Agnishatdal is a collection of variety of literary work and art. One can find a mixture of mythological information, poems, interviews, photographs and digital paintings- all at one place- in this 122 page- long ezine. The opening note of the editor Sharmishtha Basu gives a brief insight about creating something beautiful. One can find an intelligent arrangement of digital paintings amidst the literary works. We can get to know about Rabindranath Tagore and Abanindranath Tagore. Then comes the section of stories, reflections and thoughts as illustrated by a well crafted digital painting by the creator herself.
An article entitling ‘A smile amidst the crowd’ by Vishal Bheeroo can be seen as an inaugural one. It’s about an experience of the author meeting a stranger, a 9-year-old girl (might be a child labour),who smiled back at him confidently when he tried to a smile to show his sympathy.
A poem “Where is the truth?” by Ngobesing Romanus speaks about the quest for the ultimate truth of the life.
Through her poem ‘Prayer’ , the poetess Swati Sarangi wishes the almighty to be a torch bearer to guide her though the life.
A poem ‘A genuine friend’ by Wendel A. Brown is a beautiful tribute to the wonderful friends we make in our life.
‘A partycrasher’ by Troy David Loy is a short fiction about the invasion of aliens.
‘Cheetah Reflection’ by Carolyn Page is a work to provide motivation to one self by drawing the inspiration from the animal Cheetah.
Then comes a series of wonderful photographs of nature of Dominic A. Collucci.
‘How fate was overcome’ by Raghunandan Kuppuswamy is a story about getting over the curse given by a saint.
‘Weep not ‘ by Lisa Ojanpera beautiful photography of nature supported by wise lines.
‘Journey to end with light’ by Dominic Collucci creates a unique comparison between candle and the life of a human being.
‘One must sleep before they are awakened’ by Dominic Collucci is a spiritual poem about the awakening of human to his inner consciousness.
Clouds play by Sharmishtha Basu is a short poem creating images about the movement of clouds that bring rain.
‘Krishnavarna Neelavasan’ is a poem by Sharmishtha Basu originally written in Sanskrit in Devnagri Script ,then translated in English.
A mythological tale of ‘Parvati Swayamvar’ by Sharmishtha Basu narrates the love story of Lord Shiva and Parvati from Hindu Purana.
‘Story of Bangla Calendar’ by Sharmishtha Basu gives knowledge about the influence of Muslim calendar on Bengali calendar.
‘India this month’ by Sharmishtha Basu is a list of Indian festivals to be celebrated in near future.
‘Bengal this month’ by Sharmishtha Basu is a similar informative article as above listing various festivals celebrated in the month of Bhadra.
‘Pieces of past’ by Sharmishtha Basu provides a list of various chronological events of history.
The ezine ends with few spoilers ,digital paintings and concluding words from the creator.
My views in brief: It’s an ezine dedicated to the Bhadra month(Monsoon)of Hindu Calendar as one can find various pieces of information from the creator on it. Apart from this, it is flooded with various literary works and art. I feel too honoured to find my writing in this ezine. Thanks to Sharmishtha Basu for giving me an opportunity to publish my work in this ezine.
~I have noticed how much talent you have brought to your ezine, very professional people~
~there are a lot of great writers here and each story they have is a beautiful creation from within their Soul*s~
~I thank you for your additions of your paintings to my poetry~
~once again it is informative about your culture in India your stories, time frames of the history and the calendar~
~as always your work in creating your stories and poetry really are seen from your heart and another thing about them as it seems that there was no need for editting once again~
~looks like you have a great ezine here~
~keep up the good work indeed~
~is there a spot where I can write what is above?~
Troy David Loy
This was fascinating; a holiday for three separate occasions on the same date. As a student myself (a poor one in my youth) I can see the wisdom in respecting teachers, given the time and trouble they go through to instruct their charges and hold their attention. A teacher can make or break a class or course subject, but students who fail in doing their part in the exchange are at fault as well when learning doesn’t take place.
This filled in a lot of gaps in my understanding of this unfortunate custom, and of the British and native Indians who worked to end it. To end a woman’s (often young) life on the funeral pyre of her husband must have been a horrific experience, not to mention the social penalties used to impose it on those who refused to conform.
I couldn’t help but feel a bit unsettled about this piece. Why on Terra would a legitimate employer need pinpoint location of prospective employees’ homes when the basic data should be enough? I got the impression from this that something shady might be at play.
Youth of India:
This roused me to anger, that any nation should both squander and exploit the young of the nation for the sake of the old and moneyed. It reminds me of the situation on my own country, where millennials are stuck with enormous student debt and lack of good paying jobs, often forced to work long hours on several jobs just to make ends meet.
Cheriyal Art of Warangal….Glimpses of Indian History:
A fascinating discussion of a dying art form that may yet be saved through digitization. It seems evocative of even more ancient styles to my eyes, and that’s a good thing. If you follow the link provided there are excellent examples to see. The dolls and masks speak to something not easily described. Beautiful stuff!
The Bean Stalk: This is a cute story, brief, but humorous. I almost felt sorry for the poor giant, mentioned but unseen, castigated by the thunderous voice for his negligence, pointed out by a little girl…
The remaining stories are good as well, very much in the vein of modern fairy-tales, some in more modern guises, but still with a hint of magic, and in one, a bit of horror.
The verses along with the stories are by far excellent, and I await the next issue, with patience of course; a virtue if ever there were one!
Now for Agnishatdal:
The pieces on Rabindranath and Abanindranath Tagore, both creative prodigies, were illuminating and filled many gaps in my knowledge. The one a poet, the other an artist, and both of them writers and teachers, Abanindranath is almost unknown in the West. Good on you for writing this, and for the beautiful sample of his dreamlike art.
A Smile Amidst The Crowd: This story is a really effective means of maintaining one’s faith in humanity. Wonderful, and very discouraging of curmudgeonly cynicism, and for that matter, pessimism. Good work, Vishal!
Where is the truth?
I find myself in complete agreement with Ngobesing’s sentiment here. Truth matters, whatever the means of finding it, as are any facts at hand that may bear out that truth. Important and also mentioned is intellectual courage, the willingness to speak the truth, often to power, and frequently at great risk. Socrates. Giordano Bruno. Galileo. While not mentioned here, these figures stand out to me as those who put their lives and liberty on the line for the truth, with two being put to death for doing so, the third put on house arrest and forced to recant. Excellent.
A Prayer: Stylistically, this evokes Tagore’s poetry, or at least the Ingreji translations of his work I’m reading. At the same time this piece evinces Ms. Sarangi’s own unique style, the result quite easy on the eyes in both form and execution. Very good.
A Genuine Friend: Wendel’s poem says much to consider on the human condition, particularly the title subject. The necessity of caring to friendship or any positive human relationship, in any real sense, shows quite nicely here.
Life, Love, Wisdom: Lisa’s photograph seems to me a photographic poem. It shows rather than just tells, always a sign of good artistry.
Cheetah reflection: Carolyn’s piece I found interesting, and easily intuited as to meaning.
Dom’s contributions here are many and varied, whether photo or text, and well-worth looking at from the scenery evoked from either.
How Fate Was Overcome: Raghunandan’s piece is one of my favorites from this issue. The farmer who plows his field during drought and provides compelling reasons for doing so is one smart cookie. The fact that his gambit worked is even better.
Weep not: Another good one by Lisa, open to many interpretations, including the light of God and to me, the lights of reason and science.
The interviews were fascinating, with new and interesting people, and the paintings, stories, and verse following had an excellent ‘feel’ to them. ‘Enchanted island’ stood out as particularly memorable.
Parvati Swayamvar – A Love Story From the Hindu Purans: This is a good retelling, and a fascinating look at the relatable personas of Hindu deities. It is easy to see why many are so popular. It reminds me of the movie and book ‘Life of Pi,’ in which the title character describes the Gods in super-heroic terms, at the same time clearly beyond Western superheroes.
India This Month: So many holidays in Bhadra! I’d not thought that so much could go on in only a single month, but seeing India’s incredibly diverse multicultural heritage, this should not surprise me.
I especially like the story of and dream sequence about Lord Ganesha. Very relatable, very personable. Easily my favorite deity. Even as a non-Hindu.
Pieces of Past: Prehistoric India and Harappa civilization: This made me think of one of the major reasons for the scarcity of ancient Indian records, even from only a few hundred years ago; that many written texts were made by stylus from a common and easily prepared resource: palm fronds, which most Indian scripts are well-suited for. It is also a very perishable means of writing, and books using this must be over time continually copied and recopied from older text, leaving much room for copy errors, as the Indian climate tends to degrade the medium that the originals are written on.
In any event, a fire has definitely been sparked for the next installment, both the eZine as a whole and this article series!
Troy David Loy
Well, I have been mulling over the idea whether or not I will say something about the works of Agnishatdal, then I realized I can, that won’t be bragging, because I will be complimenting the works of others or criticizing them! So from this month onwards I will add my words to the opinions of others too.
I will never be able to thank Kazi Anirban enough for that amazing bio he gifted me of Kazi Sabyasachi. I tried to upload it in wiki but could not understand their rules and regulations, will have to try again or get help.
Adarsha the watersaver by Hemdiva Dev- This is a fantastic story, a story with some lessons and brilliantly written if you consider that the writer is just a child. One can feel this girl is going to shine as a writer.
Monkey Incident by Brieuc Martin Onraet- Now this is ONE scary and hilarious incident, honestly I wont like anyone being chased by a big or small monkey, a kid especially. It was terrifying yet fun to read- the way Brian tells stories is amazing!
Carnation flower and Tiger reflections by Carolyn Page- What can I say about Carolyn and her reflections? She is like a flower herself and her works are gems of wisdom. I absolutely ADORE the depth of her wisdom and keen study of human nature.
Aryabhata by Troy David Loy- well, honestly I do read quite a bit about India history and its past glories but Troy taught me about Aryabhata, I knew nothing about him but his name. It is one article, full of information. His way of writing is, and will be amazing always, that is added bonus.
Lisa Ojanpera’s poems and photography- She is a brilliant author and fantastic photographer, artist. I am so grateful that she shared her works with us.
Dom Collucci’s photographs- his photography is amazing!
Midnight tolls and Platitudes by Gayle Walters Rose- Gayle is an amazing writer, her talent is beyond measure, I have been reading her works for years and they are mind-blowing, just like these two.
The rock of statecraft by Raghunandan Kuppuswamy- He is full of wisdom, knowledge and his works are real gems if you are looking for true wisdom. This story is just one of his gems!
Monkharaper chithi and China mobile o ekti meye by Arjo Dasgupta- I wish he could share the translation of these two amazing works in Bengali- they are brilliant! Fantastic, superb!
A smile amidst the crowd by Ranveer Vishal is a beautiful, heartwarming story of courage, how starkest condition cannot steal the joy of some people! It is a humble reminder to us to thank God for so many things we have. Vishal is a very talented writer, his stories, poetry and critics are priceless!
Where is the truth by Ngobesing Romanus is a brilliant poem, his words are very wise and deep.
A prayer by Swati Sarangi is a beautiful surrender to God, the supreme being, an earnest request for God to become mentor and guide, just loved it!
A genuine friend by Wendel A. Brown is amazing! I am a big admirer of his spiritual works, they are so very priceless, I read them whenever I am in my blogs! They are true gems.
Partycrashers is ONE STORY by Troy David Loy- I love his wisdom, knowledge in science, and just loved this story with a brand new twist in it!
Life, love, wisdom by Lisa Ojanpera is a work of art with wisest words.
Cheetah Reflection by Carolyn Page is another gem from her box of gems, the reflections, another insight into human nature, just can’t have enough of these!
Growing in the USA, Journey to the end with light, One must sleep and photographs by Dom Collucci are fantastic example of his multidirectional talent! I loved those poems for their depth, beauty and wisdom, his photographs are amazing, they always are and his memoir was beautiful, heart-warming!
How fate was overcome by Raghunandan Kuppuswamy- an amazing story indeed, a reminder that sometimes dedication can make fate change its ways! A very true, wise story for young people out there struggling to make a mark for themselves.