Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee



After a long and extremely hot summer monsoon has arrived in the Southern and Eastern India as I write this. The dark clouds hover over; the blinding lightning is followed by rumbling thunder bringing in showers of rain. The parched earth drinks the water with glee; the leaves look fresh and lush green. I live on the valley of Paniohala (which means hanging water) Hill.  The hill top is covered with cloud. The forest on the valley suddenly looks closer- as if it has overnight travelled near our home.

The great Sanskrit poet and dramatist Kalidasa has picturesque description of the dark clouds, pregnant with water drops in his poem Meghadootam (The Cloud Messenger) as the protagonist Yaksha in exile yearns for his beloved and begs the clouds to take his message to her. Please read those magical passages to savour the beauty of the rain.

Save Water

In meetings and conferences held in up market hotels, several small water bottles are placed on the tables. I find people taking a sip form a bottle and then forget about the bottle. Nobody drinks from that bottle. The janitors come and take those half-empty bottles away and obviously throw them as debree. That means half a bottle of water gets wasted. This also happens in most of the marriage receptions and community feasts where bottled waters are given.
Can we save the waste of presumably filtered, treated and bottled water? Can we just consume one bottle before taking or opening a new one? Can we keep one bottle for ourselves? And if that has not been emptied take it home and consume the remaining water.
I do it. Every time.
Will you join me in containing waste of potable water?

It is a very small step. But as the saying goes- drops make oceans.

Cycle Rally

Political leaders love rallies. It has the right mix of pomp and show that body politics in India love. Therefore come any occasion, political leaders come out with rallies. Somebody goes to file nomination paper- a rally is called for. Somebody wins an election- a bigger rally is called for. Somebody wants to protest on some issues- a rally is the answer. A rally is also considered to be show of strength. Bigger the rally, more the number of vehicles accompanying- it is perceived to be ‘people’s support’. It is a different issue that these rallies could be ‘manufactured’ is common knowledge.

Most of the rallies have vehicles and motorcycles accompanying them. Young men with topies and bandanas of different colours (depending on the organizer of the rally) riding motor cycle, with other persons sitting waving flags or sticks or both is a common sight across the country.

I have a humble submission to the organizers of the rallies. Kindly organize cycle rallies instead of motorcycle or car rallies. Ask your workers to ride cycles for the rally. It will save a huge maount of money that is spent on fuel expenses. It will contain air pollution. And it will also give the workers necessary physical exercise. And this year being the 200th year of cycle (the humble machine was first manufactured in 1917 in Germany)- it will also celebrate its long and useful existence.

Yoga Day: Why on June 21?

June 21 is being celebrated as International Yoga Day.  However, I find some people asking why is it celebrated on June 21? Why not on some other day?

Here is the answer: June 21 is the day of Summer Solstice. It is the day which has highest day time in the year: 13.5 hours, whereas during winter solstice, the duration is of 10.2 hours. Summer Solstice marks the transition of Sun from Uttarayana to Dakshinayana.

It is believed that it was on this day Lord Shiva first taught yoga to his disciples. That is why several yoga gurus advocated celebrating June 21 as Yoga Day.

Does yoga has any health benefit? There are many who pooh-pooh the premise. They say, it has no health benefit. However, Dr. A. Pallavi Assistant Prof. Dept. of Physical Education and Prof. M. Shyam Babu, Director of Physical Education Andhra University, Visakhapatnam have written an interesting paper: Effect of Yogic Practice on Physiological and Hematological Variables among Engineering College Lady Students. (Andhra University Jouirnal of Humanities and management, Vol 1, No 1, Jan-June, 2013) The paper definitely concludes (after 12 weeks of on field experiments) that Yoga has health benefits. Yogasana practice has much influence on selected biochemical parametres.

Tail Piece 1: Yoga story

On the morning of Yoga Day husband got up early and was getting ready to celebrate Yoga day by practicing yoga. Meanwhile wife woke up.

Husband asked, Darling, will you like to join me?

Wife: For what?

Husband: To practice Yoga.

Wife: You mean to say, I have become fat?

Husband: No, no. If you do not want to join, it is ok.

Wife: You mean to say, I have become lazy?

Husband: Why are you angry?

Wife: You mean to say, I always quarrel with you?

Husband: Are, when did I say that?

Wife: You mean to say I tell lies?

Husband: Ok, ok. I am not going for yoga.

Wife:  I understand everything. You did not want to go in the first place.

Husband kept quiet and went back to sleep.

(Courtesy: Sanjeev Bhanawat on social media)

Tailpiece 2: Champions Trophy final

Sattar saal baad England ne phir wahi kiya: Tum lado, hum chale. (After seventy years England did the same thing: You fight. We are quitting.)


Mrinal Chatterjee, a journalist turned media academician lives on the valley of Paniohala Hills at Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes and translates fiction and plays. His Odia translation of two Hindi plays of Safdar Hashmi has recently been released.

He can be contacted at [email protected]