Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Review of Ananya Jamaja

Sorry!. This is written in Odiya. A review of my book Ananya Jamaja is given by Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu (A Kendra Sahitya Academy Award Winner)

Ananya Jamaja

A collection of 35 Odiya poems by me, will be released on 4th January 2009 9am by The Honourable Governor fo Odisha in Annual Function of Kadambini - an Odiya literary magazine. The function will be at KIIT Campus, Patia, Bhubaneshwar. Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu has been kind to write a forward note for the collection.

The Odiya poetry lovers may find it interesting. And the readers are cordially invited for a glance of the book. Your comments on the poems are also cordially invited.Please note that this is my the first experiment with literature!

Happy New Year, 2009!

Best regards

Friday, December 19, 2008

Riots of Billboards

Winter is settling hesitantly in Hyderabad because of harakiri of nature for rapid urbanization. And more, the hectic political activities has pervaded the city for ensuing elections. In addition to all these humdrums of life the quest for inner peace still persists in Hyderabad! The quest takes different routes for the people of different communities and tastes. As the case for India, Hyderabad has a very vibrant pluralistic society. It's natural of following the different search paths by them; though it's unfair to admit the occasional skirmishes among these search parties. Still, it's also not unfair to add that the number of such under-dog activities in on downhill track. The smog that blurs the vision is gradually getting cleared. The net result is the intense desire for the inner peace and self-searching. This drives people to different religious places, discourses and prayer halls.

The city dwellers have become spiritual! Yes, there are self-cut proofs. Just when you move at snail's pace you may find it's because you are nearing some shrines built almost on road for a quick darshan when one is even on wheels! As if this is not enough as a proof, Hyderabadis don't relent from reminding you the same in different ways at different times else one may get bored of the same proofs. These are seasonal stuffs. Seasons bring festivals. Many thoughts bring different political parties. And there are many events for many people. Each of these are important to some of them. It was so before. But, now each of these must be told to all of you, as I think my stuff is the most important for the humankind. And all must know it else, as if this is the only choice less question paper in the main exam! All of them pour out billboards – small or large with all colours, emotions, poses and postures. A society proves itself on its roads and Hyderabad choses billboards thanks to the advancements of printing technology. They put the personal news like birth, marriage, graduation, fatherhood, motherhood and the final - death on banners and billboards! Interestingly, some of them don't even forget to put their educational degrees – a hard owned one!

Currently, when you scan Hyderabad roadside banners, one prominently finds pictures of Ayappa Swamis. The swamis are in different postures – some pretend to be radiating, some looking eagerly at shooting camera. And some standing at a distance, even can be found giggling at their own pictures on banners hung at several cross roads. A swami community compete with another in raising their banners across traffic squares. So, also political parties vie to each other. The net result is riot of billboards!

Do I sound like a critic? I admit, these colourful billboards bring a lot of colors and so life for some. What's the problem? Any commuter must have felt or realized the problem due to distractions these billboards pose, more while driving. Particularly, I face a peculiar problem. Old habits die hard. In my childhood when I used to visit nearby town with little rubbing of English into me I used to read English on billboards . You may say that it's a colonial kickback or a pseudo-superior trait. But I would not like to shy away of my eagerness in learning English. Those days I used to take billboards as my testcases. It's to be noted that in Odisha, those days when very very few even had gone to primary school, there used to be many billboards written in English! I used to read each every posters, banners, mile stones etc. while passing by on a cricky rustic bus. I don't know for that my English has improved or not. But it's certain this habit has put me in trouble in Hyderabad. And also now I feel had I studied my text books so seriously, probably I would have been doing well now. Well, now old habits get on me when I'm on move. As I see a life-size picture of a politician with folded hands greets on a billboard, I can't resist self from not responding – that in early days grand-father taught in his first lesson of life! An impulsive response comes and my hands get off the steering wheel. Fortunately, ever vigilant wife Anjali is always there to pull down and to put me back on the track! Kids giggle of the reminiscences.

Thanks to the Riots of Billboards!

Hrushikesha Mohanty
19th December 2008