Go for GREEN Celebration!

Weddings, Festivities and Anniversaries etc. are in full fervour nowadays. People are in the celebratory mode with the best possible means but not without a high lifestyle quotient. At the same time, they want a unique element to the celebration. Some are choosing off-beat destinations to celebrate their special day whereas some are opting for green rather ‘eco-friendly’ weddings in every possible way.

Couple Planting tress on their marriage

This growing consciousness towards the environment is a positive step towards ensuring earth’s sustainability. A small step leads to big outcomes.

Wedding being a once in a lifetime occasion, you want to certainly make it memorable even if you are opting for an ‘eco-friendly’ one. To achieve this, you can opt for potted plants from the nearby nursery instead of expensive floral decoration which becomes a waste after a few hours.  These plants can be retained in your lawns or that of your near and dear ones, once the celebration is over.

Similarly, wastage of food in the Indian wedding is the norm and no one seems to be minding it but it does horrible damage to your expenses, sensibilities and creates havoc for your surroundings. You can opt for organically grown vegetables in limited quantities and keep a backup plan ready for the leftovers. This will certainly help the environment.

Gifting, another important aspect of Indian weddings, this season choose to plant trees as per your might. If you plant a tree for each guest of yours, think how many trees can be planted? This way you can create a mini-forest which is a good value-addition to the green cover of the area. Termed as ‘Miyawaki Forest’, where native trees are planted close to each other so that when these grow up, a dense forest is created. What a beautiful gift it would be for your daughter and her generations who would inherit the greener earth?

Says noted Environmentalist Subhajit Mukherjee who has the credit of planting over 60,000 trees in and around Mumbai, “Miyawaki forests are very important for maintaining the biodiversity of the planet. Moreover, with growing pollution all over, every individual must make provision for his Oxygen by planting trees. You can make your celebrations truly valuable and relevant by planting trees on behalf of your guests. This would be an ideal gift for your grandchildren too.”

Subhajit Mukherjee in action…

Recently, Mumbai witnessed one such green wedding where the father of the bride Mr Parag Shah planted 150 trees on the occasion of his daughter Vidhi’s marriage for Miyawaki forest. Indeed, he is a role model in such times when weddings are such a big show-off of wealth. This is his way of gifting apparel to mother earth, the way we do for our near and dear ones.

Parag Shah

His love for trees is well-known and his relatives are also very pleased with his initiative. But we need more Parags now…

India witnesses nearly 1 crore weddings every year, imagine if every wedding plants just 10 trees, it would be leading to the planting of 10 crore trees which would be a phenomenal number.

The talks about global warming, climate change, increasing pollution and increasing carbon footprints are not just topics of discussion but are impacting our lives significantly. The day is not far, if we do not arrest these, we will have to face dire consequences. 

In case, if you too want to make your occasion green by planting trees, please feel free to connect with Mr Shubhajit Mukherjee (CEO Subhajit Mukherjee Foundation) who will most willingly and professionally organise this for you.

Imagine you gifting your daughter or son a Miyawaki Forest, which would be inherited by your grandchildren too. Can there be a bigger pleasure than this?

Write to us on: trees.subhajit@gmail.com

Mobile No: 93239 42388

visit: www.subhajitmukherjee.com

Mother Teresa Memorial Award 2021 for Subhajit Mukherjee, Mumbai’s “GREEN MAN” 

Subhajit Mukherjee, the noted & decorated environmentalist from Mumbai has the distinguished honour of planting over 60,000 trees. The recognition comes in the wake of his exceptionally insightful efforts to amplify and protect the green cover in and around Mumbai. He is also known as Jal Rakshak for the leading innovations done by him in the field of rainwater harvesting.

Mr Subhajit Mukherjee receiving the Mother Teresa Memorial Award 2021 from Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra

His passion and concern for the environment made him leave his lucrative HR career and opt for working for the environment.

He received the award along with environmentalist Padma Shree Ms Tulsi Gowda and 17-year-old change-maker Aadya Joshi at the hands of Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari on 13th December 2021 at Raj Bhawan, Mumbai, India.

With Padma Shree Tulsi Gowda Ji

Ms. Tulsi Gowda has been awarded for her astounding and inspirational contribution towards the conservation of trees and her prodigious traditional knowledge of the same.

Ms. Aadya Joshi, a young dynamic girl who is also the recipient of the Children’s Climate Prize 2020 and is the pioneer and founder of The Right Green initiative, an initiative that spreads awareness by educating children and municipal authorities about using native plants to create bio-diversity rich ecosystems in urban environments.

Paani Foundation has received this award for its impeccable and extraordinary mission to create a drought-free Maharashtra, which is ecologically as well as economically prosperous.

Harmony Foundation, which instituted Mother Teresa Memorial Award was founded by Dr. Abraham Mathai, Former Vice-Chairman – Minorities Commission. The Harmony Foundation’s objective is to promote communal harmony and work towards the benefit of all the communities without any discrimination as to religion, caste, creed, gender or region.

Mr Mathai with His Holiness Dalai Lama Ji

Speaking on this year’s award, Dr Mathai says, “Each year, the Harmony Foundation identifies a theme for the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards and the Harmony International Conference that aligns with the need of the hour affecting humanity worldwide. This year we embark on the Awards’ 17th year of felicitating selfless individuals and organizations who work relentlessly in the realm of Environmental Sustainability.”

Speaking on the occasion, Subhajit Mukherjee said, “ I am truly humbled on receiving this rare honour alongside Padma Shree Ms. Tulsi Gowda Ji from Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra. I have always believed that a sustainable environment is monumental for the survival of entire humanity and I have been contributing towards that in whichever way possible. My message today is Each one, Plant one!”

As responsible human beings, we need to notice that while humanity marches ahead in all spheres of what it terms progress, we forget our responsibility to its own future. After all, we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Unsustainable developmental practices have exerted traumatic pressure on the ecosystem and damaged it beyond repair.

The Harmony Foundation has proudly acknowledged the diversity of individuals from various walks of life, from students to corporates, who are no less than the warrior-visionaries of our times.

This year, it has honoured those who have dared to challenge themselves and make a change.

Reminiscing UMRAO JAAN ADA

Umrao Jaan, the famed courtesan of the pre-independence era was brought to life by Urdu writer Mirza Haadi Ruswa in his book – Umrao Jaan Ada.

The film Umrao Jaan is based on the same book. Directed by ace director Muzaffar Ali, gracefully and emotionally brought alive on the screen by inimitable Rekha, timeless music of iconic Khayyam and voice of legendary Asha Ji, the film was a game-changer of sorts.

Rekha with her powerful expressions, emotions, poise and grace floored the entire nation as Umrao Jaan. Her costumes, jewellery and the entire look became the talk of the town (read: Nation). Probably, people had not seen any courtesan drama in such a light which was so vivid, poignant, dramatic and still close to life (Pakeezah being an exception). Such was the power of the character of Umrao Jaan enacted by Rekha that we were made to believe that Rekha is only Umrao Jaan. What to say of the city closest to my heart – Lucknow as a backdrop, where most of the action unfolds.

Rekha Ji received huge accolades for her portrayal of the eponymous character and she bagged National Award for her performance.

The story goes that in the year 1840, a girl named Amiran is kidnapped from her family in Faizabad and sold to Khanum Jaan, the madam of a brothel in Lucknow who teaches young courtesans. Renamed Umrao Jaan, Amiran turns into a cultured woman trained to captivate men of wealth and taste with a melodious voice and dancing histrionics.

I vividly remember watching this movie with my mother as it was a holiday for me and not for my papa, so we could slip in for a movie easily. I told my mom that a new auditorium like theatre has opened in Pragati Maidan (New Delhi), let’s check that out. A self-confessed movie buff, mom readily agreed and we set out for our destination. We lived close to Pragati Maidan then.

The theatre did not feature in newspapers so we could not check which movie was running. On reaching there, we found out it was Umrao Jaan with Rekha’s big poster in the façade with silence looming large all over. I was quite disappointed as the subject did not interest me, but decided to watch…

…Voila! what an experience it turned out to be. An ‘Art Film’ in the truest sense of the term, it had a beautiful setting of pre-independence era, subtle & nuanced acting, poise, charm and grace of Umrao Jaan and incredible music of Khayyam. All the mujras were classical dance forms with classical musical notes. It turned out to be a treat for music lovers like us. What to say of Shayari of Shehryaar Saab…incredible…every word, every expression packed a punch!

It is a story of a young girl from a middle-class Muslim family whose circumstances forced her to become a courtesan. How she evolved while traversing various emotions of love, longing, betrayal and loss, ultimately succumbing to a life of destitution and prostitution.

The last scene needs a special mention where she goes to perform a mujra right in front of her house and she recognizes her mother. When she knocks on the door…the flow of emotions was just too much. I bitterly cried in this scene. Mother accepts her but her brother disowns her as she is no longer her daughter Amiran but a famous courtesan Umrao Jaan. It was one of those rare films where I had cried…

Those were the times when courtesans had a special place in the society as it was believed that they took forward the cultural legacy through their knowledge and rendition of classical music and dance.

Times have changed, social milieus have changed…I can’t say for the better or worst. Where these cultural couriers of their kind have vanished?

I am in a Kanjiveram (look-alike) saree which is Rekha Ji’s favourite and rendering one of the most iconic songs from the film – Yeh kya jagah hai doston…

The post honours the theme of the month (December) given by The Sari Club – #UmraoJaan #RekhainKanjiveram #Rekha

Jaipur set to host India’s first World Health and Wellness Fest-21

Dates: December 17-19, 2021

Venue: Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur

The World Health and Wellness Fest-21 majorly aims at advancing health and wellness. The event embraces the concept of expansion of holistic living, spiritual comfort and an unruffled way of life.

A highly impressive line-up of speakers at the World Health & Wellness Festival to witness HH Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, Ms. BK Shivani, Mr. Annu Kapoor, Ms. Padmini Kolhapure and Dr Mickey Mehta.   

Clarks Amer, Jaipur

Most keenly awaited festival by the health, fitness and wellness enthusiasts of the country to highlight the future of healthcare and financial situations post-COVID.  The festival will run on-ground from 17th – 19th December 2021 and the virtual sessions will go live simultaneously. It would be a one-of-its-kind hybrid event that will motivate one and all to start the new year in a healthy way.

The first list of illustrious speakers has been unveiled by the co-founders: Pt. Mukesh Bharadwaj, Mr. Nareshant Sharma and Mr. Mukesh Mishra, WHWF recently.   

The Key Speakers include:

  • HH Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, Founder Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, Social Reformer & Spiritual Leader. Acharya Muni is a versatile thinker, writer, poet and social reformer and has been continuously making efforts in national character building, yoga meditation teacher and a spiritual guide & mentor.
  • BK Shivani, is a World-renowned spiritual speaker, practitioner, and teacher of Rajayoga Meditation which is taught at the Brahma Kumaris centres worldwide.
  • Annu Kapoor is a versatile Indian actor, singer, director, radio jockey and television presenter who has appeared in over a hundred films, as well as television series. 
  • Padmini Kolhapure is a veteran actor and singer, who has acted in several hit films.  
  • Dr Mickey Mehta, Global Leading Holistic Health Guru & Life Coach to billionaires, top Bollywood superstars and Supermodels.
  • Netrapal Singh, CEO, Aditya Birla housing finance is a veteran of the mortgage industry.
  • Mr. Anil Singhvi, Managing Editor, Zee Business & Well-Known financial Expert.
  • Dr. Vincent, World famous Consultant General/Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgeon, Royal College of Surgeons, England.
  • Dr Pramod Tripathi, Founder, Freedom From Diabetes, is known to be a pioneer of Diabetes Reversal in India
  • Ms Shabnam Siddiqui, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact Network India, specializes in developing and executing strategic intervention.

Apart from the above-mentioned dignitaries Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, Founder, Art of Living and Sadguru, Founder, Isha Foundation have also been invited for this first-ever truly hybrid wellness extravaganza.

Mr Mukesh Mishra

“The idea behind WHWF revolves around the synergistic collection of constructive and compatible elements, which aim to encourage the core values of health and wellness that encompasses the multidimensional aspects of life”, announced Mr. Mukesh Mishra, Co-founder, World Health and Wellness Festival.

The Festival organised at Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur will have additional facilities to accommodate footfalls, besides following COVID 19 safety protocols as per government guidelines. The iconic event will present a series of breakout sessions featuring speakers and panellists from various countries, as well as key marketers and partners around the world including Ministers and senior-level guests from more than 20 countries.

Pt. Mukesh Bharadwaj

Pt. Mukesh Bharadwaj, co-founder shared, “Happiness and success are the two most important aspects of our lives, and it can be achieved only if all the four elements – physical, mental, social and spiritual are taken care of and kept in balance. WHWF would be catering to all four key extents.”

Mr Nareshant Sharma

Mr Nareshant Sharma, Co-Founder “We are sure that this event will be a grand and dynamic amalgamation of diverse ideas. We have curated the top investors, industry experts, and brand leaders & healers to explore how wellness and wellbeing may be harnessed to live longer, better lives.”

WHWF is a manifesto that shall exhibit numerous products, services and concepts to assist all on the path of comprehensive contentment.

The organizers have a background of the Jaipur Marathon, which was recognized by the World Book of Records. It is the only marathon in India where more than 15 world records were made in various categories since its inception. More than 1 lac runners participate in the Marathon every year.

WHWF is a manifesto that shall exhibit numerous products, services and concepts to assist all on the path of comprehensive contentment.

The HealthSpan Show, which will take place at the crossroads of two huge trends- longevity and wellness will bring together investors, industry experts, and brand leaders to explore how wellness and wellbeing may be harnessed to live longer, better life and the role that corporations, healthcare institutions and consumers may play in a global health change.

The inaugural, in-person & online event will run through December 17-18-19, 2021. The event will present a series of breakout sessions featuring speakers and panellists from various countries, as well as key marketers and partners around the world including Ministers and senior-level guests from more than 20 countries.

For further details, write to:


PAHAADI – THE STORYTELLER, launched with Panache!

‘Pahaadi-The Storyteller’ is an anthology curated by Sanjeev Kotnala of Intradia World, was launched in an online event on 9th November 2021- the Uttarakhand day. The book is a culmination of the Short Story writing competition for writers with roots in Uttarakhand. It aims at finding and encouraging talent in Uttarakhand. It was an honour to be on the Jury panel of this prestigious anthology and be a moderator for the launch event. It was an impressive lineup of writers and jury members who shared their amazing experiences about participation and judging the stories.

Writers from as close as Mumbai and as far as New Jersey shared their experiences. The excitement was palpable about the names of the writers who were featured and of course the winners who have made it to the top three. The selected writers featured in the book get a Goody bag from Bhuli Design Studio by Tanya Kotnala and one copy.

The winners: Sagar Patwal, Manoj Phondani and Vartika Baral won 3N / 4D stay for two at Cottage Nirvana -Mukhteshwar, a wellness spa and resort. 

Anthology curation is not new to Sanjeev Kotnala; earlier, he has two anthologies on life impact stories. ‘Life reloaded’; life impact stories by professionals across the different fields. And ‘Reflections’; again, life impact stories by the 1987 batch of IIM Ahmedabad. Earlier Sanjeev has also published ‘Chimera of Lansdowne’, a novel with a hint of paranormal, based at Lansdowne- Uttarakhand. He is currently working on his next book – a romantic story, ‘Enchanting Neeli’ to be released in 2022.  

‘Pahaadi-The Storyteller’ showcases 17 short stories (Fiction) by 15 writers. The stories revolve around happening, culture and life in and around Uttarakhand. The contest and the book are in memory and tribute to Sanjeev Kotnala’s father, Late Shri Ram Ballabh Kotnala, and his love for Uttarakhand. 

The first year of the contest PAHAADI, saw more than 58 stories by 35 writers. The youngest writer is 6-year-old, and the oldest is 92 years of age. The entries came from different parts of the country, including Dehradun, Haldwani, Delhi, Mumbai, Kota, Bagheshwar, Nanital, New Jersy and Singapore. It was primarily promoted on social media platforms and amplified with word-of-mouth buzz.

At least three jury panel members evaluated and scored every story. The panel itself is of people with roots or high interest in Uttarakhand. 

The jury panel. Aditya Amar, President of One conscious Society, working on Women Empowerment in the Kumaon region. Prof. Alok Saklani of Swai Rama Himalaya University. Apurva Kala; Author of many books including ‘Love…Life…Kumbh’ and ‘Alchemist of East’ to name a few. Prof. Dwarika Prasad Uniyal, Pro-VC. Rahul Kotiyal: Winner of Ram Nath Goenka Award and Red Ink Award. Bienu Varma Vaghela, blogger & author – Life: An Existential Cocktail, Tanya Kotnala, a well-known designer and owner of Bhuli Design Studio and Sanjeev Kotnala.

The winning stories feature in ‘Pahaadi -The Storytellers’ published with Penman publishing. The book is available on Amazon and Flipkart. Further details of Pahaadi at www.sanjeevkotnala.com/Pahaadi/  and of the contest for 2022 at www.sanjeevkotnala.com/pahaadi-2

अंतस की खुरचन: संवेदनशील कविताओं का संकलन

  • शीर्षक: अंतस की खुरचन
  • लेखक: यतीश कुमार
  • विधा: हिंदी कवितायेँ
  • पृष्ठ: १९०
  • प्रकाशक: राधाकृष्ण प्रकाशन
  • प्रस्तावना: अष्टभुजा शुक्ल
  • समीक्षा: बीनू वर्मा वाघेला

“अंतस की खुरचन” संकलन है, आज के दौर की ऐसी कविताओं का, जिन्होंने मुझे निःशब्द कर दिया है.

सोचने पर विवश कर दिया है, कहाँ से शुरू करूँ?

पुस्तक दो खंडो में है: देशराग और आस पास और साझा धागा जिसमे करीब ९६ कवितायेँ पिरोयी गयी हैं. लेखक / कवि हालाँकि  रेलवे सेवा के प्रशासनिक अधिकारी हैं और वर्तमान में ब्रैथवेट एंड कंपनी लिमिटेड के प्रभारी हैं, पर उनका साहित्य से नाता बहुत पुराना और सृजनात्मक है, जोकि एक दुर्लभ समन्वय है.

बिहार के मुंगेर से आने वाले यतीश कुमार जी की साहित्य जगत में रचनात्मक उपस्तिथि रही है. वह इन दिनों कोलकाता की साहित्यिक संस्था नीलाम्बर  के अध्यक्ष हैं, और अपने संस्मरण और कविताएं, जोकि नया ज्ञानोदय, हंस, अहा! ज़िन्दगी, सन्मार्ग और प्रभात खबर में प्रकाशित होती रही हैं, के लिए प्रसिद्ध हैं.

“अंतस की खुरचन” उनका पहला कविता संग्रह है पर कविताओँ में बहुत ही संजीदगी और संवेदनशीलता है, जोकि उन्हें जाने माने कवियों की श्रेणी में लाती है. ज़िन्दगी और उसके बाद की ज़िन्दगी पर, उनके द्वारा उकेरे गए शब्द आपको सोचने पर मजबूर कर देंगे. उन्होंने ज़िन्दगी के हर पहलु को खूब जिया है, वर्णित किया है और शब्दों में पिरोया है.

यहाँ मैं अष्टभुजा शुक्ल जी द्वारा प्रेषित प्रस्तावना पर विशेष ध्यान आकर्षित करना चाहूंगी, जिसको पढ़ना आपके लिए बहुत ही आवश्यक है, कवि के मन को जानने के लिए और उसके मर्म को समझने के लिए. बहुत ही सुन्दर प्रस्तावना जो हिंदी साहित्य जगत के कई पन्ने पलटती है और आपको कवि की बल्कि पुस्तक की दुनिया में प्रवेश करने की लिए प्रेरित करती हैं.

सभी कविताओँ के शीर्षक बहुत ही आकर्षक हैं और बहुत से ऐसे हैं जो आपको अचंभित कर जाते हैं जैसे की उनकी कुछ कविताएं. एक और चीज़ जिसने मुझे आकर्षित किया वह है उनका २-३-४-५- ६ पंक्तियों में सहजता से पिरोया गया काव्य. यह दर्षाता हैं कि कविताओँ की संरचना उन्मुक्त मन से की गयी है, बिना किसी लय, पद्य या गद्य की बाधा को मानते हुए. 

कविताओँ में गावों की सरज़मी है, शहरों की पृष्ठभूमि है, रंग हैं, कालिमा है, जीवन है, मृत्यु है, उलझन है, सुलझन है, माँ हैं, पिता हैं, पत्नी है, पुत्री है, मौन है, शोर है, दबाव है, ख़ुशी है और ग़म है. ज़िन्दगी को उन्होंने बहुत ही बारीकी से देखा और समझा है, और उससे भी बढ़कर बहुत ही सुन्दर शब्दों में पिरोया है.

हर कविता बहुत कुछ कहती है …

  • जीवन शेष लाशों की क़तार है
  • एक धागा आगे का हट रहा है
  • दूसरा पीछे जुड़ रहा है
  • पंक्ति ख़त्म ही नहीं हो पा रही!

इस संकलन में जीवन के कड़ुवे सच हैं, तो रुमानियत भी हैं.

किसी ने सच ही कहा हैं, रुमानियत कविता का पहला पायदान हैं, और लेखक इस पायदान पे खूबसूरती से खड़े हैं.

  • समय की असमय लहरों के बीच
  • तुम्हारी मुस्कान वह अकाट्य शकुन हैं
  • जिसकी बस एक नज़र
  • सारे बेइरादे  बुहार देती हैं

पहला खंड १३६ पेज तक चलता हैं उसके बाद दूसरा खंड शुरू होता हैं. दोनों खंडो में अलग अलग आगाज़ हैं, अंदाज़ हैं और अलफ़ाज़ हैं.

अगर आप कविता प्रेमी हैं या ज़िन्दगी के फलसफे को समझना चाहते हैं तो “अंतस की खुरचन” में आपके लिए बहुत कुछ हैं.

यतीश कुमार एक युवा कवि हैं, पर उनकी कवितायेँ अनुभवियों को भी उतना ही छूती और झकझोरती हैं, जितना युवाओं को.

  • उन्ही दीवारों से से लिपटकर
  • सिर को टिकाये हौले मुस्कुराती
  • रूप बदल बदल कर
  • रु-ब-रु हो रही हैं ज़िन्दगी

अपने माता पिता के साथ का बहुत ही जीवंत चित्रण हैं जो हम कभी समझ नहीं पाते. माँ अपने में अनेकों दुःख समेटे हैं और पिता ज़िम्मेदारियाँ, यही मूल हैं, इस अनमोल रिश्ते का.

आप जब पुस्तक पढ़ना शुरू करेंगे तो छोड़ना मुश्किल होगा, इसलिए समय निकाल कर पढ़िए, पर ये एक बार में समझ आने वाली कविता नहीं हैं, बार बार पढ़िए और आत्मसात कीजिये.

पुस्तक अमेज़न से मंगाई जा सकती हैं.

मैं इसे पढ़ने का पुर ज़ोर समर्थन करती हूँ, विशेषकर युवाओं द्वारा.

निकलिए मोबाइल, टैब और लैपटॉप की दुनिया से बाहर और पढ़िए – अंतस की खुरचन

यतीश, शुक्रिया! हमें वापस अपनी दुनिया में लाने के लिए…

Bienu Varma Vaghela, Author-Life: An Existential Cocktail
Blogger: http://www.travel-knots.com

My first brush with GARBA, DANDIYA!

Coming from Lucknow to Mumbai (After marriage), I only knew that Garba / Dandiya is a dance form from Gujarat and had watched it in movies only. I remember best Garba beautifully performed by Nutan Ji and rendered by Lata Didi – Main to bhool chali babul ka des…where she was singing and dancing in a circle with other girls.Having married into a Gujarati family, little did I know that Garba/ dandiya is such an integral part of their culture and family & Social festivities.

So, came my first Navratri after marriage…which turned out to be the most exhilarating Garba experience for me. My husband who is least interested in music and dance (besides, being a man of few words) asked me to get ready in the evening for the Garba night. I asked my Gujju neighbour: How to dress up for the evening?  On her advice I dug out my mirror work, lovely (full mirror work) Lehnga Choli gifted by my IPS posted in Ahmedabad, knowing my love for music and dance. I got dressed up without knowing rather digging into any more details about where I was going? My neighbour commented: Nobody can make out that you are not a Gujarati in this chaniya choli, chunri and chunki jewellery.  

Around 9 PM we reached the hugely crowded venue, where young boys & girls, men & women, dressed to the hilt were dancing in circles, in a particular rhythm of music. It was a sight for me as I had never seen such overdressed men/women dancing, in real life. I also joined one such circle and started enjoying myself by catching up with their moves. Around 10 PM stage was brightly lit, with jing bang noise, dhols and whatnot, and lady landed on stage in boy-cut hair, dark sunglasses and black Pathani suit and a mirror work jacket. I could notice that crowds had gone berserk…there was a huge commotion…

Little did I know that she was famous Gujarati Garba singer Falguni Pathak, whose craze was at its peak in the 90s. One lady was kind enough to tell me about her. I was like, Is she Dandiya Queen, really? Garba queen hai? But when she started singing, the atmosphere transformed completely. In her melodious voice she rendered, a mata-ki-bhent in Gujarati and by 10 PM she was belting out Gujarati Garba / Dandiya numbers one after another…the crowd had swelled by now and there was no place to stand, so you had no choice but to dance. I marvelled how they were using the dandiya without even touching each other, forget hurting and how such a huge circle of dancers was completely in sync with each other.

I had lost track of my husband, who was assured that I was having a great time. Around 1 PM, he resurfaced and asked, Ghar Chalein? Completely unaware by what was going around…he never bothered to tell me that we were going for the famous Falguni Pathak night. I was like: nobody is going home, why should we? So, we stayed for some more time, but my feelings were like, Ghar nahin jaaongi main…Garba pandaal mein rahungi main…

I had never seen anything like this in my life and it was all beyond my imagination. What a sight, What spirits, What music, What synchronised grooving! Lovely night with some great music and food. It looked like mini-Gujarat. I asked my husband: Are you a Gujarati really, with such reluctance for something so exciting?

Can any Garba / Dandiya experience be more unique than this?

Since then, there has been no looking back. I love to perform and enjoy myself during Navratri and I have attended many a famous Garba Nights, to name a very famous one: Naitik Nagda Dandiya Night in Thane. Nobody can beat him on dhol.

I am a big fan of Falguni and Naitik both.

Between me and my daughter Tanya, we have acquired a good collection of Chaniya-Cholis and chunky jewellery over a period, which we take out every Navratri.

My mother-in-law always appreciated that I was more Gujarati than her family’s daughters and daughters-in-law when it came to Navratri.

Jai Mata Di everyone!


PS: Falguni Pathak is an Indian singer, performing artist and composer based in Mumbai. Her music is based on traditional musical forms from the Indian state of Gujarat. Since her professional debut in 1987, she has developed into an artist with a large fan base across India. Some of her popular songs are “Chudi jo khanki haathon mein”, “Maine payal hai chhankai”, “Meri chunar udd udd jaye”, “Ayi pardesh se pariyon ki rani” and”Sawaan Mein”.

Naitik Nagda started live performances at the age of 10. He has worked with many music directors and band members of Kailash Kher, Sona Mahapatra, Hard Kaur and Farhan Akhtar. He also performed for commonwealth theme song with A R Rehman. Naitik Nagda is Winner of MTV Rock On and Kutch Ratna Award, besides many more.

Can Saree be questioned?  

We recently watched a video that has gone viral where a saree clad woman was denied entry in a restaurant, on the pretext that   only smart casuals were allowed there. According to them, saree doesn’t come under smart-casual dressing. The lady tweeted about it and raised a very pertinent question, “Is saree not a smart casual dressing?”

Anita Chaudhary

My answer would be: It is! It is smarter over any casual. It is the most appropriate attire to be worn anywhere right from temple to hotel. The lady was looking smart over all those skimpy clad women, we see in restaurants. Moreover, the saree is an integral part of our culture and our national pride too. (Remember Indian Women Hockey Team wore beautiful tri-colour Sarees for formal dinner in Chak De! India)

Yesterday, while watching Ms Malini Awasthi, the Padma Awardee Folk-Singer, expressing concern over it, she said, “One should be free to wear saree at any place, on any occasion, across age groups. Saree is our pride, it looks cool and trendy, besides being traditional and conventional. I wear a saree as everyday wear and, on all occasions, as well. How can you classify or de-classify a saree like that?”

Malini Awasthi

Talking about her recent Kashmir sojourn, she shared, “Few ladies walked up to me in the hotel’s reception, who had recognised me and asked me: Are you here for attending a marriage? I replied: No, I am here for a youth program. But why are you asking? They said, we are watching you in beautiful red Banarsis for the last two days, so we thought, maybe.”

Her viewpoint was: Why to wear Benarsis on occasions only, you can wear it whenever you like, for that enhanced feel and beautiful looks. There is no better way to honour the weavers who have woven these beautiful sarees taking great pains which you have left to rot in the trunks. Why look for an occasion, every day is an occasion for draping a saree. I wear sarees at airports, programs, concerts, talks, morning walks, evening strolls and family functions.”  

Indeed, it let me pondering, why do we need an occasion to wear a saree? We need to create an occasion ourselves and drape the saree, which is crying for our attention in the cupboard or truck. Saree can be as classic and as trendy, as it could be. If you team up with a traditional or Kurti-style blouse, it is traditional, if you opt for halter sleeves or the backless choli, it would look cool.

Saree, also called Sari, is the most famous Indian attire worn by women not only in India but all over the world. It is because of its flexibilitythat it has grabbed attention since time immemorial. A saree makes a woman look elegant, gorgeous and stylish.

It is important how you carry yourself…the swag you display…the attitude you throw. There is a need to take pride while dressed in a saree. However, strong action should be taken on places and people that ‘object women’ to wearing saree and ‘objectify women.’  

The Sari Club has awakened this long-lost love for saree and is consistently curating events for us which give us a chance to wear a saree and put chaar chand to the occasion!  

Let’s fall in love again…kyunki saree hai sada ke liye!     


हिंदी दिवस पर आज अनायास ही पापा के सहयोगी डॉ शेरजंग गर्ग की याद आ गयी. वह भेल (BHEL) में हिंदी अधिकारी थे और जाने माने कवि भी थे. पापा पर उनका विशेष अनुराग था क्यूँकि वह उनकी कविताओं के प्रशंसक रहे हों शायद…

समय ने करवट ली और डॉ गर्ग मेरे सहयोगी बन गए पर वह मुझे हमेशा अपनी बेटी ही मानते रहे.

पहली बार उन्होंने भेल (BHEL)में हिंदी दिवस का आयोजन किया, यह शायद अस्सी के दशक के अंत की बात है. इस आयोजन में मुझे भी शामिल किया गया, जो की मेरे लिए बड़े गौरव की बात थी. इसमें अनिता दी मेरी मार्ग दर्शक बनी और हिंदी हस्ताक्षर की विजेता भी. अनिता दी और नरेश खन्ना जी, शायद आपको याद हो.

इस दिन हिंदी हस्ताक्षर अभियान चलाया गया, सबसे, सब कागज़ों पर हिंदी में हस्ताक्षर करने को कहा गया और सबसे सुन्दर हस्ताक्षर प्रतियोगिता का भी आयोजन किया गया जिसमे सबने बढ़ चढ़कर हिस्सा लिया. सबसे सिर्फ हिंदी में बात करने के लिए कहा गया, जिसका पालन शायद सबने किया हो.

शाम की चाय ऑफिस में किसी समारोह से काम नहीं होती थी, और फिर आज तो हिंदी दिवस समारोह था…तो हिंदी कविता पाठ का आयोजन किया गया. अब सब लोग एक्शन में आ गए, कुछ ने मशहूर कवियों की कविताएं सुनाई, कुछ ने अपनी लिखी और कुछ ने बढ़िया तुक बंदी भी की.

मैंने भी सुनायी और प्रशंसा भी पायी. तब से हिंदी कविता पढ़ना मेरे जीवन का अभिन्न अंग बन गया हो शायद…

हिंदी की सुंदरता पर चार लाइना:

हिंदी भाषा सबसे सुन्दर,

सुन्दर हिंदी का आलेख,

सुन्दर हिंदी में बोल चाल,

सुन्दर इसकी कहावतें

हिंदी दिवस की अनेकों शुभकामनायें

Puppetry (Kathputli):

Waiting in the wings for revival!

Bol ri kathputhli dori kaun sang bandhi,” even kathputli doesn’t know who is the holder of her thread and making her dance to his tunes. She happily dances, making everyone happy. It was very famous in olden tales as it was a music and dance medium to tell the mythological tales from Ramayana and Mahabharata. It also narrated social milieus like dowry system, women’s empowerment, illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, and cleanliness etc.

. This folk-art form originated in Rajasthan some 4000 years ago and has been popular since. The tradition of Kathputli is based on folk tales and stories. Scholars believe that folk tales convey the lifestyle of ancient Rajasthani tribal people and Kathputli art might have originated from present-day Nagaur and surrounding areas.

So how did the term evolve?

Kathputli word is the combination of two Rajasthani language words Kath meaning wood and Putli meaning puppet. Kathputli means a puppet that is made entirely from wood covered with a cotton cloth and tied with a metal wire which acts as a string. Being a string marionette, it is controlled by a single string that passes from the top of the puppet over the puppeteers. Puppeteer show his skill with strings like swordsmanship, dancing, horse riding, juggling, and acrobatics. Animal puppets are also used for the shows like camels and horses but only their necks would be movable.

As a child, I loved watching Kathputli dance and use to finish my homework before time to get ready for watching a puppet show. I loved their costumes, makeup, dancing, music, instruments and folk-tales they narrated. The curious child, that I was, my main attention was on – what was going on behind the curtain? How they were moving their hands bound by a thread? How they were synchronising their hand movements with Kathputli? Once, I told my father that I want to watch a puppet show from the back, sitting with the persons who are playing it. Ahoy! My wish was granted, I was amazed at the skill and the art of moving the hands.

I narrated to all my friends in school, what transpired behind the kathputli dance in Assembly Hall’s puppet show? So, what I saw was that Kathputli was tied with a metal wire which acted as a string. Being a string marionette, it was controlled by a single string that passed from the top of the puppet over the puppeteers. Puppeteer showed his skill with strings like swordsmanship, dancing, horse riding, juggling, and acrobatics. How amazing! Isn’t it.

Puppet Show at Club Mahindra, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

We left Bhopal, so did Puppet Show. I did not get any opportunity to watch a puppet show after that. After several years, when my daughter was a toddler in Kinder Garden, her school organised a puppet show. Now, I was more excited than her, I took leave from the office to accompany her to the venue. What a delightful show it was with kathpulis dancing on the Salman Khan song, “Teri Chunaria Dil le gayi”

I relived my childhood there along with my daughter. Time passed and I had forgotten about it, well almost, till I visited Chowki Dhaani in Jaipur and got to watch Puppet Show again…this was followed by many years later in Udaipur at Club Mahindra Resort, where I enjoyed puppet show after long. Lastly, I got to watch it in Shree Thaal, Jaipur on my last trip in 2019. 

Introduction Puppetry throughout the ages has held an important place in traditional entertainment. It is an ancient art, originated about 3000 years ago. It is the least expensive source of entertainment which imbibes the all-creative expression like painting, sculpture, music, literature, dance and drama etc.1 It has been the most popular form of entertainment for the village people. Almost all types of puppets are found in India. From different parts of the country, they have their own identity. Regional variations of style and theme are reflected in them. The stylized vocabulary of puppetry carries local myths and legends usually with the massage of social awareness, moral values, historical and traditional subjects.

The movement of the puppets on the beats of Dholak with the dialogue delivery creates a well synchronized dramatic atmosphere that mesmerises people across age groups.

Unfortunately, with the onslaught of electronic media into Indian households, the Bhati community of puppeteers are struggling to make two ends meets.

The Government and General Public must make concerted efforts to save this rare art form from fading into oblivion. 

Watch Kathputhli narration and a Kathputli song”

Travel enthusiasts love my BLOG