this little-known institute. We started in a humble 3 storied red building in Saheed Nagar. To be honest, I felt shy to show it to my friends who made it through great campuses such IITs, BITs, RECs. I could not make it to these institutes and had to make the best of what I had got, rather than brooding over what I did not have. However, to our credit, we managed and managed rather well. We had our share of struggles and frustrations, but never lost hope. I still remember, during the third year, due to space 77


constraints,

electrical

and

electronics

departments moved to another building. We had to do our computer labs in Saheed Nagar, and then in the hot afternoon sun, rush to Bomikhal for electronics/Electrical labs. What flourished most was a series of Xerox shops both in Sahid Nagar (main building) and Bomikhal. Time went by and with the final year round the corner, a big question loomed large over our heads. We were a new college, but could it be possible for a few companies to come to our institute for recruitment? In my heart of hearts, I prayed for just one opportunity. Opportunity came, but it was not an IT company, instead it was our own 78


Indian Army

which came to recruit

engineers. After a tiring interview session, they short listed only 15 of us to appear before the SSB (Services Selection Board) in Allahabad and Bhopal. It came as a big surprise for me as I had never imagined that I would be fighting out for a position in the Army I got through. It was one of the greatest moments in my life. I had become the first person from ITER to get a job and I was in the 6th semester. But my happiness was shortlived as I realized I could never complete the 8th semester exams before the scheduled joining at the Indian Military Academy. I blamed it on the system, most importantly the 79


callous attitude of Utkal University, which held semester exams at its sweet will. When we were in 8th semester, luckily for us some companies visited our campus. There was a resentment mong my fellow class mates when I participated in the placement process of these companies. To be fair to them, they thought since I already had a job in the Army, I should be considerate towards them. Unfortunately, they never could realize that I mine was a lost case. Thus, it was amidst a lot of bad-blood that I got through a company called Silverline Technology. They picked just two out of 90, and I was one of the lucky ones. I was not that happy. Still I was luckier than many 80


others who were yet to be placed. But luck is a fickle friend which I soon realised. It was the year 2001 and there was a global IT slowdown. People were coming back jobless from USA. We too faced the wrath. Many companies cancelled the offers, and many postponed the date of joining. I was in the second category. I lost all hope. But again lady luck smiled on me and I along with three others from ITER got through Xavier

Institute

of

Management,

Bhubaneswar. But the connection with ITER never stopped till August 2001. I was attending my MBA classes and at the same coming back to ITER for my 8th semester exams, thanks again to Utkal University. 81


Lot has changed in these 4 years since I left. Now there is a full fledged campus to be really proud of, a technical university holding engineering exams, the courses have been revised and more than anything else, the college has grown in stature over these nine years. Now it is very well known in the state, but the challenge is to make it known to the rest of the world. And this can only happen, if we feel proud of being ITERians. This may be asking too much from my friends. May be, by studying in ITER one has not gained much. But one can never remove the name of the college as long as one is there in the corporate world. So the need of the hour is to put our best foot forward and paint a 82


picture which would market the brand ITER. The onus is on all of us, the alumni and most importantly the current batches. Finally I would like to quote what Prof Dhir had once told the entire class and which has influenced me till date. “Try to do something in these four years that you will be proud of, and which you will cherish for ever”. I would rather those four years as an important phase of life. Enough opportunities will come our way, we need to be patient and make the best of the given opportunities. It doesn’t matter whether we study in an ITER or IIT, we have the spark in us to make a difference anywhere we go. And we must really feel proud about it. 83


Samyak Mishra (This article was written for engineering society magazine) The Bond From No-Where No one knows from where she came. No one can guess the way she entered our lives. She was not even related to us by blood. I do not know when she came and became a part and parcel of our family. But mother tells me that since my very infancy, I had been nurtured by her. I still remember when I was a little girl and mother would be out on duty, she would be my sole companion for hours

84


together. Even when mother returned, her watchful eyes would never be far from me. When I grew up, and began to understand the things around me, I always found her near me. After the birth of my younger sister, she would nurture me with equal care and her loving attention towards me would not be anything less. Even after growing up, whenever I got disheartened or disturbed, it was she who used to cheer me up. When I cried, she calmed me down. Whenever my Ma and papa scolded me or I got a beating from them, it was she who would come to my rescue. She was the lady who used to spend hours at the front gate whenever I got late in 85


coming back home from college. I still wonder why she thought so much about others. This lady clad in white with a serene loving face, was our “Bou”. I remember, when I had typhoid, Bou would be silently weeping and sitting beside me, all throughout the night. I cannot say how old she was, because to me she was my ever active Bou. “Bou” in Oriya means “mother”, and she felt proud to be addressed as “Bou”. She had no children of her own. But she never felt sorry for that, my mother once told me that she used to be a very rich lady once, the wife of a Zamindar. But after her husband died, she left everything and came to Puri to 86


my maternal grand father’s house, never to go back again. My mother was six months old then, and from that time till her death, she never got separated from my mother, as if my mother was her life. People say education widens one’s mental horizon; I would say that even illiterates can have better hearts and better minds. This has been demonstrated to us by Bou. Her heart encompassed all love and affection of the world. She received little, but gave more. She did not have any ambition except seeing people around her happy. There was a special kind of relationship between my younger sister and Bou. My younger sister was her soul. Sometime when 87


she got all the attention, I used to feel jealous. Now I wonder how I used to become so mean and narrow-minded. Her morning started at 4.30am. After taking a bath and offering her prayers to lord Jagganath, she used to prepare food for us. Every dish prepared by her, was no less a delicacy. She was the best cook of the world for me. Surprisingly, she ate very little herself; but she felt in feeding others. Bou used to say “If you don’t eat then how would you get strong”? If we asked her the same, she would reply-“If I don’t eat, then how do I live”? I still remember the day when Maa’s, transfer order came, Maa was transferred to a 88


place in Jharkand. Bou’s reaction was quite surprising. I thought, she would weep. But instead, she became silent and said- “perhaps God wants to test our patience. So what if your mother will go away. I am your mother”. And from that day, she became our mother also. Today when I look back, I wonder that she had turned 80 then. And we could not even know. To my father Bou was like his mother. Whenever Papa was late in returning home, Bou would be standing at the gate, weeping and praying. Many a times I had thought of writing something about Bou, when she was with us. But now she is no more there. Whenever I 89


use the word dead for her, my heart does not agree. Eight months ago, on 12th August 2004, she closed her eyes, never to open again. Bou who used to tell us that she would never die, had died that day. I think lord Jagganath took her away. People say that one suffers a lot before she dies. Bou died peacefully. She did not suffer at all. It is said –“Blood is thicker than water”. But she disproved it. She was saintly. She was an embodiment of sacrifice and true love. My paternal grandmother died when I was very young. But Bou never made me feel that I had lost her.

90


Today when she is no more there, I want to tell her-Bou, wherever I go, whatever I do, you will always be there to guide me. You will there in my heart and soul every second and every moment. Subhra Sohini Mishra April 2004

91


Teddy It was exactly four in the afternoon when the little one jumped up from her bed and came running to the balcony. She was wearing a small red frock with yellow dots on it. Holding tightly the tall grating of her balcony she waited eagerly for her big sister. Just then one big blue bus stopped by the lane and a little girl in a white tunic with a red belt came running inside the lane. The moment those eyes caught her sister’s image an instinctive smile brightened up the small face. The indescribable pleasure inside the two little hearts was beyond the comprehension of the so called grownups. It’s another day in school and the big sister has refilled her 92


basket of stories with new events and experiences to amuse her little doll. Big sis came home running, washed her hands (as taught by her mom), took her kid sis on her back and the two got engrossed in their own way of playing. Initially when she was born, big sis wasn’t at all happy. Unhappiness was because of obvious reasons. She couldn’t see her mom for two weeks, nobody at home talked to her properly, nobody at home listened to her patiently, nobody stitched the eyes of her teddy, and nobody cared for her, she felt neglected. One day when she was totally disgusted with all these and was sobbing silently holding the torn out but 93


beloved teddy tightly, dad came and took her in his lap. She could no more keep the deep sorrow within her little heart. She asked “what’s this all about? Why ma isn’t coming home”, and why isn’t she stitching her teddy’s eyes?? Dad told her something which she never forgot. He said “ma will come with a new teddy and that will have real eyes…. and that will play with you for the rest of your life!!! You just have to wait for some more days”. Then one day her dad took her to the hospital where her mom was sleeping. She wanted to talk to ma, so many things were there to tell her, so many allegations to make, but dad stopped her. He took her to the other 94


side of the room where there was a small cot and inside it was a baby. Dad said “that’s your new teddy”. But truly speaking she didn’t like that one. It was dirty, wrapped up in a cloth; eyes were closed and lacked that soft black fur which her beloved one has. She thought “what’s this I’ll never play with such a teddy, rather it’s not at all a teddy I don’t want it”. Dad started taking her everyday to the hospital. On the fourth day she was amazed to see that the teddy has got eyes!!! She leaned to see her face closely and u wont believe how astonishing it was… that teddy smiled brightly upon her!!! She touched her little finger and oohhh it grasped one of her fingers tightly and laughed with an open 95


mouth which didn’t have teeth!!! That was the day she forgot all about her old teddy and this new one became her best doll ‌. and gradually her best friend. Malancha Chakraborty March 2004

96


MOMENTS_Edition1_2005  

Family Magazine

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