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Travelling rejuvenates one’s body and soul.  I’ve inherited this travel enthusiasm from my parents. For a true traveller, even a less known, rustic small village can be of immense interest; exploring an old, dilapidated temple, or walking through the green rice fields feeling the verdant mellowness beneath, can bring enormous joy. Far from the maddening cacophony and, crowd of the city, small towns or suburbs always attract me. The essence of these places is easy to identify and, often they surprise us with their natural beauty.

My uncle is an engineer and, throughout his service life, has worked with reputed steel industries of the country. Once, when he was posted in Rourkela, we visited the Ispat Nagari or the Steel City of Odisha. It is a beautiful city surrounded by a range of hills and a number of rivers. The word ‘Rourkela’ literally means, ‘Our Village’. the city is divided into two sections: The Steel Township and the Civil Township. As the name suggests, The Steel Township is the residential colony of the employees of the steel plant.


Places to Visit in Rourkela

Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium: The legendary hockey players Dilip Tirkey and Lazarus Barla have started their career from this stadium. The stadium has all the modern equipment and Rourkela has produced many talented hockey players.

Mandira Dam: This dam was  specially built on river Sankh, a tributary of  Brahmani river, for supplying water to the Rourkela Steel Plant  situated about 24 km downstream. We visited it quite a couple of times and even stayed for a day at the guest house entirely maintained by the Water Supply Department of Rourkela. A picturesque garden has enhanced the beauty of the dam.

Vedavyasa Temple: It is said, three rivers, Sankh, Koel and Saraswati together gave rise to the Brahmani river. The place Vedavyasa is named after the Great Sage Vedavyas, who, according to mythology, used to live in a cave that existed in the riverside hill while writing the epic Mahabharata. The place now has a number of temples dedicated to different Gods and is visited by thousands of pilgrims.

Darjing: Darjing is a beautiful picnic spot and is well connected with Rourkela with regular bus service. We started early in the morning and spent the whole day there. It is situated on the banks of the Brahmani river. There is also a gorge named Deodhar gorge and is only a 10 minutes journey from Darjing.

Hanuman Batika: Hanuman Batika or the Garden of Hanuman has one of the tallest statues of Hanuman. It’s a beautiful place to spend time.Ghanteswari

1-2635Besides, there is a couple of other dams like Pitamahal dam and Ghoghor dam.
We enjoyed our stay in the quaint town of Rourkela. Though known as the industrial capital of Odisha, the city is exceptionally clean and well-maintained. The hills and rivers have added flavour to its beauty.

Another similarly beautiful small town I’ve visited, taking advantage of my uncle’s posting, is the town of Sambalpur. It is situated in the north-west part of Odisha, beside the river Mahanadi. The river actually has separated Sambalpur and Hirakud  from Burla.

Though a small town, but Sambalpur has a cosmopolitan flavour. It enjoys the co-existence of a variety of temples as well as mosques and churches. The presiding deity of the town, Shree Samaleswari, the mother goddess, is worshipped with great devotion and is regarded as the Mother of the World or Jagatjanani. We visited the Samaleswari temple and also some other temples like  Liakhai, Ghanteswari, Madanmohan, and Satyabadi.

The most interesting temple of Sambalpur is situated in a village about 25 km from the town. It is called the Huma, a leaning temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple will remind you of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Sambalpur also boasts of the Hirakud dam, the world’s longest dam across the Mahanadi river. There is minaret called Gandi Minar atop which one can enjoy the vast expanse of Hirakud dam with the calm, serene nature all around. It provides a wonderful view and, you can feel oneness with the nature.

Both the cities, Rourkela and Sambalpur have retained their natural aura in spite of being industrial towns. You can experience a perfect symbiosis of nature and industry here.

Another similarly prosperous town I had a chance visit on the occasion of  one of my friends wedding is, Raigarh in the state of Chattisgarh. But, in this case, lack of proper planning and crowd of heterogeneous industries have considerably destroyed the beauty of the town itself. There are narrow winding alleys and not-so-wide roads and, a congested traffic system.

Culturally, Raigarh has a rich heritage and is considered the cultural capital of Chattisgarh. I was quite astonished to see that almost every household considers learning the dance form Kathak as a part of the education. The town also arranges a cultural festival on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh-Chaturthi.

Raigarh is also famous for Kosa silk, a fine silk made from silkworms feeding on mulberry leaves) and a typical bell metal traditional art, dokra. I bought a piece of dokra jewellery too.

We have an abundance of such small towns and cities in our country. These places are developing fast with a well-knit economy. Large and small scale industries, tourism, handicrafts are the backbone of such towns. As you know, the ING Vysya Bank is now Kotak Mahindra Bank. With this move, Kotak is making its home in such small towns across India, helping them to avail a better banking.  It’s quite aptly said, now there is #KonaKonaKotak.

The last but one picture has been taken from the official website of the district.

The name ASUS  has now become a phenomenon with their innovative line of Zenfones. It is a well-known name in the world of brands and has reasonably earned much fame and reputation. The Zenfones have already rocked the market and, I’m actually using one. The natty looking phone, with its nifty features, is sure to steal anyone’s heart away. I’m really in love with my Zenfone.

The company is raising the bar with the launch of Asus Zenfone 2. It’s going to be the world’s first smartphone with 4GB RAM powered by 64-bit 2.3GHz Super Quad-Core Intel Atom Processor! It’s an all new experience with smartphones. #AsusZenfone2 is a dream phone which has a perfect concoction of engineering and  craftsmanship.

The most wonderful feature according to me is the 13MP rear PixelMaster camera with f/2.0-aperture lens. Asus’s PixelMaster Camera has already rocked the market and, with Zenfone 2 it’s just becoming brighter and better. Anyone who is a mobile camera aficionado knows, how annoying it feels when the shutter speed fails to keep pace with burst photography. An event which needs several clicks in quick succession demands a burst mode with zero shutter lag and, most often mobile cameras disappoint us to meet the criteria. But Asus Zenfone 2, aided by 4GB Ram and PixelMaster technology, is a sure solution to this problem. It would be an ideal device for burst photography. Capturing high-resolution pictures with mind-blowing clarity with your mobile camera is no more a figment of imagination, but a stunning reality with Asus Zenfone 2. 

Not only that, the #Zenfone2 is redefining the mobile camera experience as the device is contrived to a never-before Low Light mode with pixel-merging technology which captures up to 400% brighter photos at night or a low-light scene and, that too, without using a flash! The PixelMaster Back Light mode ( Super HDR) processes a low-light shot using ASUS Pixel Enhancing technology. This helps to improve the brightness, color contrast and details and the culmination being 400% better photos with strong backlighting. It also ensures the pictures look absolutely natural. The stunning camera experience of  #AsusZenfone2 is sure to let you see what other’s can not with their cameras.

Asus has also excelled in human engineering with its unparalleled Ergonomic Arc Design. They’ve introduced a physical rear-key so that one can operate it with much ease and comfort. This has literally made Asus Zenfone 2 a dexterous device, as irrespective of being a right or a left-hander, one can now use it with equal convenience. Also, the elegant shape has given a secure feeling while holding it.

The #AsusZenfone2 is here to give wings to your photography imagination. Discover a whole new world and, redefine your known environment with #Zenfone2. Be a Zenfan.

To know more about the unveiling of #AsusZenfone2, visit Asus India’s Facebook page and Flipkart.

This is a photograph by Boris and has been featured in the #3LineThursday week 28. Here goes my entry for this prompt.

The decrepit soul, waiting for the knell
A hundred gossamer, lifeless and bleak
Oh! Forgotten leafy love reminds me of you.

Haiku: Wild Violets


tiny twinkling trinkets

of verdant and violet

romping memories

carpe diem special cherry blossoms

Chubby cheeks, pair of ponytails dangling so even
The little girl’s smile was envied by the heaven.

Sweetness and purity, it looked so divine
Tingling of silver bells or some wind chime.
Or some waterfall, making a sudden sally
It sounded bliss, river down a green valley.

Little knew the angel of the black profaned hand
Which plucked flowers forcefully from fantasy land.

It eyed the sugary smile and wanted to shatter
The dream in her eyes, the innocence- didn’t matter
He touched and smutched and tainted the bliss
She cringed and flinched and lost her peace.

Pedophilia is increasing thick and fast in every part of the world. Often the victims, little girls, and boys even fail to understand the extent of the damage done to them. They are often silenced by those brutal perpetrators with threats and tricks. The problem is, those poor kids can’t realize how to give words to their ordeal and, often it becomes too late by the time such heinous acts get dictated. Research says that the tormented little souls often are so much shocked that it leaves a psychological scar on their minds forever. Moreover, often the parents also fail to understand the situation increasing their acrimony.

It’s the duty of every parent to understand the child and support her in every way. Any erratic behavior on the child’s part as; unwillingness to attend school, eating disorder, chronic headache or subdued hatred towards a particular person (relative, friends, teachers) should be taken seriously by the parents and, the root-cause must be found out. Many a time a known or a trusted person takes the opportunity to molest the kids.

This fresh  piece of news from The Daily Mail almost made me cry. I’ve nothing but hatred towards a pedophile.
I request my readers to spend a little of their time watching this short video to understand the nature of pedophile and how to protect our children from it. It’s our responsibility to protect our kids. Don’t let them become a victim!

Image Courtesy: here

Not many authors Frontwrite with a mission; a mission to make people aware of the social issues in the form of fictions which eventually make you think of life and society as they are. Santosh Avvannavar’s pen always speaks differently and, every emotion affecting human life comes to life with his words. In his last book, Black, Grey & White, he tried to build up awareness towards the AIDS patients and, he spoke up against shunning of AIDS victims.

This time Santosh Avvannavar has joined hands with Jyothi Byahatti and Raghunath Babu Are to come up with The Departing Point, a book that tells tales of love but, in a different way.

Love has too many faces and, of course, disguises. Some say love is nothing but a hormonal reaction (read imbalance), others refute this biological approach by referring love as ultimate bliss. Whatever it is, one thing is hugely accepted that love is something that gives you a feeling of oneness with your partner; it is a journey together. But what when love fails to reach a destination? Will one enjoy the journey or mourn its failure? The Departing Point caters us with seven such unconventional love stories. The stories in which two hearts start a musical phrase but somehow the final cadence remains unachievable.

The first story, “My Last Letter”, shows us how the apparently glamorous world of the silver-screen makes one’s life a fake one. So full and resplendent from outside but empty and fiddling from the inside and, how one fails to identify the true love of life when deluded by the dazzle of the glam world.
The second one “Derailed-Salem Express” presents a college romance in a hilarious manner. The SWOT Analysis of the potential girlfriends and, the way the hero marks each and every girl of the college, make me smile.
“Julie Loves Me” has a different note, of love found and love lost while all the labour goes awry in between.
“Checklist Love” and “My Cinderella” both are stories about whims of women and the way they sometimes use men as their playthings (harsh reality).

I like the sixth story most, “Open and Closed Love”. It depicts the age-old fact that one can love only for love’s sake and nothing else matters. Love because you feel compelled to love, that it makes you happier and, always respect the willingness of your partner in the relationship.

The last one, “Na Paki na Gulab Nadir ko Baksh do Janab” is in the form of a play and has some beautiful excerpts of shayaris.

All the stories, as a whole, gives you a feeling of incompleteness in love and, rightly serves the tagline of the book,”two people departed, in search of love, leaving love in between”.

The language is simple, the authors have kept in mind that the stories can be read and understood by the mass. The Departing Point  is a short, simple, and nice read. The decent cover design by Fabiola Bonghi is also quite appreciable.

A quotable sher from the book:

Waqt haame badalta hain
Waqt haame samhalta hai
Kyun iss waqt ko dosh dete ho
Waqt hi tumhe wajood mein lata hai.

Grab a Copy:
To know more about the authors and Santosh Avvannavar’s endeavour, Amrita Foundation, click HERE

From my side, it’s 3.75/5


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