Rani Laxmi Bai – great Indian warrior – by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

सिंहासन हिल उठे राजवंशों ने भृकुटी तानी थी,
बूढ़े भारत में आई फिर से नयी जवानी थी,
गुमी हुई आज़ादी की कीमत सबने पहचानी थी,
दूर फिरंगी को करने की सबने मन में ठानी थी।
चमक उठी सन सत्तावन में, वह तलवार पुरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

सुनिए शुभा मुद्गल जी की पुर ज़ोर आवाज़ में … खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी

कानपूर के नाना की, मुँहबोली बहन छबीली थी,
लक्ष्मीबाई नाम, पिता की वह संतान अकेली थी,
नाना के सँग पढ़ती थी वह, नाना के सँग खेली थी,
बरछी ढाल, कृपाण, कटारी उसकी यही सहेली थी।
वीर शिवाजी की गाथायें उसकी याद ज़बानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

लक्ष्मी थी या दुर्गा थी वह स्वयं वीरता की अवतार,
देख मराठे पुलकित होते उसकी तलवारों के वार,
नकली युद्ध-व्यूह की रचना और खेलना खूब शिकार,
सैन्य घेरना, दुर्ग तोड़ना ये थे उसके प्रिय खिलवार।
महाराष्टर-कुल-देवी उसकी भी आराध्य भवानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

हुई वीरता की वैभव के साथ सगाई झाँसी में,
ब्याह हुआ रानी बन आई लक्ष्मीबाई झाँसी में,
राजमहल में बजी बधाई खुशियाँ छाई झाँसी में,
चित्रा ने अर्जुन को पाया, शिव से मिली भवानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

उदित हुआ सौभाग्य, मुदित महलों में उजियाली छाई,
किंतु कालगति चुपके-चुपके काली घटा घेर लाई,
तीर चलाने वाले कर में उसे चूड़ियाँ कब भाई,
रानी विधवा हुई, हाय! विधि को भी नहीं दया आई।
निसंतान मरे राजाजी रानी शोक-समानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

बुझा दीप झाँसी का तब डलहौज़ी मन में हरषाया,
राज्य हड़प करने का उसने यह अच्छा अवसर पाया,
फ़ौरन फौजें भेज दुर्ग पर अपना झंडा फहराया,
लावारिस का वारिस बनकर ब्रिटिश राज्य झाँसी आया।
अश्रुपूर्णा रानी ने देखा झाँसी हुई बिरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

अनुनय विनय नहीं सुनती है, विकट शासकों की माया,
व्यापारी बन दया चाहता था जब यह भारत आया,
डलहौज़ी ने पैर पसारे, अब तो पलट गई काया,
राजाओं नव्वाबों को भी उसने पैरों ठुकराया।
रानी दासी बनी, बनी यह दासी अब महरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

छिनी राजधानी दिल्ली की, लखनऊ छीना बातों-बात,
कैद पेशवा था बिठुर में, हुआ नागपुर का भी घात,
उदैपुर, तंजौर, सतारा, करनाटक की कौन बिसात?
जबकि सिंध, पंजाब ब्रह्म पर अभी हुआ था वज्र-निपात।
बंगाले, मद्रास आदि की भी तो वही कहानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

रानी रोयीं रिनवासों में, बेगम ग़म से थीं बेज़ार,
उनके गहने कपड़े बिकते थे कलकत्ते के बाज़ार,
सरे आम नीलाम छापते थे अंग्रेज़ों के अखबार,
‘नागपूर के ज़ेवर ले लो लखनऊ के लो नौलख हार’।
यों परदे की इज़्ज़त परदेशी के हाथ बिकानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

कुटियों में भी विषम वेदना, महलों में आहत अपमान,
वीर सैनिकों के मन में था अपने पुरखों का अभिमान,
नाना धुंधूपंत पेशवा जुटा रहा था सब सामान,
बहिन छबीली ने रण-चण्डी का कर दिया प्रकट आहवान।
हुआ यज्ञ प्रारम्भ उन्हें तो सोई ज्योति जगानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

महलों ने दी आग, झोंपड़ी ने ज्वाला सुलगाई थी,
यह स्वतंत्रता की चिनगारी अंतरतम से आई थी,
झाँसी चेती, दिल्ली चेती, लखनऊ लपटें छाई थी,
मेरठ, कानपूर, पटना ने भारी धूम मचाई थी,
जबलपूर, कोल्हापूर में भी कुछ हलचल उकसानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

इस स्वतंत्रता महायज्ञ में कई वीरवर आए काम,
नाना धुंधूपंत, ताँतिया, चतुर अज़ीमुल्ला सरनाम,
अहमदशाह मौलवी, ठाकुर कुँवरसिंह सैनिक अभिराम,
भारत के इतिहास गगन में अमर रहेंगे जिनके नाम।
लेकिन आज जुर्म कहलाती उनकी जो कुरबानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

इनकी गाथा छोड़, चले हम झाँसी के मैदानों में,
जहाँ खड़ी है लक्ष्मीबाई मर्द बनी मर्दानों में,
लेफ्टिनेंट वाकर आ पहुँचा, आगे बड़ा जवानों में,
रानी ने तलवार खींच ली, हुया द्वन्द्ध असमानों में।
ज़ख्मी होकर वाकर भागा, उसे अजब हैरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

रानी बढ़ी कालपी आई, कर सौ मील निरंतर पार,
घोड़ा थक कर गिरा भूमि पर गया स्वर्ग तत्काल सिधार,
यमुना तट पर अंग्रेज़ों ने फिर खाई रानी से हार,
विजयी रानी आगे चल दी, किया ग्वालियर पर अधिकार।
अंग्रेज़ों के मित्र सिंधिया ने छोड़ी रजधानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

विजय मिली, पर अंग्रेज़ों की फिर सेना घिर आई थी,
अबके जनरल स्मिथ सम्मुख था, उसने मुहँ की खाई थी,
काना और मंदरा सखियाँ रानी के संग आई थी,
युद्ध श्रेत्र में उन दोनों ने भारी मार मचाई थी।
पर पीछे ह्यूरोज़ आ गया, हाय! घिरी अब रानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

तो भी रानी मार काट कर चलती बनी सैन्य के पार,
किन्तु सामने नाला आया, था वह संकट विषम अपार,
घोड़ा अड़ा, नया घोड़ा था, इतने में आ गये अवार,
रानी एक, शत्रु बहुतेरे, होने लगे वार-पर-वार।
घायल होकर गिरी सिंहनी उसे वीर गति पानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

रानी गई सिधार चिता अब उसकी दिव्य सवारी थी,
मिला तेज से तेज, तेज की वह सच्ची अधिकारी थी,
अभी उम्र कुल तेइस की थी, मनुज नहीं अवतारी थी,
हमको जीवित करने आयी बन स्वतंत्रता-नारी थी,
दिखा गई पथ, सिखा गई हमको जो सीख सिखानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

जाओ रानी याद रखेंगे ये कृतज्ञ भारतवासी,
यह तेरा बलिदान जगावेगा स्वतंत्रता अविनासी,
होवे चुप इतिहास, लगे सच्चाई को चाहे फाँसी,
हो मदमाती विजय, मिटा दे गोलों से चाहे झाँसी।
तेरा स्मारक तू ही होगी, तू खुद अमिट निशानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

By: सुभद्रा कुमारी चौहान

550th Prakash Parv celebrations turned out truly special for me!

नानक नाम चढ़ दी कला, तेरे बाने सरबत दा भला

November 12, 2019 – The day was truly blessed as the world celebrated  550th Prakash Parv – Birthday of Guru Nanak Devji. We are also blessed that this very special day came in our lifetime.

Day’s program was set with a visit to Gurudwara in the morning for darshan, kirtan, aarti, seva, bhog and langar. I set out for Gurudwara in the morning and what a day it turned out to be. The kirtan in the morning hours was a heavenly experience. Having lived in Delhi for many many years, I understand Punjabi well so I could understand the Path and Kirtan. Being in Mumbai, I hadn’t visited a Gurudwara ever, till my friend Anu Bhateja took me there one fine morning.

I am fortunate to have many visits since…

Once again, Anu was instrumental in planning the day at Gurudwara. I loved being part of the morning rituals, till afternoon, when we returned home after having sumptuous langar. How graciously and generously the food is served by sevaks, can’tbe described in words.

After taking some rest, once again I got ready to be the part of evening Aarti, Gurbani, Kirtan, Seva and Langar with my daughter Tanya in tow. I wanted her to be part of this unmissable divine experience as a representative of Gen X.

In the evening, Gurudwara was overflowing with devotees and I must say what phenomenal management skills were at play. Right from 8-year-old to 80 years olds were involved in doing seva, serving langar, managing thousands of footwear, guiding devotees, managing crowds, distributing prasad…whatnot.

I hope and wish that other religious places also take some lessons from our Gurudwaras where devotees are treated like prince and princesses. In Babaji’s darbar, everyone was ONE. There was no discrimination on any ground, everyone followed queue, be it for darshan or langar.

Many people greeted me, not even knowing me, they just thought that they were greeting a fellow devotee.

Evening kirtan was by Bhaiji’s from Jammu Gurudwara and it was just out of this world. Their rendition of beautiful thoughts of Nanak Dev ji was simply divine. I was totally into it!

Now was the time for evening langar, which became enjoyable after some initial chaos but it was worth it. We enjoyed it very much. Tanya had eaten langar for the first time and she enjoyed it very much. While returning we brought along a very special memento of Babaji which will stay with us forever beside his special blessings.

The day was special in one more way as my dearest and lovely and only brother Prabhat was born on this great day and is imbibed with many special values. I faintly remember his birth as a child when I returned from Gurudwara with my bua after Guru Purab celebrations, my grandmother told me, “Bhaiya aaya hai.”

Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated on the full moon day of Kartik month, also known as Kartik Poornima. This year, followers of Guru Nanak celebrated the Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 12 (Tuesday).

To mark the celebration, Sikhs start doing Prabhat Pheris 15 days before the celebration. Two days before the birthday, Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib) is held in the Gurdwaras. A day prior to the birthday, a procession, referred to as Nagarkirtan, is organised.

I wish to celebrate Guru Purab someday at Golden Temple Amritsar.

Such a wonderful day of my life!

 

The Essence of Light and Water – An Exciting Photo-Contest

Grundfos India, a global leader in advanced pump solutions and water technology, is launching their annual online photography contest – The Essence of Light and Water to spread awareness around the need to conserve water and energy. Emphasising the importance of these two intertwined resources in our lives and promoting sustainable use, this contest will go live on Grundfos India’s social media platforms, Ek Boondh Pani and i Save Energy on Facebook and Twitter from November 4 to December 3, 2019.

 To take part in this contest, participants must upload photographs that creatively capture the interplay of both elements – light and water, on the link provided on EBP and ISE. The top three creative photographs will win exciting prizes, such as One Plus 7, GoPro Hero 7 and Bluetooth Soundbar Blaupunkt speakers. While five consolation winners will receive Amazon Echo dot.

Commenting on this photo-contest, Mahathi Parashuram, Regional Head – Public Affairs, Communications & Engagement, Grundfos Asia Pacific Region said, “Water and light are elements that can be captured well through photography. So, when given the opportunity to showcase both together we are confident that contestants will create masterpieces. While this photo-contest focuses on the creative elements of water and light, the subtle message we are trying to spread through this campaign is the importance of water and energy conservation.”

Link to enter the contest:

https://basicfront.easypromosapp.com/p/941584

 To know more about the contest, visit the EBP & ISE pages:

About Ek Boondh Pani

Ek Boondh Pani is a forum hosted by Grundfos India on the social media sites, Facebook and Twitter. The name translates to ‘a drop of water’ in Hindi – signifying the importance of each drop of water. Through this page, members share water conservation tips and facts to encourage this awareness to be driven home.

 About i Save Energy

i Save Energy is a forum hosted by Grundfos India on Facebook and Twitter. The forum aims to encourage people to spread the word on adopting energy-efficient approaches and investing in energy-efficient solutions across the nation.

Grundfos Pumps India Pvt. Ltd. (Grundfos India) a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grundfos Holdings was established on March 13, 1998. Grundfos India is responsible for sales of Grundfos products in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Nepal. Currently, Grundfos India has more than 360 employees and works with 200 distributors and dealers with 14 offices across India.

Grundfos India provides energy-efficient pumps and smart pumping solutions for various applications – heating and hot water service systems, cooling and air-conditioning systems, industrial applications, pressure boosting and liquid transfer, groundwater supply, domestic water supply, sewage and wastewater, dosing, chlorination systems, disinfection systems and pumps running on renewable energy.

For more information, visit: http://www.grundfos.in/

Are we running on a hedonic treadmill?

All of us know about the treadmill, as we have used it at some or the other point of our lives to shed that excess baggage (read weight), acquired over a period of time. So, when that excess baggage is shed, we are happy, we stop using it. Now that excess baggage returns, we become unhappy again, hence, we are back on the treadmill!

Probably hedonic treadmill draws its inspiration from here, which is a tendency of a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness, despite major positive or negative changes to life goals or achievements.

So, what it actually means? Say you make a certain amount of money and achieve certain life goals, but expectations and desires rise in relative proportion to these achievements, resulting in no permanent gain in happiness. Now, you are perennially unhappy!

In modern times, say since the 1850s, with the onset of the industrial revolution, consumerism boomed, today after 150 years, consumerism boomeranged. Things which made us happy then, are making us unhappy now!

No amount of money can add to your happiness quotient if you are not happy within. Sadhguru aptly describes happiness, “If you want happiness then you should peep within yourself, you will not find it anywhere else.”

Still, there is no denying that money has a critical role to play in every individual’s life and in every nation’s life. If you have money, you are considered successful, happy! In India, there is a perception that whenever you say some good thing about someone like, “He is a nice gentleman, very jovial and helpful” Quick would be the reply, “Why not, he has so much money.” Implying only rich people are nice, jovial and helpful. What do we make out of this?

Money is a double-edged sword – you are going to get cut either way!

“Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.” – Jackie Mason

There we are! Money makes the world go round. Certainly, you can buy anything you want from money, but are you rich enough to buy those things which money can’t buy. All of us need to ask ourselves this question.

Money may have a correlation with happiness but it is not directly proportional to happiness. Having a good income can give us all comforts of life, but once our earnings reach a level when our basic needs for food, medicine, security and shelter are met, the positive effects of money are diluted by the negative effects, like we have to work longer hours, lead a stressful life to achieve targets, worry about how to park the money in safe havens or even worse IT people knocking our door.

What to say of intangible losses like lack of quality time with family, friends and relatives?  Or the inability to pursue hobbies, passions or activities which provide us with happiness. Now we start hankering for happiness again, so it is a kind of vicious cycle – a Catch 22 situation.

Times are such that we assume that material possessions like an iPhone, Zara Handbag, Mercedes, Rolex watch will make us happy, they do, of course, maybe in the short-term, over going to a Concert, Zumba class or going on a budget vacation. Eventually, these possessions fade in the background, whereas happiness acquired from the experiences increase over time.

Don’t you remember the incidence of your father making a saving of six months’ salary and surprise you with a bicycle on your birthday?

All your friends admired your bicycle, there was a double celebration of sorts…

…Can that happiness be equated with the happiness that you get after buying a luxury car by signing a cheque every few years? That was the symbol of love of your parents, who worked hard to make you happy. Now nobody has time to come to wish you or celebrate your new car.

This is the irony of life. Happiness on a bicycle ride takes you much far than the ride in your luxury car.

Money doesn’t buy happiness, money buys CHOICES. It’s what you do with those choices that makes you happy.

If you have money, enjoy it! Invest it in making others around you happy, pursue hobbies, explore destinations, acquire books to read, relish good cuisine, dress – up well, help those who are not so privileged. You would be really happy.

If you don’t have money, enjoy whatever you have, work hard for more but don’t ride a hedonic treadmill, it is nothing but rat race!

If you want to feel rich, count all the things that you have that money can’t buy.

You will know how rich you are!

Are we stuck in “Thank God, its Friday” syndrome?

“When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down, “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon, Founder Beatles

Ironically, the above quote by John Lennon is a reflection of our social milieus, where being happy cannot be the ultimate goal of life. We are groomed to find, dig, search and research happiness in all spheres of life, as it doesn’t flow within us.  Sometimes entire life goes in search of happiness when we entangle ourselves in a rigmarole of happiness & unhappiness: like this will make me happy, that will make me unhappy. We select our thoughts and actions accordingly, still remain unhappy about it…

Life should be lived in pursuit of happiness, in whatever situation and whichever place you are in – Happy, sad, angry, annoyed, home, school, college, colony, office…ah! What am I saying? Can the office be a happy place? Most of the people would agree…in rarest of rare cases, yes!

Office or Workplace, in modern parlance, where we spent the longest hours and years of our lives, can we afford to be unhappy there? We need to be happy inside to spread happiness outside, and what could be a better place than office, besides our own home?

As expressed by Sadhguru, “Nowadays, I see that the “Thank God it’s Friday” culture, which essentially comes from America, is growing in India too. That means they are dead five days a week and only live on weekends. That is not a good way to live. You must live all the seven days.” 

So, you should be happy always, particularly at your workplace.

There is a professor in IIT Bombay who teaches Solar Energy.  He has made a rule amidst his students, colleagues and staff that, whenever anyone asks you, “How are you” always say, “I am happy.”  What a way to inculcate positivity since the start of the day till the end of the day. Once you start saying, you start believing!

Such small steps towards happiness ring in positivity, higher productivity, healthier employees, happier family life for employees and perked up the bottom line for the organisation, thus creating a win-win situation for all.

On the part of organisations, they need to create a portrait of such people who always feel good, make people feel good, recover fast from adversity, are socially amicable and broadly acceptable. Such people can play an effective role in the organisations, in fact, they can be called “Happiness Ambassadors.”

It would be great if organisations identify the problems of every employee and ask them what would make them happy, I am sure they will get most hilarious answers, as most of them would not know “What would make them happy.”

No doubt some tangible benefits like appraisals, promotions, increments, paid holidays, medical insurance, pick-up – drop facility would certainly make employees happy, but there is life beyond that. These are all momentary and monetary gains; how long would they last? There is a need to create an atmosphere where they can unwind themselves from the clutter of their life and enjoy their work. As aptly said by Maxim Gorky, “When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! – Maxim Gorky

Happy people are more energetic, committed and passionate towards work, they are happy about contributing beyond their job mandate, thus making their roles more meaningful. Making workplace happy should not be part of the strategy, it should be part of the inner – engineering! Happiness should be a way of life, not something which can be acquired after hard-work.

 Mantras for a happy workplace

  • Avoid Good & Bad labels
  • Practise extreme resilience – ability to recover fast from adversity
  • Let go of grudges
  • Don’t waste time being jealous
  • Find passion in you, not in your job
  • Picture yourself now and 10 years from now
  • Banish the if/ then model of happiness
  • Invest in the process, not the outcome
  • Think about other people
  • Swap multitasking for mindfulness

Source: Forbes.com

There are four key pillars of happiness at work: Purpose, Engagement, Resilience, and Kindness (PERK) with which you can PERK up your happiness quotient at work, which is any company’s best PERK.

Happiness is an attitude, we either make ourselves miserable or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castaneda, Author

 

Maruti Suzuki’s “Ghar Aaya Tyohar” depicting national integration

Maruti Suzuki Arena encourages the entire nation to drive home their celebrations with ‘Ghar Aaya Tyohar

India’s leading automotive manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, aims to uplift the market sentiment with its new festivals season-specific campaign; Ghar Aaya Tyohar. The communication brings forth the entire range of cars offered by MSIL’s new and transformed channel, Maruti Suzuki Arena.

The campaign launch is amidst the festive season where the entire nation is preparing to kick off the festivities with their rituals and unique celebratory ways. The new campaign takes an interesting take on the preparation of festivals to instill positivity among all stakeholders of Maruti Suzuki.

Commenting on the campaign, Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director-Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki India said, “Festivals are a high point in life of people. India is diverse, people are diverse and so are the festivals and the occasions to celebrate. Every festival is celebrated in its own beautiful way. However, a few things always remain common like celebration, happiness and bringing home a Maruti Suzuki. With our new Ghar Aaya Tyohar commercial, we intend to strengthen the same thought and provide people the same happiness and pride of owning a Maruti Suzuki car which we have delivered for decades”.

Maruti Suzuki is proud to be an intrinsic part millions of lives from every age group and finds a natural place in their most joyous celebrations during festivals. And this festive season is like no other, Maruti Suzuki is celebrating the season with a promise to be the most reliable partner for the journey.

 

Teacher’s Day: Post dedicated to most dedicated teacher: Mrs Shakuntala Sharma

I fondly remember celebrating Teacher’s Day in School (Kendriya Vidyalaya, Tagore Garden, New Delhi) with many debates, writing competitions and other cultural programs being organised to mark this auspicious day on September 5th. Seldom it happens that I don’t think about my teachers, school teachers, particularly who shaped the person I am today.  Teachers were such an integral part of our student lives, life was unthinkable, unimaginable without them, though I passed school some decades ago, memories of my teachers are still fresh in my mind.

Kendriya Vidyalaya Tagore Garden New Delhi As an above average, ambitious student who had this desire to become something in life, I loved creating an impression on teachers, except my Maths teacher – Chawlaji. I used to attend school, classes, activities, house activities, doing homework, classwork, participation in various activities which kept me in the limelight. I think this way today…as a child, it was like to be a good student.

Kendriya Vidyalaya Bhopal, I loved the most, best years spent here.

I recollect, when my mother visited my school for the first time –Kendriya Vidyalaya Bhopal and she asked about me from some children in the school, the whole bunch ran to call me. Mummy came to know that I was quite popular because of my good results and extra activities. I loved being in school, surrounded by teachers, students, classes, extra activities…

Probably just after school…

I had many favourite teachers and I was favourite of many teachers too, I thought so…by expressions of other students in the class. Though I loved my teachers beyond measure, loved the profession immensely as it commanded utmost respect from everyone, still never thought of becoming a teacher myself…life’s like that!

Today, I fondly remember my class teacher and Hindi subject teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya Tagore Garden New Delhi, who left an indelible mark on me for her craft. Though I left touch with her after leaving school, she never left touch from my heart.

Mrs. Shakuntala Sharma, who was a very pretty looking, charming and sweet lady as a person and as a teacher, she was impeccable, having outstanding knowledge of Hindi language, authors, poets, writers…whatnot. Her speech and thoughts were crystal clear, everybody understood what she explained in one go. She used to prepare me for all the debates and writing competitions. In those days, career choices were very limited, parents use to decide the day daughter was born – Bitiya doctor banegi and I was no exception to that.

But once Mrs Sharma told me that with your good oratory skills and writing prowess, you take up a profession which is a combination of both. I didn’t value her advice then as I did not know if such a profession existed besides teaching. But see the irony of life, I chose to be in such a profession only! Mrs Sharma’s words – Vaani ki dhani ho, uska upyog karna!!  Certainly, I did not follow her advice in choosing my career, but it just happened. My career exploited both my talents to the hilt. Had she known about my career choice; she would have been very happy.

Always dressed in her beautiful sarees, crisp cotton for summers and smooth silks for winters supported by her really long hair braid, she looked like a goddess. She was simple by heart and knew all her students well, in parent’s teacher meetings she will come out with something exceptional about me to be shared with my parents. When my mummy told her that even her teacher’s name was Shakuntala Sharma, who taught her Economics, she was very happy to know that.

She used to board the school bus after me from her house, and the first thing I use to see her saree for the day. Probably my love for saree dates back to her sarees. I would promptly offer her my seat, which was the biggest pleasure of the day. I was the one who carried her a bunch of copies to the staff room. Because of her, I had unlimited access to the staff room…I was part of all the activities in school.

With her, I developed taste for Hindi literature and read many literary books loaned from Delhi Public Library, as suggested by her. If I read and understand Sharat Chandra, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Mahadevi Varma, Gopal das Neeraj, Harivanshrai Bachchan, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Agyeya…it’s because of her. I fondly remember her today and always, thanks ma’am for giving me such a wonderful time in school and beyond. I love myself for my love for Hindi Literature, unfortunately, which many in India don’t have! People are busy showing off their love for English, the language and everything else.

My love and respect for works of modern-day Neeraj:

Dr Kumar Vishwas is probably an extension of that.

Never leave an opportunity to listen to Dr Vishwas:

कोई दीवाना कहता है, कोई पागल समझता है !

मगर धरती की बेचैनी को बस बादल समझता है !!

मैं तुझसे दूर कैसा हूँ , तू मुझसे दूर कैसी है !

ये तेरा दिल समझता है या मेरा दिल समझता है !!

PM Modi features in Man Vs Wild on Discovery Channel, one of its kind adventure travails!

A few days ago, a video suddenly caught my fancy, especially as a travel – blogger and the one who watches Modiji’s activities closely, where he was shown with Bear Grylls, do I know about him?  I thought he was the one who shot one such documentary with the U.S. President Barack Obama, and all of us thought to wish we had such a cool head of state. Indeed, today we have one!  He is the one who thinks innovatively to serve the cause of the nation be it of environment conservation or education of girl child. He has his plate full. I noticed PM Modi in a never seen before avatar in this highly viral documentary. Like you all, my curiosity also grew and tried to find more on this!

So for the first time, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be featured on the popular TV show Man vs Wild with Bear Grylls, the show’s host.

He posted a teaser clip and wrote, “People across 180 countries will get to see the unknown side of PM @narendramodi as he ventures into Indian wilderness to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change.

Mark your calendar to Catch Man Vs Wild with PM Modi @DiscoveryIN on August 12 @ 9 PM. 

Modiji is known for being media savvy and using new avenues to reach out to the younger generation. This video can be seen as his latest gesture in this regard. The video shows dark forests, unexplored flora and fauna and tigers in all its wilderness!

As per a statement released by the makers of the show, Modi said, “For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests. These years have a lasting impact on my life. So when I was asked about a special programme focussing on life beyond politics and that too in the midst of nature I was both intrigued and inclined to take part in it.”

He added, “For me, this show presents a great opportunity to showcase to the world India’s rich environmental heritage and stress on the importance of environment conservation and living in harmony with nature. It was a great experience spending time in the jungle once again, this time with Bear, who is blessed with indefatigable energy and quest to experience nature at its purest.”

Bear Grylls also talked about the episode and said, “It is such a privilege to be taking Prime Minister Modi on an adventure into the Indian wilderness and I feel truly honoured to get to spend time with this remarkable world leader. The wild reminds us that we need each other and that together we are stronger. I am so excited to spend time with the PM and to get to know the man who leads this great nation.”

The show is known for its host Bear Grylls’ survival techniques in extreme conditions and his love for flora and fauna. In the 45-second teaser video, a voiceover introduces Modi as the head of the largest democracy in the world.

It further shows Modi welcoming Grylls in India, and then taking a trip to the interiors of India together. At one point in the video, Grylls gives Modi a jacket to keep him safe.

The video promises a fun ride into the diverse wildlife of India and how to reach there through different means.

Who is Bear Grylls?

Edward Michael Grylls OBE (born 7 June 1974), better known as Bear Grylls, is a British former SAS serviceman, survival instructor, and honorary lieutenant-colonel, and, outside his military career, an adventurer, writer, television presenter and businessman. He is widely known for his television series Man vs. Wild (2006–2011), originally titled Born Survivor: Bear Grylls for the United Kingdom release. Grylls is also involved in a number of wilderness survival television series in the UK and US. In July 2009, Grylls was appointed the youngest-ever Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories at age 35, a post he has held for a second term since 2015.

Do I need to write anything about Modiji? Not at all! He is the world’s most talked about, written about and most followed leader on social media & he is our Prime Minister.

Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Park: Green Lung of Lucknow

Now, I will take you from where I had left, Janeshwar Mishra Park, Lucknow. After having some great time in the morning, we moved on to Lucknow’s Lohia Park in Gomti Nagar, which looked to me nearly 20 minutes’ drive. Indeed, Lucknow’s greenery and cleanliness are talking points. Janeshwar Mishra Park is very well-structured, equipped with modern amenities, you name it and have it, overall made by planning and design (by LDA) offering a variety of experiences for one and all.

But, if you are a true nature lover, love your morning walk and jog, yoga and meditation or just love to sit and look around, and if you love to blog and write (like me), Lohia Park is the place to be in. The park is lush green, which made Me Mumbaikar green with envy. We don’t have anything anywhere close to this park. Amidst sky-scrapers, highways, metros, flyovers, commercial offices, schools, hospitals…we have forgotten that what a good park is like.

Me, Ritu & Kamalji, after buying tickets at the park’s entrance started walking on the jogging track which was covered by huge trees. These trees provide dense shade to joggers and walkers like us, I am sure temperature would have been 1-2 degrees less than the city. On both sides, there are green belts, some rare flora and fauna, unique variety of plants, trees, some very old trees, flower beds, water bodies and an imposing statue of Lohia ji. No wonder, Lucknow is known for its statues…more on statues later!

…While we were walking, I spotted a swing and I did not miss the opportunity of being on the swing. I don’t remember how many years ago I sat on a swing, real swing not the ones we have in Essel World, Imagica, Singapore’s Sentosa Island or Hong Kong’s Disney. Who would know the pleasure of swinging on a simple swing except for our generation! Gen Y doesn’t even know what they have missed!!

I was told that park is developed by Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) and I must say there are doing the commendable job by keeping Lucknow Green and Lucknowites Pink. Made in the memory of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia ji, the park is spread in 76 acres. It has four courtyards and all have ticket windows with ample parking space.

Starting from the South-East corner of the park, the Main Navigation Path goes through the centre and ends at the North-East corner, measuring around 1 kilometre in length and 4.50 metres in width. The Main Navigation Path which is made up of Kota stones flooring also has a strip in the middle of the path where seasonal flowers are grown. Special architectural lights on designer polls can be seen all around the navigation path.

Right from the entrance, there are pathways in various directions of the park along with natural mounds, flower nursery and other areas. It looks like a light spreading in various directions. The total length of these light beam path is 2.7 kilometres and it is made up of vitrified tile along with white sandstone strips in the middle.

The semi-circular path situated near the main memorial area is almost 500 metres long, also six memory columns and walls are situated along the semi-circular path.

Just near the main memorial area, a flower garden is located in the area of 2 acres. This garden is always blooming with seasonal flowers, also there is a baradari located in the middle of the garden.

A unique system for Rain Water Harvesting has been installed in the park.

Indeed, I loved being there, more than anywhere else in Lucknow. Can’t thank Ritu and Kamalji enough. They are just wonderful hosts…

 

 

 

UP’s answer to Hyde Park London, Lucknow’s Janeshwar Mishra Park

Indeed, Janeshwar Mishra Park in Lucknow deserves a dedicated blog post, which I visited during my recent trip to Lucknow. Why I am drawing a simile to Hyde Park, because I have visited that too, though some years ago. Janeshwar Mishra Park is truly an answer to iconic Hyde Park, London.

Ritu & Kamal Mathur, my gracious hosts for this morning drive from their residence in Indira Nagar to Janeshwar Mishra Park in Gomti Nagar extension, may be fully credited for taking me there. From outside, I could not figure out what was waiting for me inside. As I had mentioned earlier, I hardly have any penchant for parks and I expected it to be close to NTR garden, Hyderabad. But yes, many surprises unfolded!

Admeasuring whopping 376 acres, the park lies between Lucknow and Faizabad, in the north-eastern side and rich fertile plains of River Gomti on the southern side. The site for the park is bordered by river Gomti and a bund road on the other side. It is one of the most prominent green lungs for Lucknow. The bund road offers a vantage location to enjoy fully developed panoramic view of the park.  The size, structure, length, breadth of the park was beyond my comprehension, it is just not possible to see it in a single visit. You need to make multiple visits to let the feeling sink in!

The park houses a very imposing statue of Janeshwar Mishraji in golden colour (I did not understand the logic behind golden colour) on a huge podium, now I found it difficult to imagine how imposing Sardar Patel’s statue would be in Gujarat.

The park was made in memory of late politician Janeshwar Mishra from Samajwadi Party, during the tenure of Akhilesh Yadav and inaugurated by Mulayam Singhji in August 2014. We can’t thank them enough for this iconic landmark of Lucknow.

So more on the park, the most striking feature was very wide jogging track running several kilometres where Lucknowites were seen jogging, moreover, it was quite spic and span. There is a need to maintain the cleanliness not only by authorities but by the public too.

Developed by Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) it is an eco-friendly park habitating some unique flora and fauna, located in the heart of the city. It has been conceptualised and designed as a multi-functional environmental and recreational green patch which not only provides a sustainable habitat for various species of birds but also double up as a major entertainment and recreation centre for everyone. It has enhanced and improved the ecological balance and help restore sensitive habitat for numerous species of birds, small animals, fishes, amphibians and even insects. How I wish MHADA also builds one such park in Mumbai to provide respite from pollution & over-crowding to Mumbaikars.

I could see two large water bodies which immensely added to the glory of the park and also enabled harnessing migratory birds and provide a haven for them in winters and summers, through the creation of lagoons and marshy lands. The area of this water body is 14 acres.

The second water body consists of a freshwater lake spread over an area of 18 acres on the southern corner of the park. The lakes are interconnected with a meandering tree-lined channel to ensure all-weather perenniallity. Collectively, the two lakes along with the channel covers an area of approximately 20 Ha and account for nearly 15% of the park area.

Another additional feature was a huge tank at the entrance and a replica of big Air Force aircraft inside, which would definitely appeal children. It has something for everyone, age, caste, creed, no bar and it is differently-abled friendly too. If you are unable to walk around, there is a provision for E Carts also. The park has lots of lights all over and I am sure it would have looked wonderful in the evening.  Special lighting is also being done in the lakes which makes mesmerising sight in the evening, told Kamal Mathur.

 

I was very fascinated by a series of jogging, cycling and walkways are built in the park. The total length of these tracks was 5.28 km., 8.85 km. and 10.5 km. respectively. The system of jogging tracks, cycling tracks and pedestrian paths have been identified in the ratio of 2:3:4.

The walkways are designed in a curvaceous manner to maximize the visual potential of the site and provide the inter-linkages to various activities proposed in the park. They run all along and across the park, along with the water bodies, connecting cultural hub and theme gardens, parking and cycle tracks.

With heavy heart, we parted ways from this beautiful destination, as I wanted to spend some more time there. On the way I clicked some more photos of the greenery surrounding the mark. Kamal Mathur clicked some beautiful pictures and you can see for yourself, how camera friendly he is!

Thanks, a tonne, Ritu & Kamal ji, I couldn’t have asked for more!

 

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