मैं सोचती हूँ इस विषय पर ज़्यादा कुछ लिखना बनता नहीं है
गुजराती फ़ूड फेस्टिवल – गुजरातियों के जमन प्रेम का आइना है
खाना ही खाना सब तरफ – चाय, मुख वास, फरसाण, कथिआ वाड़ी थाली, १११ प्रकार की खिचड़ी दाल ढोकली, खीचियो, खामनी, हंडवा, ढोकला, थेपला, खकरा … और भी बहुत कुछ!

गुजराती अपने जमन (खाना) प्रेम के लिए मशहूर हैं…और ऐसे ही मशहूर नहीं हैं.
गुजराती लोक गीत संगीत गरबा डांडिया DJ आदि से सुसज्जित यह फेस्टिवल इन गुजराती लोगो बल्कि सब लोगो के लिए खूब रंग जमाया. मैं विशेष उल्लेख श्री गोपाल शेट्टी जी का करना चाहूंगी जिनका अपने एरिया में ऐसा उत्सव करने में विशेष योगदान है. क्या फर्राटे दार गुजराती बोलते हैं.

श्री प्रशांत रओ जिन्होंने बहुत ही खूबसूरत एंकरिंग से सबका मन मोह लिया.
मैंने GFF के पासेज जीते थे और अपनी मित्रों और परिवार के साथ यहाँ खूब आनंद उठाया. मसाले, मुखवास, खाखरा, चाय, फरसाण, ज्वेलरी आदि बहुत कुछ ख़रीदा. अब मैं जयपुर फेस्टिवल में राजस्थान का लुत्फ़ उठाउंगी. EK महीने में मेरे दो प्रिये राज्यों के उत्सव का आनंद.

और क्या चाहिए!

#JLT Jaipur BookMark – Where Books Mean Business inaugurates today

Every January, while the world comes to the Jaipur Literature Festival to celebrate the written word, the publishing fraternity gets together to celebrate and discuss upcoming trends and achievements at the Jaipur Bookmark, where books mean business. Jaipur BookMark harnesses the collective energy of authors, literary agents, translators, publishers, designers, marketers, publicists, booksellers and festival organizers to discuss new ideas and how to take them to the market. Jaipur BookMark is a rich platform for all those who may be interested in the practical aspect of books and publishing, including translation and rights exchange across geographies, which have always been a focus at JBM.

The 7th edition of Jaipur BookMark 2020 will be held from 22nd January to 25th January. Jaipur BookMark (JBM) brings together stakeholders of the book industry from across the world. It provides the right atmosphere to inspire dialogue and a space for one-on-one meetings and networking, as well as provides an opportunity to “talk business” through relevant sessions and focused roundtables.

Namita Gokhale

The inaugural address, introduced by Neeta Gupta features H. E. Hans Jakob Frydenlund, Namita Gokhale and Sanjoy K. Roy. This is followed by the much-anticipated keynote by acclaimed writer and publisher Jo Lendle, editor of the Hanser publishing group, introduced by Naveen Kishore. Titled The Roaring Twenties, the address focuses on key issues of publishing for a new decade. There have been many publishers of world renown who have made a keynote address at previous editions of Jaipur BookMark, including iconic author and publisher, Roberto Calasso; the CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos; the creative force behind Seagull Books, Naveen Kishore; and others. In this edition, we look forward to interacting with publishers like Jo Lendle, Naveen Kishore, Urvashi Butalia, Vera Michalsky, Michael Dwyer, Niko Pfund, Atiya Zaidi, Richa Jha and booksellers like Arsen Kashkashian, Jeff Deutsch, Priyanka Malhotra, Maina Bhagat and Rick Simonson, among others.

Sanjoy K Roy

According to Namita Gokhale, Co-Director of Jaipur BookMark, “Jaipur Bookmark celebrates the core values of publishing. We nurture creativity through our iWrite programme, support and showcase translations, and explore the changing books and narratives. I am very excited about what promises to be a brilliant 7th edition.”

At Jaipur BookMark 2020 there are many publishing-related sessions, such as The Heart of a Bookstore in which iconic booksellers from around the world speak of their profession and the joy and learnings they derive from it; The Big Book Box for Kids where authors, publishers and booksellers discuss challenges in making children’s books visible and accessible to young readers, as well as marketing strategies for overcoming them; Food for thought: gastronomy and literature, a session in which some of the most talented food writers in the world gather to share their recipes for food and literature; and Consumer Intelligence: Who’s Reading What, a session in which publishers and authors will discuss how big data can be used to analyse book-buying behaviour.

Neeta Gupta, Co-Director of Jaipur BookMark says, “Translations remain our top priority at the 7th edition of Jaipur BookMark, with sessions focused on Borderless Literatures, Translating National Narratives and Translation as Intimacy, along with launching Norwegian playwright Ibsen’s plays in Hindi. We also announce two coveted translation awards, the Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator award and the Romain Rolland prize for Translations.”

With its finger on the pulse of the publishing business, Jaipur BookMark has always featured crucial sessions discussing the most contemporary and critical issues facing the literary world. Towards a Borderless Literature promises to be an inspirational session on the need for translations and words without borders; The Changing Face of Digital Narratives will focus on the fascinating array of possibilities opened through new genres of digital narratives; Libraries as Communities discusses the role of libraries as crucial community hubs and centres of learning, communication, professional development and collaborative projects; Why Publishing Poetry is Important brings together dedicated and engaged publishers who will discuss their commitment to publishing poetry; and A Textbook Case for Diversity brings together acclaimed publishers who discuss the importance of striking a balance between mere tokenism and embracing true multiculturalism.

Aditi Maheshwari Goyal says, “The 7th Edition of Jaipur BookMark will witness important stakeholders in the global and local publishing industry – authors, publishers, editors, designers and literary agents. The only platform in South Asia that shines the spotlight on those who work behind the scenes, creating books. JBM is all set to celebrate books in 360°- print, digital and audio editions.”

In 2020 the Norwegian Embassy is once again partnering with Jaipur BookMark. This will mark the 7th year of their association. Naveen Kishore of the Seagull School of Publishing is on board both as an advisor and supporter of the festival. Seagull Books Kolkata has single handedly put India on the International translation map with its international list of authors, that include Nobel Prize winners and others shortlisted in major international literary awards categories. The French Institute in India is bringing representatives of the French publishing industry to JBM 2020. India will be the Guest of Honour nation at the Salon du Livre in Paris in 2020.

“The Indian publishing industry has grown rapidly and the world’s attention is converging on it,” remarks Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts and Producer of Jaipur BookMark.

Apart from being a B2B platform that brings together the who’s who of the publishing industry from across the world, JBM also provides aspiring writers with an exciting platform called iWrite: Creative Mentorship Programme. This Mentorship Programme invites poets, literary enthusiasts and novelists to share their stories and get an opportunity to be mentored by experts in the field. No longer limited to first-time writers, this initiative not only gives writers a chance to express themselves, but also lets them mingle and interact with publishers, literary agents, translators and other industry experts in a pitching session, and perhaps even get a chance to sign a book deal!

Three major awards will be announced at Jaipur BookMark 2020 – The Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award. The Romain Rolland Prize and The Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize.

Jaipur BookMark was conceived to run parallel to the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2014. In the 7 years since its inception, JBM has emerged as a nodal point for the South Asian publishing industry and is indeed a focus for the book trade.



JaipurLitFest 2020 presents a convergence of cultures, languages and literatures

The ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Jaipur Literature Festival, returns with its 13th edition. Scheduled from 23rd – 27th January, the Festival this year promises an unmatched programme featuring over 300 speakers from over 20 countries and 35 languages.

Authors from nations such as the Czech Republic, Mauritius, Netherlands, Sweden and Nigeria will see representation at the Festival. As each year, several Indian, American, British, French and German authors, will round up the Festival programme.

Prominent speakers from across the world include Anita Aujayeb, a long-standing educator, a lecturer and also the Chairperson of the President’s Fund for Creative Writing at the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage in Mauritius; Annick Schrammei, Academic Director for the Creative Industries at the Antwerp Management School, expert- advisor for cultural policy and an evaluator for the European Commission and also a member of the Flemish UNESCO Commission; poet, essayist, editor, photographer and founder of Ireland’s premier literary journal Irish Pages: A Journal of

Contemporary Writing Chris Agee; author of books on Burmese and Asian History, past fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, founder and chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust, Chairman of U Thant House and Padma Shri recipient Thant Myint- U.

The Festival will also see 20 international and 15 Indian languages such as Khasi, Assamese and Nagamese being highlighted.

Namita Gokhale, the writer, publisher and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival said, “Every year, we have various authors from different parts of the world, representing different nationalities and languages in attendance at the Festival. This year, once again, we have endeavoured to get as many speakers from varying genres and languages to attend. I believe we have succeeded in our efforts as stalwarts from over 20 countries and as many as 20 international and almost 15 Indian languages will be in attendance at the 13th edition of the Festival. We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming them and to the literary revelations they will bring with them.”

The much-awaited Festival is set to take place at its customary picturesque home, the Diggi Palace Hotel at Jaipur. In the past decade, the Festival has evolved into a global phenomenon and has hosted nearly 2000 speakers and over a million book-lovers till date. Every year, it brings together authors, thinkers and bibliophiles from across the world to champion the freedom to dream, express and debate.


Celebrate the authentic Gujarati Food & Everything else Gujarati!!

Most keenly awaited Festival is here, which has excited everyone associated with Gujarati food and festivities. I love the ideology of Gujjus, who are the happiest lot on this planet – खावानु, पीवणो, जलसा करवा नु!

With this biggest Gujarati Food Festival, the idea of the food festival is primarily to re-integrate value back into Food Culture & to Communicate Gastronomic knowledge about GUJARATI FOOD. Gujarati Food Festival will fill your stomach as well as your Heart & Mind.

The festival is all set to happen on 10-11-12 January at Kora Kendra Ground No 3 RM Bhattad Rd, Haridas Nagar, Borivali West, Mumbai 400092. Its time to serve the unexplored flavours of Gujarat and triumph the extraordinary culture with the tastiest delicacies.

My association with Gujarati Food started with my marriage in a Gujarati family some 25 years ago. Till then while living in Delhi and Lucknow, I knew nothing about Gujarati food and culture except that Gandhiji and Sardar Patel were Gujaratis. I am born in a Varma – Kayasth family and self – admittedly I am a true-blue Kayasth.

My eyes opened to the fact that Gujaratis and Kayasths are poles apart in their culture, cuisines, lifestyle and thought process, immediately after marriage. Rest of things later – cuisine part first. A typical Gujju family’s day starts with a discussion on food for nasta, lunch, nasta and dinner…means discussion on food, nothing beyond…particularly ladies amongst the house. Whereas our day started with news, the book we will read, the place we would visit, studies and food remained in the periphery. Though Kayasth’s love for food is part of folklore, about that sometime later…

My vocabulary about food enriched in no time with my mother-in-law churning out some interesting and delicious stuff like Thepla, Khakra, Phaphda, Khaman, Dhokla, Chora Phari, Magaj, Batata-nu-shak, pharsi poori, Undhiyo, Khandwo and believe me, I loved these beyond measure, though these were not part of my vocabulary till then. My sister-in-law, Hemlata didi needs a special mention here who is an expert cook of Gujarati delicacies and helped me in developing taste and understanding Gujarati culture.

But I was stuck in one place, in North-India, I had never heard about meethi daal and gur in every second subzi as North Indian food is all about spices and tadka. I don’t know how to relish that…I would simply refuse to eat. Then there were certain strange combinations like sweet lapsi (cooked porridge) to be eaten with theekhi daal. I simply revolted!

But over a period of time, as time passed, I integrated with the cuisine and everything else Gujarati read: Garba and Dandiya nights which was quite a revelation. I was star-struck with the performance of Falguni Pathak where thousands of Gujjus grooved to her dandiya beats. I refused to come home from that night and I danced my heart out that day. I had never seen anything like this before.

I want to revisit those days when I wanted to explore everything Gujarati and every single day I came to know about a new thing about Gujaratis. My love for Gujarati food took a new dimension when I visited Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Bhuj and many other interiors of Gujarat. As a self-confessed foodie, I can Gujarati’s love for food is phenomenal. If a Gujarati is accompanying you for travel, you need not worry about food – my husband, Mukund Vaghela tops the chart.

I must mention: I am the winner of Gujarati Food Festival contest, what more I could have asked for being a non-Gujarati!

See you all there!!


Oh! What an impressive line up of Authors and Speakers!! Jaipur Lit Fest!!!

Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 to celebrate the vast bounty of Indian languages

India’s rich, diverse and colourful literary heritage remains at the core of the 13th Jaipur Literature Festival as it brings together writers from across India representing a multitude of the country’s languages. This year, the Festival hosts speakers from the vast canvas of Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Nagamese, Oriya, Prakrit, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santhali, Tamil and Urdu writing. The programme explores the magnificent legacy of these languages while examining contemporary trends in writing.

The 13th edition of the Festival, set to take place between 23-27 January, features over 300 speakers from India as well as across the world.

Conversations span the length and breadth of the country and include voices from known and lesser-known literary treasure troves searched with meticulous attention to contemporary linguistic narratives especially in the many regions of India, each with its own myriad literary traditions, norms and quirks. The idea is to sustain the incomparable vastness of our national languages amidst galloping globalisation and draw succour from an incredible linguistic and literary legacy.

Rajasthani language finds voice in its distinctive syntax and variety of dialects –- the iconic Rajasthani poet Chandra Prakash Deval, a pioneer poet of Rajasthani literature Raju Ram Bijarnian, eminent authors Ritupriya and Madhu Acharya will speak of the rich heritage and linguistic traditions of the state in a session titled “Rajasthani Binya Kyaro Rajasthan”. In a conversation with distinguished author Vishes Kothari, the panel will talk about the unique genius of Rajasthani literature in its many manifestations.

In another conversation, Vishes Kothari and Chandra Prakash Deval will speak to bilingual novelist Anukrti Upadhyay on Rajasthani writer, poet and litterateur Vijaydan Detha’s rich legacy of magical narratives. Detha belonged to a family of bards and contributed enormously in bringing folklore and oral traditions into the mainstream of Indian literature. This session will feature Vishes Kothari’s vivid English rendering of the Timeless Tales from Marwar, a handpicked collection from Detha’s celebrated Batan ri Phulwari – literally “Garden of Tales”.

Modern Hindi fiction represents a continuum between many pasts and an emergent present. Two prominent writers evoke the landscape of change. Kamlakant Tripathi’s recent novel Sarayu Se Ganga is a magnificent evocation of history and culture across the last century. Another prolific Rajasthani author Nand Bhardwaj’s latest collection of short stories Badalati Sargam also covers a range of themes that highlight the quirks and contradictions of a changing society. In conversation with celebrated Hindi author Anu Singh Chowdhary, they will speak and read from their new work.

An inspirational session titled “The Rivers, The Sky, The Self”, with four writers from north-east India will speak of the landscape of memory, evoking folklore, oral narratives and the histories of their people. The panel consists of Esther Syiem, a bilingual poet, academic and playwright, who has also worked with oral scripting in Khasi; Easterine Kire, an award-winning poet, short story writer and novelist from Nagaland and author of the novel A Respectable Woman set against the decisive Battle of Kohima; and Mridul Haloi, winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2017 for the poetry collection Akale Aso Kushale Aso. The distinguished panel will be in conversation with academic and feminist publisher Urvashi Butalia and read from and speak of their work and the legacies of myth and memory.

Sanskrit has been the primary language of knowledge, learning and ritual in ancient and medieval India. Its rich traditions permeate most modern Indian languages, and its tremendous influence continues in every aspect of Indian life. It remains yet very much a living language, taught in schools, broadcast on All India Radio, and with over 90 publications published in it across the nation. In a splendid session, writers and scholars from across the world will discuss the grandeur, practicality and accessibility of Sanskrit and its role in the culture and daily life of modern times. The panel will feature Oscar Pujol, writer of the Sanskrit dictionaries titled Sanskrit-Catalan and Sanskrit-Spanish; Madhura Godbole, programme head of the Sanskrit Language Department at the American Institute of Indian Studies; Makarand R. Paranjape, poet, scholar and Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies who has written extensively on pre and post-colonial Indian culture politics and society; Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Culture and Cinema at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

The landscape of Indian literature is multilingual and multivocal with 22 official languages and thousands of mother tongues and dialects. “Many Languages One Literature” will be a session that interrogates and celebrates the unity in this diversity with three celebrated writers – Aruni Kashya, KR Meera and Shubhangi Swarup will be reading from their works in Assamese, Malayalam and English, as they discuss the literary and linguistic context of their inspirations.

The Festival’s multi-faceted content promises a variety of linguistic riches.

Is 5 trillion-dollar economy a mirage?

The economy is the backbone of any country, city, town, district, taluka, village, home, institution and commercial establishment. As goes the saying, money makes the world go round, if managed well, life is a cake-walk. If not, life becomes a nightmare!

What are factors responsible for turning our dreamy life into a nightmare, where there is hardly any ray of hope? Let’s explore through this article why are we finding ourselves stuck into the dark tunnel…

…economically, financially!

The economic health of any nation is determined by its consumer demand complementing its manufacturing output. If there is a shortfall in any one of these, it will disturb the finances and economies of the nation. It looks like that currently India is grappling with issues which are unable to bridge this gap. With particular reference to the year 2019, which is on its last leg, the gloom and doom in the economy remain the hallmark. The year would be marked for Loksabha elections, Vidhan Sabha elections, Ram Mandir Verdict, Abrogation of article 370 and finally CAB, still, the dwindling economy is crying for attention.

As expressed by FM, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman, “There is a slowdown but no recession.” The dividing line is very thin between the two for the common man to understand who is struggling with his unemployment, job-loss, higher costs of commodities, education, properties, travel and rising prices of basic necessities like onions. However, she has infused some life into dying real-estate by doling out a corpus to help the consumers but is it enough when there is an inventory of lakhs of houses and thousands of crores are at stake, leaving poor home-buyers in a lurch.

But what has hurt India’s GDP big time is the real estate and construction sector, which is credited to account for 40 per cent overall jobs, had seen the worst last four years, with sector coming on a ventilator, well – almost.

In the April-June quarter of 2019, growth in the real estate sector fell to 5.7 per cent, compared to 9.6 per cent in the same quarter last year. According to developers, vacant inventories are still large and that their businesses, too, have shrunk. The measures taken by the Government are too minuscule to pump life into the ailing sector.

The biggest sufferer of this scenario is the home-buyer who has invested their life long savings in under-construction properties, which are nowhere in sight. Is Government thinking about them? This has certainly created a depression in the buying sentiments for this basic requirement of life.

It would not be a misnomer to say that almost all Indian sectors like Automobiles, Manufacturing, FMCG, Telecommunications, Real-Estate, Construction and even Agriculture are on the brink, struggling for survival. The official data of the National Statistics Office reveals that weaker consumer demand and slower private investments are the two key factors behind the ordeal of core Indian sectors, many of which are openly giving SOS signals.

While consumers and manufacturers are suffering, the Government is busy giving loan waivers here and there by hard-earned money of tax-payers. Time is now to look and work out remedies for the people who are unemployed, suffered job loss and have no means to support their families.

Meanwhile, eight-core sectors have registered a negative growth of just 2.1 per cent in July, compared to 7.3 per cent in the corresponding month a year ago. All of these indicators also explain the reason behind the recent jump in job losses. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), overall unemployment in India has now touched 8.2 per cent, with the urban figure as high as 9.4 per cent.

The scenario has become so depressing that even Indian investors have also become wary of the slowing economic growth as major companies, especially from the auto sector, have been posting huge dips in profit and even losses in many cases. Not just domestic investors but foreign investors are also constantly pulling out capital from the Indian market. FPIs have pulled out a net amount of Rs 5,920 crore in August even after the government announced a rollback of enhanced surcharge on FPIs.

Meanwhile, the Indian rupee has again become one of the worst-performing Asian currencies after depreciating 3.65 per cent against the dollar. This, too, is the steepest decline in the Indian currency in the last six years. The value of the rupee has hit Rs 71.98 against the dollar at present. The weakness of the rupee is a reflection of the underperformance of high-yielding emerging markets foreign exchange, weakness in equities and recent policy actions.

According to the latest edition of EY’s Economic Watch, India will have to grow at 9 per cent in each of the five subsequent years to become a USD five trillion economy – USD 3.3 trillion in FY21, USD 3.6 trillion in FY22, USD 4.1 trillion in FY22, USD 4.5 trillion FY24 and USD 5 trillion in FY25.

Government not only need to ponder but act constructively with some hard-hitting measures to achieve this tall target.

“The government recognises that consumption will have to be given a boost,” Nirmala Sitharaman had said while announcing stimulus measures for automakers and small and medium manufacturers recently.

Madam FM act fast, till it becomes too late and India misses the bus!

माना की अँधेरा घाना है पर दिया जलाना कहाँ मना है?



Fitness Resolution 2019 & Fitness Revolution 2020!

I think in a long time, I made a resolution in the year 2019, which for me started on a slightly disappointing note. But one has to pick up threads, whatever webs life throws at you.

So, with ample time in hand, I thought of making the year 2019, the year of fitness rather be fit, physically, by shedding excess weight and mentally, by shedding the baggage of last year’s incidents. Now my journey towards this program started…

It started with walking both times, morning and evening, though walking is nothing new to me as I have been doing morning walk since I was a teenager but it was without an objective…just to be outside in the morning for some “me time”. This year I was quite determined, as I was inching towards that phase of life when health issues crop up from nowhere.

Park in the colony, mute witness to my fitness journey!

I made a time-table for exercise, yoga and walks. Believe me, it did not take much of my time in the entire day. First thing first, no excuses for missing the exercise or walks. Following diet was a challenge as I was already a disciplined foodie. I love my share of foods which add weight! So that door was closed.

Sometimes, I felt dejected, why so much for health, I am only healthy rather slightly over-weight, noting much to worry about. But no, I wanted to be slimmer and fitter at the same time. As it was an election year and 69-year Modji’s fitness levels and stamina were just infectious…I thought, if CAN, why I CAN’T?

Amidst heavy-duty campaigning on social media and on-ground as well with very prestigious IITB project at hand, I started feeling the squeeze of time. Still, I continued…

…as we started inching towards last quarter of the year, I could see that I was not reaching anywhere close to what was part of my resolution. Now, I enhanced my efforts and kept reminding me of my resolution. I took help and changed my exercise pattern and became more regular. Results started showing in the last month of the calendar and voila I reached my aspired weight, what if on December 31, 2019!

With this mere feat, I plan to inspire my friends and acquaintances in the year 2020 to enhance their fitness levels but knocking off some unwanted weight. This would be my resolution – Revolution 2020. I have decided to take the guests coming to my home for a walk, put up an alarm to wake up my lazy friends, daughter and her friends, building friends and anyone else. I want to propagate; how regular walking can change not only your physical attributes but mental attributes too!

Raise your hand, if you want to be fit in 2020.

Look no further, touch base with me!!




Life on planet EARTH: Perform or Perish!

Save Our Earth

In the truth

You don’t want to admit that our precious earth

Is falling apart, It’s beautiful skirts of grass

Is dying, It’s garden of stunning plants

Is running out of air, And us,

Us, the ones who made it this way

Will one day perish into a dark hole

In a way, we are all selfish murderers

Killing the Soul, we walk upon

With our trash and disgrace, our ungratefulness

Slowly, slowly it shall fade

Slowly we shall perish

Save the earth, Save our hearts and souls

Or forever be lost

Extract from the beautiful poem by Jessica Robert, Poetess

We are living in the times when everything is available to us at our beck and call, whether we want to eat, read, talk, sing, dance, walk, jump, fly or even sleep. Technology has made it all this and more easily accessible to us at the click of a button. We consistently go on replenishing things of our daily life and most of our time, energy, money and other resources are spent on this chore.

Everything is available to us so easily and in abundance, we never think what will happen when it is not available to us. By no stretch of the imagination, we can imagine this scenario, we happily go on deploying our resources. Today everything is centred around human aspirations which are growing leaps and bounds.

Our ancestors worked really very hard to make the ends meet and accessing even basic things in life. The simplicity from life is waning. It’s all about amassing wealth and luxuries, though at the cost of earth’s natural resources. Have you ever thought that what will happen when the energy sources which make the world move start depleting?

We are already stretching many of our natural resources to their limits, and probably we are heading towards times of catastrophic squeeze of these resources…when? Can’t say, but for sure!

From stone age to highly industrial age, our planet earth has seen it all. The graduation of the human race from homo-sapience to highly evolved humans of today, earth has been gleefully fulfilling all our needs, wants and luxuries. But now the time has come to stand up and take notice that even Oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil.

Times started changing with the consistent technological advancements from the times of the Industrial Revolution in the 1850s. As our culture advanced and we invented many things to make our lives not only convenient but also luxurious, it stretched the demand for raw materials, for which mother earth is the source.

In the race for development, we have forgotten that resources such as water, air, minerals, forests, oils etc. are available in limited quantities. There is a need for conserve these of natural resources which are becoming scarce with the passage of time.

In the words of Subhajit Mukherji, Brand Ambassador, Govt. of India’s Jal Shakti Abhiyaan and famed environmentalist, who has been credited with planting over 50,000 trees in Mumbai, “Environment is the biggest treasure which we humans have inherited, hence it is our moral duty to preserve it, take care of it and love it so that our future generations inherit it or else we would face extinction like dinosaurs.”  

Earlier human life was very close to nature, with the establishment of large and heavy industries after the Industrial Revolution, heavy exploitation of nature started taking place because of which earth’s natural resources came under heavy pressure. Still, no one bothered to think about it, till earth started experiencing “Climate Change”.  There is a gross violation of the rules of nature, indicates IPCC’s report on climate change.

Are we leaving planet earth liveable for our future generations, questions Swedish Student Environment Activist, Greta Thunberg when she says, “Now we probably don’t even have a future anymore? Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money.”

The environment is being damaged in the name of development and the recent case in question is cutting of 2200 trees to make Metro Car Shed, Mumbai which invited ire of activists. Aarey is the only green lung of Mumbai and if that is disturbed, all hell will break loose in the form of climatic disturbances. Metros like Mumbai are facing environmental havoc in the form of incessant floods, untimely rains, a long spell of summers, global warming what not! But the sad part is neither the Government nor Public is bothered about this phenomenon.

It is business as usual scenario, they love their luxury cars, well-electrified homes, well – equipped offices and consistent supply of fossil fuels to run their lives. Have they ever thought that this humongous usage of fossil fuels is leading to carbon emissions which is polluting planet earth beyond measure? All of are mutely watching what is happening in our national capital, which has converted into a gas chamber.

If we think, the environment is his issue and not mine, that is not the case. Every conscious citizen must care for the environment and contribute to his / her might for its protection and preservation.

The problem is growing at alarming proportions due to over-consumption of natural resources. If this pattern of energy usage continues with overutilization of fossil fuels, the day is not far when our future generations may not inherit them. Time to think about it is NOW! Lifelike this is unimaginable, but we need to imagine.

The on-going developmental activities world over have created environment-related problems on earth as the usage exceeds the speed of their natural replenishment. Increasing pollution, global warming, industrialization and other processes have accentuated the depletion of natural resources.

 “You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” —Wangari Maathai

My entry for #JaipurLitFest




Indeed, WAAH TAAJ!

Probably my last post of the years would do the honours for monumental beauty of India – The Taj Mahal as suggested by our traveller friend Kamal Mathur, who recently visited Taj Mahal and clicked some exclusive pictures for my blog. A trip to India is not complete without visiting this monumental marvel carved in marble located in Agra, UP, India. Kamal Mathur’s recent visit to Agra refreshed my memories of my visit to the place while in school, years ago. I am sure, Kamalji would have been mesmerised by his visit to magnificent Taj Mahal, which is beyond words, thus making his task even more difficult as he is “man of few words” and “thousand pictures”.

In an interview given to Sprangled magazine from the US, I have mentioned, “ I have a very vivid memory of visiting Taj Mahal in Agra, UP, India which I visited while I was in grade VIII, with my parents on a full moon night. Till then I had seen Taj Mahal only in my history textbook. And when I was there at the Taj Mahal, I found a vast difference between Taj Mahal in my history book and the one before my eyes. The real Taj Mahal was quite a revelation, as it’s much bigger and magnanimous than the one in my textbook.

By all means, it was splendid and looked absolutely out of this world on a blue moon night, though I could not think it to be the most romantic spot in the world. The ‘marvel’ created in ‘marble’ by Mughal Emperor Shahjehan was stunning and this is when I was inspired to travel to different places. It was a true revelation to me how places are so different in reality than the one which I had seen in photographs or movies. This way the adventure streak was in me since childhood and when I grew up the passion to travel stayed with me.”

Please click the link to read the full interview:

Pictures clicked by Kamal Mathur:

Coming back to the beauty, The Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal is a white tomb built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The building is in the city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Widely thought as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, it is one of India’s biggest tourist attractions.

It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Constructed entirely out of white marble in the 17th century, it is among the finest edifices of Mughal architecture. Recognised by the UNESCO as a world heritage site, this monument is also considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Every year visitors numbering more than the entire population of Agra pass through the magnificent gates to catch a glimpse of this breath-taking monument, and only a few leave disappointed. Shah Jahan said about the Taj that it made “the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes“.

Rabindranath Tagore described it as “a teardrop in the cheek of eternity” while Rudyard Kipling said it is “the embodiment of all things pure“. The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631 and took 17 years before it was completed in 1648. The tomb is laid out in a rectangular shape and can be approached through a massive gateway which has an arch and alcoves on either side of it. The Taj, so majestic from the exterior, has equally splendid artistic work done in the interiors.

There are water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular. The reflection of this majestic spectacle in the Yamuna is almost poetic in its perfection!

The Taj Mahal can be accessed through east, west and south gates. Inside the grounds, the ornamental gardens are set on the classic Mughal Charbagh lines (formal Persian garden). The monument stands on a raised marble platform at the northern end of the garden, facing its back to the Yamuna River. Its raised position is a masterstroke design as it leaves only the sky as its backdrop. Each corner of the platform is graced with 40m high white minarets. Taj itself is made of semi-translucent white marble, inlaid with thousands of semi-precious stones and carved with flowers. The four indistinguishable faces of the Taj are in perfect symmetry, featuring impressive vaulted arches containing pietra dura scrollwork and the quotations from the Quran. The whole structure is topped off by four small domes.

The cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal lies directly below the main dome. It is an elaborate false tomb which is surrounded by an elegant marble screen inlaid with various types of semi-precious stones, offsetting the symmetry of the Taj. The light enters the central chamber through finely cut marble screens. These tombs are false tombs as the real tombs of Mumtaz Mahal, and Shah Jahan lies in a locked room below the main chamber.

Indeed, Waah Taaj!

Zindagi maut na ban jaye yaron!

ज़िन्दगी मौत ना बन जाये यारों !

What is it like to pass through the darkest times of your life?

Is it a sin to yearn for a simple life? Uncomplicated life? Comfortable life which you have earned with your hard work?

I don’t think so. It all looks so achievable but it is not, you are entangled in the cobwebs which others around you have woven for you. People, who can’t be shrugged, forget elimination. They are all over…

…some burning your micro life, others burning your macro life!

The combination is deadly, you can’t escape, you can’t leave, you have to just be into it, till it rusts and breaks. When it will happen, I can’t say but yes, the surroundings are quite disturbing.

I have never seen such times when country burnt like today. There are protests, fire, shoot-outs, tear gases, water cannons…students, youngsters, seniors, professionals, teachers, politicians all involved with all their might fighting the system. I question, is it the right way to protest for which you have very little knowledge, hardly any understanding and doesn’t impact you at all. Is it the right thing to do?

The disturbing scenes from all over the country are forcing me to spend sleepless nights. Where are we going as a nation? Why youth is so aggressive? Why youngsters are so directionless? What to say of preachers, teachers and politicians? When there is a legal window for the subject, why take it to violence? As shown on many channels and also on social media, many of these have no clue what is this protest about? They are just doing it on the instigations of others. What are they going to gain?

Two-minute fame or two pennies for the act? Probably they think this is the shortest route to fame and popularity. Have you ever estimated the price you are going to pay for this? You are bartering your popularism with nationalism. This is our country, we get everything here – love, respect, admiration, education, employment…whatnot. Is it right to destroy the public property to make yourself heard?

Is it right to abuse the system without any valid argument, if some anti-national forces are at play, you join hands with them?

Scenario around is quite depressing, our beautiful Delhi, Tehzzebi Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad are burning which are famous for their peace and harmony and Ganga Jamuni culture. Is this the way to protect the rights of our citizens in spite of constant assurance from the Government? Listen to them, ponder over it, make an opinion and share the view-point. Social media is a powerful tool in your hands, use it effectively!

Most disturbing sight is so-called “intellectuals” sharing the panel on various TV channels using abusive language, losing their cool, fighting and shouting without even listening to the point of discussion. What an ugly turn all this has taken which could be sorted amicably. The whole culture of love and respect has lost the plot amidst political rivals. They have become bitter enemies and after the blood of each other.

You are risking your life and other’s life too. Is this your motive?

Please cooperate brethren, maintain calm and peace, this is our country, our voice would be heard, sooner than later. Don’t push yourself into the fire of hell…

Life is precious, Death is a loss!



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