As per Ramayana, thousands of years ago, Prince Rama of Ayodhya, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman trekked from Chitrakoot region to the massive Dandakaranya forest in during their exile into the wilderness.
The trio spent 13 years or so in this beautiful yet fear-evoking forest, which was known to be infested by rakshasas at that time. This legendary region now comes under Bastar district of Chhattisgarh state.
Dandakaranya–as it is known today,
spanning 92000 sq km of a breathtaking plateau from the Abujhmar Hills and the Eastern Ghats spanning across Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh, has been a mute witness to many scenes from the Hindu scriptures especially the Ramayana. People claim that a footprint of Lord Rama is present deep in the jungles which is unapproachable now.
Chattisgarh also boasts of an ancient Ram and Lakshman temple in the heritage city of Sirpur, thereby proving there has always been a strong connection of this land with Lord Rama.
Ramayana has always played a very major role in the lives of the tribals here. While most of the names of the males bear the name ‘Ram’ as a suffix, even Ravana is worshipped with equal fervour, as he was one of the greatest Shiv bhakts ever known.
Unfortunately a land that was once home to Rama, Lakshmana and Sita is now ravaged with violence.
May peace be upon all….. Happy Ramanavami.
(Pc: Google)


Somewhere along Raipur -Jagdalpur highway on your right, a little short of Nagarnar you will see this.
You cannot miss it. It is a modernized version of the ‘ uruskal’ or a memorial pillar, a totem pole erected in memory of the dead.
Usually erected at crossroads, in the olden era, passers by offered tobacco to this out of respect for the deceased. The eldest member of the generation would have an uruskal in his memory. These poles usually have carvings of elements of nature and things close to the deceased on them. Modern times have seen paintings on stones replacing the wooden totems. Like in this picture which is a relatively recent one, it is a painting with tribal figures and even the name scrawled in English. You can also see a truck , probably indicating that the person was a driver by profession. The tribal figures are in the Muria finery and headgears made of bison horn. A beautiful blend of the bygone and the present. Well, times change… sometimes walking hand in hand with the past.
(Image is protected by copyright. )


The Chakravyūha or Padmavyūha was a very special military formation (vyuha), and knowledge of how to penetrate it was limited to only a handful of warriors, Abhimanyu, Arjuna, Krishna and Pradyumna being a few. In the Mahabharata it is mentioned that Abhimanyu learnt about the Chakravyūha while in his mother’s womb but he was not able to hear how to escape the formation. After Abhimanyu had penetrated the sixth tier of the formation, all the Kauravas’ commanders attacked him simultaneously and gradually exhausted and killed him.
So this was basically a labyrinth he couldn’t escape from. Something like the maze of thoughts we are often trapped in. We keep fighting our way in and once at the crux we know not how to exit. Out thoughts are endless …they keep surfacing , we fight them, they reappear in another form. Much like the rotational movement of the soldiers in this vyuham. Okay, is there even an escape?
Yes. Funny as it may sound…. I’d say just don’t go there. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into thr lure of fighting this vyuha. Overthinking, anxiety causes a maze of thoughts that you may not be able to breach at all. Coming from me, it may all sound strange…I am one such warrior who knows the way in but never out. I am learning.. Learning to not venture into such whirlpools where I maybe unable to swim. No, it’s not cowardice, but wisdom. The reasoning to keep my thoughts strictly in control and go to only places where I am able to maneuver them to safety.
Have you seen the folds in our brain? Yes, it is a vyuha by itself….. channelise your thoughts…..for once you are trapped in the eye of the chakravyuha..it offers no escape.


How I first began writing?
As a child I was always surrounded by avid readers….my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins. I remember them sharing books too and I actually grew up reading as it came so naturally to me. I am glad it happened that way.
When I was 11, a few friends and me started ‘publishing’ a magazine. It was totally handwritten and made from unused papers of our notebooks sewn together. We named it ‘ The cub’.It was a proper weekly with puzzles, stories , fun facts and a quiz even. We spent our evenings designing and handwriting these. A few copies were made and circulated in the entire class. This was my first experience at writing and making of a book.
When I was 12 , my short story, a comic thriller was published in a magazine and this was a morale booster.
During my high school I began writing letters to my grandpa who was visiting his mother and thus began my descriptive writing.
My grandpa always insisted that I maintain a diary. He said it helps one reflect and plan. besides once i was older i would enjoy reading it all. I have followed this diligently and now it makes me smile.
During University I remember writing ‘ love letters’ for people who just couldn’t express feelings. I was a much sought after letter writer…so much that when it was much needed I couldn’t write one for myself. When I began working, I started meeting a lot of people , from different backgrounds and each was living his or her own story… feeding me with ideas to keep my pen moving on paper.
Some day I will scrawl my own story. Foolish bravado? Cannot say. But yes… some day.


Do you people hand write your stories?
I maybe a total misfit in these times of technology for I cannot bring myself to ‘type’ out on gadgets. There is a beautiful connect with paper and pen….a pencil actually to be more specific.
My work is handwritten, typed out , printed and then read and re-read.
A recent book publishing that I was involved in had the same procedure many times over. So much, that I have bundles of ‘print outs’ with handwritten corrections of the drafts. Beginning from the first draft to the final one.
Writing on paper helps me write with a flow. There are no hiccups and it all happens very effortlessly.
To each his own.
Tell me how you people write?

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