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The Roadside Chai

The cool October breeze blew across my face as I sat in a roadside tea shop with my eyes
closed and hands clutching on to a hot glass of tea. Precariously perched on the hill side road edge of Bhowali-Bhimtal-Haldwani Marg, this tin-roofed chai ki dukan came across as a delight to me and my senior colleague. We were strolling around aimlessly in the early hours of morning. Neither of us are dedicated devotees of fitness special “morning walks” but waking up prematurely in such a famous hill station (Bhimtal) compelled us to embrace pristine natural beauty during best time of the day. Moreover, it was only 6:45am and the hotel room service would not take orders before 8am. Needless to mention, the thrill of exploring new places is perennially overwhelming. We had lodged the evening before in Maple Hermitage – a hotel 600 meters downhill the tea stall. The chaiwala had generously offered us a pair of light weight plastic chairs to be seated off the road, in the gravel laden pathway overlooking the picturesque landscape.

I surely captured darkness with my closed eyes but the sense of being cradled in a peaceful abode was magnanimous. My eye lids opened to the sound of a motorbike descending the hilly road behind us. “Ma’am, isn’t having a cup of tea here far better than having one in those crowded urban restaurants?” I asked my colleague. “I simply want to enjoy this experience with as much silence as possible. In the last 40 years of my life, I have never stumbled over such a marvelous cup of tea. I cannot comprehend whether the tea is exceptionally good or having it in a completely different setting is making me appreciate it more”, she replied and simultaneously sipped at her hot tea. We asked for some crunchy biscuits to munch on by dipping in the tea. The tea sips got even more delectable.

The lovely panorama of hills mesmerized us enough to be deeply lost in the sprawling
serenity. A National Excursion with our college students had brought us to the state of
Uttarakhand. Bhimtal was just one of the many places in our travel itinerary along with
Nainital, Dehradun, Jim Corbett National Park, Lansdowne and Landour. So, surely our routine was hectically packed with long road trips, sightseeing and visits. Nonetheless, managing enthusiastically spirited thirty odd young adults in an adventurous trip is a Herculean task in itself. We invariably hunted for opportunities to escape the work station companions and buy some relax time for us.

I silently tried to gorge the breathtaking tranquility of the lake view valley in between my tea sips. The lucid floating clouds alongside made me wonder how better the heavens could have been. “Bhai sahaab, aap ka ghar yahan se kitna durr hai?” ma’am asked to the chaiwala who had a short and stout figure of a middle aged man. It is then that I paid some careful attention to his chai ki dukan. There was hardly any room for more than one person. The thin asbestos shelves and wall hangers had utensils and grocery items on them. He had put up neat glass jars to display his stock of locally made biscuits and breadsticks. A pile of eggs, Maggie packets and bread loaves said us that there was more than just tea available here. “Memsahab, woh raha hamara ghar”, he replied in a distinct North-Indian accent of Hindi, pointing to a thatched shelter of mud, tiles, tin and wood in the steeply dented hill-side rocks right below where we were sitting. He said it was just a climb of few steps for him. But I could already feel a backache springing from such sharp uphill ascent on a daily basis over the jagged and unstable boulders.

As we got up to leave, we thanked him for his awesome tea and asked how much was the
bill. It was 16 INR. I reached out for a fifty rupees note in my wallet and handed it out to him. He requested for rendering the exact change but all I had was a few one hundred and five hundred rupee notes. I munificently mentioned with a grand smile that he could keep the entire amount. He went on to tell that we could retire without paying and send him his payment of exact change anytime later in the day through the hotel gardener who was his friend. By this time, ma’am was already digging her purse for the required amount of money. She found a twenty rupee note and stretched out to pay. With a hesitant expression on his face, he pocketed it reluctantly.

We realized that we had indeed paid a really cheap bill after ages for the most priceless
experience of having tea which was incomparable to the “classy tea” served in “imported
porcelain cutlery” at the artificially air conditioned “continental star hotels”. Before we
departed for our next destination in the travel list, the room service brought us four rupees in our meal serving tray and said that it was from the chaiwala. Ma’am kept the four rupees smiling graciously at the chaiwala’s adamancy and I kept the indelible memory.

By: Titiksha Das, Faculty of Economics, SICC
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Mother Nature

Oh! How wondrous are you?

Oh! How surreal and beauteous are you?

What a sense of tranquillity you instil in me

Nature, is that you who sets my heart free?

Every time I look at you,

I thank god for having created you

Your absence is something that can’t be imagined

Trust me; by your existence everybody is gladdened

When the sun rises from the dead of the night

It makes the day even more glazing and bright

With the advent of clouds, floating like balls of cotton, in the beautiful blue sky

How I wish I was a bird, so that I could fly!

The view of the flowers blooming

The sound of the birds chirping

The sigh of the winds blowing, nature, how could it all be so soothing and mesmerizing?

There is so much calmness even in the night

Isn’t it because of the twinkling stars and the moonlight?

With your arms wide open, you nurture your kids and save them from danger

Now I know why they call you, The Mother Nature.

 

By: By Mohita Mohapatra, B.Com Final Year

The Buchim Legacy

“He doesn’t have what it takes to be a winner”; a man shouted when the fighter in a hoodie was making his way to the ring. “He is too young to create history”, shouted another. As the fighter strode, his thoughts wandered whether their family legacy will be buried now or later. He had a fight ahead.

The Buchims legacy in boxing started when Dave’s grandfather, John Buchim maintained an undefeated streak of 25-0, carried forward by his son, Shane Buchim to 50-0. They were believed to be the most dominant fighters in the mixed martial art combat sport because they had it in their bloodline. One ideal defined them, “Win like the best or die like the rest”.  The strength or force of the opponents did not scare them but losing faith and confidence in oneself was the end. Shane had told Dave every time “We fight to compete against ourselves and against the demon inside us. We fight with every inch of bone and pinch of blood in our body”. With every drop of blood, sweat and tear, the Buchims aimed to be the face of the combat sport. They weren’t the modest people, they were the bold ones. But even with this rage and stance of a brilliant fighter, they knew being good human beings was more important than anything else.

 “Dave, Shane will live in our hearts forever” another in the crowd shouted. He was too young to handle his father’s demise. Tears welled up in his eyes and his broad sinewy chest ached from the pain in his heart. With blood gushing through his young veins, he was certain that he will make his ancestors proud but he didn’t know how.

It was 1994, and no legal action was taken against Clarence Carter III for knuckling Shane Buchim to death after a defeating match. That final strike echoed in the streets of Dexica. The Carters’ only knew how to break two things – either bones or rules. Clarence Carter III yelled after killing Shane Buchim “I’ve been nominated to wipe this legacy”.

The Carters were involved in drug-trafficking, women trafficking and smuggling. Sam Carter, brother of Clarence, was running for the mayor. As they knew they were unpopular in people’s hearts, they chose to instil fear in their minds through a lethal fight against the Buchims.

As Dave walked to the ring, he saw his father’s murderer Clarence Carter III, from the opened ring door. He unzipped himself revealing the scars of his training all over his chest, back and shoulders. For a moment, he stopped at the entrance, looked at the audience who wanted the good to win and who hold the legacy of Buchims in high regard. He whispered to himself before entering the ring “Father, this day, the good has to win over the bad, the light over the darkness and the reality over the shadow. Father, I pray you to bestow upon me everything I need to win this, to win every day, to win wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. Father, please be with me”. The lock clicked. The Carters cannot escape their fate and the Buchims cannot escape their fears.

Their eyes locked. Dave didn’t offer his hand for a customary handshake.  Carter murmured, loud enough for Dave to hear, “I’m going to kill you too and bury the Buchims alive”. To this, Dave smirked because he knew he would win it. The bell clanged and time freezed. Thrilling air of anticipation settled over the crowd. The crowd roared “Buchims! Buchims!” and Dave heard his grandfather “Hold your head high son; this is the hype Buchims lived in, are living  and will live forever”.

Dave heard his fathers’ voice say “Today, you’re going to put in everything I taught you since your childhood. Today you’re going to encounter the demons I had trained you for”. Dave moved to the centre and could feel the weight on his shoulders because it was no longer just a fight but a war of legacies. Suddenly, the crowd cheered, “Shane! Shane! Shane!” and Dave got confused whether the voice of his father had made a physical transformation.

Dave heard his father’s voice again; “I’ve won these people’s hearts. Today, you’re going to win them too. So get ready with your fists on”. Carter could see Buchim positioning his fists and moving in. With just two seconds gone of the first round, Dave heard again “Do you remember the times when you had to withold your views for being black skinned? Do you remember, how people discriminated, misbehaved and tormented us for belonging to our own race?” These words sent Dave in a memory flashback when his father struggled, fought and cried for a peaceful living. People back then hardly knew about the Buchims.

 Carters’ blood spilled as Dave delivered an unexpected forceful punch in a split second. Taken aback, Carter initiated a move to grapple. As he was about to grab Buchim, Dave heard again “I want you to be different, not like the ones who sit and do nothing. I want you to be brave like a person of actions and value. Dodge with every part of your body and show them that you have no limits”. Buchim dodged and Carter missed him. Carter turned back at the earliest and was about to hold Buchim from the back for a rear-naked-choke but Dave already had floored his palms on the support of right knee. Dave could now give mind replies to his father, “You are my hero and I am not letting you go down neither the legacy”. Buchim clobbered Carter’s face with his elbow.

It is then that he sensed his worst nightmares walking towards him – the people he had killed, the women he had harrassed. He could feel the scorching heat of fire with which he burned down places and humans alive. And then he saw Shane standing right where Dave was standing a second ago. Dave was delivering an elbow shot and Carter could feel the punch of Shane. Another blow hit Carters’ face and his nose broke. But Carter still could not comprehend who it was – Shane Buchim or Dave Buchim. Carter wondered if it was Dave, then how a man half his age could do this.

With just seven seconds gone, the referee had to stop the match. It was TKO. For Carter, the genesis was the end itself. Buchim was on his foot to listen to the chants “Dave! Dave!” but he heard “Shane! Shane!”. The people made him unforgettable because he fought for his dreams, his legacy, his passion, his bloodline and his father. This proved that the Buchims were indomitable. None expected Dave to TKO a lethal opponent double his age, the one who killed his father within 7 seconds.

“And the winner of the match by TKO within 7 seconds of the first bout, holding the streak undefeated at 51-0, Dave Buchim”

By: Kotni Hruday Kumar, B.Com 2nd Semester

A Sunday

It was 25th March 2018, a Sunday. I woke up at 7am and sat up to hear some vedic chanting going on in a nearby puja mandap. According to the Hindu calendar, it was the day for an important annual festival – Ram Navami. Hundreds of well to do devotees dressed in fine clothes throng the temple to pay their obeisance to Lord Ram by offering flower garlands, bhog and prayers. On festive occasions like these, I always imagine whether the gods will ever bless the poor and economically down trodden people who make their hand-to-mouth living in slums and cannot even afford to hire an auto for visiting the temple. Will the Gods bless only those who can meet the expense of visiting the temple and making rich offerings? Anyway, as I was brushing my teeth, I put aside these thoughts to mentally set myself for the scheduled plan of today. It was not going to be a normal Sunday dedicated to the recently released movie or hang-out with friends or luncheon at newly opened trendy restaurant.

Today, I was going to an NGO named Bakul Foundation with my SICC friends – Barshana, Aditi, Kotni and Chandan. 25th March is celebrated by Bakul Foundation as “Bakul’s Day of Service”. This NGO is dedicated to the lesser privileged children who hail from economically weaker sections of the society and cannot afford sophisticated quality education in good schools. The idea behind this was to volunteer at their event and spend the day with the children for a different experience. As it was located in the slum area of Niladri Vihar, Bhubaneswar, it was quite expected the place to be not fully furnished and constructed.

Some volunteers of Bakul present there, welcomed us. All the volunteers (including us) had the same objective in mind – to make a mark of happiness in the life of these children for one day. They told us about the program which we came for and meanwhile the children started gathering. As an ice-breaker, we asked each one of them their names and with an excited squeal they all responded to us. We even introduced ourselves to them, and I was almost happily smiling when I could see the confusion in their faces upon not being able to pronounce my name.

It was great fun to see how the kids were laughing during story-telling, imitating noises of the animal characters of the story and listening with rapt attention. The next part (my favorite) was to assist the children in making colorful collage work and paper craft.

It was fun watching them cut down colorful papers (desperately trying to make it precise) and pasting it to the drawing sheets provided to them. Their faces were shining with enthusiasm; their hands filled with glue and didn’t want to stop. They were excited on finishing one part of pasting the collage and showing their achievements to each other and even to us. They were very obedient and when they were told to write their names, it was amazing to see that most of them could write in Odia and English.

We wound up for the day by playing games with them. The room was bubbling with a different kind of energy, cheerfulness and the smile in the faces of the children was priceless. We gave them refreshment boxes and clicked group selfies and photographs. It was not only the expressions of the children, but also our faces which was radiating with positive energy and smiles. We went there as volunteers to teach them something which was productive and creative and brighten their day, but instead we came back learning a lot about the traits of life. Definitely each one of us can say that this day was one of the most memorable days of our life. It was a beautiful day to cherish and something which we will look forward to again and again in the near future.

As I retired for the day, I found the answer to the question that came to my mind in the beginning of the day. God blesses the less privileged with carefree happiness and which they spread to us.

By: Lithi Lagna,
B.Com, 2nd Semester

A Special Session

In an endeavor to expand the knowledge horizon of students beyond the syllabus, a special class was arranged on “Gulf War and Oil Crisis”.

Visuals elaborating the movement of Oil prices and its role in the economy were shown in the session. The students listened enthusiastically about how the Cold War of Middle East, Invasion of Kuwait and  Gulf War has created a created a crisis in the world market for Oil.

SICCians at Bakul’s Day of Service

SICC students took an innovative initiative to spend their time on Sunday, 25th March, 2018, at Bakul’s Foundation, Niladri Vihar, Bhubaneswar. They volunteered at the Bakul’s Day of Service to interact with the underprivileged children hailing from economically weaker background. They were overwhelmed by the happiness they found in storytelling, playing games and collage-making with these children. One of the students said, “The immense satisfaction that I found radiating in their squealing giggles and smiles, is inexpensive and unparalleled”.

Food Culture at Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar has undergone an immense evolution in the past five years to secure World Rank-19 in the list of sophisticated “Global Smart Cities”. The transformation has not come easily as it is a place portraying the rich ancient cultural heritage of Odisha, popularly known as “The Temple City”. Staying true to its tag of being “one of the thoroughly planned developing cities in India”, Bhubaneswar has been skyrocketing into the nation’s metropolitan league. Entrepreneurship, sports, tourism are some of the fields where the city has been bolstering itself as prime destination. Over time, institutes of national repute like IIT-BBSR, Institute of Physics, NISER-BBSR; top notch IT firms like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Mindfire Solutions, Mindtree, Capgemini has come up in the capital of the state. This has lead to brewing up of migrated urban population from different parts of the country.

Needless to say, this has lead to creation of vast opportunities for shops, eateries and food start-ups to prosper in the city. The food culture especially has developed into a competitive scene where eateries need to be innovative, diverse and pocket-friendly in order to thrive. KIIT square and Infocity Square are hot favourites for foodies as famous eateries, food trucks, fast food joints, momo kiosks, paani-puri stalls, noodles and omelette vendors throng the place. The crowd is perceptibly drawn by the overwhelming aroma of the place. Even though Bhubaneswar has several famous eateries scattered all around the city, it won’t be wrong to point out that KIIT area hosts the central beehive of quality eateries acting as the focal point of propagation of new food cultures.

One can get spoiled for choices of food palate as the variety of options available is luxurious. The enticing look of Shawarmas, wraps, sandwiches, momos, litti chokha, pakodas, paani-puris, omelletes, and noodles can activate ones hunger pangs even without the cooperation of digestive system. There is brilliant offering of regional cuisines like Punjabi, Gujrati, South-Indian and Marwari dishes too.

Bhubaneswar is known for its sea-food delicacies that frequently fail to make into the menus of these prime eateries. Simple staple breakfast dishes like chuda/poha, upma are not popular among these young masses. Succumbing to the flashy eateries, the small shops that serve the above are forced to shift or even shut down in most places. With development, there’s always some collateral damage; and in this case it has to be the traditional food culture of Bhubaneswar. Even though the traditional food culture is still prominent in the city, one can’t argue with the fact that it will fail to make place in the hearts of the millennials if it’s not moulded according to the fashionable and trendy culture.

Even with these challenges the city harbours restaurants, hotels, shacks, stalls and even food trucks with contrasting styles that still keeps attracting lot of people from various cultures to the capital craving for more and thereby steadily transforming it into food capital of the state.

Sulagna Pattnaik – B.Com, 2nd Semester