Monthly Archives: January 2016

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EPIC Story of Bengal

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EPIC Story

EPIC took birth this year and first instance “EPIC 2016” took place on 16th January, 2016.

Introduction

As per “google”, EPIC means “a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the past history of a nation”. In this case the event “EPIC” was an “Entrepreneurs’ Picnic”, but the actual meaning of the word “EPIC” was not lost.

The life across the world has become more impatient, unstable, violent, stressed, unhappy and boring day by day. The business trends are changing, the situations are becoming more competitive. The small businesses will be not able to scale-up, sustain, growth without the hand shaking, collaboration, co-existence and harmony. The same is applicable for life as well. The oppositions (dark forces) are putting enormous amount of money and energy to divert people from “Freedom of thoughts” with the influence of religion, gradation and caste. Those are eminently visible and increasing day by only due to the lesser availability of “Good Culture”. This is the space which will deal with human mind, psychology and intend to focus on cultural movement through creativity.

Preface:

We have started the movement in our small way. Our first initiative in the series was “Wordcon”. With the success of “Wordcon”, Two other siblings took birth as well “Quality Matters”, “StepOut”.

StepOut focuses on activities outside office for the entrepreneurs. Stepout yielded three of it’s children (EPIC, OffBreak, Outside).

EPIC 2016 is a creative experiment with one known institution of our lives in winter – picnic. But more precisely this is meant for Entrepreneurs of Bengal and it is assumed to first of it’s kind in the fraternity.

EPIC 2016 is different in a sense of latest trending where there loud noise, hard drinks (devoid of 2Ds – DJ and Drinks) were explicitly restricted. It was designed to have a sweet mix of family, kids apart from the entrepreneur him/herself. The daylong picnic was meant beyond any target/pressure, rather to devote time with wisdom, philosophy and restart the journey of entrepreneurship with greater spirits of Positivity.

We, entrepreneurs meet in business events and trade fairs where we all acknowledge the contribution our families have had in our journey. However, we seldom meet together – even socially.

Architecture:

Date: 16th January, 2016

Venue: “Bagan Bari”, Block I, off Jessore Road, Michael Nagar, Kolkata 700 133

Agenda:

8.00am: Welcoming all Guests

8.00am – 10.00am: Morning Tea and Adda

10.00am: EPIC Cake cutting and formal Inauguration

10.00am–12noon: Breakfast, Tea/Cofee with Snacks (Unlimited)

10.00am–12noon: Children Games/Sports, Adult Games

12Noon–1pm: Relaxation and Adda, Mixing

1pm–2.30pm: Lunch

2.30pm – 4.30pm: Performances on “Anything Creative”

4.30pm to 6pm: Tea/Cofee with Somosa/Nimki and Mixing/Adda

Activities Anything Creative Food
Football, Cricket, Volleyball, Badminton, Sports Music, Dance, Drama, Recitation, Reading etc Breakfast : Peas Kachuri with Chana Dal and Sweets
Munching : Veg/Non-veg Snacks with Unlimited Tea/Coffee both morning and evening
Lunch :Fried Appetizers with Salad, Vegetable Fried Rice, Cauliflower Roast, Fish Dumpesta, Chilli Chicken, Chatni, Papad, Rajbhog, Malai Chamcham, Ice Crème, Pan Masala
High Tea : Evening Tea/Coffee  with Samosa, Nimki


Apprehensions

The agenda was beyond picnic, rather to connect spirited souls over a cause in the midst of nature. But people had apprehension like follow:

  • It is a marketing trick to earn some money, some glory.
  • “No DJ and No Drinking” might be a show off, rather it will be more prevailing there.
  • Behind “EPIC” some other masterminds are playing to have some different agenda altogether

Actuals

We, the organizers assembled in the venue before schedule by around 7.30am. Gradually, our designated officers took charge in arrangements like holding flexes, setting up chair, tables, making up fields, accumulating all props needed for the games/activity.

As planned, guests started joining in 8am onward and off course our morning tea was ready by then.

We were feeling fresh with the shiny morning in a rustic Bengal environment. The bungalow had three lawns fully filled with winter seasonal flowers with lass green trees. There were cows, birds, squirrels to act as toppings to add flavors of natures.

 IMG_20160116_084733  IMG_20160116_101137 IMG_20160116_105339 EPIC-0072 EPIC-0075 EPIC-0083 EPIC-0084

Freshly prepared peas Kachuri, Chana dal and sweets were part of our breakfast and followed by inaugural cake cutting.

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By this time majority of the participants joined in. People started freaking out as planned in casual mode. Football, Cricket and badminton kicked off in three of the ground.

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With some time when people got little tired due to be on field after many days, snacks were ready to be served. Apart from Veg Pakoda and Chicken Pakoda, Green Coconut was ready to serve people thirst with nature.

Gradually children activities got started. Sit and Draw, Dropping balls to the bucket etc.

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Adults went spending time over cricket, badminton etc. Few entrepreneurs were busy in philosophic discussions, business trending, new ideas in a casual relaxed mind.

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By this time Lunch was ready. Kids were very hungry by this time and rushed for lunch. Lunch comprised of Egg Devil, Vegetable Fried Rice, Cauliflower Roast, Fish Dumpesta, Chilli Chicken, Chatni, Papad, Rajbhog, Malai Chamcham and Pan Masala. Ice cream with chocolate and strawberry Topping were served in the counter.

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Post lunch, people were not ready to waste any time on relaxation. They went ahead on games and freaked out in the wide garden with the charming winter flower.

Sun was about to set at around 4.30pm and our evening snacks were ready. It was hot Samosa with nimki along with Tea/Coffee. But stomach was still full and everyone was reluctant to have it. We packed it for everyone to take back.

Winter evening were nearby and we started our live performance. Kick-off of such activities are always challenging as “who is going to start?” Shibangi initiated it with the theme of of Titanik. Debolina, Anupam, Hrishikesh were next to perform. Kids performed rhymes. My daughter performed a folk dance. My wife also participated in Rabindra Sangeet. Priyam played violin. BN Bhattacharyya and Shampa performed Recitations. I was forced to perform and I took the challenge even though the throat conditions were bad.

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Few of the glimpses of the performances are available in the below youtube channel: Epic YouTube

More photographs can be seen under official OutSide Facebook Page: Facebook Album

We had concluded the day by lighting a Diya in the evening. EPIC will act one of the stepping stones on the cultural movement of Bengal and World. Like Wordcon, we will comeback in the next year as well. Dates will be published soon. Stay tuned for Offbreak and Outside as well.


Source: sushobhanm.wordpress.com


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Business Auto-Graph

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“Hey hey hey” my friend was raising hands on the road.

It was Monday afternoon in a rare winter season of Bengal. Both of us were heading for an audit (QMS, ISMS and ITSM) meeting on in one of the renowned government Enterprise. We were looking for a small auto ride instead of walking as in such a small distance, taxies were generally found to reluctant to go.

Fourth auto responded, stopped in front of us and we boarded. There was no other passengers.

As usual, we kept on talking on very casual things. One was commercial license as one of our common friend was asking information on the same last day.

Suddenly the auto driver stepped into our discussion and gave lot of insights on vehicle licensing. We were curious and found him to be extremely knowledgeable on rules, regulations, operations even technologies on automobile domain.

“How do you know so many inside stories man?” I was extremely curious.

“I run my cars in Ola/Uber” he replied.

“Then why don’t you drive your car instead of driving an auto? The revenue would be more” my friend Pritam responded.

“I have 11 cars” he replied quickly.

“What?how many” I was speechless!

“11 no.s Swift Dezires” he was instantaneous in his reply.

“OMG! Then my question is more relevant. You can easily ride one of the cars of your own instead of auto” Pritam responded back.

“I run my auto to manage the cars” he was prompt as usual.

“Running auto to operate cars? Is not it ridiculous? You need good pool of drivers instead” I was little harsh on my words.

“I have 31 drivers in my pool” he replied.

Both us were completely spellbound and by this time we reached the auto stand. This is the last spot and we need to walk few steps from here inside the lane. But by this time we were almost hypnotized by his business acumen and wanted to discuss further.

“Why don’t you drop us at the gate?” I requested.

“We do not generally run beyond routes” he replied.

“Boss, you are such a great business personal, why don’t we have some tea together at the gate? And if needed you may charge some additional bucks for going beyond the routes” Pritam pampered.

He agreed.

“How do you manage the whole operation and why auto?” I asked again on reaching destination.

“All my cars are garaged in salt lake and generally they operate in and around salt lake. In case of any turbulence/police problem, I can reach site in a very low profile” we were stunned again by his thoughts.

“But still managing 11 cars using 31 drivers are damn difficult” I was still not convinced, as I knew man power issues were more than anything else in Bengal as per my present business knowledge.

“Sir, I run all my cars in two shifts, I have tie-ups with driver centers even in case any of the drivers fails Attendance (even after using buffer from the pool) so that none of the cars stand idle in any shift of the day throughout the year. And management? See this” she pulls out two Iphones from pocket.

We had no words other than listening him” I spent INR 2500 every month on internet, apart from mobile internet, I have broadband WiFi at home. Each of my cars having two dual sim phones. Based on traffic/enquiries I instruct them to shuffle between Ola/uber/TFS”.

We were shattered by then and understood he has much more business knowledge than anyone of us.

He was Sonu sing from Uttar Pradesh.

Our salute to him. My heartiest prayers to the supreme Lord that the same attitude gets induced in the spirit of Bengal.

In the world of hallucination, he runs a true business on the ground and even after such a vast business and operations, his attitude toward work is fascinating.

Learning never ends and off-course we learnt a lot on that afternoon from the Auto Driver and his Autograph towards business really made our day.

autograph

(A true incident narrated in story format)

 


Source: sushobhanm.wordpress.com


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The Great Escape!

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23rd January is the birthday for Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Today was his 120th Birthday. And fortunately or unfortunately I was present in front of Netaji Bhavan since very early morning. Netaji Bhavan was the place where he used to stay in Kolkata and he left for the last frontier from this house only.

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The kind of characteristics he possessed are very rare in Bengali behaviours. Unfortunately instead of following his true spirits, positives, we keep on talking on the hidden stories / mysteries since years now.

I was there almost till afternoon today and found lot of activities on “Subhas Utsav”. Several clubs, bands, Celebrities, Politicians, TV Channels, and Procession were present. But general people got restricted to enter inside. Every channel, media, people were more interested on the mystery, de-classifications (as was scheduled to be released today by central ministry, I am still not aware of the outcome) as if in case we find his date of demise, Cause of Death, Conspiracy, all problems of India will be washed out.

This entire instances for years, celebrations, dilute his great endeavours, revolutionary thoughts, amazing leadership and off course immense patriotism and courage.

Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the few rare Bengalis who had not only guts, but had visions, missions, stitching power and exceptional execution capabilities. The way he dreamt for India’s freedom and stretched out in all possibilities across the globe, was truly instrumental. Unlike other freedom fighters in India, he did not only thrown his thoughts out of passion or patriotism, rather tried to assemble similar souls together and create a collective movement in order to have better impact.

The world is approaching towards World War III. None of the lands in any country are safe and targeted by activists. Open culture, unprejudiced thoughts are aspired to be prevented by Militants using religion, tribe, caste, politics and other means. True spirits of life through culture, literature, poetries. Painting, music are rarely been practised across the globe in real sense. We are being touched by external means, but it is not touching our souls, our emotions, our minds. World War III will be through Culture and we need to lead the same from Kolkata, Bengal. Let us be enlightened by the spirits of Netaji and identify him inside us to cross our barriers.

Instead of focussing on great escape instance, we may learn the great strategy to escape bypassing British intelligence and reach Europe. Let us get ourselves motivated to get geared up his approach for formation for Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army). His skills for blending different people from various geographies and tune them like an orchestra was really phenomenal.

Let’s extend our tribute to the great soul and bounce back crossing our “tolerance”.

Jai Hind!

 


Source: sushobhanm.wordpress.com


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What is Art for ?

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“Science can manage with talent, Art requires genius” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Artists and creative people, in our times tend to be hesitant in answering the question: “What is Art for?” Aren’t we able to run our lives with our technologies, our face-book, our pornography, our petrol stations, our corporate offices, our ATMs, our you-tube, our Google, our gadgets and shopping malls?

What can be the answer to such a clear and blunt question?

I reproduce two definitions, one from a poet of classical Sanskrit of 7th/8th century central India and another from an Algerian Frenchman of our century.  The poet Bhratrihari says :

sahitya-sangita-kala-bihina-sakshat-pashu-puccha-bishan-hina

–  A human being without any interest / association with Literature, Music, Art is an animal in entirety, sans tail and horn. In the next stanza, he adds with caustic humour : such animals live without eating grass and animals are fortunate, otherwise they would have starved.

Albert Camus, while expounding the absurdity of existence, declares: “Life is inconsequential, so is Art and hence Art captures Life so completely.” This is a devastating exposition while we contemplate our great technological and material edifice and tremendous labour we have put individually and collectively to build. However, there is great wisdom, a penetrating wisdom and a backdoor definition of Art and creativity itself. Consider Music or Painting – music and painting both are de-materialized matter. An artist works in his craft (for example cinema) in a highly controlled environment but the end result liberates us. A Mozart symphony is absolutely faithful to all the rigorous demands of the craft’s grammar and rules but it liberates something inside us. It captures something inside us so completely and consistently that we awake from our illusion and from the larger existential illusion.

Art is a therapy of the soul and close to what is psychoanalysis for mind.

History propels art but Art is clever – history thinks that Art is his hand-maiden but Art has a hidden lover – The Great Time and she has one face of her always beholden to the seminal father and the amniotic space – Eternity. History is the record of emphasis and de-emphasis of dominant power and hence Art, in one of her exposed persona follows the script: it directed people’s attention to dominant power: religion, royalty, communism, corporations, democracy, liberty, freedom, revolution, ideology and so on.

The whole history of Art (which lies within the historical time) endorses this. Had this been the only potency and receptivity of Art, Art would have been classed in the same category of technology which has history but no critical history. By critical history, I mean being self-referential or self-critical and this means that one must step into the value-pool. One must, as an individual make the choice of value. This gives Art her most mysterious power: individuality and attendant autonomy. This autonomy of an individual at the level of Being is the guarantee of our divinity.

Hence Art and madness are so close and intertwined. And this madness which stems from an existential struggle of an individual with the cosmos is the heirloom of all artistic geniuses and what Schopanhuer alludes at the quote at the start of the preface.

Two hundred years back, at the start of the century, great minds of Europe felt a deep pessimism about human condition. Human condition seemed to be in eternal slavery of war, empire and un-freedom. Man was nothing but a pawn, a plaything of History.

Two hundred years hence, when I write this, human condition has entered a phase when the danger is that men and women will become machines. The great celebration of un-thinking has begun. The value-pool is shrunken and there is no one, or very few who still want to exert a value statement. The end of such un-thinking is the elaborate practice of a philosophy called ‘Anything goes’.

What will rescue Men and Women from becoming machines? What will rein the horse of technological materialism? What can re-echo the faint stirring of human nature in the bosom of men and women who are convinced that Heart is a machine that pumps blood and counter this through a demonstration and not simple assertion that human heart is something from which Great Thoughts gush forth.

What can balance both Reason and Freedom? How can we rein our technology and re-direct them for a fulfilled life? What is in our disposal which does not need anything else to interpret (scholars and experts) and implement (Government, Corporate and their combination) it?

This must be something so close to our Being that we must have forgotten it. The greatest wonder and miracle of our time is that we are un-conscious to have overlooked the greatest happening of our times: trans-valuation of human nature.

It is this trans-valuation of values that is sweeping the globe. This process is unfolding in front of our eyes and we are fortunate to be real time witness of this process. “Man is a reed, but a thinking reed” – so goes Pascal while he finds the inconsequential nature of Man in front of the impenetrable Universe but the same Pascal was celebrating human freedom that we can comprehend it. This ‘comprehension’ is not possible now as we are in the cusp of Unthinking.

This comprehension of existence through science and technology has already degenerated into speculation and specialized speculation and hence into the domain of careerists and celebrity scientists. The mathematical certainty of science has evolved into statistical doubt. Man resembles a madman of Calcutta footpath playing snake and ladder with God.[1]

A great opportunity beckons us. A great opportunity to dive deep into our Being – inexhaustible and autonomous. There is no statistical doubt or consensus – even the language of Being is so different and radical that we get a glimpse of it – we do not build or capture it – it gets revealed.

Art must become a Revelation, minus the religious aspect of revelations  and this is the great triumph and autonomy of Art and our Being.

Adda-Fe must work, in its greatest scope, while networked with million minds to re-echo and re-direct this Revelation again to human beings who may yet be re-deemed into the fold of Human Nature.

 

[1] Inspired by Mr. Suman Chatterjee’s song ‘Pagal’


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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A Lecture on Music by of Dr. Hans-Juergen Nagel

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An executive summary of Dr. Hans-Juergen Nagel’s lecture on  What is Music and its relevance for a society – Perspectives from Western musical tradition, organized by Wordsmith University on 12th December 2015 at AJ Block Community Hall, Salt Lake, Calcutta.

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Wordsmith University Founder-Teacher Pritam Bhattacharyya introducing the speaker 

The lecture was structured in a very novel way. Dr. Nagel introduced the topic but instead of discussing the relevance of Music for contemporary society as how he thinks, he had read a series of reflections by internationally renewed musicians and conductors on the inexhaustible mystery called Music. These reflections were collected and translated by him. The reflections include musicians like Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Alfred Brendel, Yehudi Menuhin, Edwin Fischer, Helmut Lachenmann, Luciano Pavarotti and many such luminaries. What was interesting was that he read those verbatim and the audience had the opportunity of hearing directly what these musicians thought about their craft and its relevance for society and human life and human nature.

A very brief survey of these reflections is given below:

  • Music and culture are not some extravagance or embellishment of civilization but the umbilical cord that nourishes us. Without this nourishment, we shall lose what is called human nature. This umbilical cord is the guarantee of our divinity.
  • Man has a hammer in one of his hands and a violin in his other hand. The hammer signifies technology by which he brings material comfort and he may tend to think that this hammer can bring him fulfillment. But without the violin, he loses his human nature. He may look into the innermost part of the atom using his technology, machines and automation but without the violin, he loses what is human nature within him.
  • Music deals with de-materialized matter and combining intuition and retaining the purity and accuracy of what the musician wanted to convey through his music, an artist creates something anew. This is told best by the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer – Music is the world recreated once more.

 Dr. Nagel then discussed something interesting with regards to culture of a society and he argues that it is the municipality which knows culture of a community better because it deals with their daily lives more than the federal or central government. This is very interesting and novel idea about a society like ours.

Dr. Nagel went on arguing that Culture must be financed by public funds. Sponsoring is an exception, because it serves basically private interests, culture events are not commercial events. Financing has not to be covered by entrance fees.

The most important cultural body is the municipality because it has to serve the interests of the inhabitants of the city and it is close to the pulse of people. Normally it finances opera houses, music schools, conservatories, orchestras, theatres, experimental activities, contemporary music, museums, non commercial films, festivals.

He had mentioned of a historical period of music in Germany when common people used to attend musical performances where music of the great composers like Mozart, Beethoven and Bach were played and is still done. In a sense, it was a cultural exercise which was close to the daily lives of common people, not restricted to the elites or of a specific class. It is the community that organizes funds and runs these events and not some central and distant government.

He then touched something very important for any human society: living a fulfilled life as an individual and a member of the society. He mentions that Music and Art have always signaled the coming of change much before the actual change manifests itself. He touches the impact of Mozart’s music and its eventual impact in the urge to change society in terms of revolution in thought and philosophy of life in that period. In other words, politicians and policy-makers need to be aware of the fact that political and social changes will be captured by Music and Art much earlier because of its mysterious power. Hence, if we need to mould our conduct to live in an age of change and transformation, something inside our being must change and Art and Music have played this role throughout history. It is this mysterious power that makes art and music not something external or decorative but something extremely powerful in shaping our being in our existential journey.

Furthermore Nagel referred to aspects of the nature of art and its possible relevance for an enlightened civil society. He related to some positions according to the history of philosophy.

Art can be understood as an appearance of the depth (origin) and is defined by philosophers as the absolute, the divine or as the truth, which means by qualities through which art becomes recognizable as hermetic and perfect, comparable to nature. This is a metaphysical world, beyond our daily reality which we usually experience.

The ability to produce art and to find ways for its understanding belongs to the most important qualities of a human  being.

According to Heidegger’s Time and Being, everything is there and at all times, but is concealed (revealed) and must become unrevealed. This happens with regards to historical processes, but also during the development of an artistic production.

It seems to be obvious, that somebody, who finds an access to the depth or truth of art, will also find an access to deeper meanings of the world beyond the pretensions of which we are confronted in our daily lives. He has become knowing. This is the reason, for instance for political systems to oppress the freedom of expression because of its danger in terms of influencing the political opinion of its citizens. Those tendencies are also relevant for the so called open societies, as Karl Popper has demonstrated in his publication – The open society and its enemies.

apples and biscuits

Apples and Biscuits by Cezanne – 1884. This was used by Dr Nagel to illustrate how art looks in a fresh way and recreates 

He mentions that we need to learn the art of living life and only scientific knowledge of the world or the technology to do so will not be enough to have a fulfilled life. This is evident in many highly technologically advanced societies grappling with the crisis of living a fulfilled life. He examines the world ‘fulfillment’ in a direct, ironic and humorous way through the example of a newspaper dated 12th December 2015. The newspaper shows an advert of some real estate company, asking people to buy their apartment and claims boldly and in bold and highlighted print – Fulfillment starts at 43.8 Lac!

There was a great collective smile – both wise and ironic in the faces of the audience and thus the lecture ended. The curiosity is to know as to what level the fulfillment ends if it starts at a certain number!

There followed informal discussions after that one of the interesting observations by one of the members was that in the supermarkets, a very special kind of booming music is being played and continuous exposure to such kind of music destroys the ‘internal composition” of a person and he/she now responds in a controlled way to such kind of musical stimulus.

Note: Wordsmith University is working with Dr. Nagel to publish the reflections of the musicians in the form of a book entitled – What is Music – Reflections of internally renowned musicians and conductors on an inexhaustible mystery. The idea is to circulate this book to music schools and academies, politicians and policy-makers in addition to music lovers and interested readers.


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com