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Views from the Balcony

An overview of Life around us

France, Natural and Eternal: A Photographer’s Journey
Posted:Aug 22, 2019 2:50 am
Last Updated:Aug 25, 2019 1:03 pm
In last March, Shibly Shiraj went France accompanied by his lovely wife for a week-long tour. Soon after arriving there, he rented a car and in no time drove on the highways and the country roads of France. The journey took the France’s north coast the south and from the sea the mountains.

Shibly Shiraj took up photography as a hobby when he was 40 years old. The art of Photography enticed him so much so that he has now become a professional Photographer.

Needless to say, while traveling around France, Shiraj took pictures of everything that attracted his attention even when he was driving the rented car on the highways and the country roads of France. The journey resulted in accumulation of a large trove of amazing photographs.

Returning back home, Shibly Shiraj arranged a solo photography exhibition titled ‘France, Natural and Eternal: A Photographer’s Journey' at Alliance Française de Dhaka (AFD) which was open to all till August , 2019 last.

Shibly said about the exhibition,“the eye of the camera can capture more than what we see with our naked eyes. The success of a person with a camera depends somewhat on how much more he or she can the fleeting glimpse of the scene. I always aspire new dimension in photographic endeavors. In doing so I’m most attracted the nature itself. It is not the beauty of the nature but also the diversity of such beauty and its place in the mind of the masses entice . We all appreciate nature but the phenomenon nature also defines us sometimes escapes us. The pulchritude of nature has attracted the painters, especially the French impressionists found a new way, a dimension per see, in depicting it.”

I have seen Shibly growing up gradually to manhood since his birth. He has shared with me all the 43 pictures that were included in the exhibition. Here below, ten of the photographs are posted for those who believe like Shibly “that the nature must remain at the core of human existence”.

Picture Details:
#1 Trees, Toulouse
#2 Shades of Landscape, Saintes
#3 Sunset, Bay of Biscay
#4 The French Alps
#5 Eiffel Toweras seen from Trocadero garden and Le femme Statue
#6 Elogo Du Pas Du Cote, Nante
#7 Saint Clement Aqueduct, Mont Pelleer
#8 Musee Des Civilizations, Marseille
#9 The View of Nice from Parc Du Mont Boron
# Waterfall. Cascades Du Herrison

Photo Credits: Shibly Shiraj.

Profiling Individuals and Voters!
Posted:Jul 29, 2019 10:48 am
Last Updated:Aug 19, 2019 4:11 am
“Education took us from Thumb impression to signature…! Technology took us from signature to thumb impression!”

---Indian Supreme court Justice A K Sikri said while delivering verdict on constitutionality of Aadhaar on behalf of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and himself. He further observed that Aadhaar has "empowered marginalized sections of the society by giving them identity!”

Aadhaar is the world's largest Biometric ID system. The Aadhar number is a 12-digit random number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India to the residents after satisfying the verification process laid down by the Authority.
However, some Indian Civil Liberty Groups and Social Action Forums have been opposing the project over privacy concerns.
Justice D Y Chandrachud said, Aadhaar violates the privacy of rights as it could possibly lead to profiling of persons and voters.

I feel that they are right because the system has compromised privacy. At the same time, Aadhaar's positive sides must not be overlooked. I wonder how many of the readers would agree with me. Because, the system is gradually being introduced in many countries of the world in various forms. We have our own biometric Aadhaar card called Smart Card.

By the by, Aadhaar has reminded me about George Orwell's allegorical novella "Animal Farm" published in England on August 17, 1945.

My entire day, cloudy sky, rains, are for you.
Posted:Jul 12, 2019 7:22 am
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2019 9:26 am
Our long wait for rain drops falling everywhere throughout the country where I live has finally ended. Monsoon has at last arrived though it is late this year! I don’t know the exact time when the rain started falling last night but the continuous rhythmical sound of the falling rains awakened me early in the morning.
We all know monsoon is essentially the seasonal reversal in wind direction that causes rainfall in the sub-continent and elsewhere! It is the “most anticipated weather phenomena and an economically important pattern every year from June through September which is partly understood and notoriously difficult to predict.”

As usual, the monsoon rains would provide us the much-expected relief from unbearable summer heat. However, it could bring sudden disaster too. It has already flooded the world’s largest refugee camps located in Cox’s Bazar sheltering men, women and driven from their hearth and home by Aung San Suu Kyi and her military Junta.

Monsoon rains sometimes accompany lightening and devastating storm we call “Cyclone”. Yet, we look forward for it for the crops to grow.

Our poets and novelists have romanticized monsoon season from time immemorial. I was listening to such a song which I intend post here below . Maybe, the lyrics of the song translated by me in English, would be an interesting read for those who used to walk in the rain like me during their childhood days. The translated text of the song in English is appended for my readers to read and then view the pictures of rainy monsoon evenings of the city where I live:

My entire day , cloudy sky, rains, are for you
Just asked the Śrāvaṇa evening from you for me .

I keep the eyes open to the window of heart
Ears are alert to listen the wind whistling
Asking to come nearby from mind’s courtyard
Yet rain, I asked you to go back.

My entire day, cloudy sky, rains, are for you

Let the night be composed by you
This is my dream, my thought of elation
Whom I desire
I don’t want to lose
Therefore, oh rain, I want you back.

My entire day , cloudy sky , rains, are for you.

Words in Bangla: Lilamoy Patro. Music: Joy Sarker Singer (Amar Sharata Din): Srikanto Acharya.

Termites and Humans!
Posted:Jun 10, 2019 8:29 am
Last Updated:Aug 19, 2019 10:17 am
Sometimes, some of us may develop an irresistible urge to call a fellow human being either a White Ant or a Termite or whatever when we feel like demeaning the person we dislike either for political or for personal reasons.

We know White Ants, Termites or whatever we like to call them, “are a of eusocial insects usually classified at the taxonomic rank of order, Isoptera”.

Termite and White Ant are different names for the pest! The color of a termite has nothing do with its name . The solid black, or solid red or solid brown termites are all commonly known as Termites or White Ants!

While labeling a human being a termite with intention to demean, we forget these particular group of insects, next to human race, are most successful in colonizing most landmasses of the earth except Antarctica! These Termite colonies could be small consisting of few hundred individuals and also very large consisting of several million termites!

These particular group of insects are generally categorized as Subterranean, Drywood and Dampwood.

Termites divide labor among castes consisting of sterile male and female workers and soldiers like bees, wasps and ants. The workers are all white. The soldiers are yellowish white color. The kings and queens have wings and are the dark brown or black colored termites. After all Termites are not like human race! The color of termites plays a part to identify their places in Termite societies! The color does not create interracial problems among the termites like human beings!

While the fertile males of the colonies are known as “Kings”, the fertile females (every colony has or more fertile females) called “Queens” having the longest lifespan of any insect in our Earth (Queen termites are said live up 30 50 years).

Termites are known be “silent destroyers”. The chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper undetected. Subterranean termites are most destructive among the Termite spices! Each year, in United States alone, termites reportedly cause about $5 billion in property damage.

Let us not forget some human cultures consider Termites as a delicacy in the diet, and are used in many traditional medicines too!

Those among us who want to learn more about Termites, may please go to net and browse related websites.

Are humans more like termites than humans ever imagined? Do we know these enigmatic creatures collectively outweigh human beings ?

To live a life!
Posted:Jun 6, 2019 10:31 am
Last Updated:Jul 4, 2019 10:38 pm
While growing up in a country occupied by a colonial power, I was reminded frequently by my parents the off repeated saying “life is a onetime offer” that ought to be used well throughout my entire life! I was advised by my learned teachers to train myself properly to “live life to the fullest” throughout the time I shall be living in this world!

I am frequently now being asked by my close friends whether I am unhappy with the life I have so far lived? No doubt the question is innocent one and many such innocent questions I have faced during the life I have lived so far!

In response to such question, I always feel like quoting a few lines from my incomplete poem written inspired by a famous Indian song writer named Gulzar and posted hereunder for everyone to read and ponder upon:

I am neither angry, nor unhappy with you, life
I am just amazed with you!
All the times
Your innocent questions
had touched my heart
And made me feel guilty
for not being able to
Live the life to the fullest!

Yet, I am indebted to you, life
For keeping me alive so long
To spend days and nights
And to keep pains and sorrows
Confined in the secret chamber of my heart
Along with pleasure and happiness
Accumulated therein simultaneously!

Life, I am indebted to you
For teaching me how to smile
In sadness and in pain
In joy and happiness.
Sometimes you made me cry
In joyous and happy moments
When tears used to flow down from my eyes
A few drops of which
I have kept hidden
To shed at the right moment!

Now, at the fag end of my life, when I look back, I can’t definitely say that I lived the life to its fullest! I can’t also say that the “one time offer” has been utilized well by me as I was asked by my parents long before. But I feel really happy for what I have accomplished so far in my life!.

I don’t know where the few drops of tears were kept hidden by me from time to time have gone during the years while living the life, sometimes fearfully- sometime boldly and sometimes, most lovingly!
These tears were tears of joy and happiness kept hidden for the final hours of my life when pleasant memories will rash back to make me ready to meet my creator’s messenger with a smile!
I now simply count days of the remaining period of my life thinking each of the day spent is the last day of my life!

Friend, what is this anxiety?
Posted:May 31, 2019 9:38 pm
Last Updated:Jun 29, 2019 10:40 am
What is the worry, dear friend?

Here bellow is the free -text English translation of Tagore’s famous love song attempted by a 12-year-old girl whose name was never mentioned by her father while posting it for us to read on August 15, 2013. However, I agree with the father of the girl that this is “an adventure of words only a young mind can attempt”. Because, it is not easy to translate such a song from the original language word by word to another rich language- be it English, French or Bengali! By the by, I may add here that the girl is apparently in last of her teens now and may not attempt to translate the song again afresh for obvious reason. May be, she looks at love differently now!

Comrade, what is this worry?
Explain, the meaning of pain, oh friend!
Day in day out you all speak of love
Define it to me - is it only pain?
Does it only bring tears to shed?
Is it only a fragrance of sorrow?
Why do you all indulge in such a luxury of pain...?

In my eyes it's all beautiful
All golden and fair and bright ..
The blue sky the green woodlands
The pale moonlight and the warm sunshine
They are all alike to me
They laugh sing and play all along
Like the flowers that shed their petals laughing

The moonlight laughs and fades away
The sea of lights overflows with laughter
The stars look down from their abode and smile

But there's none so joyful as me
Come friend, come to me
The joyous song from the heart of the joyful
Will fill you with joyous peace.

You cry your heart out all day and night
Come laugh and enjoy its charm this day
Leave behind the melancholy past, come dear
Come join me in my joyful song.

When one knows why one likes someone, It’s a crush! When one
has no reason or explanation. It’s love!
What do you think?

Famine Sketches, 1943
Posted:May 13, 2019 6:40 am
Last Updated:May 31, 2019 5:59 am
Famine Sketches,1943- Zainul Abedin

The sketches depict the profound tragedy and misery of the man-made famine that ravaged the undivided Bengal (now Independent Bangladesh and West Bengal of India) in 1943 and claimed three million lives of Bengali people of British India!

Zainul Abedin, the legendary Bangladeshi Artist ‘used Chinese ink and paper made from rags to capture these desperate depictions of the human impact of famine.’

Some of the originals of these sketches could be found in the British Museum.
Interested readers who want to learn more about these sketches can visit the related website of the Museum.
Zainul Abedin was in his twenties when he made these drawings.

Drawing #1 is an Iconic image of human suffering.
It shows a family struck by the great Bengal Famine of 1943 which was man-made!
This drawing was published on the cover of the ,” Darkening Days” by Ela Sen in 1943 which was banned by the then British Rulers of occupied undivided India!
The book ‘chronicled the slow death by starvation of millions of Bengali peasants during the WWII years.’

The famine is also known as “Churchill’s Secret War”.
Churchill had worsened the starvation in Bengal by ordering diversion of a ship load of wheat sent from Australia for the starving Bengalis elsewhere for feeding the British troops posted around the world!
Dr. Gideon Poyla, an Australian biochemist, called the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 a man-made “holocaust’.

Source: British Museum website, Internet, Zainul Abedin Museum, Mymenshing etc.

Message pour un non lié…
Posted:May 8, 2019 1:15 am
Last Updated:Aug 6, 2019 7:08 am
Message de Ninu pour une personne non liée… ..

Vous souvenez-vous de ces jours et nuits où vous me berciez doucement sous le balancement de vos bras et me fais oublier tout ce que les autres disent ?

Ils me gardaient toujours attaché dans la trame de mots déliés par le enchanteur de votre flûte !

Je peux encore me souvenir de ces jours et nuits où j' étais ton compagnon de jeu !

Ne me serrais-tu pas de la même manière dans tes yeux pour réveiller le rythme du jeu dans mon cœur ?

Message from Ninu for someone unbound…..

Do you remember those days and nights when you used to rock me gently in the sway of your arms and made me forget all that others say?

They used to keep me tied always in the web of words that were untied by the enchanting sound of your flute!

I can still remember those days and nights when I was your play mate!

Would you not hold me tight same way in your eyes again to awaken the rhythm of the game in my heart?

Einstein’s monster, the black hole, into view for the first time!
Posted:Apr 12, 2019 6:31 am
Last Updated:May 31, 2019 1:53 pm
Human race has taken millions of years to gaze into a black hole finally!

A black hole is a place of no return: a vast region in space from where even light cannot escape its gravitational pull though we know that nothing is faster than light!

Black holes are dense celestial objects and thought to be the ultimate conditions of the stars when they collapse in themselves as they die!

The Black holes can be compared with hungry beasts! They swallow up everything that comes nearby and they grow in size gradually consuming gas, planet, star, (smart phone, too) and every bit of mass that they can grab! The edge of a black hole is known as its event horizon. It looks like a firewall and it is the point of no return!

As the nearest black hole is luckily far away from our beloved planet Earth, we need not be worried for getting pulled by its gravitational force to our doom! The Earth will not also be consumed by the super massive black hole that exists in the center of our galaxy “Milky Way!” It is we, the greedy humans, are gradually destroying the blue planet slowly but surely!

The readers may please feel free to view the image of the Black Hole from the galaxy Messier 87 provided by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, via National Science Foundation here below. The distance of galaxy Messier 87 is nearly 55 million light-years away from our planet Earth.
Those who are interested to learn more about the Black Holes may kindly browse internet. It may however be added here that a Black Hole is not forever! It would dissipate, eventually.

Pic #2: Katie Bouman, the scientist who created the algorithm for the image of the black hole | Picture Credit: Katie Bauman Page

Is it too much to expect for the suffering humanity?
Posted:Mar 22, 2019 7:02 am
Last Updated:Apr 20, 2019 10:24 am
There is no synonym for the words “mother’s tears for her dead ”.

Mucad Ibrahim's mother is surely no different!

The youngest victim of cold-blooded planed massacre in Christchurch: Mucad Ibrahim, 3 has since been laid to rest today.
The innocent three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim has apparently paid the price for being born in a family who are practicing members of one of the three feuding ‘Abrahamic religions'--Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Rest in Peace, Mucad.

It is wondered when will the ongoing inter religion feuding and hatred be stopped? When would sanity be returned among the extremists of feuding ‘Abrahamic religions'? When such senseless atrocities against each other would no longer be there?

Is it too much to expect world leaders to learn from the Prime Minister of New Zealand what to do in such situations?

Mucad Ibrahim belonged to the God and to Him he has returned.


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