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Agnishatdal Boisakh (April) critique by Troy David Loy

Agnishatdal Boisakh 1424 Review by Troy David Loy
https://exohumanjournal.wordpress.com/,

Rabindrajayanti 9.5.17:
So, the 9th of May (Indian date) is the iconic polymath’s birthday! I have a few Ingreji translations of his works, and know of his famous meeting with Einstein when the two discussed science, philosophy and spirituality, a true meeting of minds! May the great scholar remain always in the hearts and minds of those around the world as a tribute to humanity!

Jamini Roy:
Now here was a painter of some note. His innovations on traditional art styles make his work especially interesting!

Budapest Missives:
Juliette here gives an account of her youth in Hungary. How fascinating to those of us unlucky enough never to leave their country of origin, at least in their early years!

Dear Zindagi:
Sweta writes a letter of thanks and appreciation for the meaningful things in life, that made and make it worth living indeed for her.

I Am Watching. I Am Citizen Null:
Our new arrival, Citizen Null, offers a stern commentary on the state of his country. I’m interested to see what more he has to say.

Red Heels Pt. 2:
Brieue continues from last issue with this narrative tour of the bright side of life in smalltown America from a shoe aficionado.

Haunting:
A notably interesting image and missive by Eleanor Leonne Bennett –
fascinating work!

Cultivation:
Excellent food for thought by Swati on the power of thoughts over perceptions, selfperceptions, and suffering.

Praise:
Wendell offers a paean to devotion. Good use of form. Excellent phrasing, and without use of rhyme; that would have hindered the message.

Tenali Raman And The Vidooshak:
Raghunandan tells the story of a plot to bring down a wise man using a king’s court jester. I love that Raman so easily bested them despite being forced by circumstances to play along!

Lost outside looking in:
Dom offers some brief but poignant verse.

Treats of the Month:
The Rainbow Horizon – Karen S. Cole:
Here, Karen talks about her book, with an interesting cast of characters and lots of satire.

Hemdiva Dev’s interview was illuminating, showing her talent for prolific storytelling. Her energy for writing is to be admired!

KJ. Yesudas: The Celestial Singer:
A remarkable voice this man has! I’m listening to one of his songs as I write this. I could never match this level of vocal skill!

This month’s recipe should be a quick preparation once I can get the ingredients. I have a friend who knows how to make it, has made it, and has all of the needed spices to boot! This will be tasty!

Creator’s Quill:
The rookie:
A cute story about a young spider learning the ropes to proper spiderin’.

Thus Spake Hypocritananda:
An enjoyable new installment. Especially so, as the worst evils often get free rein, not by the actions of evil people, but by the silence of good ones!

India This Month – Biosakh 1424
And so, the new year begins! May it be better than the last (and fewer good people die, too)! With both poila boisakh and Rabindrajayanti to celebrate this month, Bongs have much to keep busy! With Buddhapurnima falling afterwards, and then…May Day followed by the hot, sweltering doomy doom of summer!

Pieces of Past: Gautam Buddha:
The life of the founder of Buddhism, both in history and shrouded by legend, happened in an interesting time, when new movements and philosophical awakenings were going on around the world. It’s no surprise to me that many of Buddhism’s mindfulness techniques are used today, and adapted for modern life.

That’s it for now! I await the Jyeshtha issue!

Agnijaat Boisakh (April) critique by Troy David Loy

Agnijaat Boisakh 1424 Review by Troy David Loy
https://exohumanjournal.wordpress.com/,

Indian Raga Now:
Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui… here are two actors worth watching. The four others noted are more established, but worth checking out just the same! Good stuff, as I’ve seen some of their movies on YouTube.

Spotlight On Shivkumar Sharma:
This is…cool! I’m listening to recordings of his as I write this. His santoor playing is absolutely marvelous! I must also check out his partner’s music! I’ll make that tonight while writing.

Nurjahan:
This woman, who reined in, possibly being one of the factors the brought about the end of the Mughal empire. What a remarkable human being!

Other side of the **** world:
Bloodhounds: Privacy is a big issue in today’s Internet, and so is the intrusiveness of editing programs. Some good warnings of what to expect when interacting online.

Caste System 4:
Offering government stipends to the socio-economically disadvantaged sounds like a good idea, along with better educational opportunities without quotas. This I think is worth considering, at least trying out to see if it works, though my hopes aren’t high that it will be implemented!

Nature @Kolkata in Biosakh:
From dangerous storms to sweltering heat, summer is NOT a good season there, even dangerous without air conditioning or a sturdy constitution.

Clear your attic:
An uncluttered, clear, and healthy mind is a good one, and much more useful than when it’s filled with detritus. Maintain it well, and it will serve you well.

Bhakti Saints: Madhavacharya:
born in medieval India during the 13th century, this man had some interesting views on the nature of souls and God. I’ll have to pour through my podcasts on Indian philosophy to get a more thorough look at them.

Story Time:
Unique rebellion:
This is a fun one that I’ll enjoy reading in its entirety. Humorous, with commentary of human exploitation of our own private moments on film!

Jewels of Madhulipi:
A really cool ghost story, with a surprisingly happy ending! excellent!

Nabobarsho:
With the onset of the new year in Bengal, there is much to celebrate and many ways for celebration. Much more colorful and interesting than New Year’s Day in the West!

Let us begin:
I loved the images and verse of this section! Among my favorites are One, Three, Four, Six, while the image for Two, the story from Five and the narrative from Seven: ‘To stay or to leave’ stood out as well. I love it when an artist evolves her craft!

Thus Spake Hypocritananda:
Good commentary in verse form!

I look forward to the Jyeshtha issue of Agnijaat!

Agnishatdal Jyeshtha (May) critique by Troy David Loy

Agnijaat Critique for Jyeshtha 1424
By Troy David Loy
https://exohumanjournal.wordpress.com

Nazrul Birthday: as someone who suffered tremendously, while producing such wonderful songs, Kazi was quite accomplished in a tragic way. Yet he brought forth such amazing music, some of which may be found on this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=a9Vsdd9DIZI&list=RDa9Vsdd9DIZI#t=0

M.S. Subbulaxmi: I’ve listened to her music while reviewing the twins, and she was quite talented. I should watch a few of her earlier movies, and see her acting talents i full. Quite the songbird, this one!

Budapest Missives 2: Thoughts of a Budding Artist: Juliette here expresses misgivings that many artists have toward their own work. It’s called Imposter Syndrome, but as she suggests here, it can be overcome.

6 gateways to a worth reading article: Sweta offers some sound ideas for good articles, of the sort that sometimes ‘goes viral.’ My favorite, of course, is Catchy Title, as that’s the first part of any article that people see. But the others are no less important!

Red Heels Pt. 3: The story continues as the heroine encounters a photography aficionado with cameras older than hers!

Need Again: Eleanor offers an evocative image and missive on her photography work.

In disguise: Swati gives an account of her father, with a poem expressing her admiration and gratitude.

A cure for baldness: Horrors! A raja is going bald, so what is he to do? A clever young man enters the picture with an eye toward curing the potentate’s malady in a most unexpected way!

Twisting by the pool: Dom gives a short verse on the heat of summer, and the wonders of swimming pools.

A happy belated birthday for Swati and Sweta, and I hope it was glorious!

So too, a wonderful belated birthday to Juliette! May it have

Diva Dev interviews Sharmishtha Basu: an interesting talk, in which Diva shows her interview-fu with insights into the writing processes of the Twins creator.

Bhupinder Singh: too bad that he’s distanced himself from music, but as I listen as I write this, he’s got an amazing voice. Here’s a collection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_sOuyLLEzY

Jyeshtha Recipe: Machher Jhaal – Spicy Fish: sounds tasty, looks tasty in my mind’s eye. I’ll have to give this one a try when friends are over for a gathering.

The bottle: a cute story, and a warning on taking extraordinary claims at face value; when it sounds too good to be what it says, it probably is!

Bhandananda Uvach 2: Some good commentary in verse, on the things said by authoritarian politicians to stir up discontent and nationalist fervor.

Bengal This Month: So, the birthday of a famous poet is celebrated this month, as is the festival of Jamaishashthi for those guys lucky enough to be sons-in-law – getting treated like a king by your bride’s family, what could be cooler!

India this month: With two more festivals celebrated this month, and this time throughout India no less!

Pieces of Past: Mahaveer: a fascinating link in the history of religion in India. The Jains stand out as a religion by reason of their code of strict nonviolence.

That’s it for this month, and I’ll see you once again in Ashar!

Agnijaat Jyeshtha (May) critique by Troy David Loy

Agnijaat Critique for Jyeshtha 1424
By Troy David Loy
https://exohumanjournal.wordpress.com

Indian Raga Now: Hindi vs Bengali: some thoughts on movie genres and the filmindustries they come from. A fascinating take!

Spotlight on Hariprasad Chaurasia: an amazing flute player, this man is. I’ve foundsome of his music here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=5wjJ3hpVO0k&list=RD5wjJ3hpVO0k#t=26

Marry or NOT: Some thoughts here on the dark side of marriage in India…

Caste System 5: a social system being gamed by politicians for their own purposes, in using scheduled castes for their (ethically) dirty work.

Nature @Kolkata in Jyeshtha: This could be a fun month, if you’re a son-in-law or you like mangoes and watermelons, though for my purposes I prefer icecream as mangoes aren’t cheap in my locale!

BHAKTI SAINTS: Vallabhacharya: a proponent of a non-dualistic Bhaktivad, living from the 15th to 16th centuries, he held philosophical views worth a closer look and further examination.

Story Time – Cirruska and the little girl, Breaking free: two cute stories from a pair of tobe- rereleased books,
Child of woods and Tell me a story

The verses this month were fun, but Five was a short story that stuck out as especially amusing in content, but deeper in the question it raised: how do we really know when we are awake and when we dream?

This month’s theme was inspiration, and ‘Seven: To do or not to do’ offered a nice take on that.
That’s it for now. I’ll see you again in Ashar

Agnishatdal Ashar (june) critique by Troy David Loy

Agnishatdal Ashar 1424 Critique by Troy David Loy @ https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy

Santidev Ghosh:

I’m listening now as I type this, and find his music amazing. While my grasp of Bengali is still somewhat wanting, the intonation, rhythm, and less measurable qualities of his singing place him in my view among some of the greatest performers of his style of his day. Perhaps when my ability with the language is bettered, I’ll be in good position to enjoy it in full. I found a link after a quick search of his name here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwLeG19I5Ds The devotion to his teacher marks him as a far more diligent student than many at this point, and his inspiration by Tagore to so carry on his style apparent in his performances.

Sunil Manohar Gavaskar:
I’ve not watched cricket before, but found a recording from a game near the end of his career here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EMEGQWfZ0s Despite my naivete about the game, I can say that it’s impressive to see him play on the field, and his sportsmanship is evident.

Budapest Missives 3: The Problem with Race:

Juliette makes a good point here, that fear and reviling of the Other doesn’t have to be universal even in nations where it’s common and accepted. We all have our likes and dislikes of certain categories of people, but this is not something that absolutely must be: we can do something about it, to not be the slaves of the more primitive parts of our brains, to not be so motivated by our instinct for tribalism that we lose sight of what makes us more alike than different.

Red Heels Pt. 4:

Our heroine exchanges cameras and pictures with her person of interest, a man with a shared penchant for vintage photography and morning coffee with not-so-strangers. The mention of Rilke was interesting, as I’ve read little of his work, something that may be worth looking up, in English, as the closest I come to knowing any German is the pseudonym of one of my cats, Herr Rickmeister Fluffenhoffer.

Time stands still:

Eleanor offers a beautifully evocative image of what looks like a possibly abandoned storefront with a young boy before it preoccupied with something unknown to the viewer on the sidewalk. Good b&w rendition, as that has a starkness that reveals contrasts that many color shots do not.

A Family Crisis:

Raghunandan tells a humorous story of a gathering at dinner with a ten-year old girl’s confession to her family of something not so scandalous as it at first seems. Knowing some of Raghunandan’s previous writing, I expected some kind of twist to this, and wasn’t disappointed. But just what it was turned out to be wholly unexpected, and a good surprise at the end.

Love deeper than the night:

A short verse, both poignant and economical in size, evokes love in one of its many forms using the metaphor of a strong caffeinated beverage to drive home its point.
Happy birthday to both Raghunandan and Sharmishtha this month! I’d like to offer my best to each of you on completion of another lucky trip around the Sun! May there be many more and be at least as good to you if not better! A happy birthday this month to actress Meryl Streep and to tennis player Leander Paes as well!

Gulzar:

As a songwriter, this man seems quite accomplished. I’ve listened to this: https://
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1h_gfnGTZ0 from the movie Khamoshi. Lovely stuff, even without fully “getting” the lyrics. Then again, with his more playful approach to the lyricist’s art, maybe I’m missing the point! Another was here: https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=Wu7JsGN2wHo

This month’s recipe,

for lobster curry, sounds absolutely delightful. Lobster is a treat for me, so this will be good for special occasions. I may be able to find many if not most of all of the ingredients in conventional grocery stores. I’ll gather those as they are available and I can competently prepare them, then cook this, maybe with the help of a local friend with experience in Indian cooking, and I think I know just who… *looks at Christopher in mind’s eye*

All peachy: All peachy on the desert front!

This looks like a fun story, with Mr. Green and Miss Grey, both misleading each other about their species in this cute little romance. I suppose there are benefits to avoiding a predator/prey relationship when it’s online and there would be that awkward incompatibility of species otherwise! This looks to me well worth the pitance of $1.00.

Bhandananda Uvach 2: Thus spake Hypocritananda:

A good point about government and the odd failure of politicians professing religious motivations who nonetheless act contrary to the actual teaching and values of the faith. I see the same thing here with American politics, though focused on pseudo-Evangelical Christianity rather than Hinduism.

Kagaje ankibuki – Lines on paper, and Kash – If only!

Beautiful verse the two of these, in both Bengali and Ingreji. Good use of form, economy of wording, and of course the ever-graceful Bangla script!

Rathyatra:

Interesting! I’ve seen some of the videos currently online, and here’s a link to one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFiQwPW7zpk I’ll warn you beforehand, there may be issues with getting this one to stream!

India this month:

With four festivals this month, including Rath Yatra, along with Eid ul Fitr, Gurupurnima, and Nagpanchami, there is much to celebrate. And though snakes are cool, I have more respect for teachers than I had in my school years, so Gurupurnima would probably the festival of choice!

Pieces of Past: Alexander’s Invasion:

Alexander was one of the more fascinating kings of his day. I’ll add that he was tutored by none other than the philosopher Aristotle himself, and may have furnished his old teacher with biological specimens of plants and animals from India as well as from his other conquests. I definitely agree that despite other mistakes by the British in India, unifying it under one administration was one of the good things they did!

Well, this concludes this months critique, and I’ll see you next with the reviews for Shraban, 1424!

Agnijaat Ashar (june) critique by Troy David Loy

Agnijaat Ashar 1424 Critique by Troy David Loy @ https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy

Self Publishing Ideas 1 – choosing the platform:
This is a useful how-to for publishing things online yourself. I’ve never tried Createspace, as my first platform of choice was KDP. The former may be a good choice for any print works of mine. Must read more on formatting on both it and the latter during off hours!

Rani Durgavati:
The fact that this 16th Century queen fought and forced the retreat of a vastly more powerful foe as many as three times is a remarkable feat in itself, especially Akbar’s imperial forces. I noticed that in many places in history, killing oneself rather than surrender to an enemy with less than honorable treatment of prisoners, even brutal treatment, is arguably the better option. So it was with Durgabati.

Psychos and Morons:
Queries of phone hacking? It boggles the mind why anyone in their right mind and not working in a criminal organization or the Intelligence community would want to. Then again, this post is not titled Sane Folk and Geniuses, as the final two answers show.

These people need to “exploit” their own grey matter before asking this sort of thing in a public forum, much less expecting an answer.

Caste System 6:
The Authoress discusses the exploitation of certain castes for political gain and the decline of Indian intellectuals as a real force in governance and critical evaluation of policy. The control at the village level by politicians serves to cement this in expedient but unethical ways, and not for the long-term wellness of the state of the country.

That inner voice:
The Authoress discusses a phenomenon well-documented in the scientific literature: that there are thinking processes going on beneath the threshold of our conscious awareness. And this thinking can make itself known through vague feelings of wrongness or sudden awareness of things not previously known or thought, but often verifiable when investigated carefully. If it’s knowable then it can be shown. Scientific skeptics (skeptics who are scientific, as opposed to those who merely “skeptical” of
science) are familiar with this as well, and stage conjurors skilled in mentalism use this in their performances.

BAKHTI SAINTS: Ramananda – Glimpses of Indian History:
Being one of the most influential religious leaders of his day, one who contributed to not just one, but TWO religions is a remarkable achievement. His use of common language in preaching was evidently an effective way of getting his message to those he wanted most to receive it. The fact that he chose devotion to Rama and Sita over Vishnu is MOST interesting as well.

Nature @Kolkata in Ashar:
The Authoress notes the recent monsoon season and general trend toward cooler weather in Bengal. Of Interest are the festivals this month, Rathyatra and Eid ul Fitr, as well are mentioned Nagpanchami and Gurupurnima, those last two noted in previous issues of the Twins.

INDIAN RAGA NOW:
A critique of popular Bengali and Hindi music as the state of those arts currently stands. Some of it good, some of it less so, often MUCH less so, as trends have gone on since the Seventies. Something work considering when buying albums online.

SPOTLIGHT ON – Gheorghe Zamfir:
Pan flutes are cool, and this artist plays one. It was well worth the brief instant invested to check him out…Oh, LOOK! Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=1mHuf8owjoQ Give it a listen, as the music is incredible.

Window to West – Beauty and the Beast:
I’ve yet to see this myself, but worth buying online, and I’ve a good idea where…The Authoress discusses briefly the actors and feel of the movie. I must watch!

Sweet Memories – Sharmishtha Basu Day: The Day of the Lotus – Happy Sharmishtha Basu Day: A prayer and poem celebrating the Authoress by one gregory57 of intentblog.com

Runaway:
A cow debates an egret on the wisdom of escape from his owner, with the egret having the sounder reasoning.

actual culprit:
Never steal snake eggs using a proxy, as this tale suggests, especially magical ones whose mothers are protective of their eggs! Steal once, pay twice!

With the theme this month being summer, there are seven items: a brief poem; a digital painting reminding me of a boy with surfboard at shore; a diamond verse with something delicious (Mango icecream!); a 7 x 2 diamond verse reprimanding the Sun for being a jerk; a short story about nasty shapeshifting critters and the error of dismissing the advice of elders (There’s a reason they get to be old!); a longer verse on the heat and misery of summer heat in the city; and finally, a short but succinct essay on four causes of summer annoyance in Kolkata. Quite good!

That’s it for the month! I’ll see you soon, for Shraban, 1424!

Agnishatdal Shraban critique by Troy David Loy

Agnishatdal Shraban 1424 Critique by Troy David Loy @ https://www.amazon.com/author/Troyloy

Mangal Pandey:
Here was a good soldier who nonetheless put his people first rather than obey orders he knew were wrong. Evil is actually pretty banal, not dramatic or spectacular because it doesn’t need to be. Some of the worst evils in history were committed by those who were “just following orders,” or going along with the crowd like lambs to the slaughter. Pandey was a patriot who followed his conscience rather than his chain of command, and his death was a ripple that in time became a tidal wave.

Balgangadhar Tilak:
Tilak was an accomplished man in many fields, and a true revolutionary. His work in mathematics served well in his writing regardless of his detractors, which doubtless were many.

Budapest Missives 4:
Julia’s image is haunting, with the close-up Moon in the background a very effective evocative touch.

Red Heels Pt. 5:
An invitation to a date at a Cuban restaurant turns bad as our heroine suffers a
kidnapping attempt on the way there. Dressed to kill, with weapons-grade heels in her defense, she attempts to fend off her assailants…

Patterns:
Eleanor’s image shows some interesting repeating symmetries with some subdued and very earthy tones.

Breaking a windfall:
Raghu tells a story of a lucky old man who finally wins big, much to the distress of his doctor, which winds up hospitalizing someone, and not the one you would expect given one’s age!

Night in love with a dream*:
Dom’s verse touches both heart and mind, and makes use of repetition and form in very effective ways, as good verse does.

Kevin Cooper’s Interview with Steve Page was interesting, and I’m intrigued about the idea of a full-length novel written entirely in verse as Page has done.

Vishwanathan Anand:
Here was until only within the last few years a world champion chess-player, and in any event, world-class. While I’m behind on my practice, this is good encouragement to take up Mac Chess again, if nothing else for the cognitive exercise it affords!

Night M. Shyamalan:
I’m unfamiliar with most of his movies, having only seen Lady in Water with friends one evening. I enjoyed that at the time though, and will check out the others on IMDB.com

Abhijeet Bhattacharya:
I’m listening to his music as I type this, and find it not bad at all, quite good in my view. There is that recent controversy of his on Twitter, but I prefer to separate the art from the foibles of the artist. It broadens horizons. There’s a link to a playlist of his songs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtrnPKaGBgs

Shraban Recipe: pumpkin specials 1
Pumpkin is good stuff, and this recipe gives a great way to prepare it Bengali-style! Will add this to my repertoire of tasty pumpkiny treats if I can draft Christopher into lending his skills and spices to the effort!

The Chase:
A thief gets into a tight spot during a heist in this story from an upcoming book. The authoress shows her narrative skills in playing out the man’s predicament, and the outcome of his task!

Bhandananda Uvach 4:
Hatemongers are ubiquitous in politics, as the current excuses for leadership in many countries show. It’s a call for the sane among us to take notice and act, before it’s too late!

Harini: The doe, & Gharonda – the nest:
Two nice pieces of verse, in Bangla and Hindi respectively, making effective use of form and theme, which can be taken any one of different ways depending on perspective

Bengal & India This Month:
With Rakhi, Jhulan, Indian Independence Day, and Janmashtami being celebrated this month, the first of these is by far my favorite, and the third a sound reason for learning history, not the revisionist facade often presented in the media, but a good, solid time spent studying the best examples in the field.

Pieces of Past: Chandragupta Maurya
As the first emperor of nearly all of pre-colonial India during the late centuries BCE, he must have been quite an effective ruler. Interesting that he decided to liberate himself from the world, to put it one way, by starving himself once embracing Jainism.

Story From Ved and Purana – Mysteries of Draupadi:
Very interesting tale here, as it further illuminates a better understanding of how Vedic cycles show the relatable nature of Hindu gods, making it one of my favorite South Asian religions!

That about wraps things up for this month, so, my fine humans, I’ll see you again the very next!

Tf. Tk. Tts.

From the Editor-creator of the Ezine aka Sharmishtha Basu:

If you want to encourage the struggling artist and writer with your huge-hearted generosity:
https://www.paypal.me/sharmishthabasu
https://www.patreon.com/sharmishthabasu
The first annual digests of the Ezines:

Agnijaat Annual Digest 2017: Sfulingo 1

Agnishatdal Annual Digest 2017: Agnidal 1