September 8, 2023

Peace Committee Meeting

With the instructions given by  Bhadradri Kothagudem district SP Vineeth IPS, ASP of Bhadrachalam Pankaj Paritosh IPS conducted a peace committee meeting at his office with the members of various religious outfits like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Gosamrakshana Samiti and Bhadrachalam Muslim Jamaat Committee members in view of upcoming Ganesh Celebrations. 

 suggestions were taken into consideration to ensure peaceful conduct of upcoming Ganesh celebrations and precautionary measures were discussed so that no one faces any trouble. ASP advised to celebrate Ganesh celebrations peacefully with devotion and discussed the precautions to be taken in upcoming Ganesh celebrations. Bhadrachalam CI Nagaraju Reddy, Traffic SI Srinivas, Town SIs Madhu Prasad, PVN Rao, Vijayalakshmi, Bajrang Dal Ajay Kumar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Siddhartha Mekala, Gorakshana Samiti Manikantha and Bhadrachalam Muslim Jamaat committee members Halim Khan, Munaf, Shafi, Abdullah and others participated in this meeting.

#Peace #Meeting #Ganesh #Celebrations

September 2, 2023

Enrich Your Vocabulary

 Thought Leader

This buzzword is generally used to describe someone who is considered an expert in their chosen field and has innovative ideas.

Using in a sentence: He is a thought leader in the marketing space and always has great insights

Reinvent the wheel

A classic buzzword which means to create something new when there's already a good solution. In brief, wasting time creating something though there's already some workable solution.

Using in a sentence: Stop trying to reinvent the wheel and just follow what others already did.

August 31, 2023

Mamidi Harika : A Silambam Sensation

 Silambam (Karra Saamu) champion from our temple town..? Surprised a lot when I first saw the video of her practicing in our nearby grounds, perhaps. Well, the video was sent by my friend Srinivas garu in the last month. And a few paper statements were also seen in which she was receiving compliments from the local dignitaries. In fact, it's really a rare phenomenon being a girl performer of Silambam. She is none other than Mamidi Harika, a resident of Rajupeta Colony, Bhadrachalam.

Harika completed her degree and now keep pursuing library computer science at Vijayawada. And she is practicing Silambam unlike many other girls in our society. Because Silambam is a traditional martial art, generally considered to be a male domain. However, a most welcoming change in all respects. And she achieved more feathers in her crown like Gold medal in the state level silambam tournaments held at Vijayawada and Bronze medal in the National tournaments. In brief to say,  three times international gold medalist and her coach is K. Satya Srikanth.

Harika won Gold medal in the recent South Asian silambam tournaments held at Bangalore in the last week of August. Eight countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sudan and Ghana participated including our country. She has been steadily going on to higher echelons with her grit and good practice. Silambam practice makes one bodily fit and healthy. Not only that a self - defense method with minimal weapon. Harika remains a shining example for all the present day youth, especially girls.

Let's know a little bit of facts about Silambam. Silambam is nothing but Karra saamu in Telugu. It was an indigenous martial art, started in our country some thousands of years back, roughly around 4th century BC. According to historians, this martial art had been referred in Sangam literature. Agastya was considered to be the originator of it. Stick or Staff generally procured from the Bamboo, Teak or Indian chestnut wood.

They also used silambam to attack animals apart from the purpose of self defense. It improves flexibility, awareness, strength and muscular cardio vascular stamina in the body. Let many other aspirants come forward to learn this traditional martial art form, a glorious legacy, with the impact and influence of Mamidi Harika.  

--- Murthy

#Silambam#Bamboostaff#Practice #Selfdefence#Martial art #traditional #legacy

New Mahindra Tractor Donated

 A devotee Sri Bansari Das Roshan Lal of Hyderabad donated a brand new Mahindra Tractor to the Lord Rama, yesterday. It was donated to use in the service of Devasthanam works. The tractor worth Rs.7,75,000/- and which has been handed over to Mrs. L. Rama Devi (E.O.of Devasthanam). One more update is that Nitya Kalyanam rituals will be resumed again from Sep 1 of this year and it has been stopped temporarily because of Pavitrotsavamulu. 



August 29, 2023

Immersion of Ramakoti Books

Pavitra utsavaalu (Holy celebrations) have been going on in the  renowned temple of  Bhadrachala Sri Seeta Ramachandra Swamy. Monday, Pavitra aarohanam rituals were done in a great way and they turned eye feasting all over. Harathi has been given after performing special pujas.

Ramakoti Books submitted by the devotees were immersed in the holy waters of Godavari river. They have all been brought to the river with a rally chanting Lord Rama's name, all along the streets. After ablutions being performed with pasupu and kumkuma all the Ramakoti Books immersed into the waters of River Godavari. Apart from it, Mrs. L. Ramadevi has taken charge as E.O. today.    

#Immersion#Ramakoti #books

August 27, 2023

A Commendable Initiative For the Public

 A team of philanthropists named "Mee kosam Memunnaamu" , belonged to the place of Cherla  set an example for the cause of Service by providing food to the needy people every Sunday. Today's program is in line of 93rd week. The people who come to the weekly fair and others are seen queued up to utilize this service and which has been going on without any hassle with the support of like minded good samaritans. Each week is sponsored by a donor , on the occasion of some special celebration, be it a wedding anniversary or a birthday bash or something else. This week is donated by Munagala Krishna and Kavitha Rani of Nagarjuna sagar , on the occasion of their wedding anniversary.

This weekly food donation program gained momentum in course of time. And it brought a special recognition for the place with its non stop activity as there has been no dearth for helping hands to support with every possible effort. Chairman of the organization Lion Neeli Prakash said that we should all share something with fellow beings from what we have, on the auspicious occasions of our lives. And it's an obvious example for the same.

Vice-Sarpanch  Siripuram Shiva, Javvadi Sathish, Doddi Thatha Rao, Suri babu, Ramana Rao, Dodda Prabhudas, Marla Prasad, Karnati Madhu,  Neeli Simhachalam, Tandavarayudu, Gommugudem Chary, Sollangi Nageswar Rao,Komari Srinivasa Rao, Paritala Rama mastar, Bhadram, Potluru Nehru, Marla Raja and others participated in the event.

--- Murthy


Rose Is A Poem in Red (A Story)

--- Dr. Snehaprava Das (Bhubaneswar)

                                                                                (2nd and final part)                                           

                              Wispy figures of white floated around him like apparitions and then drifted away into space whispering softly in a language he could not understand. His head felt as if it was stuffed with cottonwool. The ghost like figures that moved in and out, up and down and around somehow had kept him strapped to a flat metal like thing that felt cool and hard against his body. It was good, he thought, to remain fixed to it, because he felt the earth spinning round through space and feared he would fall off the planet otherwise. He could hear the rustle of the blood as it rushed in and out of his brain, like a raging river of red, and the strokes of his heart that sounded like an enormous drum beaten by giant hands. A hard white light from above penetrated his eyelids and entered his brain blinding him. He felt all his muscles were alive in constant motion, like a hissing swarm of snakes under the skin. 


The elderly man sat on a metal stool by the bed where his son lay motionless, his head swathed heavily in a bandage, several tubes fitted to different parts of his body and connected to a number of electronic devices that let out a constant beeping sound. It had been a week since he was lying there after the NDRF team rescued him from under a pile of dead bodies trapped in the badly dented coach. They had given him up for dead but it was a miracle that he was still breathing. The rescue team had discovered his identity from the Adhar card he had in his wallet and intimated the family. He was taken to the local hospital but later was referred to this hospital. The doctors said he had suffered a brain injury and had little chance of survival. But his mother’s prayers had made him return from the door of death. 

A nurse in a white uniform came in and took the readings on the monitoring machines. The elderly man looked expectantly at her but she went out as silently as she had entered without glancing at him.

After an hour or so the doctor strode in followed by the nurse. He looked closely at the figure lying still in the bed, wrapped in white. He said something to the nurse who nodded. ‘How is he, doctor?’ the father of the young man asked anxiety dripping from his voice.

‘Your son is lucky Mr. Sharma. His vital signs have become stable . He is in a semi-conscious state now. Hopefully he will gain full consciousness in a day or two.’ The doctor replied with an assuring smile.    

 ‘Won’t there be any complications?’ 

 ‘Everything looks okay as far as his physical response is concerned. But we cannot say how his mind is impacted until he comes back to sense. He had suffered a concussion. It might have affected his memory. But nothing can be said at this moment. We have to wait and watch.’

‘What does that mean, doctor? Will he be mentally unstable?’ the father sounded alarmed.

‘Nothing can be said for sure. He might forget the incidents immediately before and after the accident. Certain time-segments might get erased from his memory.’


‘How can it be predicted now? We have to wait, as I said.’ The doctor wandered away to examine another patient. Mr. Sharma sat back on the metal stool and looked at his son, his eyes heavy with unshed tears. 


Roses … Roses ..everywhere.  Red roses, in the colour of blood. It was a jungle of roses.  

  He wandered aimlessly in a vast patch of a jungle filled with roses. His body felt very light as if he was floating in the air. He touched a big one that looked velvety and very fresh. Something pricked his hand and blood oozed out. Then he saw the thorns, pointed like needles. He let out a muffled cry of pain and all the roses began to swing crazily, and dropped the petals till the ground was carpeted with them. He saw a figure standing at the other end of the jungle. It looked like a girl. She was trying to come to him but the roses turned into a red liquid, blocking her. Suddenly a strong gust of wind began to blow and the waves of red liquid rose in angry surges spraying droplets of red around. The girl opened her mouth to scream. But no sound came. She was bathed in red and as he looked on her body broke into petals of rose, thousands and thousands of them. He tried to call her but he did not know her name. He stepped into the red liquid, but his feet slipped and he fell, smeared all over by the red slime.

 His eyes snapped open.

They looked at him anxiously. ‘Call the doctor,’ Mr. Sharma cried. ‘He seems to have come back to sense.’ The nurse who stood by another patient taking his pulse swung on her feet to look at him. ‘Please call the doctor,’ Mr. Sharma urged her. She hurried out of the room. Mrs. Sharma moved close to the bed and called.. ‘Chirag, darling! Say something my baby!’ She whimpered through her sobs. 

‘Move away from him, please.’ The doctor cautioned as he strode in. He examined the young man, studied the readings on the monitoring screens for a long time. 

‘Chirag,’ Can you hear me?’ he asked in a raised voice.’ ‘Blink your eye lids if you can’ 

They stared anxiously at him for a breathless moment. Then they saw him blinking his eyes. Almost simultaneously the fingers of his right hand moved. 

The doctor turned to look at the worrying family. ‘He has gained consciousness. Do not disturb him at all. Let him rest. The more he rests the sooner he will recuperate. I will be examining him from time to time.’ He called the nurse and gave her some instructions. She nodded obediently. 


He gazed blankly at the anxious faces leaning over him. There was a glazed look in his eyes. Some of the faces looked familiar. He closed his eyes and wrestled with his memory to place the faces correctly. He opened them again and glanced at the disheveled woman with teary eyes. ‘Ma,’ he mumbled weakly. ‘Yes, my darling!’ the woman broke into copious tears. He looked at the other faces. He recognized his father and his sister. There were two strangers, both of them in white, a man and a woman. He tried to close his eyes, because everybody seemed to be unsteady and shaking like live portraits floating in space.  But the man snapped his fingers to draw his attention probably and he looked at the face of the man. The lips of the stranger moved as if he was saying something but it was very indistinct. Then he could hear the stranger. ‘Chirag, can you recognize this man?’ He pointed at his father.  Chirag blinked his assent. The performance was repeated with his sister. The doctor raised his face to look at the father. ‘He is recovering nicely. But it remains to be seen how the incident has affected his memory. Let him rest now. Do not disturb him. He nodded at the nurse and brisked out of the cabin. 


    The room was blanched in the light from the big, overhanging bulb when he opened his eyes again. He could hear voices, muffled an unintelligible, around him. But no one was near the bed. It was difficult to know if it was day time or night. He tried to recollect, gathering the random memories that seemed to have scattered in his mind like pieces of a complicated and difficult jigsaw puzzle. It needed much effort and his head began to ache. He let out a soft groan and the nurse who seemed to be waiting and ready, hastened to him. ‘Time for your injection. She loaded a syringe and pushed the needle into his arm. The aching lost its acuteness after a while and he drifted into a sound, comfortable sleep. 


Mr. Sharma looked at his son who seemed to be sleeping soundly. The tubes and the monitoring machines were removed. But he had to remain under observation for weeks, the doctors advised. They were not sure of the degree of damage his brain suffered on account of the injury and the nature of the resulting amnesia. But he was physically stable now, they said. 


His head no longer ached. He wanted to go home, to his parents and sister. He failed to understand why he was in this hospital bed when he should have been in his hostel preparing for the civil services. He decided to ask father why they had to put him in a hospital first thing in the morning and went to sleep. But it was evening when he woke up and father was not there by his bedside. And he forgot to ask him when father and mother returned in the morning. The problem was he could not distinguish between the mornings and evenings, and he seemed to have lost count of the days. 

He tried hard to remember the incidents of day on which he supposed he would have come here. Suddenly it struck him. It must be the Saturday on which he and his friend Kaushik was returning to the hostel after a group dinner. Kaushik was a novice at driving a two-wheeler. He remembered he had cautioned Kaushik to drive the bike with caution. But Kaushik had laughed. ‘Do not get so worked up. I will not bring any harm to your bike. But the road was slippery because of the rain and the bike had skidded throwing both of them into the pavement. He remembered people gathering around them and talking loudly. He felt his body trembling badly from the nasty fall. He had tried to get up but could not move his leg which seemed to have come under the rear wheel of the bike. He could hear Kaushik calling out his name loudly. 

He could not recollect what happened after that as if someone had put a bold full stop there, blocking the flow of memory. He must have passed out, he guessed and was brought to this hospital. But how had he got back here, at his hometown? He was supposed to have been in Delhi. May be his father had got him shifted to this hospital because it was not possible to continue his stay at Delhi. It was difficult to focus. His head began to ache again and he shut his eyes.   

 He groped under the pillow to find his phone. It was not there. He peered at the bedside table and inspected under the bedcover. The phone was not in either of the places. He wondered if the phone was at home. He must ask father when he returned, he decided and closed his eyes.

‘Where is my phone?’ he asked eagerly when his father came. 

‘It is gone, my dear. It was not with you when you were brought here.’ Mr. Sharma said, picking out his words carefully not to stress his son. 

‘Someone must have snatched it from the accident spot,’ he said.

Mr. Sharma looked sharply at him. ‘What accident spot?’ he asked warily, not sure what to expect.

 ‘Where my bike had skidded, obviously. Where else? How is Kaushik by the way? It was all my fault. I should never have let him drive in the first place.’ 

‘Everything is okay, now. Kaushik is fine too. Do not worry about the phone. We will get another.’

Chirag regarded father fondly. ‘He must have gone through a traumatic time,’ he thought. 


‘He is connecting the earlier accident to this one. The train hazard is wiped off his memory.  So also all the events that had occurred after he had met with the bike accident.’ The doctor said. Mr. Sharma looked helplessly at the doctor. ‘ What do we do now? How long will we have to wait for him to get back it all?’

‘No one can say that. He is in a trauma. It is a tricky issue, this temporary amnesia.  He may be able to remember things in a day or two or weeks or even months or he may not remember them at all. Chances are fifty-fifty. Take care of him. Do not mention now about the hazard he had survived by sheer miracle.  Ask his friends and others not to try to remind him anything. That will put him under stress. Trying too hard to recollect things might have a harmful impact on his brain. You have to be patient for the time being. You can reveal it slowly when you find him strong enough to take it.’ The doctor advised.


     He sat by the window in his bedroom, gazing at the street beyond the garden. Nearly a month has passed after he was discharged from the hospital. He was now able to drive the bike. That was one piece of good news in months.

He had reconciled to the fact that he had forgotten certain things because of the head injury he suffered in the bike accident. But a small doubt haunted him. He had had the bike accident around mid-February. Now it was August. Had he been in the hospital all these months? He was getting confused. Was he admitted in the hospital for the second time because of some complicacies developing from the bike accident? what happened in between the two admissions? 

The doctor had repeatedly advised him not to think deeply about anything and remain relaxed. He drank a glass of water to calm his nerves.  

 And he saw them again. The roses, countless roses in red, blooming thickly all around. The air was fragrant from their scents. Chirag was filled with a strange elation. He wanted to move close to the roses, to touch and smell and be engulfed in the velvety red. But the girl appeared at the other edge of the red vista at that moment. She climbed off the two-wheeler she was riding, and walked into the terrain of roses. Chirag could not see the girl clearly since she was at the far end of it, and had a helmet on. He felt a tight band pressing across his chest as he saw the girl moving towards him. He peered into the distance to have a clear view of her, but it was not possible to get it from the spot where he was. The girl moved closer and closer towards Chirag squirming her way through the roses, scratching herself badly by the thorns. He wanted to stop the girl and opened his mouth to call out, but was shocked to discover that he had lost his voice. He stood up abruptly as the girl moved in to the range of a better view and waited in bated breath to have a clear glimpse of her. The girl was about to reach the edge of the rose-tract on Chirag’s side when storm wind began to blow. The roses swayed crazily. The rose bushes got entwined into one another and the flowers, as if slashed by a razor blade, were torn off them.  Then they began to swirl above in a spiraling mass of red. The girl screamed wildly as the red vortex sucked her into its center. Chirag closed his eyes and ears tightly.

A few minutes passed. A motorbike vroomed down the street jerking him back to reality. He opened his eyes cautiously. The jungle of roses had vanished. So too the girl. Everything looked normal. Who was that girl? And why were there so many roses, in such a brilliance of red? Why does he see them time and again? Chirag had no answer to that. 

He tried hard to remember the months that were erased from his memory. What had happened in those months? His family did not want him to take any stress in trying to recall the past. ‘You will remember them slowly. Do not put much effort. It will harm you more than help by doing so.’ His father and mother would advise. 

Random patches of memory floated in and out of his mind as time progressed. He could see a garden filled with trees and flowers and hear a koyal’s cooing. Then suddenly the sky will be overcast and it will start raining. A girl, her face partially hidden under an umbrella would come out from behind a tree and walk out of the gate. She would stop for a brief moment at the gate and turn. Chirag tried to get a look at her face but the umbrella hid it. 

 There are times he would hear an earsplitting metallic sound like a thousand bullets hitting at the same time a huge wall of iron. It would be followed by the loud screams and wailings of people, and the blare of several automobiles. 

  The picture of a small shade like structure would come returning to him. A bus will glide in and a girl clutching a stack of books and copies to her chest would climb into it and wave at him. Chirag would struggle to get into the bus but it will roll forward flinging him back to the shade, the girl would hide her face behind the books and giggle.         

                    Scattered, haphazard, amorphous images swimming aimlessly in and across the flow of his thoughts. Each one of them is a piece of a baffling jigsaw puzzle, looking strangely familiar but never falling into the right place. 

  Another week passed. 

 Sitting at home all the time was making him claustrophobic. He knew he was now physically strong enough to move about. ‘I may find about the clue to unravel the mysteries of my hidden past outside this house.’ Chirag thought. It took a lot to persuade his parents to let him drive the bike but they agreed in the end. But he was strictly warned to get back home before it got dark.

 And so, after more than a month, Chirag drove out of the seclusion of his home to the outside world to explore new meanings of life, to search the key that would open the lock to the closed chamber that held his lost days. 

 It was a pleasant experience, to move out to the open, to have the feel of the sunshine and the fresh breeze across the face. He was not well conversant with the roads since he used to live in Delhi. But it was his hometown and held a special attraction for him. He drove around for some time, undecided, and then without thinking, swung the bike to another road that looked familiar. He drove slowly along, guided by an unexplainable urge. There was a shade like structure to his left, and the picture of a bus on a circular board was fixed to one of the posts. Must be a bus stop, he guessed. There were a few steel benches inside the shade. At that hour there were no passengers waiting for the bus in the shade. He stopped and looked at the empty benches. He sat astride the bike for a longtime, looking around, not sure what was he waiting for and then moved away from the place. He took a turn and drove along a wide road. He drove nonstop for half an hour or so, and noticed the traffic was thinning gradually. There was a restaurant and an ice cream parlour on the left side that looked familiar.

 He stopped by the ice cream parlour and looked around uncertainly. A young man came out, his face beaming. ‘It is a longtime since you visited here last, sir. Were you not in the town?’ he asked. Chirag looked closely at the young man, trying to recognize him, eager to ask him how did he know him, but decided against it. It was a queer experience, he thought, to stand facing someone you do not know saying he knows you.  The young man waited expectantly for an order.  Chirag asked him to get a chocolate ice cream, just to escape the embarrassment. ‘Chocolate?’ The young man looked surprised. ‘But you always preferred the strawberry flavour,’ he said. ‘Yes, but now I like the chocolate flavoured ice cream. Get me one, please.’ He said, not interested to linger on the subject. The young man regarded him briefly and nodded. He went inside and brought him the ice cream. Chirag was not keen at having an ice cream at that time but he finished it just because he did not want to make the young man suspicious. He paid for the ice cream and drove off. The sun had set. It was getting dark. Chirag decided to go back home.  


He lay in the bed, his gaze fixed at an invisible point in the ceiling ruminating over the incidents of the day. Why was he automatically drawn towards that small bus stop? Is it connected in some way to his past life? Then there was the young man in the ice cream parlour. Chirag was sure he did not know the young man, but the young man knew him. He even knew Chirag’s choice ice cream flavour. How? When did he visit the ice cream parlour? It was all so very disturbing. The doctor had strictly advised him not to overthink. He took a pill which the doctor had said, he could use to calm down his jittery nerves. A little after sleep overcame him.


 His head was heavy when he woke up in the morning. But there was a restlessness in him that urged him to go out exploring. It was early morning and he doubted if the ice cream parlour was open at that hour. He was urged by an irresistible desire to inquire from the young man about his earlier visits, to know more about the days that had gone into oblivion. 

He moved out after taking his breakfast promising his mother that he would return by lunch time. But he did not drive straight to the parlour. It was at the other end of the town and it took nearly half an hour to reach there. He wondered what was the need for him to visit a shop so far away just to have an ice cream. It was odd. 

He drove around for a while. Suddenly, as if led on more by an instinct than conscious wish, he turned the bike to a road that was lined by tall trees on both sides. There were not many people on the road. Nor were there many shops or office buildings along it. He drove along till he reached a sharp bend to the right. He swung the bike into the bend. He saw a large arched entranceway. Boldly embossed and painted on the arch, was the name of the institution. ‘Government College of Arts.’ Chirag let his gaze travel beyond the entranceway. A gravelled path led to the main building of the college.  Groups of boys and girls in college uniforms, most of them carrying sling bags over their shoulders were moving about the campus. Chirag stopped by the entranceway and looked around, puzzled why the place appeared vaguely familiar to him. Students were moving in and out of the entrance way. Chirag felt awkward. He hoped, he did not know why,  to see a known face but there was none. He started his bike and moved off the spot. 


The next stop was the ice cream parlour at the end of the town. 

 The parlour was crowded by young men and women. The young man whom he had met the previous day gave him a welcoming smile. ‘Would you have a chocolate ice cream, sir? Or any other flavour?’ He waited for Chirag to make his order. Chirag smiled broadly at him. ‘It has been indeed a long time since I came here. I was not here. When was it I last visited your parlour?’ Chirag asked trying to sound casual, careful not to rouse any suspicion in the boy’s mind. The boy thought for a brief moment. ‘It was in the month of May, sir. Last week of May. You and madam had come together. I had served you cup ice creams. You had given me a twenty-rupees tip.’ 

This was strange. Which madam the young man was talking about? Did he visit the parlour with some girl? Who was she? He had no way to know. The waiter boy might be suspicious if he asked more about it. He decided to let the matter drop at that.

 He had the ice cream, made the payment, gave a tip to the young man, and left. ‘Come again sir,’  the young man called from behind. 


Chirag took out his phone from the pocket and checked the time. There was enough time left for the lunch hour. The weather was pleasant. A gentle wind ladened with the wet fragrance of monsoon rustled through the leaves of the trees the road was lined with. The fields that stretched beyond the edges on either side of the road were lush green. He looked up. There was no sunshine. Grey clouds sailed merrily across the sky. The cool breeze lifted his spirit. He decided to drive forward, and enjoy the blissful serenity around. 

 He spotted the park to his right after a five minutes-drive down the partially deserted road. Without thinking, he pulled up in its front, and getting down walked towards the gate. It was a big park, but was tastefully designed and well looked after. To the left of the entrance there was a cabin like structure with a sloping roof, its incline extending over the small porch in its front. A man in the uniform of a security guard sat in a straight-backed chair, his eyes glued to the screen of a mobile phone. A wooden table stood to his left on which there were some notebooks and a sheaf of paper. A stone, that was kept on the notebooks and papers, served the purpose of a paperweight. The man cast him an indifferent glance as he entered the park and then went back to watching the mobile screen. 

 Chirag moved inside, looking here and there, impressed by the way the park was maintained. There were big leafy trees along the walking track and around, and swings and stone benches painted glossily in white, orange and green under the trees. At the far end of the park there was an open gym fitted with several equipment for physical workout.    

The park was almost empty at that time except for the gardeners who tended and watered the plants. A couple of labourers worked at a seedbed with a soil sifter, and another one was cutting the grass with a pair of gardening scissors.

The environment was familiar. He seemed to know his way around the place. Chirag wondered if he had ever come here earlier. He seemed to know the place well, had seen everything there were before. He even knew which area in the park was the most secluded.       

He stepped past the gardeners into a shady spot in the depth of the park, partially hidden by a group of topiary plants. There was a bench painted in green and white. Chirag sat down. He felt at peace, sitting there, in the silence of the solitude, listening to the soft murmur of the leaves. A lone koyal, that had perhaps outstayed its visit cooed from a nearby tree. There was a melancholic lilt in its voice and it filled his heart with a strange sadness. But the restlessness of the previous day was gone. The soft breeze caressed his tired limbs and lulled him to sleep. He dosed off. 

The phone rang, jerking him out of sleep. It was his mother. She sounded worried. ‘Where are you son? It is after one o’clock. I am waiting for you. Come soon.’

 He got to his feet. The koyal was still there repeating at intervals the melancholic note. He felt mysteriously connected to the place. He decided to return to the place the next day and moved out to the road, to the place where he had parked his bike. 

He drove to the park the next day, and the day after and again after a gap of a couple of days. He felt more and more drawn to the place after each visit. He thought the security guard, like the waiter at the ice cream parlour would recognize him had he visited the place earlier. But there was no sign of recognition in the security guard’s face. The young waiter at the ice cream shop had mentioned a ‘madam’. Who was she? Chirag racked his brain to remember but drew a blank. It was not possible to  inquire from the waiter without raising his suspicion.

And why did the park at the far end of the town, as if by some inconceivable magical power, pulls him towards it?

It puzzled him. 

But he did not stop visiting the park. He felt restful and calm there, filled with a contentment he had never known before. 


It rained hard that afternoon. Chirag was about to start for the park when the rain came accompanied with a strong wind. It was sunset time when it stopped raining. Chirag dropped the plan and sat down by the window. The air that carried the scent of the post-rain wetness had a deep-set pathos in it.  it made him depressed. 

He decided he would drive to the park early next morning. 


The park was crowded with the morning walkers and joggers at that time. Kids were playing at the merry-go-round, the seesaw, the swings and the slides in the playground area. It was not so peaceful as it used to be at the later part of the morning. Chirag made his way to the bench amidst the topiary plants and sat down. He took out his new mobile phone and studied the social media sites of his choice. Two girls of around six or seven, giggling happily, each carrying what looked like paper on which some picture was drawn, ran to the spot where he sat. They sat down on a nearby stone bench and looked at the pictures. ‘This one is better than yours, ‘ one of them said. ‘Mine is better,’ the other protested. ‘Show it to me,’ the girl who looked a bit older than the other tried to pull the paper from the hands of her friend. ‘No,’ the younger girl squealed and snatched her hand away and lifted it high, to keep the paper out of reach. Chirag cast a cursory glance at the paper the girl held above her head.

 And his heart gave a lurch. Drawn on the paper was a beautiful red rose, on a stalk that sported two young leaves painted in green. He felt his head spinning. He knew the picture and the person who painted it. Vague patches of memory, blurry and indistinct, sliding out as if from a mystery-montage, began to drift around, frantically struggling to move to the right space. He was sure now that he had painted the picture. But when? And how did it reach this place? Who had brought them here? Questions and questions, several of them, without answers. He could feel the sweat beads on his forehead and behind his ears.  He stood up and moved to the bench where the girls were sitting. His legs were unsteady and his breath came in irregular gasps. 

‘Where did you get them?’ he asked them pointing at the pictures. His voice was a croaking whisper. The girls looked up at him, wide eyed. But they did not say anything. ‘Where did you get the pictures?’ he repeated, running out of patience. ‘From the guard uncle,’ one of the girls said and ran away from the place, her friend at her heels. 


Chirag returned to his bench, shaking badly. He waited for his legs to get steady and his breathing normal, and then moved towards the guard’s cabin. The security guard was in his chair watching something in his mobile phone. He regarded the disheveled Chirag who walked clumsily towards the cabin, curiously. Chirag waited for a moment before speaking, trying to regain his composure. He was not sure if he could trust his own voice. 

 ‘I saw two little girls playing there,’ he said pointing towards the depth of the park. ‘They had a couple of papers, a red rose was painted on each. On asking they told me that you gave them the paintings. Where did you get those paintings of the roses?’    

The security guard stared at Chirag, puzzled.

‘Someone visiting the park perhaps had forgotten them here. The guard who works here the day shift might have found them and brought them here. They were on this table when I arrived in the night. The girls saw them in the morning. They asked me for the pictures. I had no reason to decline.’ He paused and looked questioningly at Chirag.

‘What is so special about them?’ He asked.

‘Who had left them here? Do you know him?’ Chirag asked anxiously not caring to reply the guard.               

 ‘I wouldn’t know sir. I came here at about eleven last night. I do the night shift here. Perhaps the other guard would know.’

‘When will he come?’ Chirag was impatient.

‘Not till eleven, sir. We both are new appointees here. We work in rotation. He, from eleven in the morning to eleven in the night and I, the other way round, from eleven in the night to eleven in the morning.’

Chirag checked the time in his phone. It was only nine. There were still two more hours before the other guard arrived. He took out a fifty rupee note from his wallet and handed it to the guard. ‘Please get me those paintings from the girls. They are very important for me,’ he requested. It might be the sincerity in Chirag’s voice or his distraught looks, or the money, but the guard looked influenced.   He nodded and moved into the deep inside of the park. 

Chirag stood waiting, his thoughts racing, crazy and directionless. 

The guard returned after a few minutes with the papers. ‘It took some effort. But I managed to coax the girls to part with them.’ He said smiling broadly. He handed the pictures to Chirag. 

He decided to get back home and return after having lunch. His mother would be worried if he remained out of home till long. He folded the papers and put them in his pocket. Nodding his thanks to the guard he came out of the park. He could sense the curious gaze of the guard fixed on his back. 


Chitra counted the paintings for the third time. There were fifty-one of them. But now there were only forty-nine. Where are the rest two? She had treasured them securely in a folder. They were the only mementos of Chirag she had with her and were priceless. She valued them more than her life. The paintings of the roses somehow, filled the grey emptiness in her. Her lips parted in a doleful smile as she remembered the painting of the rose he had gifted to her for the first time, and the lines written under the rose,

                               When I saw her for the first time that day

                               A red rose bloomed in my garden of grey;


She was feeling desperate now. Where had she lost the pictures? Not in the PG department of her subject in the university, she was sure of that. Then she remembered. Must be in the park. She visited the park most of days, after her classes were over and sat on the bench amidst the topiary plants till sunset, ruminating over the sweet moments she had spent with Chirag there. She carried the folder containing the paintings with her to the university, and to the park, not willing to part with them. She would take out the paintings and read the poems again and again, and tears would stream down her eyes. 

It was more than two months after the train hazard that snatched Chirag away from her. 

She was coming out of the trauma very slowly, and the corroding pangs had lost a bit of their acuteness, but the passing time had not helped any to fill the vacuum in her caused by the loss.


She remembered clearly that she had all of them with her, securely kept in the folder, when she last visited the park. It was on the day the storm came.  She had taken them out of the folder when the strong wind began to blow. She was sure that the wind had blown them away. They must be lying somewhere in the park, provided the sweeper had not thrown them away. She hoped to God that the pictures would be still lying under the bench or somewhere near it, out of the sight of other visitors.  

  She would go to the park today after the classes and inquire from the guard, she decided.  


      Chirag took out the folded papers from his pocket in the seclusion of his bedroom. He did not have any doubt now that he had painted the roses and written the lines too. He read and re read the short poems under both the paintings.

                         The poem is a rose that blooms for you

                           In the garden of my love,

                        Soft and bright, like a passion sweet

                            It smiles in its red orb;  

There was another:

                          Not raindrops but they are the tears 

                         The lovelorn sky sheds,

                      When they touch its drooping petals

                       The rose also weeps in red;

The lines of the second poem were smudged, as if someone has wiped away a drop of water that might have accidentally fallen on them. 

The disjointed pieces of the puzzle were stumbling into place, slowly, haltingly. But the image in the puzzle was still wrapped in a haze of smoke. Then, there was that girl on the outside edge of the jungle of the roses, and he was sure that he knew her, closely and intimately. Her face was blurred, making recognition difficult.

What was the smudge on the poem? A drop of water? A drop of tear??

He did not know why but the picture of the roses and the poems filled him with a deep sense of loss. His heart felt heavy as if he carried a century old sorrow there, and his eyes brimmed with tears.    


  It was after two when he returned to the park. The previous guard was gone. There was another one, who stood in the small porch looking into the park. He turned as he heard Chirag opening the front gate. ‘It is hot in the park now, sir.’ He said smiling politely. He appeared to be an amicable character. Chirag took out the papers and showed it to the guard. ‘Did you find these?’ ‘Yes, the guard answered, looking a bit surprised. ‘What….’ Chirag did not wait to listen to him. ‘Where did you find them? Who had brought them here? His voice rose a pitch higher in excitement.

 ‘A madam comes here often. She sits alone for a longtime on a bench there,’ he pointed towards the topiary plants in a distance. ‘I have seen her more than once looking at such pictures. She was here the day the storm came, leafing through a bunch of pictures like these. Perhaps these two were blown away by the wind and she had not taken note of it.’ 

Chirag listened intently, his eyes staring into the guard’s, a shiver creeping into his nerves. 

‘Does she come here every day?’  his voice was scarcely above a whisper. 

 ‘She comes often, and at a particular time, about three thirty in the afternoon.’ The guard answered. There was an odd gleam of curiosity in his eyes.        

  ‘She was not here yesterday. I think she will turn up today. She is a frequent visitor of this place. You may meet her if you wait till that time,’ the guard added, trying to be helpful.    

 ‘Yes, I think I should do that.’ Chirag said and turning, strode into the inside of the park, leaving the guard staring at his back. 


Chitra arrived at a quarter past three and moved towards the guard’s cabin. 

 ‘Hello there.’ She called looking at the guard’s cabin. No one answered. She was about to step on to the porch when she saw the guard approaching from inside the park. 

‘I was here day before yesterday.’ She said without a prelude when the guard neared. ‘I had some pictures with me and I was putting them in a folder when the storm wind blew. Some of them were blown away in the wind. Have you come across them by any chance? They are really important for me.’

‘Were they pictures of roses?’ 

 ‘Yes, yes,’ Chitra nodded excitedly. ‘Do you have them with you?’ 

  ‘I had. But a young man had taken them away just now. He too said they were important. It beats me what is so special about the pictures.’ The guard said.

‘Young man? What young man? Do you know him?’ Chitra asked desperately.

‘Do not worry madam,’ the guard said quickly, moved by her anxiety. ‘He is still inside the park. You may find him by the topiary plants.’

Without waiting, Chitra turned on her heels and brisked into the park. 


Chirag sat in a bench and looked ahead at the path leading to the spot amidst the topiary plants. His heart was beating fast. Half an hour passed.

He saw a girl approaching. She looked vaguely familiar. 

And the truth struck him like a bolt of lightning. It was the same girl outside the terrain of roses.  

The girl, now without her helmet on, was moving slowly towards the bench Chirag sat on.  

Chirag sprang to his feet. ‘Chitra!!!’ He cried out hoarsely.

Chitra stopped dead, and stared ahead of her.

Then she ran towards him, flinging her sandals away, her hair blowing crazily about her face, tears rolling down her eyes. 

He trembled violently and his head reeled. 

He lurched forward to get closer to the figure of the girl running towards him.    

All the elusive pieces, now out of the smoke haze, hurtled to their places in a blink, making it a whole and bright picture.  

He stumbled and fell into the embrace of Chitra, sliding down and down into the luminous alley of his missing past.

                                                                   --- * ---

Click here for the First part of the Story

August 23, 2023

How Come A Place Named after so...

 It's quite common every street has a name and sometimes the names of the streets evoke emotional backdrop when they have been named after something unique. Bhadrachalam , the temple town too has a place which throws a quizzical challenge with almost it's obscure name that one can, probably, never come across anywhere else. That's Thatha Gudi Center. Yes, you heard it right. It's  one of the oldest streets in the town. Everybody calls it as Thatha Gudi center. if we get it translated in to English which is roughly meant by Grand father temple center. Here is a temple of Lord Anjaneya in the midst of the center. But it doesn't have any connection with the name of the street.

And of course, we would behold a holy construction behind it and which is the temple of Sri Varadaraja Swamy. Some senior citizens opined that the street's named after the latter deity. It's clueless whether  Varadaraja Swamy has any other name like Thatha (Grand father) to get this center named as Thatha Gudi center. However, very few people seldom thought of it though they would go by and by on their own works over the place.  Once upon a time, this center was most prominent one with unending festivities, be it Sri Krishnashtami, Sankranthi, Sri Rama Navami and what not. Adults and children would gather here to wish each other. Lots of revelry and gala time. It is all a past thing now.

Up to mid eighties, some banks were around here and exactly to say, a few yards away where we find a medical shop at present. With passing time, Church street housed almost all banks and which turned a busy place ever. Transformation is unstoppable. Now Thatha Gudi center has it's own importance but not the sheen of yesteryears. Then we have had Atmaram book stall around here and it was synonymous to allrounder in stationary materials. Here we have some age old Arya Vyasya hotels with glorious past in serving lip smacking items. 

--- Murthy

#Street #Name #Strange #Awesome #Old

August 21, 2023

Allotment of Liquor Shops Was Done

 District Collector Dr. Priyanka said that the process of allotment of liquor shops was done in a transparent manner through lottery.  

The Collector participated in the lottery process conducted for the allotment of 88 shops under the auspices of the District Excise Department at Bhadradri Auditorium in Zen colony, today. On this occasion, the Collector said that as per the guidelines of the State Government, Excise department has taken applications for setting up liquor shops from 4th August to 18th.    

                     She said that 5057 people have applied for 88 liquor shops across the district. She said that the lottery process in the presence of the applicants was done with utmost security and the process was videotaped. LED TV has been installed so that the applicants can watch. She said that passes have been issued in advance to control the crowd so that no untoward incident took place, expressed happiness that the lottery process was conducted in a very transparent manner in a calm environment amid tight security. 

Additional Collector Rambabu, Excise Deputy Commissioner Janardhan Reddy, District Excise Officer Janaiah, Excise CIs, SIs  and others participated in this program.

#Allotment#Liquor shops

Crime Review Meeting

 SP Dr. Vineeth G IPS held a crime review meeting with the district police officers in the conference hall of the district SP office today. On this occasion, the SP said that all the police officers should perform their duties responsibly so that the criminals are punished and the accused are brought to justice. He inquired about the details of the cases. He said that visible policing should be continuously available to the public as part of maintaining peace. He suggested that strict action should be taken against the people who engage in illegal activities that cause trouble to the general public. 

Special surveillance should be established and legal action should be taken against people who engage in unsocial activities like ganja transportation, matka and betting. It is suggested that special surveillance should be established on people who commit organized crimes and action should be taken against them in advance. Awareness programs should be organized across the district about the need of She Teams. They asked to increase the trust more. The police officers and staff who showed excellence in their duties were handed over certificates of appreciation. Certificates of appreciation were handed over to the police officers and staff who showed merit in their vertical-wise duties. 

Bhadrachalam ASP Pankaj Paritosh IPS, DSPs Venkatesh, Ramana Murthy, Raghavendra Rao, Rahman, Mallaya Swamy and CIs, SIs and staff of the district participated in this meeting.


August 15, 2023

Freedom is a result of many sacrifices : SP Dr. Vineet

In celebration of the 77th Independence Day, District SP Dr. Vineeth G IPS unveiled the national flag at the SP office today. Speaking on the occasion, the SP said that the country got freedom because of the sacrifice of many  precious lives. He said that independence was achieved after tireless struggles. Many people sacrificed their lives in the history of freedom struggle and it is our responsibility to inform future generations about their sacrifices. He informed that the staff are performing their duties responsibly and are providing services with integrity and honesty. Everyone is requested to be a partner in helping the dreams of the warriors who laid down their lives to achieve freedom for our country.

Additional SP (Operations) T. Sai Manohar, AR Additional SP Vijay Babu, Bhadrachalam ASP Pankaj Parithosh IPS, Palvancha DSP Venkatesh, Kothagudem DSP Rahman, Manguru DSP Raghavendra RaoIllendu DSP Ramana Murthy , DCRB DSP Mallaya swamy, CI Venkateswarlu, AO Jayaraju, SB Inspectors Nagaraju, Raju varma, Police officers union president Srinivasa Rao and other staff participated in the event.

"Jailer" Movie Review

 Rajani Kant strikes again with a pulsating and racing thriller Movie Jailer. Intelligent twists, mind boggling narration mixed with apt cast did a wonder at the Box-office. The movie falls into many genres. How.. ? It's is a pack of revenge saga, hilarious comedy and sentimental melodrama all these ingredients tinged with the power of other regional super heroes like Mohan Lal and Shiva Rajkumar and of course from Bollywood Jock Shroff also there.   

Rajani is so shrewd about what character is tailor made one for his present constraint of age. As a grand father doing Youtube videos with a kid opens up a novel move into a grand plunge of action in its own way. His son, a police officer,  was reported to be murdered by an international smuggling gang in dealing with concerned activities. And the same thing was maintained low key among the top brass of the department. It triggered many doubts in Rajani.

Then our hero girds up  to move in his own way with the help of his henchmen Mohan Lal and Shiva Rajkumar and Jocky Shroff. He hatches intelligent game plans constantly in order to face with the cruel don Varma. One must watch the show how the entire game lasted and how an ex-Jailer of Tihar prison outwitted Varma the monster in disguise. Action scenes and comedy scenes are the real oxygen to the movie. Director Nelson Dileep Kumar has done a magnificent job to uplift the movie in every aspect.

Alchemy of grand stars seem to get good results even by now from all quarters. Anirudh's Musical score helped but songs wise no number is catchy when compared Rajani's movies in the past. This review is based on the Telugu version of movie. We don't whether the original flavor not reflected in the dubbing version. However, this time Rajani magic came as a big bang with a mix of all masala ingredients. Climax scene conceived in the picture is stunning and it justified at the same time.

Rating : We give no rating. It's purely for entertainment purpose.

--- Murthy


August 13, 2023

The Police extended the welfare programs in the remote tribal pockets

District SP Dr.Vineet.G who toured extensively in Charla and Dummugudem mandals, yesterday and on behalf of the  Police Department SP started the development programs in remote tribal villages, the aim of the police is to provide minimum facilities to the migrant tribal people said SP Dr.Vineeth.

 Additional SP Operations T. Sai Manohar, Bhadrachalam ASP Paritosh Pankaj IPS participated in this program along with SP. Earlier, SP Dr. Vineeth G IPS started a free mega medical camp organized by Charla police at Burugupadu, a Gutti Koya village in Charla mandal.  Medical examinations were conducted for children and old people and all they belonged to 50 families.. Medical examinations were conducted by a special medical team from Bhadrachalam and Charla.

 Volleyball kits were given to the youth of the village. Later, when floods occurred in the middle of the Charla to Pusuguppa road, the roads were washed away and people's traffic was disrupted. 04 bridges are to be  constructed on this road with central government funds and SP inaugurated concerned works. He said that henceforth the people of Pusuguppa will not face any difficulty in reaching Charla. He laid the foundation stone for the construction of the protection wall at the Unjupalli CRPF camp.    

 After that, they handed over a Ganuga oil mill equipment purchased at a cost of Rs.3,20,000/- to the villagers of Unjupalli. A land survey was conducted with the authorities to construct a sports complex for the youth of the mandal in Charla Lenin Colony. The newly constructed sports complex in Dummugudem mandal was inspected and several suggestions were made to the officials there. Speaking about these programs, the SP said that the district police department is constantly working for the welfare of the migrant adivasis in the district. 

Charla CI Rajagopal, Dummugudem CI Ramesh, CIs Ashok, Raju Verma, SIs TVR Suri, Narsireddy, Keshav and other staff members participated in these programs.

August 12, 2023

Sri Kusuma Haranatha Baba Shrine at Bhadrachalam

 Very few people knew about the temple of Sri Kusuma Harantha Baba located at Bhadrachalam. In fact, it's a very old temple constructed some decades back in memory of renowned Bengali saint Haranatha Baba. The temple is in high altitude and one can see the whole town and the serene Godavari river view from here. And the most acclaimed Lord Rama's temple is just nearby and besides the Shivalayam, almost at the adjacent to visit. Pilgrims who visit the temple town usually pay respects here to the Baba couple. But some people hardly know where to go from. The nearest way is from the Shivalam from where steps atop can be seen to reach the Kusuma Haranatha Baba temple.

This shrine is ideal for meditation and sublime solitude especially for who have deep spiritual leanings. Because the place is free from hustle bustle ambience and the holy presence of saint couple can be felt by the pure hearted aspirants. Sri Harnatha Baba (1865-1927), a unique advent made relationship with God born at Sonamukhi, Babkura district, West Bengal. He showed many miracles as a great Yogi and was considered as a reincarnation of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his life time. His style of teaching was unique from others. Babaji wrote thousands of letters to his devotees sprawled across the entire country.

His followers are in almost all states of India but they keep their devotional activities in a low key comparing to many other sects sprouting up these days. Baba, in his life time, had many followers from different religions as his principal attitude was to know the Almighty through pure love. He didn't establish any cult or organization. His consort was Kusuma Kumari, most pious and devotional in attitude towards the preaching of Haranatha Baba. Both were regarded as "Kusuma Harana Baba" by the devotees. In your next visit, try to see the holy shrine at Bhadrachalam. 

--- BI Desk

August 7, 2023

Mission Indradhanusu


District Collector Dr. Priyanka launched the Mission Indradhansu program at Indiranagar Primary Medical Center of Palvancha Mandal on Monday. Mission Indra Dhanush advised everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. 

The collector said that the Mission Indra Dhanusu program will be organized from today to the 12th in all the primary health centers of the district. According to the National Immunization Program schedule, unvaccinated children between 0 to 5 years of age and pregnant women have been identified, and the unvaccinated children and pregnant women will be vaccinated in special sessions organized as part of the Mission Indra Dhanusu programme.

July 29, 2023

Rose Is A Poem In Red (Story)

                                       (Part-1)                                          --- Dr. Snehaprava Das                                                 

          Chirag waited in the platform for the train. It was sultry and irksome there. He was not interested to travel on that day. But father had insisted. There were some important documents which he wanted to get to his uncle who lived in another town, some three hundred kilometers away from his own. Father could not get leave from the office. So, Chirag had to carry the documents to his uncle.  He knew Chitra would wait for him in the park that was at the far end of the town and would finally return home, disappointed and angry.  Whenever Chirag was in the town, they usually met at the park in the afternoon when there were very few visitors. The rendezvous were not very frequent these days since Chitra’s college was closed after her final examination. She was preparing to join her postgraduation course in the university which was nearly five kilometers away from the main township.  But they were always in the lookout to for an opportunity to steal away one or two magic hours of their own from the vastness of time. And the park at the other end of the town was their choicest hangout, where no one knew or no one cared to know them, where their blessed privacy was not interrupted.  Chitra had called him last night and asked him to meet her at the park.

  But the plan of the journey to his uncle’s town came in the way quite unexpectedly.

 He had tried to contact Chitra in the morning to call off the meeting but it said that the person he tried to contact was not reachable at the moment.

  Chirag tried Chitra’s number once again but the call could not be completed. The mechanical voice at the other end repeated the same message, ‘the number you are trying to contact is currently out of reach,’ as it had been doing since morning. ‘What is the matter with Chitra’s phone? Where is  she? Maybe she is at some place where there is no network. But she should have informed him if she was visiting some such place.’ Waves of restlessness were sweeping over him, but he had no alternative other that wait for Chitra to call him back. He unzipped his backpack and took out a glossy looking diary and opened it at the page where a beautiful picture of a rose was painted. Under the picture was written a short single-stanza poem. His lips parted with a secret smile as his gaze roamed above the lines.


  He remembered the day he had seen Chitra for the first time. There was a slight drizzle. Cradling her books in her arms she stood at the stop waiting for the town bus. Call it a coincidence or a thing preordained, he too waited at the same stop because one of his friends had borrowed his bike. They were the only two people at the bus stop. He cast a furtive glance at her. There was an overpowering charm in her face that was difficult to resist. He felt instantly drawn towards her. He moved a bit more into the shade and gave her a small, shy smile. But she did not smile back and held the stack of books more closely to her chest, looking embarrassed. ‘Where will you go?’ he ventured to ask finally. ‘Market Chowk’, she replied shortly. ‘Do you study in college? Which year?’ Chirag continued, feeling encouraged. ‘The Government College of Arts.’ The girl answered shortly.

‘Which year?’ Chirag repeated his question. ‘Third.’ Came the monosyllabic reply. 

‘I am not much acquainted with the geography of this town since I live at Delhi. I have completed my postgraduation there. I am preparing for the civil services My parents live here. I have come here for a break. I will be staying for a few months and then back to Delhi.’

If the girl had heard him, there was no visible change in her expression. 

 ‘Do you commute regularly by the town bus?’ Chirag said, intending not to discontinue the conversation. 

‘Most days.’ Another short reply. 

The girl now looked more embarrassed and discomfited. 

Chirag wanted to know more about the girl but the bus glided in just at that time. The girl hurried out of the shade and climbed into the bus. Chirag followed her into the bus. She took a seat by an elderly woman and Chirag had to move to a seat that was more inside. He longed for a more informal conversation with the girl. Sitting in a back seat he could not even catch a brief glimpse of the girl. He would meet her at the bus stop the next day, Chirag decided. The girl got down at her destination and his eyes followed her till she disappeared out of the sight. 

He waited for the girl at the bus stop the next day but she did not show up. A couple of days passed. There was no sign of the girl. ‘Did she lie to me that she commutes by the town bus?’ he thought despairingly. The beautiful face of the girl haunted him day and night like a nagging ache. It was more than a week before he saw her again. She was in the bus stop. Chirag stopped his bike and got down. ‘Hi there! Long time since we met. How are you, by the way?’ The girl did not say anything but her lips curled in a small smile. ‘How silly of me, I have not yet told my name. I am Chirag. The girl did not say anything. Chirag unzipped his backpack and took a neatly folded paper out of it.           

   ‘This is for you.’ he said holding out the paper to the girl. 

     She regarded him suspiciously.

‘Nothing you should worry about. Only a picture I have sketched. A small gift. I will be hurt if you refuse to accept it.’ Without saying a word, the girl took the paper and got into the bus that stood waiting for the passengers. 

 She did not come to the bus stop the next day, and the day after. Chirag was feeling restless. ‘Did she feel bad because he gifted her the painting of the rose without knowing who exactly she was?’ After a week’s torturous waiting Chirag decided to take a chance to meet her in her college. ‘It must be somewhere near the bus stop,’ he thought and went searching for. It took a little effort to locate her college but he managed to find it. After waiting across the road for some more days he saw her finally. That day too there was a light rain. He saw her coming out of the college gate, her face partially hidden by the umbrella she held over her head. Chirag dismounted the bike and walked towards her. ‘Hello, how did you like the picture?’ The girl swung back, startled. Then her face lit up with a knowing smile. ‘It was very good. Did you paint it?’ ‘Yes,’ Chirag smiled back, feeling elated at the girl’s unexpected response. ‘Here is another one.’ He said, offering another folded paper to her. The girl took the paper without hesitation and unfolded it. There was a gleam of admiration in her eyes as she looked at the picture of the red rose. ‘How beautiful!’ 

‘I have written a few lines under it. It is not actually a poem, but the words are straight from my heart.’ Chirag added. 

Her gaze swept over the lines written in a neat hand just under the picture of the rose. 


                                 When I saw her first time that day

                               A red rose bloomed in my garden of grey

A slight flush mounted to her face. ‘Like it?’ He asked guardedly. ‘A lot’ she said not looking at him. ‘Shall we meet tomorrow?’ He looked eagerly at her, desperately hoping her to say yes. She did not say ‘yes’ but her lips parted in an amused smile. Her smiling response was like a tacit assent. Chirag’s heart soared. 

‘If you don’t mind, I will gift you the painting of a rose every time I meet you.’ Chirag said. She lowered her eyes. An autorickshaw cruised to a halt near them. She clambered into it and told the driver the address. Then she turned to look at Chirag. ‘They are wonderful! The rose and the poem,’ she said with a smile. The autorickshaw had begun moving. ‘I am Chitra,’ she said above the loud revving of the engine and waved at him. Chirag waved back. The exuberance of emotions had set his heart throbbing erratically.      

   He met her again the next day and the day after, and the following day. The rendezvous turned out to be a routine matter. 

 Every day they would meet at the gate of her college or at the bus stop. And every day he would give her a picture of a rose which he painted on a page of his diary. There will be a couplet or a four-liner written under it that vented out his emotions.

‘It is really amazing that someone could paint so beautifully and write such enchanting poetry at the same time.’ She said once. They had grown relatively closer by that time and she had shed much of her earlier shyness and hesitancy. ‘I was not,’ he teased. ‘You made me so.’ 

‘How very romantic!!’ She laughed.

‘I have heard boys used to gift real roses to their loved ones. Why do you prefer a painting instead of the real rose?’ Chitra asked one day as they walked down the road to the bus stop. 

‘God makes the real ones. But I make these and I pour my love into them. God’s roses are for all. Any boy can get them and gift to his beloved. They are not special like mine. My roses bloom only for you.’ Chirag explained.  

Chitra looked at him, her eyes heavy with emotion. 


‘When will you be leaving for Delhi?’ Chitra asked one day.  They were standing at the bus stop.  

 ‘Why? Are you fed up with me?’    

 ‘Do not ask silly things. You know your absence will be tough on me. I do not know how I will bear with it.’

  ‘Same here. I will miss you terribly.’

 ‘Do not go!,’ she implored.  It was a husky whisper.  

  ‘I do not want to go either, Chitra. But father will insist. He has great hopes in me. You know it is one of the most ideal places for preparing for the civil service examinations.’

‘Yes, I know that,’ Chitra looked glum.

‘We will remain in touch constantly. And I will try to come every month. If things clicked in the way I expect them to, we will be together forever in a year or two.’ Chirag sounded hopeful. 

 ‘Be it so!’ Chitra said and smiled. 


‘My father has got a scooty for me,’ Chitra announced happily. 

‘Really? You do not have to wait for the town bus or an autorickshaw anymore.’  Chirag said enjoying her excitement.  

 ‘Yes, and it will also give me a freedom of movement.’ 

 ‘Nice. Will you give a treat or I shall do that for you?’

 ‘Let’s do it together,’ Chitra said, happiness spilling out of her voice. 

 They went to a small restaurant that also housed an ice cream parlour, at an apparently less peopled section at the outskirts of the town and had ice creams. Then they went to a nearby park and sat on a bench partially hidden amidst a group of topiary plants, holding hands, relishing the closeness. It was Chitra’s first day out alone with Chirag. 

  Earlier they were used to meet either at the bus stop or near the college gate. But this was the first time she was alone with Chirag in a secluded place. She was slightly disturbed, wavering between excitement and apprehension.   

 The big park was lonely at that hour. A slight breeze carrying the fragrance of the spring flowers swept about the hypnotic solitude.  Chirag took Chitra into his arms and touched his lips to her cheek. Chitra did not object. She buried her head in his chest and remained still, not wanting the moment to end. 

A cuckoo cooed in the dense foliage breaking the silence.  A flock of birds, as if they were waiting for a signal from the cuckoo, flew above them chirping loudly.  

The spell lifted. They moved away from each other. Chitra rose to her feet. ‘Let us leave,’ she said tremulously.  Chirag looked deep into her eyes. ‘Yes,’ he said after a long pause, and got up. 


 Days glided on. Spring soon slipped into summer. Chirag went to Delhi for a month and came back. It was getting more and more difficult to leave away from Chitra.

 They took care to meet at unfrequented areas of the town. The park at the outskirts of the town was the most ideal spot for their clandestine meetings.

Chitra’s college finals were over and it was not easy for her to meet Chirag every day.  He wanted to be with her all the time whenever he came from Delhi but despite their yearning for each other their meeting was not a regular thing.   

 She had to make different excuses at home for coming out to meet Chirag. She rode to places far away from her house, where she would not chance upon any known face and called Chirag to come over there.  But every time they met, mostly in the same park at the far end of the town, Chirag would bring her the painting of a rose and a micro poem, as he called it, steeped in love. 

Both of them had taken meticulous care not to be discovered together. Each had kept the relationship a heavily guarded secret even from the closest friends. It was sheer luck that their secret trysts were never discovered by any of their friends or family members.


   The first announcement of the train’s arrival was made. Chirag regarded the painting in the diary fondly. He had spent a large part of night in drawing the rose and writing a poetic caption. He would have gifted it to Chitra this afternoon, but the plan was foiled because of his unexpected journey. He had tried to call Chitra, but the call could not be completed. It said that the number he was calling was out of the range of network.  He texted her in WhatsApp but it seemed the message did not reach Chitra. He wondered what was the matter with Chitra’s phone. But there was no time to think about that now. The third announcement was made and the train juddered into the platform the next minute. The train was packed with passengers. People shoved one another frantically trying to get into the train. Chirag, using an effort that could have been no less than superhuman, pushed himself hard through the jostling multitude and scrambled into a general compartment. And it was almost a miracle that he found a space in one of the upper berths. He climbed up to it and squeezed himself between a fat elderly man and two young men who appeared to be college students. The train whistled and pulled out of the station. He tried to put through a call to Chitra once again, but there was no ring. The repeated beeps got into his nerves. Exasperated, he disconnected and put the phone back in his pocket. He took out the diary again and opened it at the page he had painted the rose.          

He read and re-read the lines he had written under the painting.

                    A few patches of clouds float above

                   And there is a light drizzle, 

                  Unsaid words, unrevealed thoughts

                  Still, love in the heart sizzles; 

       He sat holding the diary, visualizing the joy in the big black eyes of Chitra when he gifted her the painting.  


          The train halted briefly at a nondescript station and then began to move. A few minutes later it gathered momentum. Chirag had no way to see out of the windows since he was on an upper berth. The two young men were watching something on a mobile and laughing. The fat, elderly man sat leaning on the wooden partition and dozed. His head moved from side to side keeping pace with the rhythmic movement of the train. Evening had settled. It was hot and stuffy inside the compartment. He wished the train would reach his destination soon and spare him of the discomfort. As if it heard his wishes the train began to move in a great speed. The wheels rattled and jangled noisily as they hurtled along the rails. One of the young men looked up at him. ‘The train is moving very fast. We  will reach before time,’ he said. A coach attendant and the TC moved lurching past the aisle, followed by a passenger who was requesting the TC to conform a RAC seat for him. A sweeper scuttled in and began sweeping the floor with a long-handled broom. ‘Why is the train moving in such a great speed?’ A passenger from the lower berth asked another. 

 ‘Yes, it is moving unusually fast.’ 

 ‘It is odd, the train moving in such a speed.’ Another from the window side seat remarked. 

 ‘What is odd about it? Superfast Expresses move in this speed.’ The young man sitting in his front seat countered.  

  Suddenly the train began to sway violently from one side to the other. ‘What is happening?’ Voices cried out as the luggage began to fall and fly across the compartment. ‘Look at the sparks on the track.  God Almighty, save us! The wild screams of passengers resonated around as the train leaped forward, climbing high up into the dark emptiness at a demonic speed and the coach was wrenched off from the train and went toppling over the track. The lights went out at that moment and the  coach was shrouded in a blanket of blackness. Pandemonium broke loose. The frenzied howls of people combined with the ugly, loud clanking of metals hitting one another with a gigantic force and the wild rattling of the wheels that rolled like crazy made it a horrendous hellhole. The upper berth was unhinged from its place and came crashing down. Passengers were falling over one another. Something cool and hard hit the back of Chirag’s head as he fell. The diary he clutched went flying out of his grip. There was a red- hot explosion inside his head. The only thing he thought about as the stifling darkness engulfed him was that the diary was gone and he could not give Chitra the rose he had painted with so much love when he met her. An earsplitting noise pierced the thick darkness around as the coach took another turn and skidded off in to the rocky field. He felt he was falling down and down, plunging into the bottomless depth of some dark, surging ocean.

 And then there was total silence.          


Chitra parked her scooty by the gate of the park and wandered in. She had called Chirag last night and asked him to come over there. She glanced at her watch and looked back at the road expecting him to drive over to the park. There was no sign of him. She took out the mobile phone to check if he had called. To her utter dismay she discovered that the battery had discharged. She cursed herself for forgetting to put the phone on charge before leaving for college. She had nothing to do but wait. She waited. A quarter of an hour passed. Still there was no sign of Chirag. She got up and paced about the park feeling strangely edgy. Then she sat down again and took out the plastic folder from her sling bag. She opened it with a tender hand as if the stuff it contained would suffer a damage if she did not take absolute care. In the folder there were the loosened pages of Chirag’s diary where he painted the roses. Chitra had asked him to paint the roses on drawing sheets but Chirag would prefer to paint them on the pages of his diary.  ‘This way every painting will have a date printed on it, noting the progress in our intimacy,’ he would say. Chitra would smile at his childishness.   

 She took out a page carrying the painting of a rose Chirag had given her when they had met last and looked at it intently. There were the inevitable poetic lines under it… She read the lines again and again. 

                            Not just a rose but it is my Love, dearest

                              Touch it with care,

                           It will bring me to your intimate world    

                               When I will not be there!  

      She ran her hand lovingly on the rose and the poem and put it back. The grey of the twilight had given way to a wispy darkness. It was not wise to remain alone in the park after evening. She rose to her feet feeling vaguely disturbed. What had held Chirag back? He would never miss a meeting with her unless there was a strong reason. Perhaps he had called her in the morning but her phone had run out of battery. She was in a hurry to go back home and charge the phone.  She drove back home wondering all the way why Chirag could not make it to the park. 

        She noticed the missed calls when she switched on the phone. There were five of them. Then she saw the text message, where Chirag had mentioned about his unplanned journey. He apologized for missing the date and promised to see her immediately after he returned. A sigh of relief escaped her. She laughed at her own foolish mind for imagining a hell lot of negative things.            

She saw the news of the train mishap an hour and half later on the television. The visuals were so gory and macabre that she shut her eyes tight. Her heart was pounding violently. It was the train Chirag was travelling in. Her head began to spin as a curtain of dark draped everything around. She slipped onto the floor, unconscious. 


        Chitra opened her eyes slowly and looked. They were all there, her parents, her sister, and a stranger who she guessed must be a doctor. There was apprehension and concern in each pair of eyes. 

‘She is in a shock. Perhaps the news of the train mishap had made a great impact on her mind. But she will be all right.’ The doctor assured. ‘Sensitive people react to such things more strongly than others. Be careful not discuss it before her.’ 

Her father went out of the room with the doctor to see him off. Her mother caressed her head. ‘Do not think too much my child,’ she solaced. ‘How can we help to prevent things that are pre-ordained?’ She brought a bowl of hot soup for Chitra and coaxed her to drink it. Chitra’s mind was in a turmoil. ‘What has happened to Chirag? Where is he? Is he alive?’ Tears streamed down her eyes. ‘O God! Please let nothing happen to him! Help him, God! Help me!’ She kept saying under her breath, chanting it like a litany. She drank the soup because she did not want to worry her parents. Her mother slept by her that night, afraid her daughter might have another panic attack if she was left alone. Chitra lay awake, staring at the electric fan in unblinking eyes, feeling stiff in fear. 


She left for college next morning ignoring the advice and admonitions of her parents. But she did not attend the classes. Instead, she drove straight off to the railway station. They had opened information centres at the railway stations to help people to know about their kins and relatives travelling in the misfortunate train. The station was crowded with people who ran here and there frantically inquiring about their loved ones. There was a mad rush at the information centre. After making several futile efforts to get in she sought the help of a fellow who wore the uniform of a TC. ‘

‘Sir, could you please help me find about a passenger named Chirag Sharma?  He boarded the train from this station.’ 

The man wearing the uniform of a TC regarded her with sympathy. It is still too early to know about each and every passenger, daughter. The picture will be clear by tomorrow.’ 

‘I can’t wait till tomorrow.’ Chitra said, agitated beyond control. ‘Please do something.’ She urged. 

‘Wait here,’ the man said and pushed his way through the frenzied beehive of anonymous humanity in front of the information centre. 

Chitra waited, her heart in her mouth, praying and hoping that the man would bring some positive news about Chirag. She saw him coming towards her after what seemed an eternity and ran forward to meet him. 

‘Did you find something about Chirag Sharma?’ she asked breathlessly.

‘I am sorry. No reservation was made against that name. He must be travelling in a general compartment.’


‘You have to wait a while before we can give you any specific information.’ He looked sad.  ‘The coaches nearer to the engine were the worst hit. Hope he was not in one of them’ he added, making an effort to sound assuaging. 

Chitra looked blankly at him for a long moment. Then she turned and walked out of the station dragging her feet that had turned unusually heavy. She had no idea how she was going to find some news about Chirag. She did not know exactly where his parents lived except for that his home was somewhere in the centre of the town. She cursed herself for not caring ever to ask Chirag about the exact location of his home. There never was any need for that.

  She started the scooty and drove to the park.

She sat in the bench where she used to sit with Chirag and took out the mobile. The social media sites were noisy with the news of the train accident. The pictures posted were morbid and repulsive. They made her feel like throwing up. The news reporters narrated about the accident in an ominous voice, each in his own style. There was a tightness in her chest and her heart felt horribly heavy as if something of an unusual weight was stuck inside it. She wanted desperately to cry out loudly, to get the choking lump dissolved and flow out of her heart. But no tears came to her eyes that were burning dry. She did not know how long she sat in the bench, still and numb, looking at the sun going down the west, seeing nothing. It was only when the security guard came in to tell that it was time to lock the gates, she came out of the trance. Moving like a zombie she came out of the park, started the scooty and rode off.  


She saw it the day after. It was there in one of the popular and widely watched social media site. One news reporter narrated it as if he was reciting a poem, in a voice professionally modulated to display the faked emotion suited to the occasion, to make the piece sound sensational and palatable. ‘The search operation for the missing passengers is going on in war footing,’ he said. ‘On the twisted track was found a diary where a poem was written in red. A poem in red,’ he went on with an artificial lilt in his voice, ‘a diary was found on the track, stained in blood, that carried the picture of a rose and a romantic poem underneath the picture… but the owner of the diary is missing. Is he alive or not? Where is he? It is heartrending! What a tragic end of a budding love story!!’ then he showed the closeup view of the page. A lovely red rose between a pair of lush green leaves on a green stalk. Under it was written a short stanza.         

                        A few patches of clouds float above

                       And there is a slight drizzle 

                     Unsaid words, unrevealed thoughts 

                     Still, love in the heart sizzles. 


        The page was stained in red at many places. Chitra knew what it was.


       She stared at the zoomed-in picture of the page, a chill creeping through her spine, her heart hammering against her ribs. The hard rock like thing that was stuck inside her melted and flooding waves of pain climbed up to her eyes. She flung herself into the bed and wailed her heart out. 

                                            (TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2)