Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Today is the death anniversary of Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh, or Suraiya for short, the popular singer/actress of Hindi Cinema.A combination of good looks and singing voice, she was of the league of Noor Jehan and Khursheed who doubled as playback singers and actors.First she sang for the actress Mehtaab in her child roles.Later she sang for herself when she acted in films like Dillagi, Afsar, Anmol Ghadi,Taraana, Badi Behan, Phool, Jeet and Dastaan.She won a gold medal for a role in film Kajal (1948).She is remembered most for her stellar performance in Mirza Ghalib in which she also rendered Ghalib's ghazals in her inimitable voice.She also sang for leading heroines of the time like Nargis, Madhubala.Romantically involved with Dev Anand, with whom she paired in a number of hit films,her love affair with him could not mature into matrimony due to opposition from her family, especially her maternal grandmother.
Heartbroken, Suraiya never married.
A recipient of many awards and honours, like the Urdu Academy Award and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award,she was also honoured by a commemorative postal stamp being issued .
Our humble tributes to the great artiste and actress !

Sunday, January 29, 2017

W.B Yeats

Yesterday was the death anniversary of W.B Yeats,the great Irish poet.He was an important figure of the Twentieth Century English Literature.His early poetry was influenced by Irish legends and occultism.Later he turned to realism but his poetry remains a veritable mix of the physical and the spiritual.His poem'The Second Coming' written in 1919 describes the situation in war-torn Europe. The poem is an all time classic and holds good even today .
Yeats was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.
Our humble tributes to the great poet !

Robert Frost

Today is the death anniversary of Robert Frost, a renowned American poet, best known for realistic depiction of rural life in simple colloquial language.A four time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, he was also named Poet Laureate of Vermont in 1961.
Our humble tributes !

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Raja Ramanna

Today is the birth anniversary of Raja Ramanna, the renowned Physicist and Nuclear Scientist. He remained associated with Indian Nuclear Program for four decades. The Institutions like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Atomic Energy Commission, National Institute of Advanced Studies and DRDO bear his stamp. His contributions in the field of defence research are immense.A multifaceted personality, he was an accomplished Piano player and even wrote a book on music titled 'The Structure of Music in Raga and Western Systems'.
In 1990 the V.P.Singh Government appointed him as a Minister of State.
He also served a tenure as a nominated Member of Rajyasabha.
For his outstanding achievements in the field of nuclear research and applications, he was awarded Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.
Our humble tributes to the great scientist !

Friday, January 27, 2017


Today is the birth anniversary of Hamid Ali Khan,the popular Bollywood actor, better known by his screen name Ajit . In the fifties he was a popular lead actor and a romantic hero who later switched over to playing negative roles.He acted in about two hundred Bollywood flicks, making his presence felt,both as a hero and a villain . The expressions 'Mona Darling', 'Mona , kahan hai Sona', 'Liquid Nitrogen' became popular cliches due to the peculiar way he mouthed them .He acted as a soft spoken scheming villain , more or less with Machiavellian traits. 
Our humble tributes !

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Himachal Statehood Day

The memories of January 25, 1971 are still fresh in my mind when I along with thousands of others was a witness to the celebrations, function and the public rally addressed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She arrived the venue seated mounted on a slow moving vehicle , head covered with a shawl, smiling, also shaking off snow flakes, as it had started snowing.She was accompanied by Dr. Y. S. Parmar, the Chief Minister.
Today the State has come of age, celebrating 46th anniversary of the momentous event.
This side the sole credit goes to Dr. Y.S.Parmar , rightly called ' Himachal Nirmata' for making this possible through his sincere efforts.
Happy Statehood Day !

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

J. Om Prakash

Today is the birthday of J. Om Prakash, the well-known producer -director of Bollywood. As a producer he is remembered for movies like Aas ka Panchhi,Ayee Milan Ki Bela, Aye Din Bahar Ke,Ayaa Saawan Khoom key,Aankhon Aankhon Mein, Aandhi,Apnaapan, Arpan, Aasha- all ominously starting with letter 'A'.
He also directed movies like Aap Ki Kasam,Apnapan, Aakraman, Ashok Hun Baharon ka, Aas pass, Akhir Kyun....etc.All his films bear title starting with the letter 'A', the exception being 'Bhagwan Dada'.
He turns 90 today.
Our best wishes !

Shah Nawaz Khan

Today is the birth anniversary of Shah Nawaz Khan, an officer of the Indian National Army of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Tried for treason by the British Indian Government, he was sentenced to death but subsequently his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
Post independence, he was elected four times to the Lok Sabha and served as Parliamentary Secretary and a Union Minister.He also served as the Chairman of the FCI.
Our humble tributes !

Monday, January 23, 2017


With six decades plus of life behind me on the planet Earth, I think I can look back fondly and with amusement at life during my childhood and my growing years.Shimla, my hometown used to have heavy snowfall year after year so much so that Wool, woollens and knitting by hand with needles was a way of life.
There were quite a few shops selling exclusively wool yarn of different colours and kinds and well before the winters set in, there was huge rush of customers, mostly women , who purchased wool yarn to knit sweaters and socks for winters to ward off cold.
Wool mostly came in 'guchhis' or 'attis' and as far as my personal experience goes, it was left for us kids to make the yarn into balls to facilitate knitting.We were too happy doing this under instructions not to wrap the yarn too tight.
The balls having been made, knitting was started with needles bearing numbers anything 7 to12 depending on the thickness of knit one wanted. The thickness of the needles decreased with the increase in number digit.The 12 number needle was used mostly for knitting 'gala' or neck as it required thin border.
Knitting a full sleeve sweater for a grown up person was a big project taking a lot of time as knitting was done in spare time left after finishing all other daily household chores.On bigger neighbourhood, women would sit together talking and knitting while basking the sun.
Ladies would volunteer to knit 'palla' or 'bazoo' so that the sweater was ready in time. Though done on reciprocal basis, this nevertheless was a gesture of mutual cooperation, kindness , goodwill and camaraderie, rarely seen now.Each household had to have sufficient number of sweaters and socks to keep every member of the family warm.The ladies, mostly housewives were intelligent enough to copy patterns from wherever they could by a mere look.
Gone are the good old days as hand knitting has taken a backseat.The readymades have taken over and flooded the market in big way.Knitting was a symbol of love and care that the lady of the house showered on other members of the family.
The good old days !

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thakur Roshan Singh

Today is the birth anniversary of Thakur Roshan Singh, an Indian revolutionary and freedom fighter who previously served a jail term for the Bareilly shoot out during the non- cooperation movement in 1921-22.After release from the prison, he joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army.

He was falsely implicated in the Kakori case and having been awarded the capital punishment, was hanged by the British Indian Government on December 19, 1927.
Our humble tributes to the great patriot and revolutionary !

Vijay Anand

Today is the birth anniversary of Vijay Anand aka Goldie Anand, the Bollywood actor and film director . He is more known as an outstanding director . His debut as a director was the film Nau Do Gyarah, which was very successful. His other notable directorial ventures include Johny Mera Naam , Jewel Thief, Teesri Manzil, Kala Bazar, Ram Balram ,Rajput and Guide. As an actor, he is remembered for his roles in Haqeeqat, Kora Kaagaz and Mai Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki .He was also for some time Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification .
Our humble tributes !

Saturday, January 21, 2017

George Orwell

Today is the death anniversary of Eric Arthur Blair better known by his pen name George Orwell, the English novelist, journalist, essayist and political commentator.He was born in India at Motihari in Champaran district of Bihar.
Orwell was a known and self professed democratic socialist and was a strong critic of totalitarian rule especially of the Stalinist kind.His allegorical novel Animal Farm became an instant hit when it was published in 1945. He came up with another dystopian Novel '1984' published in 1949. Both these novels rank high amongst the 100 best novels written in English language. He wrote lucid English and one feels like going to his works again and again to see how simple and good English is written and can be written. He came up with now widely accepted new terms like Cold War, doublespeak, new speak, Big brother etc etc.
He died this day in England in 1950 aged 47.
Our humble tributes to the great author !

Geeta Bali

Today is the death anniversary of Geeta Bali, the popular Bollywood actress of her time.Born in a Sikh family in 1930 at Sargodha in undivided Punjab, her maiden name was Harkirtan Kaur.She and her sister were brought up in a progressive environment in an unorthodox way, being taught horse-riding and other things which at that time were meant only for a male child.
She started acting at the age of 12 when she appeared in a film titled 'Cobbler '. She made her debut as a heroine in a film 'Badnaami' in 1946.
She married actor Shammi Kapoor in 1955. At that time she was an established actress whereas Shammi Kapoor was still struggling to find his moorings as an actor.She continued acting in films even after marriage, breaking away from the Kapoor family tradition.She worked in many popular & hit movies like Suhaag Raat(1948) Baaware Nain , Anand Math, Baazi, Baaz, Albela, Jhamela, Jaal,Vachan,Aji Bas Shukriya and Mr.India(1961).Her last movie was
 Jabse Tumko Dekha Hai (1963).She contracted smallpox while shooting for
a Punjabi film Rano based on Rajinder Singh Bedi's classic novel Ek Chaadar Maili Si and died within fifteen days of illness.A shocked Rajinder Singh Bedi is said to have burnt a copy of the novel on the Geeta Bali's pyre.She did not complete 35 years of life on this planet.
Our humble tributes to the great talented actress !

Friday, January 20, 2017

Qurratulain Hyder

Today is the birth anniversary of Qurratulain Hyder aka Ainee Aapa, an eminent Urdu writer of the twentieth century.Born this day in 1927 to the writer couple - Sajjad Hyder & Noor Zahra at Aligarh , UP, she moved with her family to Pakistan at the time of Partition and after staying in England for some years returned to India in 1960 and remained here till her death.A well known novelist and short story writer, she is best known for her magnum opus 'Aag Ka Dariya' which tries to trace the history of India and Pakistan from 4th Century BC to post partition.In all she wrote about 12 novels and 4 collections of short stories.She had also been the Editor of the magazine 'Imprint' and was on the editorial board of 'The Illustrated
of India ' for many years.She also held teaching assignments abroad.
She was a recipient of Gyanpeeth Award, Sahitya Academy Award, Soviet Land Award and Padma Bhushan.
Our humble tributes to the great writer !

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Leela Mishra

 Today is the death anniversary of Leela Mishra, a Bollywood actress of bygone era.In a career spanning five decades, she appeared in about 200 films playing mainly character roles. She is also known as the quintessential Mausi or aunt of Hindi Cinema.
Our humble tributes !, a Bollywood actress of bygone era.In a career spanning five decades, she appeared in about 200 films playing mainly character roles. She is also known as the quintessential Mausi or aunt of Hindi Cinema.
Our humble tributes !

Javed Akhtar

Today is the birthday of Javed Akhtar, the renowned poet, lyricist and screenwriter and Honey Irani , his separated first wife and an actress & screenwriter in her own right.They are the parents of Farhan Akhtar of 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' fame & the actress Zoya Akhtar.
Our best wishes !

Suchitra Sen

Today is the death anniversary of Suchitra Sen, the popular actress of Bangla and Hindi films.In Bangla films she teamed well with Uttam Kumar and together they gave many hits.She is known for her stellar performance in films Devdas,Bombay ka Babu, Aandhi and Mamta.She was the first Indian actress to be honoured and awarded at an International Film Festival , when she received acclaim and adulation at Moscow in 1963 for her outstanding performance in film Saptapadi.
A recipient of Padma Shri in 1972, she was awarded Banga Bibhushan, a state award of West Bengal Government.
Our humble tributes to the great actress !

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sharing is Loving

Friends, me and my wife are taking care to have our mobile batteries charged by turns . Reminds me of an old couple eating by turns and not together as they had only one denture to share.
Power failure teaches much.

शरत् चन्द्र चट्टोपाध्याय

बांग्ला साहित्य शिरोमणि, महान उपन्यासकार शरत् चन्द्र चट्टोपाध्याय की आज पुण्यतिथि है।
'देवदास' एवं ' परिणीता ' जैसे कालजयी उपन्यासों की रचना से समाज में व्याप्त अन्यायपूर्ण मान्यताओं को ध्वस्त करने वाले महान साहित्यकार को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !


Today is the birth anniversary of Omkar Prasad Nayyar- O.P.Nayyar for short, who was a popular music composer for Bollywood movies.His preference for Asha Bhosle over Lata Mangeshkar to sing his compositions is well known. He made Asha sing wonderful melodies .
Our humble tributes to the great music director and composer !

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A week after Snowfall

बर्फबारी के एक सप्ताह बाद, कुदरत की चित्रकारी !


Saturday morning on 7th January. It snowed much more after this during the day but I was left with no battery charge to capture snowfall anymore due to power break.

Friday, January 13, 2017


Not for nothing is Electricity called 'Power'.I could realize this even more recently when we at Shimla had to go without electricity continuously for six days due to heavy snowfall.Life without electricity and the heavy snowfall are nothing new to us Shimlaites.
I was taken back to pre 1965 days when we had no electricity in our village and had to make do with kerosene lamps, the lantern called ' Lal tain' which was a portable device protected with a glass covering.On special occasions Petromax was used to get brighter light.lf one had to travel short distances at night, 'Joghti' of slim biyul wood with burning flame at one end would show the way.But we were happy with this way of life during those days as no better fate was in sight.I remember the winter months I.e. January and February of 1962, when we spent the entire vacation in village as our grandfather desired so. The reason was the Ashtgrahi or the coming together of eight planets together which portended destruction and disaster.He wished we all shall live or die together.Mercifully nothing of the sort happened and it was fun and enjoyment.
I am also reminded of my tenure at Pooh in the tribal District of Kinnaur in the '80s when we experienced 7 feet of snow in 1987-88 winter.It was not days but months without electricity, kerosene being the mainstay for cooking and for heating water purposes.However the saving grace was also the availability of fuelwood and steam coal which was burnt in bukharis to keep warm.We were resigned to our fate and never grumbled.
Also comes to mind is the heavy snowfall in Shimla in last days of December 1990, when I was forced to overstay beyond leave.
There are also instances when when I had to return from Dhalli as my vehicle started turning on piled up snow.
Bur the recent power break due to heavy snow proved the most trying and distressing of all. No battery charge left in mobile, landline phones not working , being unable to talk to kids living thousands of miles away.Forced dependence on LPG even for heating water for various purposes also seemed very exacting.In short life falling out of gear.
Mercifully, the power was restored yesterday night.
So much for life in a hill town !

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

Today is the birth anniversary of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi or simply Pataudi, a former Indian Cricketer. He was youngest Captain of the Indian Cricket team at 21. A suave soft-spoken gentleman both on and off the field, he is remembered as the best. Captain.A right-handed Batsman and bowler, he played 46 Test matches and 310 First Class matches with an average of 34.91 and 33.67.His highest score in Test Cricket was an unbeaten 203.
Despite visual handicap, he was one of the best fielders as well.
Our humble tributes !

Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi

What a coincidence ! While today is the birth anniversary of M.A.K. Pataudi, today is also the death anniversary of his father, Iftikhar Ali Khan , the Senior Pataudi who also played cricket and captained the Indian Cricket team in 1946. Earlier he had also played Test Cricket for the English team. He was the only Indian cricketer to play both for India and England.He had also been on the cricket team of Worcestershire and Oxford University.
Our humble tributes !

Paramhansa Yogananda

Today is the birth anniversary of Paramhansa Yogananda . Born Mukund Lal Ghosh this day at Gorakhpur in 1893, he is known worldwide as the teacher and preacher of self realisation.He was also a founder of Yogoda Satsang Society with followers and branches spread in India and abroad. His book, 'The Autobiography
of A Yogi ' makes an interesting reading about his life and spiritual journey and charms with the sheer beauty of language and expression.He was a disciple of Sri Yukteshwar Giri, who in turn was a disciple of Lahiri Mahashay.
Our humble tributes to the sage !