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Himachal’s first ever video game tournament puts up a great show, young gamers awarded





Himachal’s first video gaming tournament, ‘Game-Out’, received a warm welcome from young and talented gamers. Himachal Watcher had the honor of being official media partners of ‘Game-Out.’ After an entertaining two days of competition among over a hundred contestants from various schools and institutes of Shimla, the best gamers were awarded for the hard-work they have been doing in front of their personal computers and PlayStation consoles. They proved it that video-gaming isn’t just hitting the controller with all five. One needs to have the skills and reflexes required to play complex games like FIFA 2013, and it was for the first time that such skilled gamers were awarded in the small Himalayan city, Shimla.

Contestants competed in two categories namely, FIFA 2013 and DIRT 3. ‘Game-Out’ received a good number of registrations for the event, which turned out to be a great gathering of young participants, especially school kids from almost every school of Shimla. Sadly, there was only one student from a government school amongst hundreds of other participants. That speaks a lot about the level awareness and the fate of majority of students studying at Himachal’s government schools.

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The event was organized by Shimla based organization ‘DamnGeeky’ – a venture of Flexinet Solutions in association with Arena Animation. , Himanshu Sood, being an avid gamer and owner of Wake-n-Bake which is one of the finest restaurants at Shimla Mall showed his presence in the event as the Judge. He has represented India at International level as a gaming champ. Mrs. Nandini Mital, the news editor at Shimla Doordarshan, was also present as the game fest as chief guest of the event. Surprisingly, Nandini herself is a diehard fan of video games and she even had a round of DRT 3 with Himanshu at the event.


Defeating Aksaht Walia of Stokes Memorial School, Sameer Sood came out as the winner of FiFA 2013. Sameer is a student at Arean Animation at Sanjuali. Karan Mashta of UIIT HPU stood third. Sanyam Chauhan of Stokes Memorial School grabbed the winner’s trophy in Dirt 3 after defeating Nitin Bhardwaj. Jatin Kumar, a student at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jatog claimed the third position.

However, the prize for the ‘best player’ of the event went to Chetanya Bhardwaj, a student of D.A.V. Lakkar Bazaar. He impressed the judges and viewers with a wonderful display of his gaming skills.

Amazingly, the beautiful trophies were not some expensive mementos bought from a fancy store, but were handmade and prepared from old automotive parts, which is an awesome demonstration of recycling junk material into something creative.


Three geeks from DamnGeeky and organizers of the event, Guarav Sood, Bharat Bushan, and Yash Sharma, are skilled bloggers. They are on the web for the last 10 years. These guys have similar plans for future. They’ll be organizing another gaming tournament soon. And have planned a special gaming tournament for girl gamers of the state too. While talking to the three organizers, they told us that motive behind organizing this first-of-its-kind game fest is to promote a platform to gamers of the region and promote their Do It Yourself (DIY) project. The aim is to highlight Himachal’s school talent on an International platform, to promote reuse and recycling, and to provide an apt platform and an international exposure to the science projects prepared by school students, which are otherwise dumped in dark storerooms. That adds to a motivation beyond gaining good grades in exams and encouraging students to take interest in the practical aspect of education.


About DamnGeeky

DamnGeeky is your one stop portal for all the latest gadgets, automobiles that turn eyeballs, DIY, robotics and innovative technologies that will shape the future. The web portal has huge reader-base in US, UK, India and other locations spread across the world making it amongst the best technology magazines in the region.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

City Lifestyle

Self-taught local artist to exhibit ’17 Paintings’ oil painting works at Gaiety, Shimla



Shimla: For the art lovers and critics in Himachal Pradesh, a self-taught local artist will showcase his collection of oil paintings titled “17 Paintings” on a two-days exhibition at the historic Gaiety Theater, Shimla on December 9 and 10 from 11.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

Surya Ranjan Shandil (31), who hails from Solan district, works in Bengaluru as a computer programmer in the field of education technology. After his schooling from Shimla, he obtained a B.Tech Degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

Himachal's cutlural paintings

Courtesy: Surya Ranjan Shandil

However, he did not ignore his love for the painting and continued it at evenings after college, work, on weekends, and Sundays.

Later, Ranjan realized he has a collection of his own. His first solo exhibition was held in November 2016 at the Gaiety Theater.

The appreciation he received at the first exhibition encouraged him to present his second collection of oil paintings that he painted during 2017.

He received his education upto Class 12 from Shimla’s St. Edwards and Dayanand Public School.

He is best known for his captivating genre paintings.

I started drawing at the age of 3-4 years. At that time, I used to sign the drawings with incorrect spellings of my name,

Ranjan told Himachal Watcher

His father, Dr R G Shandil, who is now retired, was a professor of mathematics at the H.P. University, Shimla. His mother Dr. Sandhya Shandil was a teacher at the St. Edward’s School, Shimla.

After graduating in 2010, I started with oil painting during the evenings and weekends. Gradually I built up a collection and in November 2016, I held my first solo exhibition of 29 oil paintings at gaiety,

he said.

local himachali painting artist

Ranjan’s paintings reflect people. The upcoming exhibition opens with simple themes like the joy of shopping, local festivities, celebration, dance and music. Most works painted on these themes are in the context of Himachal.

Surya Ranjan Shandil

Following these are mellow paintings ‘Seaside Nap’ and ‘Personal Sunrise’ – more subtle takes on human thought. The artist also takes a step towards satire in comically interesting works ‘Monkeys’ and ‘Chimpanzees’.

Slowly moving towards expressionism ‘Kayal’ takes the viewer to the realm of subjectless painting while in ‘Frenzy’ the artist dispenses with form.

Ending on a light hearted note, the paintings ‘Bonfire’ and ‘A Silent Conversation’ recreate the magic of Gabbar Singh and Rajesh Khanna on canvas.

About his love for painting, he said,

I believe art is a journey of constant improvisation.  

It would be his second solo exhibition. Earlier, he has participated and won prizes in several painting competitions throughout his schooling and B.Tech.


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Bollywood film-maker Onir conducting auditions in Shimla for his next film



Teenage Shimla girl actors

Shimla: Shimla-based production house ‘Secret Corridor Pictures’, run by award-winning filmmaker Siddharth Chauhan, is looking for new faces for Onir’s upcoming film “Kuch Bheege Alfaaz”. The film will be shot in Shimla.

Onir is a National award-winning director and producer. He needs a young girl in the age group of 14-18 from Shimla to cast in his film.

Onir has directed films like: My Brother Nikhil, Bas Ek Pal, Sorry Bhai, I AM, and Shab. His ‘Chauranga’ had won him multiple awards last year.

The Secret Corridor is looking after the casting & production process for this film. The production house is currently scrutinizing applications and organizing auditions.

In the first round of the auditions was conducted online and five finalists were selected out of over 50 applicants. These five candidates were invited for an interview with Onir on October 8, 2017.

The production house is also looking for actors in all age groups for other projects.

Onir’s films are known for the unique content that works as a trailblazer for the Indian film industry.

He is the man behind ‘My Brother Nikhil’ – the first Bollywood film that addressed the sensitive topic of homosexuality and AIDS.

His other film ‘I AM’ had won him the prestigious National Award & many other awards at various international film festivals.

The interested candidates can apply for auditions alongwith their pictures and other details. The candidates can either apply through e-mail at [email protected]” or through Facebook.

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Himachal gets a ‘War Museum’ at Dharamsala as reminder of martyrs



dharamsala war museum

Dharamsala – The ‘War Museum’ at Dharamsala was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. He also laid the foundation stone of the Freedom Fighters Memorial at Dari.

The War Museum, he said was a reminder of the sacrifices of the valiant soldiers of Himachal Pradesh, right from recipients of Victoria Cross to Parmveer Chakra. The Museum would offer a flashback to learn more about the Nations first Param Vir Chakra recipient, the highest gallantry awardee, Major Somnath Sharma to late Captain Bikram Batra, Saurabh Kalia, and others who laid their lives for the sake of the Nation.

Recalling the Kargil war, he said that 54 brave soldiers from the soil of Himachal had laid their lives. These sacrifices will find mention in this War Museum.

The Museum is spread over a total area of 2190 square meters and built at a cost of Rs. 9.85 crores. Outside the Museum, the statue of General Zorawar Singh and murals of heroic deeds are on display.

The inner Hall houses busts of Vir Chakra awardees, Jamedar Bhandan Ram and Jamedar Lala small description of their legend on the wall against a golden background.

The busts of Param Vir and Vir Chakras include those of Major Somnath Sharma, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, Captain Vikram Batra, Major Sudhir Walia, Hony. Captain Sanjay Kumar.

The Museum also houses photo gallery of all PVC recipients of the country besides the medals of various gallantry award recipients including Victoria Cross, Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra etc.

war museum himachal

Photo: Divya Himachal

There is also a 5×2 foot Ashoka Pillar beside a Pakistan captured flag, regimental flags, Medium Machine Guns etc.

The State government has requested the Government of India for MIG-21 and display of other warfare machinery, said representatives of ‘State Martyrs Memorial Service and Development Society’.

The inauguration of the Museum was timed with the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the quit India movement also known as ‘August Kranti’.

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