Kshitij Choudhary

Magic. Travel. Films. Vlogs. Reviews. & More.

Category: Blogs (page 1 of 2)

बिहार एक क्रांति है। #BiharDiwas

हम फूल कहें तो प्यार समझ लेना,

इंक़लाब कहें तो बिहार समझ लेना |

बिहार एक क्रांति है। आज से नहीं सदियों से। लेकिन आज-कल ये क्रांति बहुत फीकी पड़ चुकी है। ना जाने हम किस ‘आज’ की होड़ में घुसे चले जा रहे की अपना कल मिटाते चले जा रहे। हाँ, थी ज़रूरत बिजली की, सड़कों की, गुंडा-रहित बाज़ारों की, लेकिन इतना तो कम-से-कम होना ही चाहिए था ना? हम आगे कैसे निकलेंगे? सिर्फ़ कुछ सड़के और नए मॉल्ज़ खुल जाने से हम विकसित कहला जाएँगे? वैसे भी, गगनचुंबि इमारतों और फ़्लाइओवर्स के दौड़ में भागे ही जा रहे, भागे ही जा रहे, लेकिन दौड़ रोक नहीं पा रहे। हाँ, प्रदूषण की रेस में अव्वल ज़रूर आ रहे।

सड़के तो बनती रहेंगी। हम क्या चाहते है? क्या चाहिए आपको? जिस ‘सोने की चिड़िया’ को पूरा भारत दुनिया को अपना बताता है, वो बिहार है आप। हमारा इतिहास, जिसे भारत अपनी विरासत बताता है, वो बिहार है आप।

सरकारें आएँगी सरकारें जाएँगी, लेकिन क्रांति रहनी चाहिए। ये बिहार रहना चाहिए।

– क्षितिज चौधरी

#BiharDiwas2020

Bizarre Rat Religion | Photo Story | #TravellingHaathi

Rajasthan has always been a land of mystery and wonders. Once such wonder is found almost 10 kms. from Bikaner, called Deshnoke. Through a short series of photographs let’s empower our curiosity about the ancient Karni Mata Temple, or what the world calls it, The Rat Temple of India.

Brown furry rats crisscrossing the marble floors of the 600 years old Karni Mata Temple (Rajasthan) where they co-exist with humans.

Home to about 20,000 rats, at Karni Mata temple they are treated like royalty. In this picture squirming masses of rats are enjoying the milk poured out in large saucers for them. Stepping over any rat is considered a bad omen.

The rats live in their community peacefully and the human interference doesn’t seem to bother them. In this photograph I captured few rats sneaking behind a Dholak Wala who holds regular folk and religious musical sessions inside the temple premises.

Cute little rodent creatures are sunbathing on a bright winter noon. I love how that fat rat in the middle is looking into my camera with his sleepy eyes.

People from distant lands come to witness the rat society and worship them. They come in direct contact with these animals and rats too interact with humans in their own ways. There has never been a case of plague or other diseases transferred from the rats to humans and seen as divine protection from Karni Mata (The Rat Goddess). In this picture, a woman of faith is feeding a rat in order to impress the Rat Goddess and earn her blessings. Karni Mata Temple is a great example how bizarre can faith and religion be and to what extent people follow them. I loved my journey to Deshnoke (in Rajasthan) where this temple is situated. The locals loved telling me little intriguing anecdotes about this place and its importance. Karni Mata Temple is where curiosity ends and begins.

(Pictures by Kshitij Choudhary shot in December 2015)

I Think I’ll Do Some Magic | Turning 21

This blogpost was supposed to be posted on my birthday, 24th June. I was travelling in a no-network zone, so I failed to do so. Post my journey a series of engaging incidents kept me busy and yet again I failed to post it until now. A  succession of occurrences have happened so far. First let me take you through what I’ve experienced on the day; i.e my birthday.

24th June, 2018

Why is everything out of place? So much of turbulence and chaos running through the veins.

Turning 21 has not been an easy task. A lot of people have made it to 21 and beyond. A lot many, couldn’t. I’m grateful to everyone who helped me being who I am and pushed me hard enough to survive to witness the terrific twenty-one.

Today went really bizarre and by that I mean in a mental way bizarre. My dearest friend, my brother, had an operation. A real painful one. My nani called me to wish me Happy Birthday and she was waiting for this day since last month. She repeatedly asked my aunt, “Is today 24th June? Is today Bobo’s birthday? Call him, I want to wish him,” for thirty days long. The fact that my lovely Nani had to wait a month just to find an occasion to dial my number and have a reason, just to talk to me, was really disturbing to me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reciprocate the love she has given me.  What am I becoming? What have I become? Am I not a good grand-child?

Contrary to that I had a different encounter with my father today. Really sweet and pleasing, but, different. We hugged today. I held him in my arms like I used to in my childhood and gave him couple of sweet kisses on cheeks like I have a photo of ours when I was six. I almost forgot how it felt to hug him and be around his warmth. That moment instantly had me emotional and brought me down to tears.

Months passed and now it is September. I’d say wake me up when September ends but hell no! This ugly month didn’t let me sleep, didn’t allow me to have peace. Just when I thought I’m almost there to balance my life, a tragic incident happened in my family. My beloved Nani passed away.

When the news of her sad demise broke, it broke me into pieces. It shattered me so deeply that I stopped thinking rationally and went over-flowing with emotions. And I should have. She was a great deal to me. No one in my life has ever given me the amount of love than her. No one can or ever will be able to stand with me like she had. She was a constant source of energy to me, a beam of positivity, a ray of happiness and reason to progress and do better in every step in life.

My Nani had her entire world limited to her children and more than the children, her each breath was devoted to her grand-children; the six of us. She has always kept me motivated at every turn of life and was with me at every ladder that I’ve taken so far. She was the first person to hold me in arms when I was born. For twenty-one years of my life, I had the opportunity to be with the one who saw me and discovered me for the first time. She was the first human I ever saw, I ever touched, I ever felt. The bond that was created was far stronger and holier than the umbilical-bond.

I have thousands of memories with her and of her; and they can’t be ever forgotten. It is often said that a mother’s love is the purest and no other love can supersede that. Well guess what? This ‘fact’ is not an invariable truth. A grand mother’s love can surpass all the highest parameters ever set by the mothers of the world. My nani has been a profound example of this. A person, who’s love is unfathomable. John Green has truly said, “some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” 

It’s just so impossible to imagine a world without the greatest beauty and most powerful source of happiness to me.

She’s now resting in my heart and in my memories forever. I won’t ever let her suffer from the Oblivion’s curse. Her physical actuality might have ended but her high-spirited energy and unquestionable love can never seize to exist.

She has believed in me more than I have believed in myself and I’m not going to let her down.
Some people’s parts just ain’t that long…
I’m still going strong.

I’m twenty-one now. I think I’ll do some magic.

Claustrophobia

Does it ever happen? When you’re surrounded by tons of people and friends who’re partying around and you’re a part of the party too. Do you also feel lonely in the crowd of familiar faces and figures? Dancing on tunes you like or might not like. Grooving with someone you’ve had crush on or maybe it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend. Well, physically? Yeah. But mentally?

Does it ever happen that you feel alone and secluded even when you’re a vital part of the group? Does it ever happen that the happening times you spend with your colleagues and friends make you remorse and morose? Or if not morose then irritated and unwilling to participate. The fake smile that you stick on your gloomy face that it gives fake brightness? Does it ever occur to you why it happens so even when you’re a part of the society? Do you feel incomplete too?

Contrary to this, I don’t know why I feel complete and blissed when I am out on my own. When no one else is there, I don’t feel the urge to stick the fake smile, well that’s because I wear a natural one. The shine and brightness of the face tells emotion and feeling, and that is not gloominess at all. When on mountains and trekking, nature or near a dam, lake or ocean, when out into the wilderness, I feel solace in simplicity of the nature. The abstract of the environment, the purity and the asymmetry. No mirrors, natural night lamps, the stars on the roof which are not stickers or paint. Boundaries unseen, just green towers and giant rocks.

It all defines happiness, felicity.
Then why do we seek fun and thrill in the chaos of the metropolis and fake parties? Why are we even looking for something that pure in the impurity. Why don’t we know that we are going in the wrong direction?

Just why?

Book Review: ABCs of Horror | Anmol Rawat |

‘Hush little baby, don’t say a word

And never mind that noise you heard

It’s just a beast under your bed

In your closet, in your head’

    (excerpt from Circle of Life)

ABCs of Horror is a collection of frightful short- stories that ties diverse types of fear together in an arresting account, which feels as genuine as the element sitting directly behind you when you are home alone. Authored by Anmol Rawat, ABCs of Horror is indeed a decent read with the fact that it’s a debut book. I don’t much expect first books to be in-line with the already ready market of readers who are accustomed to the taste of Ruskin Bond or other classic writers. Having started reading ABCs of Horror with the same mindset, I was raised to a conflict within myself about the pre-defined notion for debut writers, that too who start out with horror.

Front Cover of the Book

I believe ‘horror’ to be a tough one among other genres, and Rawat did try his best to deliver justice. Although I have a strong feeling that it could have been better. Read during night and you can have the chills, read it in the morning and you won’t feel a thing. I found it funny how the emotion, the set-up and the entire spooky scenario changed with respect of time. At first I thought it to be a thing about horror stories, but then again, never felt the same while reading Bond or Minakshi Choudhry. Talking about horror, I think the stories were more creepy or spooky than actually being horror. Although, the introduction to each story is well-built and mostly the narration is in conversational style. One liner climax and endings are what I admired the most.

What I like about Rawat is that, being a debut writer, he sticks to the simplicity of language and its composition. Unlike various others, who start out with sentence structures that are too tough to understand. Using gargantuan words, they think they are delivering quality but the reality is quite the opposite. Considering this, Rawat has done great job with stories, research and the structure. I only hope he had done more focus on the horror part.

By giving 3.5 rating (out of 5), I would recommend you to buy this book, which can act as a total thrill-enhancer on your boring rail journeys.

PS- Only available in digital format on Kindle.

You can buy this here on Amazon.

Majnu Ka Tilla – Walkthrough of Tibetan Street Food

Manu Ka Tilla; a Tibetan refugee settlement on the banks of river is also known as the ‘Mini-Tibet’. The Tibetan culture is one of the most unique and interesting cultures and if one wants to see its glimpse in Delhi, one must explore ‘Mini- Tibet’ or ‘Majnu Ka Tilla’. As one will enter the narrow lane of Majnu Ka Tilla, colourful prayer flags will definitely catch your eyes. Right in the centre of the colony is a monastery around which the hustle and bustle lives. Despite of the fact that the place is thronged by the tourists, there is a sense of peace in there.

35To know one’s culture one must explore their food. And Tibetan street food is just a level up! Cheap, quick, juicy and super tasty. Manu Ka Tilla is a perfect destination in the capital for your Tibetan food cravings. Enter at the inviting sight of colourful people and smell of spicy meat curries, which will hit your nostrils.

Everything from their juicy buff sausages and momos to laping rolls, cece salads and shabalay, will make you keep going back for more.

Directed, Shot & Edited by Kshitij Choudhary.

A film by Kshitij Choudhary.

Here’s a walkthrough of the food world that Majnu-Ka-Tilla has to offer.

A Sad Day (RIP to the Souls Departed)

It’s such a depressing day. News of the sad demise of so many people related to me or to people I am related to, just shook me.

“Today is a good day and I tell this to myself everyday.” I work on this formula and every morning I start with a happy note. But today, I couldn’t. Even though I had other reasons to be happy, I couldn’t.

About 6 people died in past 72 hours. The news itself was highly shocking and depressing. I have no idea how to express my grief or not express at all. It’s just, it is depressing. It is depressing enough to ruin days, weeks, months even.

I wish I could have a good today like every other day, but I didn’t. It’s how life plays. The thought of them not with us anymore is disturbing and even an attempt of imagination is deadly and disastrous.

It has destroyed my mental health so much that I can’t even dare to guess the family’s condition and dearer ones’.

RIP to the souls departed.

Top 10 Things To Do in Patna | Beginner’s Guide

Patna is not a vast city in comparison to the metro cities and many other popular cities. But it doesn’t make it less interesting. If you’re on a tight schedule or on a short business/leisure trip, here are few places in the town that you should visit and experience the city’s life and soul. There is lot to do and many places to go, through which you can satiate yourself. Here are some handpicked places to visit in Patna that will provide guaranteed satisfaction to you if you’re short on time and have no idea where to start.

Buddha Smriti Park

A regular light and sound show happens inside Buddha Smriti Park. It is peaceful and tickets are cheap too. It’s nice for a walk in the evening. There are also the remains of Purana Jail and a museum too inside the park. The museum has a different entry ticket.

Ganga Aarti at NIT Ghat

A must visit is Ganga Aarti at NIT Ghat (Bhagirathi Vihar) which happens in the evening on weekends. On weekdays you may take a nauka-vihar (a boat ride) to reach the Ganga Beach and if you are lucky, you may find Gangetic Dolphins playing in …….. (click here to read full article).

 

(image courtesy: Saurav Anuraj, Meow Studio)

The Superhero Within

It feels good when you save the world. Planted several trees in my locality and near by areas on my birthday. I hope more and more people would join the superhero squad and plague this motion.

Because, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

You can also do it without bragging about it like I am doing currently. No, I’m not showing off. I have my own honest intentions to do so. As an individual, as a citizen of Earth, it is my duty to do every bit I can to save the world. And it is my duty to encourage every other.

I believe in you. And I know, that you too want to be a superhero, because you already are. No DC, No Marvel. You are your own franchise.

Plant trees. Make Earth habitable.

One step at a time. Towards resurrection.

My Radio Connection

The best thing about Radio is that,
आप बातें एक साथ हज़ारों से करते हैं,

और सुनने वाले को लगता है कि सिर्फ़ उनसे ही बातें हो रहीं हो |

© Kshitij Choudhary

Isn’t it amazing? Well, I think it’s magical. Probably one of the reasons why often people get so attached to radio or an RJ in particular (especially in ole times). Radio makes you feel special. Also an amazing companion in loneliness.

I have had a long connection with radio. My mother herself is a prominent radio artist from whom I have copy-pasted the genes. She is phenomenal. I gave my first audition for radio when I was, if I remember correctly, in 6th standard and eventually qualified the audition as a drama artist in All India Radio, Patna. I were called on contactual basis as per the demands in various single dramas or serials. The ambience of Akashvani is charming and, the fellow people that I’ve worked with are brilliant. I’ve always loved their company and while rehearsing inside the studio or recording the shows, I’ve always tried to groom myself watching the maestros. They are all so well-versed and versatile that I get astonished every time I work with them.

Years passed and here I am pursuing college degree. Luck or hard work, I don’t know but here again I am an active artist at Radio Amity 107.8FM (NOIDA). The work culture here is greatly different from what I’ve experienced at AIR. This is a community radio. I enjoyed working here and doing shows I like. Radio Amity itself is an experience to me.

Now when I am back to the city, my city, in my semester break, again luck or passion I don’t know, I receive this opportunity to work as an intern at Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM (Patna) . I owe everything to RJ Anjali under whose guidance-ship I am a learned artist. She has always inspired me and she has always there to mentor me wherever needed. It is because of her endless patience and managing skills I’ve learned how the India’s most popular commercial FM channel works. She is a true artist and more than an artist she is a performer. Thousands of people just get to hear her voice but I get to sit with her inside the live studio and see her ‘performing’ on radio. She is a bundle of talent, experience, and everything amazing.

It is her, from whom once I heard, “Radio is the theatre of mind.”
And that very moment it struck into my head like a gong and I started to flow overly into my deep thoughts. That touched me.

Inside of Radio Mirchi Studio, Patna and view outside on a lovely weather day. Pic clicked by RJ Shruti.

Throughout my radio journey I’ve met many fabulous people who excel in this field and will never fail to inspire anyone who’d meet them. When I work at AIR, I love my surrounding. Positivity is in the vibes, in the vibrations, in the microphone, in the sound-proof walls of the studio. Alike people everywhere. Intellectual class. It makes me leave behind all my gruesome memories or worries and, in-fact, relaxes the mind.

I’ve experienced almost all forms of radio. Be it Akashvani the legend, or Community Radio, or Commercial Entertainment Radio Stations. I’ve enjoyed working everywhere and each one has taught me a different meaning, a unique purpose of radio.

By accumulating all my intense love and little experiences, I can sum up that, Radio is not just a medium. It is a way of life.

Happy listening.

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