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A literary evening with Shimla’s poets and poetry lovers at first-of-its-kind poetic event in city



Kavitactic Shimla

Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition.

once said Eli Khamarov, a writer.

SHIMLA – Indeed, they are. We are talking about an exciting, first-of-its kind poetic event “Kavitactic Shimla: Inaugural Chapter” scheduled to set stage for poets and poetry  lovers of Shimla on July 24 in the capital city where poets will get platform to come together and rejuvenate almost forgotten beauty and power of poetic words. Urbanized world filled with distractions known as electronic means of entertainment have discouraged literary minds and they no more dwell on mysticism and that meticulous art of playing with words rhymed together to express feelings in their purest form.  Poems have the power to stimulate introspection among readers. Poetry is addictive and dangerous. At least, that’s what Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic, once said

Poetry can be dangerous, especially beautiful poetry, because it gives the illusion of having had the experience without actually going through it.

Carl Sandburg, poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln that describes poetry in following lines:

 Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.

For those, who still find solace in poetry or literature, Shimla city is hosting an event aimed to bring unheard, unsung poets living in city together. The event is being organized by a small community of literature lovers named ‘Kavitactic that has already provided platform to about 70 poets in Chandigarh.  The community organizes regular events to keep flames of poetry alive.   Now, this community of poets has taken to foggy hills of Shimla and is inviting poets from all over the region to to meet other likeminded, literature lovers and share their works with each other. The event is scheduled to be held on July 24 from 4 pm – 6pm at the Café Shimla Times. Entry is free for all with foods and drinks.

To participate, interested poets can register for the event here and visit the event page on Facebook  for more details.

Kavitactic, a community of poets, aim to pave the path for the poets living in cities and to create a niche for them as well. Kavitactic has been associated with reputed names such as AIESEC India, Josh Meets, The Chandigarh Literati etc.

Shimla do have poets who are fascinated by the beauty with which nature has endowed the place. We had an opportunity to publish poem by a young poet, Himadri Sharma’s “ODE TO QUEEN OF HILLS” and the “THE HYMN OF HILLS”.  We expect more such poets to find platform to share their works.

For such young poets with spark, this event is a marvelous opportunity to recite their poem in front of sensible audience consisting of literature fans. There is no language barrier and no limitation about theme or topics. It can range from social issues to moon.

It might occur to most of us that rare have become poets and poetic hearts in modern civilization. We go through the literature and find that poets had shaken subtle sentiments of masses with poetry that has capacity to transcend stiff limits of physical barrier and laws of science. Poetry has never been about understanding; rather, depth of words touches our emotions and soul.  Thoughts without emotions rarely find motivation. There is no topic that didn’t find place in poetry. Poets have wrote on revolutions, wars, love, politics, society, almost entire universe or anywhere a mind can wander.

There is no reason why any passionate poets including  amateur poets should miss this opportunity.  This form of art must live and for that it needs soldiers (poets). If you are still not convinced how powerful a simple concept sounds in a poem, the here are some lines from “Stop All The Clocks” by WH Auden to end this post.


     He was my North, my South, my East and West. / My working week and my Sunday rest. / My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song. / I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.




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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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City Lifestyle

Pahari short film ‘Pashi’ selected for Oscar qualifying ‘Rhode Island International Film Festival 2017’



Pahari short film pashi by sidharth chauhan

Shimla – A short-film Pashi, from the budding short-film maker from Shimla, Sidharth Chauhan, has made into the prestigious Rhode Island International Film Festival to be held in the United States in August 2017. The festival is held every year since 1997.

The film is produced under the Secret Corridor Picture and it will be film’s first international premiere.

RIIFF is an official Oscar qualifying event. This year, PASHI is the only film selected from India. If Pashi manages to grab an award here, it will be directly nominated for the prestigious Academy Awards or the Oscars Awards.

Sidharth has been in news since 2014 and some of his other short-films like “PAPA” and “Boys Don’t Wear Nail Polish” have gathered awards and appreciation on the national and international level.

PASHI means a trap in the regional Pahari dialect of Rohru (Nawar valley), especially around the villages like Tikkar, Pujarli, Dhanoti, and Khalawan. It is a very old traditional concept used by villagers and children to hunt birds and animals.

The film is inspired from Siddharth’s childhood memories in his native village Dhanoti (in Rohru).

Pashi, written, directed and produced by Siddharth, is a story of a young boy (Chetan), who learns about this technique of trapping birds from his old grandmother (Savitri Ji). He begins to practice it. His friend John encourages him to go for it while his mother is worried about his future.

The film was primarily shot in Sunta Lodge, a beautiful wooden mansion of Village Khalwan. Some of the parts were also filmed in Village Dhanoti neat Tikker.

The production team is excited on receiving the news. “As an independent film production house based in Shimla, this is a dream come true and an unparalleled honor for all of us,” said the team.

Lead actors include Chetan Kanwar, a Class XII student at the Chapslee School, Shimla, John Negi, a model/actor from Rampur, Kamayani Bisht, an English Professor at the Government College Theog, Savitri Devi Sunta, the oldest family member of the Sunta family in Khawalan.

Supporting case includes Dewansh Kanwar (Chapslee School), Aditi Sunta ( Rohru), and Dev Ranta (Rohru).

Other crew members are as followed.

  • Assistant Directors: Mridul Surbhi, Shefali Chauhan & Ankit Rathore
  • Camera: Yashwant Kumar Sharma from Shimla
  • Music: Prabir Sekhri from Canada
  • Sound: Tanmaya Das from Mumbai
  • Visual Effects: Himanshu Hirwani from Pune
  • Story/Direction: Siddharth Chauhan from Shimla
  • Associate Producers: Swati Chauhan & Ankit Rathore (from Delhi)

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City Lifestyle

Shimla-based travel writer releases his new book “Tea Shop at Narkanda”



SHIMLA- Recently, Shimla-based travel writter, Sumit Raj Vashisht released his new book “Tea Shop at Narkanda”.

The book is a story from the hills. Through the life of Birju, the protagonist, the book talks about the victims of the natural calamities such as flash floods and cloud bursts. The over construction, the thinning of forests and increasing number of traffic in the hills are causing various destruction. The so called development is bringing unfortunate desolation. How miserable the life becomes due to the natural calamities in the hills is the flavour of the story. The traditions of the life in the hills, around which the life revolves are fading away, are also talked about in the book.The book is now available on Amazon.

Sumit was born at Shimla in 1967. His father, a railway engineer by profession also a well known Urdu poet under the pen name of Talat Irfani, was never interested in leaving Shimla. But because of his official transfers he had to move first to Rohtak and then to Delhi. Sumit’s phase of academic education was spread over these three towns because of which despite being a nature lover and a writer on nature based themes could not acquire the culture of big towns.

teashop at narkanda

Hills, his first love, where he hails from, here he tells stories, conducts educational camps for school children, writes books on his travels, works as a Heritage Guide and a Tour Companion on Himalayan Valleys outings and helps those British who return to India looking for their family history. His innovative ideas of providing experiences to his traveler clients have made Shimla Walks, his company famous.

In his words,

it is impossible for me to live away from the mountains. Mountains travel like blood in my veins and when I inhale; they enter my mind and body.

Sumit has authored five books already but Tea Shop at Narkanda is his first novella.


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