An epic in Black and White

Saint Teresa of Calcutta: A Celebration of Her Life & LegacySaint Teresa of Calcutta: A Celebration of Her Life & Legacy by Raghu Rai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My work schedule as a teacher in a Government School demands that I have to ply through the busiest railway station of the planet- twice daily, once in morning and once in evening-once at the beginning and the other, at the end of a day’s work. When I do come home –at the evening, exhausted –after a day long crusade with the children, colleagues, my Head Mistress…well, the list is endless – I see that fine arts students throng the corridor of the station –with art papers and pens in their hands – making sketches on the white canvas. They do different kinds of study-figure study from different angles, action study .pose study and so on! For the last eleven years I am so used to the obvious scenario that these days I hardly took a glance at the daily frame of the station. But on that day- back after with a tussle with my fellow teachers over the mid day meal issue I found something -that in my unconsciousness made my pace completely sloth. A young lady-probably in her mid twenties- in a wheelchair – was weeping. An elderly looking man- may be her father, may be someone else was trying to console her. Another elderly looking lady was looking at the duo with a vacant look- her face telling me something that is hard to describe- as if her world soon going to fall apart.
It is a moving scene – beyond doubt. And have materials to be a perfect story. I started thinking- how lucky are a clan of people called the painters. They will watch the movement-the emotions- the people- and then can make the fabric of the story with their own imagination and as Charlie Chaplin puts it-‘perhaps with a drop of tears.’ They are lucky enough. I started thinking- the same issue that I have previously thought at least a hundred times over-the group of people called the photographers are not so lucky. They are merely engineers compared to these imaginers! They have a real canvas to work upon. How can reality beat imagination? After all one photographer at his best can lens everyday story-the world around us- where the falling of winter leaf is only falling of winter leaf- not any indication of death. It is the world where the movement of the wrinkles of an old person is only wrinkle movement- not any indication of joy of a free man who had spent his life in chains.
My sudden thought was proved wrong every time I had the gushing thought and this time it was no exception- amid a bit of spicy touch. When I returned home- I found that the copy of ‘Saint Teresa of Calcutta- A celebration of Her Life & Legacy’ by Raghu Rai has been delivered to my house. I just looked at the cover of the book and for the hundred and first time I mentally slapped myself. The upper cover portrays an old lady- with wrinkles all around her face and at her hands-dressed in the classic outfit of a nun- everything in behind her is blurred- only she is prominent in the foreground-and her face-her posture reminds me of a hymn of Upanishad-‘From ignorance, lead me to truth;/ From darkness, lead me to light;/ From death, lead me to immortality/. Let there be all prevailing peace.’ ‘Saint Teresa of Calcutta- A celebration of her Life and her Legacy’ is the fruit of the association of Raghu Rai with Mother spanning over three decades and for over two decades after her demise. He first met her in the 70’s,in connection with a feature story for Junior Statesman- and had taken some of the most iconic pictures of mother since then. This is the fourth book on Mother by the eminent photographer. The collection of photography is divided in three board categories- the Canonization ceremony of the mother, her life and work and her legacy along with a well knit study of chronological events in her life. The book has been enriched with recollection of the memories of the holy figure – written in a spontaneous manner. The collection has been conceptualized in an innovative way-first the pictures of Canonization Ceremony have been arranged sequentially with a little introduction by the master photographer. It is temping for me to quote a little from the memoir-‘When Pope Francis arrived there was pandemonium all around. Everyone was screaming –‘Papa Francis we love you’ and in the confusion I was able to begin shooting with my larger cameras. The pictures that appear in the section are from the shoot. They show the incredible reverence with which Saint Teresa is regarded. ‘Although my friends often tell me that the snaps I do take are almost invariably out of focus- still in my limited ability I can tell pictures of page 17, 23, 25 are outstanding (all the pictures are excellent ,but to me these pictures reached the zenith of perfection) . And who can forget the classic of page 14- the iconic figure of the city of joy.
When Raghu Rai conceptualized this book on mother –he confessed he was hesitant due to two reasons- first he was a male and second he was not a Christian. In his eloquent way he continues in this book-‘I was extremely sensitive and careful in the way I photographed her and the sisters and she eventually said ‘ Let me do my prayer and I shall let you know.’ I said ‘Mother I have done my prayer and the answer is YES.’ At this she looked at me and said simply.’ Okay, let’s do it.’
The second section of the book –Her Life and Work seems to me the most interesting collection of photographs-with most of the photographs telling more than a thousand words while remaining in mere black and white silence. It began with a bit of flashback –reminding us how she had to begin her journey in an alien city-in an alien condition. Almost all the photographs have a touching story to tell. The collection begun with some snaps of the city of joy and continues with the work of the mother and Missionaries of Charity to wipe out tears from the eyes of the nameless inhabitants of the city where ‘life is fragile but the human will is indomitable.’ There are unpublished as well as famed photographs. Some of the photographs of Mother capturing her in different moods done by the famed photographer are really astonishing- catching emotional vivacity of the mother and her mental aura at large.
But the photographs of the prayers of the nuns require a special mention as there is a nice little story behind. Mother herself was against the idea of capturing prayer moments in lenses and rightly so. The photographer insisted and the logic he placed before Mother may prove intriguing to readers-‘Mother, you often say that you nurse the poorest of the poor because you not there when Jesus was suffering and thus while nursing the poor, you actually nurse Jesus. This is one of the two routes through which one can establish direct contact with him. The other one is prayer. I have never met him. Never seen him. But when see him only when you do your prayers. Jesus comes to dwell in your eyes. If I can’t photograph this, then how can I establish this connection and share it with others. My story will remain incomplete.’ The third section –The Legacy of Mother is collection of the photographs covering her last rite, and the Continuation of the sisters of her organization on the path shown by her. Coupled with a detailed chronological study of the events of her life this pictorial biography gets completed. The binding, printing quality and paper quality are truly of international standard making the book a must for a collectors –not to mention about persons who are passionate about photography.
Before I conclude I was a little confused about the title of the review. My brain was telling name it as –An epic in Black and White’-what else we can call her life-rather than epic?
But deep inside me somebody was telling –name it as –Light in darkness.
The brain ultimately wins-but it is a different story.

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Other details
Hardcover: 148 pages
Publisher: Aleph Book Company (1 April 2017)
Price- INR 1499
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More about the author at
Raghu Rai

A touching story of love

From YesterdayFrom Yesterday by Anupam Dasgupta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He met her in an ambience that can be equated to oriental mysticism- full of light and shadow, full of vibrancy. What‘s more-she had an eye catching appearance-‘’it wasn’t like a dress or a skirt, rather more like a hospital gown. And she had strange kind of ornaments on her, different kind of bangles.’”
If you think that it is the beginning of an unusual love story- then I would like to request you to think again. It is the prelude of our story-where our protagonist Advait finds the lady, Ravenna- who happened to be a fortune teller and happened to wait for her client. Our protagonist discovered she is pathetic at her dance steps and offered his help to improve her steps. At the beginning i thought from there the story will obviously go to one direction. but soon i proved wrong. In return to his favor to improve her dance steps- or rather i would say as a sense of gratitude of her newly found friend- she offered to tell his fortune. And soon our protagonist rode on a time machine- there is a flashback in the story-and they went seven years earlier.
Thus begun ‘’From Yesterday’’ by Anupam Dagupta-a story of romance with Anita, Advait and Christiana as protagonists. But it is not a love triangle- it is a simple yet sweet story of love circling over the city of Chennai and Chicago. Advait and Anita met at a social networking sight and soon became attracted to each other. From the virtual world of social networking sight –the duo soon landed in real world –where they soon fell for each other. Despite their age difference (Anita is older than Advait)-Advait alias Adi, soon develops a special feeling for the professionally successful yet horribly lonely lady at her mind.
“Adi stood in the parking lot and looked at Anita’s apartment on the fourth floor. He almost expected to see her in the balcony, but she wasn’t there. Adi glanced at his cell phone and browsed through the call log to locate Anita’s number. He paused for a moment and dialed the number. Anita’s phone was busy. Adi winced and looked back at the balcony. He was feeling hurt and restless.”
But as they have always said life is not a bed of roses. Anita had a past – a past which is a chronicle of broken trust, betrayal and loneliness! Relations came to her life-she wanted to cling to the relation till the end-but her hope had always been shattered like fragile glass. The past continues to haunt Anita in the present and one day she mysteriously disappears from his life.
In portraying Anita’s mental dilemma author has been able to make vivid coloring of her emotion and her action. Anupam performs credibly in framing Adi’s state of mind,too.
In the second part of the story- the story revolves around Adi and Christiana-his new found crush in the city of Chicago- his new workplace. We are telling that it is the second part of the story –but we must not forget there is a time lag of more than seven years. Times have changed and so did Adi. He is now more mature- he has seen lives. He is no more the passionate kid who was dumbstruck when Anita suddenly departed from his life.
But still Adi feels presence of Anita everywhere. Her shadow never let him settle to a love Life. But is it only a shadow?
That question continues to haunt Adi and I am sure will continue to haunt readers alike. The narration technique will simply let the reader waiting anxiously for the climax.Although it will be a bit of spoiler but I must say the climax made my eyes a little moist.
The number of characters in the storyline is relatively smaller-but that make storyline interesting and reliable. After all we have to rely on old saying-too many cooks spoil the broth!
However I would like to add two points-one is Anita’s love for mirror-and another is author’s passion for Salsa. Anita always looks to the mirror before her meeting with Adi . And it is better for the reader to discover the Salsa.
The book is a light read. Just before I conclude I would like to add that I got opportunity of reading this book in a three hour train journey yesterday and I finished it. I did not get bored once- especially in the light of the fact it was a local train journey in a crowded train where four persons usually sit on a railway seat for three persons and persons usually stand right in front of your nose with their belongings which will constantly poke you throughout your journey.
Now let me make a personal confession. These days I rarely got an opportunity to read light books. Scholastic monumental editions are my destiny these days. This book is a sort of rejuvenation for me. It feels better to think that even in these days of Corporatization of romance- real love still exists.
You may argue- it is only a fiction.
But fiction is the mirror of life-isn’t it?

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Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Frog Books (7 March 2017)
Price- INR 225

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A straightforward story

Suppose, a men-like thousands, who built up the pyramid -got a chance to write about his experience in building up the great monument. Further suppose that his writing somehow survived the claws of time. What will we have today? The story of once a free man in chains or of endless blood and sweat or of endless sufferings or of new bonds –new relations thicker than blood being identified.
Or perhaps we get a combination of all of them.
I don’t know why-but that’s the first impression that crossed my mind when I started reading Nikhil Ramteke’s ‘The 365 Days.’
Times have changed. We are now hundreds of year’s ached of Uncle Tom’s days. Slavery is merely a nightmare to the civilized world today. Human races across the nations have accepted that equality, fraternity and justice will be their guiding principles.
Or are they merely jargon? Slavery has changed its proportion-in the past Gladiators fought for the compulsion of their lives. These days’ modern serfs are lured for a better living to go to alien conditions-completely unknown to them. It may sound May Fly jumping to fire- but everything has logic. And when you are from an underdeveloped country-with very limited work opportunity and lesser economic freedom –what more can you expect.
So like thousands from his native state Kerala -Shirjukutty- from an ardent fisherman family-migrated to Dubai-in quest of a golden future. The recruiting agent had promised him the rainbow- One thousand five hundred Dirham per month plus good accommodation and good food with a mild job in a construction company. But when our protagonist had landed in the land of opportunities with a hefty burden of loan on his shoulder-he shockingly discovered the sad truth behind the proverb-all that glitters is not gold.
The story is of broken faith, mislead promises and of labor that no civilized labor law can script down. His story began with his confrontation with the camp boss- a sporting person to whom his workers are….what we can say? May be Merely machines or cattle? And the story continues with workload that can bend anybody’s spine in a single day- the work hour stretched beyond imagination-food that is may be suitable for minimum calorie value intake ,but from the viewpoint of giver, not the taker-and a residential condition that can remind you of fascist Concentration camps!
Nikhil has a trustworthy style of narration. His long association with gulf countries and his association with migrant workers gave him a simple yet intriguing style of storytelling. Do not expect something dramatic-something stunning- it is simple truth –but as they have said- truth is stranger than fiction.
In between there are precise creation of artistic pictures of festivals-celebration for somebody and despair for the others. The contrast of colors-bright and dark gave these narrations vivid looks.
Nikhil has also portrayed a number of characters-they came to serve the purpose of the story. They are portrayed with considerable ease to make the flow of the story spontaneous.
Sketches are assets of the book-from the viewpoint of story they serves the purpose more than required. We will wait for the day when a book of illustration of Nikhil to be published.
Let us come to the story once again. In spite of all the suffering that our protagonist and his friends experienced-some strong bond did develop between them. Instead of having vacant eyes- what made their eyes gleaming? What was the mystery of their driving life force?
Life is fragile- but the human will indomitable.
And what happens at the conclusion? Will our protagonist and his friends were able to be called the fittest as per Darwin’s theory of evolution?
Life is strange folks and possibilities are endless!

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সে

শেষ রাতের ক্লান্ত সহর। রাতজাগা কিছু পাখি ছাড়া সবাই ঘুমে আছন্ন। অথবা প্রস্তুতি নিচ্ছে একটা নতুন দিন- একটা নতুন যুদ্ধের। ফুটপাতের কুকুরগুলো বোধহয় এবার ঘুমিয়ে পরবে।
নিয়নের বাতিগুলর ক্লান্তিহীন চোখ একইভাবে জ্বলছে নিবছে।
এমন সময় সে এসে দাঁড়ালো বাড়িটার সামনে। আশ্চর্য ! এত লঘু তার চলা-বাতাসের মত- কুকুরগুলো টের পেল না তার উপস্থিতি। তারা একটুও আওয়াজ করে উঠলো না। বুঝতেই পারল না তাদের রাজ্যে হানাদারের উপস্থিতি ।
নিয়নের আলো পিছলে পরেছে তার রেশমি স্রোতের মত অবিন্যস্ত চুলের উপর দিয়ে। আধো আলো অন্ধকারে তার মুখ যেন রহস্যময়ী স্ফিংক্স। তার সবুজ দুটি চোখে কোন রহস্যময় দুর্জ্ঞেয় ইংগিত ।
বিষণ্ণ এক নারী- যে নারী বিষণ্ণ হলে পুরুষের রক্তকণিকা চঞ্চল হয়ে ওঠে – যে নারীর সৌন্দর্য পুরুষকে উন্মাদ করে – সেই নারীর বিষণ্ণতা দেখার জন্যে কেউ পথে জেগে নেই ।
সবার মত সেও এসেছিল একদিন এই মহানগরের বুকে- যে মহানগর সবাইকে কাছে টেনে নেয় । সেদিন অন্তত সে তাই জানত । শুনেছিল অনেকের মুখে – এই মহানগার হীরের সমঝদার –প্রতিভা থাকলে কারুকে এই সহর ফেরায় না । সে জানতো সে অভিনয়টা ভালই করে- অভিনয়ের মধ্যে প্রাণ ঢেলে দেয় । ছোটবেলা থেকে সবাই বলত । আসকল নকল অভিনয়ের সময় এক হয়ে জায় ।
অথবা তার জানা ভুল ছিল । মহানাগার এর অন্য এক রূপ সে দেখেছে । এক পাপ-পঙ্কিল রূপ। আলোর নীচে অন্ধকার । ক্লেদাক্ত এক পঙ্কিল আবর্তে আবর্তিত হতে হতে আশাহীন, আশ্রয়হীন , কর্মহীন সেই নারীর জীবনে এলো এক সর্বনাশের রাত ।
হটাত বাড়ির দরজা দুটো হাট করে খুলে গেল । স্ট্রেচার তা বয়ে নিয়ে এলো দুজন ডোম ।
‘এ ভাইয়া , থোড়িসি বানাই দেনা ‘; একজন বলল ।
বলে পীচীক করে থুতু ফেলল ।
নির্লিপ্ত ভঙ্গী । নিরাসক্ত স্বর । মৃত্যুর সাথেই তাদের ঘরবার ।
মেয়েটা একটু ঝুঁকে পরল । কেমন দেখাচ্ছে নিজের মুখটা । কিন্তু তখন বড্ড ভিড় বাড়িটার সামনে। ভিড় ঠেলে এগোন মুশকিল । তবু মেয়েটা চেষ্টা করতে লাগল ।
আশ্চর্যের ব্যাপার –কারু চ মুখে শোকের ছায়া-মাত্র নেই ।
নামহীন গোত্রহীন যে মানুষ মারা যায় – জার মৃত্যুতে দুফতা চোখের জল কেউ ফেলে না- তার জন্মে আনন্দ করার জন্যে ওপারের বাসিন্দার অভাব হয় না ।

B.S., Incorporated, by Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss

B. S. Incorporated, by authors Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss, was released in May 2016, published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing.

Funny, insightful, and heartfelt, B.S. Incorporated has been compared to The Office, The Devil Wears Prada, and Office Space.

Although it is a work of fiction, B.S. Incorporated draws from the authors’ real-life corporate experiences. It is a feel-good story about people finding themselves and coming into their own while simultaneously skewering every aspect of life in corporate America.

“After yet another mind-numbing, daylong meeting about a project, we fled to a bar patio in the shadow of our company’s office building”, says Jennifer on the origin of the novel. “There, we drank to excess and swapped hilarious and heartbreaking tales about life in corporate America. At that point we realized we had a story—actually, many stories—worth telling, and we pinky swore that after sobering up, we’d write a book about our experiences.”

Synopsis

Business Solutions, Inc. is in a state of chaos. While the employees spend their time rendezvousing in the stairwells, the CEOs are running their business into the ground through the use of shady consultants. Will Evans, warehouse-worker-turned-white-collar-employee, is put in charge of implementing the consultants’ plans. Here he finds himself thrust into a muddle of absurdity and responsibility that he never expected.

When the plans push BSI to the brink of bankruptcy, Will teams up with Anna Reed, a corporate mercenary with heels as high as her ambition. He needs her cunning and courage to pull off his covert plan to save the company. Can Anna, the consummate job jumper, find a reason to go all-in on BSI? Or is she better off bailing and letting the company go down in flames?

Praise

“B.S., Incorporated exposes the crazy, funny underbelly of an institution and skewers the heck of out it. Be ready to laugh and want more!” – Jayne J. Jones, Author, Capitol Hell, 2013 USA Best Book of the Year

“Funny as hell, with sharp observations and cunning insights. It reads like the best happy-hour story you’ve ever heard.” – Matt Kramer, CEO, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce

“I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It harpoons the bloated, mindlessly self-destructive tendencies of American corporations. But it’s also a human story. Which is why–despite the absurdity and arrogance and plain ol’ stupidity on display at BSI–I’d kind of like to work there. Are they hiring?” – Bill Anderson, President, One Voice Creative Media

“B.S. Incorporated is a book that anyone with any experience in the business world will get a huge kick out of. Authors Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss have written an incredibly engaging read that will have their readers laughing uproariously and turning the pages just as quickly as they can in order to find out what happens next. The authors clearly have vast experience in the business world, because so many of the scenarios they impart are things that many of us have encountered in our day to day careers.” – 5 Stars, Readers’ Favorite

“Rock and Voss balance their cynical and comical writing style with engaging dialogue; alternating character scenes punctuated with fictional business news, Wall Street articles, and company email memos; romantic interests; and a flurry of unexpected moments. A fun read that definitely has wide audience appeal!” – Red City Review

“A book that reads obsessively until the last pages in which action and thriller take the place of the story with a powerful novel, complex, brilliantly written that transforms before our eyes, just like a masterpiece that reveals new parts of itself according to the observation point.” – Booktica

About the Authors

Jennifer and Michael have a shared passion for storytelling that goes back – way back – to when Jennifer published haikus in her first-grade newsletter, and Mike entertained other kids on the school bus with his creative fiction.

Not surprisingly, their jones for crafting a tale fueled their individual career paths, where each held roles in journalism, advertising, public relations, marketing and corporate communications. Jennifer and Michael had the good fortune to work for and with companies that spanned industries and impact – from privately held start-ups to Fortune 50 powerhouses to, now, their own communications agency.

Both authors live near Minneapolis where they work as speakers and consultants. They share their best stories during happy hour. B.S., Incorporated is their debut novel. For more information, visit http://www.rockandvossbooks.com/.

Traditional style and feel

The cradle is elegant- structurally it looks and feels sturdy. Dimension of the assembled set is better than expected. The design is ornamental also. The hooks are made up of sufficiently thick steel rods-resulting a secure and safe swinging experience for the newbie.
Bakelite joints and screws are also made up of thick material-which again is a safety measure which will comfort both the newborn and parents alike. The sky blue steel colour combination looks aesthetically perfect.
The assembling was easy-we did not have any problem. Demonstration is also available on youtube.
The net used in the cloth bed is ideal for the protection of the baby from the insects. However thicker cloth can be used for the bed –to suit the older age group. Otherwise such a beauty would be used by the baby for a very short span.
And to accommodate all the assembly components-the bag would have been made a little larger!
Overall it is a very good product-recommended up to the age of six months.
Buy the baby cradle at
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LHYH2YU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Benifit of Hybrid cloud computing

Hybrid cloud-an infrastructural arrangement combining client cloud–identified as private cloud and at least one cloud which is the third party service provider .the interfaces or touch points existing between two clouds creates a computing environment which is conducive. Here the private and public services works towards creating values.
Cost reduction is a part of profit optimization. But the giants of IT industry have to spend in areas where the profitability is not much enhanced, but eats up a lion share of revenue. Thrust areas of IT spending of today are
1. For Running of day to day affair of the software ,hardware and apps , for up gradation , for fixing of damage, for R&D-about half the costing of today’s IT industry is spent-yet it does not effect profit in significant way
2. From maintenance of patient database in a hospital to take off scheduling of aeroplanes- apps needs to developed and subsequently upgrades productivity-but that too eats up about one fifth of IT industry spending.
3. Venturing into new markets, taking a new lease of life into administration, offering customers new value additions from data analysis can transform a business-which also needs about one sixth of spending.
In this gloomy backdrop hybrid cloud computing model that will be the ideal answer for cost and profit optimization –presenting a unique blend of versatility and applicability of public third party platform and security of private cloud. The benefits are manifold-
 To arrive at a viable model of business-cloud computing can greatly reduce the capital cost as millions of new business ideas can be explored through third party like Microsoft or Amazon. The pubic application platform will take the headache of up gradation application running, troubleshooting.
 The main concern for a public cloud is data integrity and security- but in a hybrid cloud sensitive data operations can be made secure.
 In a fast running competitive environment private cloud computing can make the company to run at par with the frontrunners due to hand holding support from public cloud-thereby avoiding isolation from market.
 Hybrid cloud computing ensures faster adoptability to changing technology. Where every day older ideas are getting obsolete-this is the best strategy for survival.
 For a small private platform it is almost impossible to strike back in case of a damage-through disaster recovery mechanism-but hybrid cloud computing can ensure easy recovery as multiple channel partners are involved.
 It ensures an easy exit strategy in case one idea does not click.
 The public platform-may be however big-has a limitation of hardware-but with the benefit of scalability of public clouds in hybrid cloud computing- the benefit of unlimited hardware can be achieved.
Let us draw some case specific illustrations for benefits a company can achieve through hybrid cloud computing.
1. A concern dealing with sensitive client data may offer a value addition to clients as software service provider through interconnection of business applications through public platform. However, success depends on control over data, security and obligation and the compatibility of application with the third party interface.
2. Cloud busting –another application where an application running on private cloud when data security is concerned, but bursts to public cloud when need for increasing computing is needed. Needless to say it offers flexibility for business growth and transformation.
Numerous other applications can be cited. In certain sectors like healthcare, players are concerned about security of their data-as public clouds may be under a new rule ensuring public disclosure. However smaller third party clouds across the globe may be an answer or third party like Amazon who is expanding their data centers across the globe may be the answer to security woes.
Taking into consideration the pros and cons of hybrid cloud computing- from the point of view of smaller investment – sustained larger returns it is the future of cloud computing.