The Joy of Spreading Love

Each year, the city decks up in its brightest hues and starry lights during the festive season. The city doesn’t sleep for more than just the four days. The pandals bewilder many with the amount of skill and expertise that the workers exhibit. The spectacular lighting, new clothes, never ending queues in front of eateries and dressing up is what comprises pujo for most of us. What always attracts me the most, is how happy everyone becomes during this time of the year. But is everyone really that happy?

There still exists a great number of people, for whom pujo doesn’t mean all of this. Pujo perhaps mean extra work to earn a few more bucks. In the midst of this, there are children, who deserve to enjoy childhood and pujo the way most people do, get left out. They deserve to see all the magnificent decorations and feel happy, just as we do.

In an incredible initiative by Vivel, ITC’s leading personal care brand, these kids will get to experience just that. Vivel Pujo Love is an initiative, that plans to take underprivileged children around town to witness the spectacle called Durga Pujo.
They’ll be taken around town, by Dev, a popular Bengali actor and brand ambassador of Vivel.

Kumortuli. .
Kumortuli. The kids here lead very ordinary lives and perhaps never get to witness what the idols’ new, decorated homes look like.

In my personal opinion, it is the children who can enjoy pujo in its most unadulterated form. It is only during childhood, that most of us live without a bag full of worries of pending work. So these, kids, who have usually always felt a deficit of love might finally, thanks to this campaign feel happy and joyous.

At home, dad and I always gifted new clothes to the sons and daughters of our domestic help and other women who did similar chores in the campus. I have personally witnessed how a small act of kindness leaves them so excited.

So this festive season, do your bit to make kids feel a part of the celebrations. Support this initiative by Vivel, so that more and more corporates take up similar initiatives to make the city a happier place. Support this, so that these kids and enjoy the rhythm of the dhaak and the joy of new clothes, just as we do every year.

If you too want to be a part of Vivel Pujo Love, click a selfie with a child on your phone and post it on the timeline of Vivel using the hashtag – #VivelPujoLove.

Spread love.
Spread happiness.

Have a memorable Pujo.


Songs and Poetry – Apeejay Bangla Sahityo Utshob

At the last session of the Apeejay Bangla Sahityo Utshob, we witnessed a lovely discussion on modern day music and songs, and its relation with poetry.
With Tridib Chattopadhyay as the moderator and well-known musician Surojit Chatterjee as the speaker, it seemed to be the perfect end to the “festival”.

The member of the popular Bengali band “Bhoomi” spoke about how poetry need not be understood completely to be enjoyed. They need to be felt. Quite similar to music, I think. It isn’t always necessary to understand every lyric to understand a song. The tune and the melody, quite often steal our hearts.

A session on song and poetry would remain incomplete without a mention of Tagore, who in my opinion, composed the finest of them both. Imdadul Haq discussed that and more.
Modern day Bengali songs, have evolved over the ages to become what it is today. It has adapted to suit the preferences of the youth, and it is this transition that marks the true beauty of the language. Where it can evolve, change and still make people love it.

The session came to an end with a soulful rendition of “Kandey shudhu Mon keno kandey rey”: a Bengali modern classic. The day could not have ended on a better note.

Literature Has To Be Controversial To Be Popular

The third session was about how important controversies are in making a book popular.

With references from Shakespeare, which not only contained vulgar songs and cheap jokes, but will always remain a favourite, this session, I understood will definitely be very interesting.Yes, controversy does make a work popular, but it can never be a benchmark for good literature.

Ranjan Bandhopadhyay, who has written highly popular books like “Kadambari Debi’s suicide note” which became controversial and famous, spoke about how he wrote it because the lady intrigued him and thus, he had to put it down in a fictional piece. He never thought that it would make so much news or become so popular. He looks for interesting pieces of information, which would get reader intrigued but does not do that to make the book scintillating. He has also written books about Vivekananda, which did not become controversial, but was loved nonetheless. He believes, that whether a book becomes popular or not, is not about controversies, and is totally dependant on individual authors.
Tilottama Mazumdar said, that controversy and literature cannot be anticipated and so, the author can never guess what becomes controversial and what doesn’t. Discussion and controversy is not necessarily negative. It is only when an author hurts the sentiments of a community or section of people, is the time when a danger arises. The publisher however, does look for certain elements of controversy because he needs to publish books that would sell for ages.

Swapnomoy Chakroborty, who has taken the road less travelled by and written books on transgenders, spoke about how some books, when they come in the news, only paves the way for betterment.

Kaberi Roychowdhury, a bold writer, currently residing in Bangladesh, has a readership that includes the youth. She says, that sometimes, even the publishers purposely create a controversy to highlight some particular author or work. She says that when someone writes a character they elevate the characters to a level where no one can identify them. Especially if that character has been written from life. They breakdown the character to a level where none of their loved ones would recognize them. Writers have to write forever: so for them, they need to find ways to survive in their craft. Sometimes there are scenes which might not be accepted by the world at large, but needs to be depicted by the writers to substantiate their point in the book. Raat bhor brishti was controversial but she did not understand it during the time of its release.

The session contained a healthy argument about controversies and literature. It opened up new ways of looking at the entire idea of controversies, which not necessarily is negative. In the end, any publicity is indeed a way of making a book famous, and that can definitely make a book more read than the usual.

Writing out of love, or for readers? – Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utshob

The second session at the Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utshob, being held at the Oxford Bookstore, Park Street had speakers like Anish Deb, Prachoto Gupta, Bani Basu, Ullash Mullick and Dipanwita Ray.
The authors seem ideal for this session, as all of them are from varied fields of literature. Anish Deb deals primarily with ghosts and the supernatural, while Ullash Mullick is a filmmaker and Bani Basu is a prolific author whose works have been regularly published in Desh, apart from others.

In Session.
In Session.

With a very witty introduction, involving how diabetes patients will always crave for sweets and how its not always okay to comply with what the heart wants.

Bani Basu began with how all authors initially write out of love, but then mould it into something that readers will love. Whether a writer ultimately will love the finished product or not, is debatable, but the publisher, primarily has to like it.

Pracheto Gupta, says how his writing is mostly born out of a fusion of both. He writes to satisfy himself, as well as, to earn a living. According to him, it is a constant quest for an author to fuse both sides –  to please himself and to impress readers. He says, a reader will love a writers writing only when the reader is inquisitive about what the author’s heart wants.

Anish Deb went on to use the analogy of which came first, the hen or the egg, to describe the topic. Generally, he has observed that whatever pleases him the most, also seems to impress readers a lot. He would always choose to express his feelings and write his heart out, instead of thinking about whether readers would like it.

Ullash Mullick, who mostly writes humorous pieces, says that its a reflection of his humour in real life. He feels, that in todays age, he cannot claim that pleasing readers can be of much good as the readership has decreased significantly anyway. He prefers writing, and laughing on his own.

Bani Basu says, when she reads, she prefers knowing the genres she hasn’t explored or doesn’t know of herself. As a reader, its those pieces that intrigues her most. Anish Deb says, writing science fiction has been his passion right from his childhood.

The discussion, indeed, made me think too. It is true, that each reader is different and preferences vary widely. Some love cheesy romances and some love action and the thrill. As an author, it is perhaps a very tough job to understand what he should cater to. It is important, that the works are loved and read. Pracheto Gupta summed it up pretty well. He said, that every author also becomes a reader simultaneously. He needs to close his eyes, and let himself get into his own writings and let his own writings make him laugh and cry. How the reader interprets a writing, whether he relates to the character or not, should just be left to the readers. It isn’t something that can be predicted or anticipated. That shouldn’t be tampered or bothered with. As an author, he needs to be content even if five people read and love his books instead of looking for numbers.

With the flow of writings, often, writing takes its own course. Characters form in the flow and often, even the author is left astonished. The discussion, involved wit, humour and serious debate amongst much more. Topics like generation gap, literature for kids and much more were also discussed in great detail. Most importantly, the discussion gave me a clear insight into what goes on in the mind of the author. Indeed, writing needs both. One without the other is not a very happy possibility.

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