Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Travel Diaries: Keerthana remembers her trip to Ahobilam

Keerthana Naikal

I visited Ahobilam during the recent Sankranthi vacation. It's a very good place to visit surrounded by mountains and is located in the forest area. 

        Ahobilam is the holy site in the Allagadda Mandal of Kurnool district in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located 70 km from Nandyal and 150 km from Kurnool. There are two temples houses, lower Ahobilam which is commonly known as Chinna Ahobilam and Upper Ahobilam which is commonly known as Pedda Ahobilam. Pedda Ahobilam is the main and very powerful temple. According to the Puranas, this is the temple where Lord Narasimha blessed Prahalada and killed Demon Hiranyakashipu. 

      This place is very popular among the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Lord Narasimha placed himself between the mountains. The mountain formations are the main highlight of this place. Previously, to visit the temple, we have to climb the mountains, But now, to visit  it, steps are constructed instead. There are around 100 steps which we need to climb to reach the temple. It was a very good experience for me in climbing those steps. This temple is surrounded by many monkeys also. The formations of the mountains are very beautiful and attract many tourists. Transportation facilities are excellent to visit the temple from Allagadda.

         The temples of Jwala narasimha swamy, Malola Narasimha swamy, Varaha Narasimha Swamy and six other Narasimha Swamy temples are located in the radius of 
10 km in the thick forest of main temple of upper Ahobilam which I visited after visiting the main temple. These nine temples are called NAVA NARASIMHA TEMPLES. 

I enjoyed a lot in the journey of Ahobilam. It was a very good experience for me. From Allagadda we hired a bus and reached lower Ahobilam. From there we walked around 10 km to reach upper Ahobilam while  enjoying all the beautiful scenery and taking snaps of them. After we reached the temple we climbed around 100 steps to enter the main temple, which was quite a task! Monkeys around the temple snatched our bags and gave them back after taking the food from it which was a tremendous incident. Overall, my trip to Ahobilam was joyful. 

               In my opinion, Ahobilam is a very beautiful place to visit. The temple inside is also very beautiful and the idol of  lord Narasimha Swamy is also very attractive to see. 

                 I feel everyone should try to visit this place and enjoy the nature and view of the temple. 

And I Began to Fly: How RBVRR changed Maliha

In this post, Syeda Maliha Taranum opens up about her experiences as a student of our college, and a member of the literary club.

My first day at R.B.V.R.R. Women's College was on 17th August, 2016. I wanted to pursue forensic sciences, but since there were no seats, I had no other option left and had to go for Food and Nutrition. I wasn't interested in this course and thus I was irregular to the college. As days passed by, I slowly started coming to college on regular basis. I found my subject interesting. I made many friends. Even the lecturers are very friendly and supportive here.
I was glad to learn Hindi and Telugu-the languages I was afraid of. I also liked the events that were held in the college. The freshers was just amazing and even the nutrition fest was very interesting.

Apart from all this,I felt like an independent and a mature girl. Since my junior college was quite strict, it made me self-centered. Though I had many friends, I felt suffocated due to so much restrictions. I had people of same mentality. But here, after joining this college, I met different people from different parts of India, came to know about their culture and by interacting with them I became more generous and it also changed my perception towards certain situations. The restrictions in my school and junior college brought self-discipline in me which helps in enjoying the freedom given by the college without crossing any limits. The freedom in this college had made me independent, self-reliant and mature.

This college also provide students with wonderful opportunities which help us in building our career. I really enjoyed the workshop for Performing Arts organised by the Quills Literary Club. Apart from learning the basics of art and theater, it has also changed me as person and my beliefs. The resource person for the workshop, Mr Rathna Shekhar Reddy addressed the audience with a very interesting speech on women empowerment which encouraged me to become a better woman.

So, yes, I'm happy to say that I'm a proud student of R.B.V.R.R. Women's College.

Scribbles on the Skies: Of Stories Waiting to be Told, Short Story by Juveria

Juveria Tabassum

The students of Klemine High decided to perform a play that was centered on a controversial subject. The play dealt with the issue of child labor, and was about a hard working, homely little girl, whose family was assaulted by her employer.
The story was considered inappropriate for the students of tenth grade to present. The teachers felt scandalized by the thought of a packed audience witnessing such outrageous behavior. However, Sam, the creator of the play, knew that some stories just needed to be told.
For her, and her bunch of friends, this tale mattered more than just a few outraged spectators. Quite a few days were spent by these determined tenth graders in convincing their teachers to come on board. Between all the arguments, pleas and compromises put forward, Sam hadn’t yet divulged the truth. That would need courage of a rare kind, and she had yet to discover that within herself.
The green signal was eventually won, and the students started their preparations. The casting of the little girl Nina was a tough job. In the end, it was quite a surprise when Laila was selected for the role. The boisterous, sometimes broody Laila was quite a contradiction to the subdued, sincere, mellow Nina. Their teacher Ms. Asha’s, however, pulled Laila aside, and convinced her to try and portray Nina’s character of an illiterate servant girl, on stage. Sam played Nina’s best friend Bani, who was the local politician, Mr. Bulend’s daughter.
It was the bond between these two characters that had appealed to Ms. Asha the most. She had been instrumental in convincing the rest of the staff to give the go ahead for Sam’s play.
Nina’s straightforward innocence complemented Bani’s outgoing nature. Although Nina and her family worked at Bani’s house, the two girls had always drawn towards each other. They saw each other’s life through their eyes, and couldn’t help but marvel at the pomp and the poverty coexisting together.
When they lay side by side by the verandah, and watched the clouds scribble stories on the sky, they talked, and they forgot about Bani’s big bedroom, which she said could fit Nina’s entire family’s little shack inside it, and still leave room for her big doll house. This always made Nina giggle because she pictured her shack next to Bani’s doll house, and her eyes always stuck at both of their chimney stacks- the same rusty gray color. “Ironic,” said Bani, and smiled when Nina asked her what that meant.
One day, they were called out from their verandah side storytelling by a scream from within the house. They rushed inside to find Nina’s mother Shaila sat on the floor, weeping, while Mr. Bulend stood over her, his hand raised. The ruckus had also brought Nina’s father, Balu, into the house. Despite the incredible scene, and the hysterical screams from the girls, his eyes just found his wife’s, and thousand words seemed to pour out from Shaila’s helpless ones into Balu’s dumbstruck brown ones. The only words that passed between them were Balu’s cry of, “Why didn’t you tell me?!” and Shaila’s silent tears that hit the floor as she looked down. Sarika, who played Shaila, and Manu, who played Balu, had to be specifically, explained what this scene was, and Ms. Asha took the responsibility of easing then into these difficult roles. She knew life wouldn’t be the same again for these kids, but she also knew that facing such realities was simply a part of the growing up that they all had to do.
After Balu had dragged Shaila and Nina into their small shack, and Mr. Bulend had shut himself in his room, Bani went back to her room, turned her face towards her window, and tried to let the clouds tell her their bedtime story. Eventually, she did drift away into a deep sleep. When she woke up, the sun was bright in her eyes, and there was not a cloud in sight. She left her house to find Nina, and, on the verandah, she saw Nina curled up, fast asleep. Out of all the scenes in the play, Sam seemed to find this one the hardest to act out. She somehow either forgot her dialogues, or missed a beat, or simply couldn’t say her words out loud enough. Laila on other hand seemed to have no trouble slipping into Nina’s shoes. Her acting skills surprised everyone, and although she looked like she was taking it with her usual devil-may-care attitude, Ms. Asha could see that this discovery pleased her immensely. Laila could make Nina curl up on that verandah in the most heartbreaking way possible. And when Bani’s voice wakes her up, Laila could make Nina sit up exactly like the frightened child that she was.
“Why are you sleeping here?” asked Bani.
“I couldn’t stand my dad’s words,” a tearful Nina replied.
Bani put a hand around her friend’s shoulder. “What happened yesterday? Dad wouldn’t tell me anything.”
Nina’s face twitched at the mention of Mr. Bulend. “I think my mom is going to have a baby.” Bani looked confused. “Isn’t that something to be happy about?”
“You know Bani,” said Nina, “the clouds don’t always tell us the truth. I thought a new baby was a good thing too, but my dad says it will be monster. Last night, I heard him tell my mom that she had ruined our family. She only kept mumbling that she couldn’t help it, and something like, ‘He forced me, I couldn’t do anything…’ I couldn’t understand why it was such a bad…”
A scream once again interrupted their conversation. This time, it came from Nina’s shack. The gardener’s tools were lying at the open door. The girls followed his footsteps inside, and were met with Balu and Shaila lying side by side. Around Shaila’s neck was Balu’s turban, and in Balu’s hand was a bottle of pesticide. The gardener carried the screaming girls back into the house, where they were locked inside a room.
The scene shifted to Mr. Bulend’s room. All the servants of the house were huddled in there, and despite the warm summer night, they were shivering. “The bodies of those ungrateful fools have been cremated,” said Mr. Bulend. “I forbid you from ever speaking about this incident again. I will not allow two worthless servants to blot my reputation.” Mitty, a burly boy who played Mr. Bulend, had quite a hard time getting his eyes look as cold as Ms. Asha said they must.
“If the police dares to interfere, I know how to deal with them. I don’t want any of you opening your mouths. Now, leave.”
The timid servants all started moving out.
“Oh, and fetch me their orphan,” barked Mr. Bulend
Bani never saw Nina again.

A few weeks later, Bani lay outside her verandah, looking up at the clouds. They no longer scribbled stories for her to read, and yet, she kept looking for them.
Her efforts finally paid off. The clouds seemed to be speaking to her again. But, this time, they only conveyed a single message-
Bani, it’s time to tell our story now.’

The applause in the auditorium sounded too loud for Sam’s ears. The actors were all lined up on stage, bowing. The battle still raged in her head.  Was she brave enough to do this? Her eyes drifted towards the cardboard cloud props they had used in the play, and for one heart stopping moment, she thought she saw the face of a little girl stamped on them.  She looked back at the crowd and spotter her father. He was the only one who hadn’t stood up to applaud. Instead, his face was alight with fury as he looked at his daughter. Sam looked at him and smiled.
She glanced at the Chief Guest for the event, the Commissioner of Police.
She stepped forward.
Nina seemed to smile at her. Yes. It was time to tell their story.

Rebella: The Brave Girl, A Story by M. Vaishnavi

In this post we bring you a story written by M.V. Vaishnavi, inspired by the recently concluded workshop on Performing Arts

Rebella: The Brave Girl

The children of a school made a play about child labor that involved the story of a little girl named Rebella. She is the only child to her widowed mother and also the only ray of hope for happiness ahead. Her mother wanted Rebella to get well educated and secure a job. As they were poor they could not afford the school fee. She herself decided to work as a child laborer, so that she could go to school in the morning and work in the evening hours and convinced her mother.
          This went on well for a year. They struggled with extreme poverty. At last, they moved to a city with the money they saved throughout the year, so that Rebella could go to a higher standard and her mother can work in a nearby factory. Everything was looking up.
          In the factory where Rebella's mother was working, there was a huge demand for child labour. So Rebella decided to work there in the weekends. Her employer was so greedy that he kidnapped the children and sold them as slaves. The same situation was been faced by Rebella. Her illiterate mother didn't know where to go in search of her. She doesn't even know whom to meet. So, she went to her employer for help. He was scared seeing her determination to find her daughter. He decided to kill the widowed mother. He pretended to help her in order to find out where she stayed. Then he sent his men to kill her, but she wasn’t at home.
All this while, Rebella was tortured mercilessly as she refused to listen to them. She was strongly determined to save herself and the other children who had been kidnapped. The same night her mother was moving around the factory in search of her. With the help of other children, she planned an escape from kidnappers. On the back of sheer grit, and street-smartness, they were able to escape.
             Finally they came out of the place where they were kept hidden. As soon they came out for help. On their way to police station, Rebella found her mother. They filed a case against the employer who was employing child labor and exploiting, kidnapping and trafficking these children. Rebella was awarded a prize for her great determination and she was also given cash price that would help her to get good education. Rebella grew up and secured a job as lawyer and worked against child labor. This mysterious incident changed her life drastically but it also leads to her finding her passion and purpose in life.

-M.V. Vaishnavi
  B.Sc 2nd yr

Friday, 6 January 2017

Faith that Doesn't Falter- Viola's Experiences with Faith and Religion

I would like to clear something out before we get to my story. Faith and religion are NOT the same, although we often use them interchangeably. Faith is what you have in you, something that is not seen on the outside and remains constant from person to person, but is the most important component of any belief system. Religion is the external rules and regulations that a belief system has, something that can be seen on the outside and is not same from person to person. Most of these traditions are man-made, and the belief system itself may not preach such tradition, or even tell that a rule or tradition is not to be practiced. Thus, faith and religion are two separate things, and if a person has one of them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should have the other. For example, a Christian need not necessarily wear a cross around their neck, and a person wearing a cross need not necessarily be a Christian.

Every person has some experience with any belief system - either good or bad. If one were to ask you, who suffers the most because of religious nuts, the first thing that comes to mind is atheists, and you’re not wrong. But, there is yet another group of people who go through tremendous mental torture because of religious fanatics - the ones who stand firm in the faith that the belief system proclaims, but not the external religious claptrap.

When I was fifteen, I was doing my intermediate first year at St. Francis College for Women, Secunderabad. The college conducted a three-day retreat in our campus, where they explained from the basics about what Christianity is, pointing to some key Scriptures as they elaborated. It was an eye-opener. That was the day I saw how amazingly beautiful my faith was, felt immensely proud it and committed my entire being to Christ for the rest of my life.

The reason why it was an eye-opener for me was because it was nothing like my relatives showed Christianity to be. They were just following external laws, rituals and traditions (the part called religion), but that did not have any effect on the internal i.e. the heart. They recited Scriptures, but did not ever try to understand what they meant. They prayed, but there was no faith that their prayers would be answered. They sang songs of praise and worship towards Him, but their hearts were far from Him. Their perception of Christianity was to be perfect on the outside, but the actual message was to bear “…the fruit of the Spirit [which] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians: 5:22,23)

It doesn’t matter what you eat, what clothes you wear, where you come from, what was your past or what you are now, all you have to do is BELIEVE that the Saviour, Jesus Christ took your sins and its consequences, died for them and rose from the dead. Then, you spend the rest of your life loving and forgiving people, BECAUSE He has loved and forgiven you. That, my friends, is the “faith” part of Christianity, and to be honest, it’s the ONLY part that matters. The external show of cross around the neck, sticking a picture of Jesus on your stuff, wearing white clothes, eating only certain foods, fasting compulsorily on some day(s) of the week, not wearing jeans and other such nonsense is of no use, or, even worse, it can lead to weaknesses in various areas of your life.

During my last vacation, I made it clear to my relatives that I was not going to be a part of their religious routines of waking up at 4 am, groggily pray for an hour, blindly read ten chapters from the Bible and spend some more time memorizing a chapter. I was going to sleep till I woke up fresh, then pray as long as I felt like praying, or skip it to the afternoon, read one chapter with utmost attention, making every effort to grasp the message in it and remember the concept of the Word. Well, that definitely got their religious brains crazy with indignation and rage.

My grandma saw me as someone who was desecrating her religion. Every time we ran into each other, she would say that I had sinned, and I have to fall on my knees, begging for forgiveness from God. She once got angry because I wore tight pants and a tee shirt. She said by wearing such clothes, I was dishonoring God. I once spoke out against my father because he was treating my mother with disrespect. She said that according to the Bible, my father is the head of the house, so he had the right to treat my mother however he wished. I stayed quiet for a while, but then I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked her, “By not following your rules, am I desecrating God or hurting you? Should I ask forgiveness from God or from you? By wearing tight pants and a tee shirt, am I dishonoring God or dishonoring you? Yes, ‘the husband is the head of the wife’ (Ephesians: 5:23), but also, ‘the husband is supposed to love his wife, just as Christ loved the church and died for her’ (Ephesians:5:25), not treat her like trash.”

That was it. We ended our relationship for good. I told my mom that if I was going to see her again, it would only be when she has changed. I was not going to do stuff that I don’t believe in, even if everybody else does it. If I believe in something, I am going to stand up for it and against the critics. I will not be a hypocrite. Jesus said to the religious fanatics of His day, “You people tithe (give one-tenth of) mint, rue and cumin (as a religious duty), but neglect the weightier matters: justice, mercy and faith.”

Yes, my relatives see me as a rebel, but I honestly don’t care. I 

believe in something beautiful, and I am not going to shy 

away from it, even if it gets negative attention.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Something Different: Dhanshree.K reviews the Book"Go Clown" by Shatrugna Vadwlas

If you're tired of the suspense, thriller and  supernatural genre of books, you must read Shatrugna Vadwlas's Go Clown (2016). This will surely be one of the most memorable books you will read.

The best part of this book is that it is written in a simple manner and is intelligible to everyone.

The name suggests that the book belongs to the comedy genre.

The story revolves around the life events of Kiriti who is the son of  a single mother. They are struggling for their daily livelihood. 

At first, I guessed the clown to be either Kiriti's best friend or some teacher. But, as I read the book, I found that he is the child inside Kiriti. 

Kiriti and the clown have completely different personalities. Kiriti is a silent one, who is not into people's personal affairs whereas "the Clown" always likes to to be involved in other people's lives, passing sarcastic remarks and making jokes. In a way, the clown is Kiriti's alter-ego. 

The book has overall twenty one chapters. Of all the 21 chapters, the 4th one is my favourite. The fourth chapter tells us about Kiriti's college life. This includes his friends, studies, exams and the way in which he faced ragging by his college-mates.

In the chapters 11&12, we read about Kiriti's NRI cousins who show their dislike towards Indians and India. These chapters were the one where Kiriti began to dream about living in the U.S.A.

In the 15th chapter, we see a letter written by Kiriti's alter-ego to Kiriti, which was beautifully crafted.

We also find many interesting quotes in the book and some inspirational conversations.  

In the latter parts, we see Kiriti joining politics to change the society for better and also his adventures in climbing the Mt. Everest and many more.

I don't wish to give any more spoilers, but I can definitely say that this is the kind of book which everyone will love.