Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee | 14.4.19


Happy New Year

India is one of the few countries of the world where people celebrate their own new year’s day as per their suitability. Some believe Chaitra Sukla Pratipada (this year it was on 6 April) as the day when Bramha created the universe. They celebrate this day as the Hindu New Year. But many believe the day of Vaishakh Krishna Pratipada as beginning of a new year. Many Hindus celebrate the day following Dola Purnima, as new year’s day. In Odisha Bishuba Sankranti is considered as the beginning of a new year. In Bengal it is the first day of Baisakh, which is considered to be the New Year’s Day. In parts of Gujarat, Bestu Varas is celebrated around October/November time as new year
Come what it may, New Year is celebrated with gay abandon in all parts of the vast country. It is celebrated as Vaisakhi or Baisakhi in north and central India, Rongali Bihu in Assam, Tamil Putthandu in Tamil Nadu, Vishu in Kerala, Bishuva Sankranti in Odisha and Poila Boishakhin Bengal. Ugadi is the New Year’s Day for the Hindus of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana. Gudi Padwa is celebrated in Maharashtra, Goa and Konkan belt as new year.Cheiraoba in Manipur, Navreh in Kashmir and Cheti Chand is celebrated by Sindhi Hindus as new year.

So whatever may be the day, celebrate. Happy New Year.


100 years of Jallianwala Bagh

On 13 April 1919, Baisakhi day,  50 heavily armed soldiers of British Army under the order of General Dyer fired into the gathering of over 15000 unarmed men, women and children who had gathered in a walled ground called Jallianwala Bagh. As per official record 379 persons were killed and over 1200 were injured.

It created a huge furor across the country. Protests erupted, though the British government clamped heavy censorship on media and tried their best to give a different spin to the barbaric act, with the Anglo-Indian Press taking the lead. However, truth came to light. It shook the country and the collective conscience of all right thinking persons of the world.

Many historians opine that Britain lost its empire on that fateful day. The physical decimation of the empire took four more decades.


Haiku on Dhenkanal

National Award Winning Photographer Himanshu Vyas, who is based in Jaipur, Rajasthan also writes poetry, some of which have been published in International literary magazines. Here are some of his ‘haiku’ poems he has written on Dhenkanal after his visit to the Eastern India Campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) located at Dhenkanal, where I happen to be the Regional Director and Professor. He visited our campus with another national award winning photo-journalist Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi to conduct a Photography Workshop in last October.

For those uninitiated, “haiku” is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. Haiku poems consist of 3 lines. The first and last lines of a Haiku have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. The lines rarely rhyme.

The trick to enjoy haiku is to frame mental picture of the words and reconstruct the scene and internalize the bhava. Here it goes:
breakfast table
caretaker keeps on serving
“ isn’t dhenkanal…good! ”

photography class
‘line’ taught by
row of palms

  1. like maa
    in white saree with green border
    panionhala mist
  2. monsoon spiders
    twisting poses of newborn
  3. photo walk
    even little dhenkenal
    won’t end
  4. memories stringed
    by spots where kadamb
    chose to fall
  5. “ where’s dhenkenal ? ”
    asking low clouds
    at dhenkenal
  6. saptsajya trek
    only when winds hush
    trickle murmurs
  7. fireflies
    blinking windows of
    mahanadi hostel
    1.Betel : A traditional and popular chewing leaf.
  8. Wheel: Alludes to Upanishadic philosophyof cyclic nature of existence.
  9. Panionhala: The hills behind IIMC, meaning‘hanging waters.’
  10. Dhenkenal : A hilly district in central Odisha.
  11. Kadamb: A tree with scented flowers; favourite of Lord Krishna.
  12. Saptsajya : A village with seven dense hillsnear Dhenkenal.
  13. Mahandi : A major river in Odisha and also name of a hostel at IIMC.



Tailpiece 1: Advice

For all females,

Please be advised that, there will be no maids for households, if RaGa pays 6k per month to them…

Be careful while voting.


For males,

If no maids, then you have to work at home as well…

Think wisely before voting

Tailpiece 2: More Advice

Vote peacefully. Don’t fight among yourselves over your leaders. Look at the photograph. At the end, Thakur, Gabbar, Jay and Viru are friends.

(Courtesy: Social Media)



The author, a journalist turned media academician lives in Central Odisha town of Dhenkanal. An anthology of his weekly column Window Seat, published in 2018 has been published as a book. Write to him to get a free e-copy.

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