Young Author Award Winning Odia Poetry Collection

The poetry collection, 'Achinha Jahna' by Sumit Panda was selected along with other five, to be published by PEN IN books, and the authors were felicitated with Young Author Award at Bhubaneshwar Poetry Festival 2017. As a debut author, Sumit's works stood out in its simplicity. The easy language, common man's tongue and honestly in the portrayal of emotions made it a favorite among the readers.

I had the opportunity to listen to him performing his verses in between hectic work hours to lighten the atmosphere and during the evening snack time at the food court. We colleagues would enjoy the poetry sessions a lot, lauding his choice of words and the vast canvas of emotions captured in just a pocketful of Odia words. He had the talent to mesmerize the audience, compelling them to repeat the stanzas again in their minds to recreate the magic. I remember busying myself in translating them to the best of my ability for those who couldn't understand Odia well. Such an important task! :D :)

The best part would be the analogies and the visuals of a story offered through the words. I cannot really choose a favorite from the collection. I would recommend this book to anyone young at heart.

Earlier, as I have already mentioned in my previous post, I wasn't really interested in Odia literature. But being around such people who were so passionate for their mother tongue and dream to make it big here, made me take works in Odia seriously. I picked this book, out of sheer curiosity, and ended up enjoying it a lot. I completed reading it in just one sitting, a rather huge feat for me, but then it is a compilation of short poems. And none would bore you ever. So if you can read Odia, I would urge you to try this book. You won't be disappointed.

An actor, a poet, a Gulzar fan, a stand-up comedy artist, besides being an IT professional, Sumit is a multi-passionate individual with a dream to keep creating better videos and written content in Odia. Well, his Facebook profile introduction sums it up:
"ये केचियाँ हमें उड़ने से खाक रोकेंगी ,
की हम परों से नहीं हौसलों से उड़ते हैं"

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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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