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SOS- Shivaji Park of Shimla – Plight of town’s children depicted in short-film by Vivek Mohan




SHIMLA– Film-maker Vivek Mohan has released the trailer of his upcoming short-film “SOS – Shivaji Park of Shimla”. The film is scheduled to be released on March 28 this year. The filmmaker, who is born and brought-up in Shimla, spent about six months to shoot the documentary that intends to highlight misery of children in Shimla. In this 21-minute short-film, Mr. Vivek has taken up an issue that hardly caught anyone’s attention – lack of playground or even open space for children to play. In Shimla, children literally do not have any open space to play, which is a matter of concern. He named the documentary after the famous cricket stadium in Mumbai that has produced players like Sachin Tendulkar. The Mumbai administration had opened the stadium for children to play. In Shimla town, the historic Ridge, which is basically a water-reservoir, is compared to the Shivaji Park as it’s the only common space that children have on the name of playground.

Watch Trailer:


Not just this issue, but he has taken up the issue of degradation of Shimla due to urbanization in his short-film. Mr. Vivek has also won the National Award for his short-film “Malana – In Search Of” on Malana village in Kullu valley.The current production would be his third dedication to Shimla.

It’s worth mention that Mr. Vivek has been raising the issue for years now. As per administration, letting children play on the Ridge causes inconvenience to tourists and people. The administration has always expressed its helplessness to provide even a single playground for children. Once, children used to play on streets when the traffic used to be very dilute. Now, the urbanization has snatched these roads, too, from children. The Annandale Ground is under army control and children can’t go there. World’s highest cricket ground in Chile is for showcase to tourists and children aren’t allowed here either. The open space at Chaura Maidan comes under restricted road and the one in front of gate of Indian Institute of Advance Studies is occupied by cabs. 

What remained was the historic Ridge Shimla where children used to play cricket or cycle around. However, the district administration and Shimla police have chased away the children from here as well.

As a matter of fact, children are not just deprived of space to play, but also from an essential aspect behind development of a healthy, complete personality in social context. It’s no less than violating the right of children to play and repression of their playfulness. Secondly, Shimla hardly produces sportsmen because of the same reason.

In 2011, after a letter from a child regarding lack of playgrounds to play, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had asked the Shimla MC why there were no grounds for children. SMC had mentioned lack of funds as reason in reply. Administration is completely blank on the issue as it struggles with carrying out usual business like water supply and sanitation. In such times, the filmmaker has come out with another attempt to highlight the plight of the children through his short-film. In fact, Mr. Vivek has created a public group “Halla Bol and Baat” on Facebook too. 

Shimla town is on the verge of losing its beauty, serenity, and purity of air. There is hardly any ecologically harmful practice from haphazard and unscientific construction on hill slopes to burning municipal solid waste that town doesn’t follow. In such times, cinema can play a vital role in highlighting such critical issues through short-films or documentaries.

In fact, Mr. Vivek has talked about lack of encouragement to young filmmakers in Himachal from state government. The artists are still producing sub-standard video albums while some others have found a platform through social media like YouTube. However, it’s a good time for the administration to step in and think about lifting the level of cinema in Himachal, said Mr. Vivek.

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 9 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 the world around him in his DSLR lens.

City Lifestyle

HPTDC’s Online Service for Ordering Food for Takeaway and Home Delivery Launched



HPTDC Online Food Order Service

Shimla-An online facility to place orders of food was launched by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation on July 21, 2020. It was informed by the HPTDC, Managing Director Kumud Singh. She said the Corporation has introduced a facility to place an online order of food for takeaway and home delivery at its selected properties.

“The public can place orders for a variety of tasty, hygienic and healthy cuisines at their homes by placing online orders,”

she said.

Consumers can place online food orders at these properties by visiting its website ( Currently, the orders can be placed from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The HPTDC staff has been imparted special training to take all necessary steps for prevention of COVID-19, she said. The food is prepared by trained Chefs of the Corporation in safe and hygiene environment, she added.

She informed that this service has initially been started at Hotel Peterhof Shimla, Goofa Ashiana Restaurant Shimla, Hotel Kunzam Manali, Cafe Monal Kullu, Cafe Raviview Chamba and Cafe Satluj Rampur. She said that this service will be extended to other properties in a phased manner.

Photo: Himachal Watcher

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Fursat Se- Shimla Based Cultural Community to Plant 550 Trees on 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji



Shimla-On the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, Fursat Se, a cultural community based in Shimla plans to plant 550 trees. The founder of Fursat Se, Amrita Bhasin, is working towards creating safe spaces for promotion of art, literature and open dialogue through the medium of events.

“We invite 550 people (&more) to pledge and plant one tree each and help us initiate a Green Movement by the people and for the people,”

She said.

Anyone interested in this, can pick a local tree sapling and plant it in allowed areas of the neighborhood and pledge to take care of it, and send the information on the same with a picture and hashtag #TreeTalesIndia to Fursat Se. For pledging, volunteering and becoming a part of this initiative you can contact them, and Fursat Se will share the pictures from their social media handles.

The initiative is organized by Fursat Se- A Cultural Community in association with- Swach Himalayas, a Himachal based NGO started by Savitoj Singh, that works towards spreading awareness about various environmental issues, undertakes initiatives like regular visits to old-age homes, orphanages through numerous community driven events and Unbox Himachal valley- a Himachal based start-up by Shivee Sirmauri, working towards empowerment of rural women by providing employment opportunities and reviving old cultural handicrafts.

Fursat Se- 550 trees plantation

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Himachal’s fitness enthusiast shines at Indian TV Reality Show




Himachal's Fitness enthusiast sachin sharma of Shimla

Shimla: Sachin Sharma, a handsome man of 26, is currently a person who stands in contrast to Himachal Pradesh’s ill-famed youth struggling with drug and substance abuse – a crucial issue that has sounded an alarm in the State. Sachin is the one who joined a gym at the age of 19 – an age at which teenagers are struggling to escape from the jaws of drug/substance abuse, especially Heroin (Chitta).

Sachin, born in a middle-class family of Deha village, Theog, Shimla district, recently appeared in what could be called India’s first fitness reality show “Indian Fitness League.” It wasn’t a bodybuilding show, but the challenge was to undertake tasks designed to check who is the fittest. Sachin was the only one from Himachal to have made through the auditions. He was selected as one of the 40 fittest people of India. He earned the special attention of the hosts of the show as well as among other competitors.

The next episode of the TV show would be telecasted on October 6 on Discovery Sports at 4 PM.

To know more about him, Himachal Watcher interviewed him (Watch Video). We found that his story is inspirational in its own way:

Far from ill and unhealthy habits, he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink or take anything that would toy with his physical and mental fitness. He definitely doesn’t take steroids. Since last seven years, he has followed a strict discipline in diet and habits. He didn’t compromise with his studies either. He completed his schooling from Dayanand Public School in Shimla.

In 2018 he completed his post graduation in Masters of Business (MBA) from Himachal Pradesh University and had procured a placement for himself too.

He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth so placement did matter for him. His father Mohan Lal Sharma and mother Subhadra Sharma are both serving with the Crime Investigation Department (CID), HP, as Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) and Head Constable respectively. It wasn’t easy to manage an additional expenditure of Rs. 15,000 – 20, 000 on his protein diet for seven years.

At this point, his decision-making ability was put to test. He had to choose one of the two: job placement and passion for fitness. He listened to himself and decided to seek a career in the fitness industry.

Though Sachin’s body is in good shape, he isn’t actually a bodybuilder. He is a fitness enthusiast, who has trained without a professional trainer or a mentor. He made ample use of YouTube to learn. He didn’t take up fitness as his passion because he was inspired by someone. He was his own inspiration.

He first received an opportunity to get on a stage at annual Mr. Himachal competition. Later he won the Maruti Suzuki Devils Circuit held in Chandigarh.

Now, after his tremendous performance at the IFL, Sachin has received sponsorships and was inducted in the TG Athlete group. Opportunities in the fitness industry have begun to appear before him. He believes that someday, he would extend support and guidance to other fitness enthusiasts of the state, which he could hardly receive for himself.

He is an idol for the youth of Himachal, especially because fitness is an antonym to drug/substance abuse and indiscipline. In the majority of cases filed under the Narcotics, Drugs & Psychoactive Substances (ND&PS) Act, the accused are reported to be between 20-25 years. A couple of days back Shimla Police arrested a 22-years-old local boy with a packet of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) stamps. 

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