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Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 12:15 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 06:39 [IST]

Karuna Avatar

Window Seat

Mrinal Chatterjee

In quick succession I chanced upon two messages in two different whatsapp group with uncanny similarity in content; both attempting to see the spread of Corona pandemic in a positive light.

The first message which I received in a Bramhakumari group even termed it Karuna Avatar (Karuna means compassion). It tries to reason that the spread of Corona virus is actually doing the human society a world of  good. It is purging us from several bad habits and dissuading us from following a self-destructive lifestyle. It is trying us to dissuade us from eating non-vegetarian food (though the WHO says there is no connection). It is forcing us to stay indoors and spend time with our family.

The second message, ostensibly written by a Chinese Pastor to his brother in the outside world says: The hustle and bustle of China finally quieted down, the restless society finally calmed down, and the restless Chinese people gradually calmed down. The Wild Animals that were once held by humans in cages finally managed to Keep Humans in "Cages". Humans finally lowered their proud head and begun to think quietly: Are we still the king of the earth? Mankind finally felt the power of Nature once again. In the face of the threat of death, human beings have only begun to reflect seriously, only to realize that a lack of awe-inspiring social atmosphere will lead to more harm and more risks.

There are fewer and fewer people on the street, few cars on the road, 

The air is getting fresher, the haze is gone, the sky is getting bluer, the sun is getting brighter, family lives are getting warmer.         People who haven’t read for years have picked up books at home. Parents and children who had no communication with their children, couples who couldn’t speak few words a year have opened up the conversation.

The virus reminded us that there is an almighty and we are just humans.

We can argue, but this is also a point of view and very logical one.

The Silent Selfless Workers

As the world is reeling under the onslaught of COVID19, there are people who are fighting back to keep us alive and safe. There are doctors and medical personnel, who are risking their lives to keep us fit. There are people supplying us essential items for living. There are people but for whom the normal life would have stopped functioning.

We are grateful to them.

Here is one commendable work of a team of teachers. The teachers of Department of Chemistry, B. Borooah College, Ulubari, Guwahati have come up with indigenous bottles of hand-sanitizers, informs Priyanka Rajkhoah who teaches mass communication in Cotton University.

Annada Shankar Ray

Many of you, who know Bengali may remember a poem titled Teler Sisi (Bottle of Oil), the first line of which goes like: Teler sisi bhanglo bole Khukur pare raag karo, tomra je saab budo khoka bharat bhenge bhag karo. (The girl breaks a bottle of oil and you get angry. But you old people, you break the country and divide it.) This poem is a sharp critique on partition.

The poet was Annada Shankar Ray. He was born in Dhenkanal, Odisha on 15 March 1904. He wrote his first poem in Odia. In fact as he grew up he became one of the finest poets in Odia and along with his poet friends created a distinctive phase in Odia literature.

Ray graduated in English from Ravenshaw College in Cuttack. He topped the list of Indian Civil Service examinees in 1927.  He was the first ICS officer from the territory later forming the state of Orissa- now spelt Odisha. After serving in various administrative posts, he sought voluntary retirement in 1951 to devote himself to literary pursuits.

Ray was a Gandhian in politics and Rabindranath Tagore inspired his literature. His first published book was Tarunya (1928), which gave him a footing as an essayist. His first two novels were Asamapika and Agun Niye Khela. As an essayist, he was urbane and sophisticated and combined in his craft two different styles of prose, represented by Tagore and Pramatha Choudhury.

Ray is one of the few poets to have the distinction of getting high acclaim from two different language speaking states of India.

Tailpiece: Banking gyan

A drunk naked woman boards a cab in America.

Driver of the cab, a Gujju, keeps staring at her and does not start the cab.

Woman: Haven’t you ever seen a naked woman before?

Gujju: Cool down, maam. I am not staring at you. I am just wondering as to where you have kept the money to pay me?

Moral: This is what most of the Indian Banks failed to do......

Assessing the repayment capacity before enjoying the exposure


Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He writes fiction. Hindi translation of his novel Shakti, originally written in Odia has just been released.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi