This year’s yearbook finally! Download it and read it at your leisure!
Lots of love.
This year’s yearbook finally! Download it and read it at your leisure!
Lots of love.
This is the yearbook of 2016, the very first year of the Ezines.
Download it and read it at your leisure!
lots of love.
Well, it is a bit late, but I decided that from this year onward I will publish yearbooks of the Ezines. You can download the pdf files and read at your leisure!
Lots of love.
Here’s the review for Agnijaat Agrahayan!
This issue for the month of Agrahayan opens with…
…the Kalipuja Foursome, a quartet of celebrations including:
Dhanteras, or Dhan Trayodashi, in which Lord Kuvera and Goddess Lakshmi, the Lord and Goddess of Wealth are honored. Given India’s historical past, this comes as little surprise, but that’s not all!
There’s also Bhootchaturdashi, a night in which ghosts both benign and malignant wander the Earth to clear the way for Mother Goddess Kali in her purging of evil. Also known as Indian Halloween, the similarity with Halloween in the West is remarkable, though also strikingly different in its significance and means of celebration. I’ll add that the leafy veggies eaten this night are probably much more healthful than copious mass-produced bags of sweets as done in the West!
The next in line is Kalipuja, the actual worship of Mother Goddess Kali, and sometimes, Dipawali as well, though otherwise that happens the next night, which celebrates Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya from exile. I was struck by the means of celebrating the latter, and I imagine that the display of lights and crackers this night must be dazzling!
Then, there is: Razia Sultana
Whose time as Empress of India was, I think cut far too short given her evident ability as a ruler. Truly an iconic figure for women’s liberation, and a remarkable leader.
Myriad ways of hackers: Here is something that will really make you wary! I’ve heard that there are only two kinds of computers: those that have been hacked, and those that will be.There’s good advice here to consider when wandering about online!
Gangajamuni Culture: describes the blending of cultures that’s bound to happen in a region as diverse as India, and certainly there has been a cross-pollination of ideas between religions on the subcontinent since the very beginning. Here, there is a hopeful note for the same sort of thing in our species’ not-too-distant future.
Nature @Kolkata in Agrahayan: Mmmm! Now this is something I must look for in local Bengali markets here in the States! Here is a yummy description of three sweets, Sandesh, Rasogolla, and Moa, seasonal, of course but very tempting to try if they can be found at the right time of year!
Sin of father: All too often I hear people invoke this as an excuse for scapegoating, victim-blaming, and retributive *ahem* ‘justice’ in most criminal legal systems, depending on the level of callous disregard for others involved. It’s not a stretch here to say that silence conveys assent.
Bhaktivad or Bhakti movement: Fascinating that this development in Indian religion, returning first in South India, has become so popular, but understandably so! There are many ways to worship, all of them speak to our humanity, and they are often shared by religions around the world. I’m reminded of the late George Harrison of the Beatles, and his devotion to Lord Krishna.
I loved the stories, but Treacherous Sands was particularly notable, and as an excerpt from a new novel, I eagerly await adding it to my collection! It sounds scary, and worth writing a full review on!
Chhathpuja: this one is a tale of the worship of Lord Surya and Goddess Usha by an ancient king seeking a son to inherit his kingdom. It’s brief, but there’s a lot in it for the words in which it is written!
I liked both of the stories from the authoress’ collection, Spirits of Darkness and Night. The Town of the Doomed stood out as downright dark!
For the verses, Rukminiharan: Kidnapping Rukmini was a nice take on a mythological tale of romance, with some very upset greedy suitors, too!
The image-verses I rather enjoyed, with The Painter being my favorite, as I rather loathe ‘debates’ about religious topics in person, and try to avoid them online as well.
‘Are we welcome’ stood out as another good one, brief, but very cosmic in perspective!
Shots from Kolkata, at the very end, is a wonderful collection of photos, showing the authoress’s artistic side (like the verse-images and throughout this issue) quite nicely with interesting shifts of focus and use of lighting.
I rather enjoyed this one, and I await its return in the month of Poush!
Love, and deep regards,
Troy David Loy
Troy @ kestalusrealm.wordpress.com
the review for Agnijaat’s Kartik issue:
Durgapuja (Celebrating Womanhood):
This month’s installment opens in that most Bengali of festivals, with a description of the four ways Durgapuja may be celebrated. I know nothing of its like in the US, with our over-commercialized, over-hyped, cookie-cutter holidays.
What a way to abuse the female of the species! Given a dismal life by their caste and widowed or unmarried status, these women are a good argument for
Not So Harmless Images:
Woah! This was new to me, and really got the cogs turning about how it may be used on common blogging sites, like WordPress or Blogger. Even though I’ve little need for using such images, it’s something worth poking around and looking out for on seemingly innocent-looking websites featuring pictures of cats doing amusing things! there’s more to these than meets the browser window!
What Happened to Sita and Savitris?
The situation of many women in India is shaped by social forces and tradition, and here is a good comparison between the virtuous Sita and her own arch-rival for Lord Rama’s heart, the demoness Surpanakha, and the changes wrought in many modern women by India’s independence and the influences of history. This paints a grim portrait of modern womankind on the subcontinent, but I think a sound one given the authoress’s first-hand knowledge and experience. This gives me the impetus to read in full that online Mahabharata I’ve bookmarked recently.
Nature @Kolkata in Kartik:
This one made me want to visit Kolkata during this time of the year, though it is unwise for me to do much travelling out of town, let alone out of the country, in my current situation. Still, the climate and its attendant weather seem to call out to be experienced first-hand, so perhaps some day when I’m more independent, having fewer responsibilities at home. Still, it sounds lovely!
Before You Pick Up the Stone:
A useful bit of wisdom for those inclined to judge others when none are completely blameless, nor immune to being fooled by the clever and unethical.
Such an interesting bit of history, of a renowned poetess and deep devotee of Lord Krishna, and her mysterious fate, lost to the winds of time. I must look for recordings made using her songs by modern artists.
Here is a collection of interesting short fiction, with Hypocrite Maybe, Wild Ones, and Beautiful Pet really standing out. However the first of the last two, Surprise, is perfect as a story with an Egyptian theme well-suited for this time of year as is the final tale, Halloween Night, a story of a frightful Bhoot Chaturdashi encounter!
Kalipuja and Bhaiphota:
Interesting descriptions of worship and celebration. As a destroyer of evil and wrongdoing, Goddess Kali is rightly feared, and NOT to be trifled with by the dark-hearted, given the sorts of sacrifice required of her priests!
Kalipuja in traditional way:
An informative set of excerpts, describing anecdotes and stories of this puja, and the Festival of Light occurring at the same time. Such colorful accounts!
This collection of poetry has a good selection of pieces, though the last, In the name of, stood out as wonderful social commentary with good prosody in its arrangement. Reluctant Moon and I Buy were also excellent reads, and I loved Once upon a time.
My Visit to Puja Pandal:
Some beautiful photos and strong commentary here, worth reading for both!
the review for Agnshatdal’s Kartik issue:
As a remarkable and iconic politician, this man moved in illustrious circles, and it is unfortunate that he died when he did. But none of us are promised tomorrow, and he did much good in his own time.
A wonderful songstress, writer, teacher, and dancer, she must have had quite the voice and the moves for the music she performed. I must look for recordings of her songs online, which will make interesting listening if I can find them!
This is a good recounting of a classic tale. It reminds me of a recent video lecture I took in a couple of days ago on Hindu funerary customs, of the burning ghats of Varanasi and the holy status of that city. The humorous ending of this story lightens things up a bit, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Strong fantasy imagery of the transition of summer to winter in poetic form. I like this one’s excellent prosody, which is something I’m used to seeing in Freya’s work. This really gets the brain cells working!
The Ghost in the Wishing Well:
Dom outdoes himself here. Good rhythm, good rhyme. I’ll need practice, lots of it, to do half as well!
Bengali Warrior (Sharmishtha Basu):
Good piece by Carolyn on one of those few bloggers whose work and energy I admire. Truth matters, crucially, and to fight for it worth the effort. I can only hope to do half as well!
The Little boy and the tiger:
A good anecdote from pre-Khmer-Rouge Cambodia, with the tiger being particularly touching. I won’t give spoilers here, though. Read it.
With tiny thoughts of you:
A nice bit of verse. Wendell exceeds expectations in the best way possible with this paean to love.
The Thought Hospital:
A great bit of satire with cool brain-creature aliens! I’d like to welcome Mr. Banerjee to this eZine, and congratulate him on this piece. Well-done sir! I enjoyed the cartoons, too.
A good piece by Arjo. When loved ones go off to war, things get tragic fast, and here it is in spades. As a war veteran friend I once knew was driven to suicide from his inner metaphorical demons despite surviving his term of service, I know the feeling well.
Treats of D Month:
From the birthday shoutout to Dom, to Swati’s illustrated poetic piece on the Festival of Lights, this month is full of delightful goodies to read and enjoy!
Good poetry in its proper script, with evocative translations. These will be fun to practice with!
India This Month: Kartik 1423
Here, I’d like to take the time to welcome Aayush to the eZine for his contribution written first in Devanagari, and then in Roman script. I’ll have to check out his blog!
The celebrations noted here, five in all, some local, some widespread throughout Bengal and India is impressive. I suspect that perhaps I was born on the wrong continent to enjoy such cool events as these. Maybe in my next life, if there is one…*sigh*
Indus Valley Cities:
A good recounting of what’s known of Harappan civilization, which was apparent quite extensive in contact with other societies. That they were an agrarian civilization is not surprising, with a level of urban sophistication rivalling those they traded with. It will be interesting to find out what happened to them.
That’s it for now! I await the Agrahayan issue!
~These are my perspective notes from the September 2016 issue of Agnishatdal Ashwin~
~Science by Troy David Lloyd~to only imagine to be of another solar system and understand if there is a greater society than ours out there~nice prose~
~Only yourself by Wendell Brown~love is Universal and unconditional~if you take a narcisstic approach to love then it can never be real~very nice poem~
~Universal Love~Ngobesing Romanus~a great sensation that the heart feels this Universal love all over~nice poetry~
~Impressions~Lisa Ojanpera~truth and profound post~indeed a bit witty too~
~Aardvark Reflections~Carolyn Paige~it seems my mantra in seeking the truth is to always revert back to Psalma 118:8~take refuge in the Lord and trust no man~in doing so you will always know the truth~your heart tells you so about you~
~Binding the household~Swati Sarangi~home is always where the heart is~this is where love begins within~if we seek the truth with love and do find it within our heart then we know how much love, compassion and understanding we can take with us no matter where we go in life~
~Overall the ezine is still an interesting read~once again the talent is what makes this interesting as well~continue with success~thank you my Precious Flower for your kindest words about me as well~
Troy David Loy
First, for Ashwin Agnijaat:
This was a fascinating piece, as though there are bonds of sibling-hood and friendship almost universally across cultures, this celebration is to my knowledge unique to Indian society, and I find it quite touching to say the least! Sadly, I know nothing of its like in the West.
A good discussion of a custom that for centuries has put Bengali women in a very bad situation for the sake of deference to older men. The fact of serial grooms, hungry to enrich themselves with dowries paints a dark picture of human ethics, and darker still the outcome for brides who become widows at an early age.
Hear, hear! I’m in agreement with this, that ‘smartphone’ is a misnomer, and ‘instrument for covert data-theft from owner’ does seem more appropriate. That’s not just with Android devices, but also Apple products that seem to know just a bit more about one than feels comfortable dealing with, yet can’t even do autocorrect accurately after three years of heavy use!
The Ruckus in JNU:
The upshot of this: young people ought to get some respect and empathy from the society in which they live, not merely be subservient to the demands of their elders or an uncaring and corrupt government. That, I think, applies well to any nation on the planet.
Nature @Kolkata in Ashwin:
A beautiful description of the local season during the month of Mahalaya and Durgapuja. It puts to shame the petty festivals in my own country, save those brought here by immigrants from across the world, and especially those hailing from the subcontinent.
Rani Rudrama Devi – Glimpses of Indian History:
A fascinating look into the reign of a strong and powerful woman in a region otherwise dominated by men. The fact that she was such an effective ruler despite attempts to obstruct her ability belies the notion that women can’t compete with men.
These were delightful, showing an ability with words I’ve yet to effectively master in the authoress’s domain. ‘I am still here’ stood out in particular as memorable as wonderful short fiction in which the protagonist has a friendly and life-changing encounter with a Goddess. I love that Hindu deities are so colorful and relatable, which nicely segues into…
For which there are picturesque digital art memes describing the days in this most Bengali of festivals, an easily-grasped account of each part of the celebration in excellent detail. I recommend the book they come from.
These are prone to evoking childhood sense-memories, far, far back to a time when I felt that everything was magic, though seeing the world now with older eyes hasn’t spoiled that so much as it may have.
Cat and Butterfly:
A collection of seven digitally painted memes, it’s a tale of my favorite species of cute but murderous pets and their victims in the eternal struggle between predators and prey.
And next, for Ashwin Agnishatdal:
Ishwar Chandra Bidyasagar: What a remarkable man, a reformer and educator who took a lot of trouble onto himself in his work of bettering the academic lot of Indian women and the poor, and arousing the anger of the establishment. That kind of courage is hard to find anymore.
Birendra Krishna Bhadra: This piece on a famous radio personality, and his remarkable career and family upbringing really stood out. It made me want to download one of his radio programs to listen to, Mahishasur Mardini.
Only Yourself: Wendel’s piece is well-put in the futility of claiming to love without really meaning it.
A little pain made it rain: Dominic has in this issue a great bit of poignant verse.
Universal love: A good call and case for love and compassion in a world that often seems more cynical and jaded than it ought to at times.
The Raja and the Swamiji: Raghunandan here relates a terrific tale of a puissant Northern ruler whose skills with a bow come in very handy in saving his life from some very foolish bandits….foolish for thinking they could best him in combat. The Raja’s travails, prior to this combat, are brought into context by the wise swamiji, and resolved by the same. Very good.
The Black Queen: This tale of a retired nobleman in Vietnam, accentuated with photos and scenes from a decorative chessboard is well-written, a good piece of period fiction.
Binding the household: Swati gives a good argument for the abolition of rigid gender roles in work, those roles set in place by skewed ideologies by most societies from childhood onward.
Aardvark reflection: This has some good points as well, on the folly of believing everything you read. It’s a theme that has all too many instances in this age of the Internet and rampant misinformation. Evaluating information reliably is often more critical than merely finding it in a book or webpage.
Impressions: Lisa here has created a delightful scene along the shoreline of a beach, with a good quote accompanying it.
Treats of D Month:
This section includes two interviews, with Hemdiva Dev, and Teagan R. Geneveine. My thanks to the eZine’s creator for the wonderful Bengali birthday shoutout. This will sound odd coming from me, but it makes me feel blessed to be so highly honored. There are here the critiques of the Bhadra issue as well.
Here are contributions by the creator herself, a collection of wonderful verses appropriate for the season in digital meme form, showing a good sense of balance for text and imagery combined as one. If only I could do so well with that for my own memes! Kudos! The Bangla and Hindi verse in their graceful scripts will be excellent subjects for study and practice in reading in both languages!
Narad Shrimati – A love story from the Hindu Purans:
This was touching, and interesting in that its outcome seems to me to lead up to the birth of the hero Rama, to the events in the epic Ramayana, including the origin of Rama’s nemesis, Raja Ravana.
India This Month:
There are several holidays noted here, from Durgapuja, to Muharram, to Kojagari Lakshmipuja, this section gives a good overview of celebrations taking place during the month.
Pieces of Past: Indus Valley Cities:
More information on one of my favorite early civilizations, and its legacy, most often seen in the remnants of its cities, which used means of maintaining a high population with advanced sanitation means, a sign of high culture and for its time, superior knowledge.
Whew! Another issue rich with interesting things to read, and I await the Kartik issue when it comes!