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EXCLUSIVE: Can a Scarred Face look Beautiful? Spiritual Healing with Niraj Gera

Spirituality is a natural way to cake your face with layers of beauty and yet bewitch the onlookers. It is the beautiful mind which speaks decibels for you, and not your the masked face which attempts to conceal your true self.

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Niraj Gera Photography
A photograph shot by Niraj Gera during the process of Spiritual healing
– by Naina Mishra

June 13, 2017:

Can a Scarred face look beautiful? Needless to say, yes! There is no parallelism between flawed and the flawless, yet our societal conditioning sows the seeds of imperfection amongst the populace. One amongst the myriads factors distorting the definition of beauty is the prevailing – “Make-up Revolution” which has inhibited a bogus satisfaction amongst the women for over many years. The caked face with layers of foundation was primarily used in cinema and wittingly embedded into the everyday lives of women. The fad for glamorous face grew so much that it started to breed an aversion towards the discolored faces. Seldom do we realize the pretense make-up does to our identity, the image you discern in the mirror is not who you are naturally. As a matter of true fact, it is the mask for which women want others to be smitten with.

Beauty is a godly force which does not conform to any rules to be photographed. People often feel intimidated while confronting their rough side in the mirror, struggling every day to gain acceptance and validation from others. They say, pictures can be deceiving, which indeed is true but someone who can portray an inner soul through the photographs is worth applauding.

Newsgram brings to you exclusive pictures photographed by Niraj Gera, who pictured Acid Attack Survivors in an alluring way which will give your existence a new outlook and a gateway to nurture your spiritual self.

Niraj Gera with Acid Survivors during Sacred Transformation

Niraj Gera’s artworks have been widely loved, admired and bestowed in some of the prestigious photography competitions. He also conducted the Art of Living – Happiness Program for the survivors which have transformed their life through ‘Sudarshan Kriya’, Meditation and other motivational sessions, and has helped them master fear and self-doubt to a greater extent. Through this Program, the survivors learned that the inner happiness and self-confidence does rely on any external source.

For they have now realized that when you are happy, the world becomes a beautiful dwelling.

The series “Sacred Transformations” is a series of 15 photographs paving its way from darkness to light–from misery to empowerment and from negativity to positivity.

Niraj Gera teaches Lakshmi, an acid survivor ways to nurture her spiritual self.

Falling in “Love with myself”
The world appears beautiful when one is happy from within. The photograph shows one such moment, where the survivor adores herself.  She is no more stuck with the nostalgia and has been able to break through the shackles of societal norms of beauty. She is now in love with herself

Falling in love with myself

The Unrobable Joy
The photograph displays the joy and enthusiasm of the survivor, which she realized, is her very nature and nobody can rob her of what exclusively belongs to her

 

The Unrobable Joy

Newsgram connected with Niraj Gera to understand the holistic essence of beauty.
As a photographer, what according to you is a perception of real beauty?

A beautiful mind manifests itself into the outer world. Meditation makes it easy. I therefore not only practice and teach but also recommend everyone to meditate and connect with themselves at a spiritual level rather than falling a prey to something so temporal.

The notion of beauty is, unfortunately, largely built upon societal conditioning. There are people out there who believe and condition others to believe that, if you are not fair, or if fail to meet the set standards of appearance, then you are not beautiful. I absolutely disregard such notions. They hold so little value that It’s such a shame, that because of these constructs, we often ignore and even go to the extent of shaming people for being themselves. Colour or structure is not everything. We need to realize and appreciate people with all their so-called ‘imperfections’ because that is what makes them unique and perfect. It is sad to see how easily we tend to give in to such relative concepts and forget the temporary nature of it. As a photographer and as a human, I believe it’s the inner beauty which is most important. It never fades. Nobody can devoid you of your inner beauty. A beautiful mind manifests itself into the outer world. To realize this I think it’s very important to connect with yourself and love yourself just as you are. Meditation makes it easy. I therefore not only practice and teach but also recommend everyone to meditate and connect with themselves at a spiritual level rather than falling a prey to something so temporal.

ALSO READ: No longer called acid victims- ‘Living with honor by Sheroes Cafe’ 

How challenging was the “sacred transformation” for you? Tell us how did you embed the confidence in these beautiful women?

I had some 12 to 13 sessions of photography with them in a span of 28 months.

 As a fellow being, it was a great learning experience, where I got to know these wonderful people, who are essentially no different from you or me. However, as an artist, I had a vision of what I wanted, and getting to that was not easy. Consequentially, I had some 12 to 13 sessions of photography with them in a span of 28 months. Well, gradually, half way down the project I realized that definitely as a photographer whatever I was doing was good for them, but then there was more that could be done. They needed to attend to their spiritual and mental healing just as much as they did to their physical healing and being. All of them had beautiful experiences and it felt really worthwhile to see them blossom and reconnect with themselves.

What in your perspective is a “PHOTOGRAPH”?

I totally believe that a photograph is worth a thousand words. If a photograph doesn’t tell a story then a photograph said to be incomplete. As a social activist, photography gives me a medium to express myself on different social causes. The artist inside me is always seeking to capture the real and raw emotions of people. I feel honored and blessed to bring out the unheard emotions of people from a different segment of society in front of the world.


Spirituality is a natural way to cake your face with layers of beauty and yet bewitch the onlookers. It is the beautiful mind which speaks decibels for you, and not your the masked face which attempts to conceal your true self. The lessons derived from the models pictured are timeless, despite facing the torment they are yet again in front of the world, looking at the mirror and talking to their spiritual self.
– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

 

 

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Do You Know there are only two Leaning Temples in The World? Visit the Leaning Temple of Huma in Sambalpur

Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

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Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

Odisha October 23, 2017: The famous Leaning Temple of Huma built in 1670 AD is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is one of the only two leaning temples in the world. It was constructed by the ruler, Baliar Singh, the 5th ruler of the kingdom of Chauhan of Sambalpur, Odisha, India. The speciality of this temple is it’s structure skewed to one direction.

Reason Behind its Tilted Structure:

It is regarded that the reason for its tilted structure could be some interior dismounting of rocky bed at which this temple is positioned, either because of flood current inside the Mahanadi River or earthquake, thereby affecting the position of this original temple.  An interesting fact to be noted is that the other little temples inside the Hamlet are also tilted to various other directions.

The finest time to visit this leaning temple is October to March. Enshrine your spirituality during these months and celebrate the festive season in the town of Sambalpur, Odisha. Shivratri is believed to be the chief festival of this temple. Hence, it advances a huge gathering specially during Shivratri festival during March. You may also find ‘Kudo’ fishes on the bank of river Mahanadi near the temple who are given food by devotees as a part of the worship.

Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

How to Reach the Leaning Temple of Huma:

By Road – Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

By Rail – Sambalpur railway station is the closest station from Huma. You may find taxis and cabs to drop you 23 kms towards the temple of Huma.

By Air – Bhubaneshwar is the closest airport to Huma which is approximately 290 ms away from Huma. Catch a taxi or cab to drop you at the exact destination.

Leaning Temple
Huma Leaning Temple is one of the two leaning temples of the world. Wikimedia.

Where to stay:

There are various hotels nearby the temple at affordable prices presenting the pleasant view of the outside village.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana 

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Talent Galore at the Auditions of Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017 Beauty Pageant

The pageant aims to provide all women with equal opportunity to showcase their potential, and discover and improve their expertise and talent.

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The jury of Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017
The jury of Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017

Kanpur, September 26, 2017 : Every beauty queen has a story to tell – stories of competition, confidence, and growth. Stories of belief, persistence, and victory. A story talking about her success and taking home the crown. But what is truly intriguing is to hear such success stories from married women in India, who dare to take a shot at fulfilling their dreams even after the society tells them otherwise. And this is the essence behind the competition, ‘Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017’.

ALSO READ Honoring Married Women- Glimpses of the Radiant Mrs Kanpur 2017: A Pathway to Mrs UP 2017

A unique beauty pageant currently taking roots in one of India’s largest states, Uttar Pradesh, Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017 is a pathway to the Mrs. UP beauty pageant that witnesses participants from all across the country.

Currently in its first phase, the audition and elimination round of Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017 was organized on September 19 that saw participation from over 56 women, out of which the best 12 participants have been shortlisted for the second round.

Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017
Participants at the Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017 competition.

The jury for the audition round included Mrs. Aditi Shukla, President, Inner wheel Club & Owner of Canpore Girls P.Ltd, Mrs Jaya Srivastava, noted singer and lyricist, who is also the Director of SUR TALL SANGAM and Dr. Ira Tripathi (P.hD) Clinical Psychologist & Counselor. Also in the panel were Mr. Sachin Mishra, director of Online Services P.Ltd. and Ms. Rashmi Dharampal Singh Bhadauria, director of A2Z Brand Communication Group.

The participants were judged on a variety of parameters that evaluated their confidence, wit, talent, presence of mind and also closely looked upon their personal achievements.

Radiant Mrs Kanpur 2017
Women from different age groups and backgrounds were part of the auditions of Radiant Mrs Kanpur 2017

A second phase of auditions and elimination has also been scheduled wherein the judges will shortlist six more participants to compete for the title of Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017, to be held on October 14.

Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017 aims to not only bring spotlight where it is due- on the married women who successfully manage work and personal life, but the competition also lends support to acid attack survivors and the transgender community of the Indian society who have chosen to not let circumstances hold them back.

The pageant aims to provide all women with equal opportunity to showcase their potential, and discover and improve their expertise and talent.

Jury, Radiant Mrs Kanpur 2017
Jury, Radiant Mrs Kanpur 2017

Thus, several acid attack survivors and transwomen also participated in the auditions, who took to the ramp to showcase their confidence and strength, thereby challenging the society’s trivial perception of beauty.

Radiant Mrs. Kanpur 2017 aims to bring together married women from all walks of life, to compete for the crown. The winner of the competition will also get an opportunity to participate in the upcoming Mrs. UP competition.

 

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10 quotes from Bhagavada Gita to kick start your day

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By Sakchi Srivastava

Bhagavada Gita or the Song of the God, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, is a narrative between Arjuna and Krishna. Krishna passes on sermons and teachings on life and death to Arjuna. These teachings are universal truths which have proved their relevance through millenniums. They are of extreme relevance to people of all ages, no matter which nationality they belong to. These are eternal truths which help every individual to pass the necessary ordeals of life.

Here are 10 special quotes from the Bhagvada Gita which can enlighten the mind and the soul –

1. “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”
People are born in this world as individuals responsible for their own actions. They should make their own decisions no matter how right and wrong they are, without trying to imitate others. People should learn to take ownership of their life rather walking on someone else’s road.

2. “I am Time, the great destroyer of the world.”
As goes the great saying “Time and Tide wait for none”, Bhagvada Gita also propagates the beliefs that time is the most valuable ornament of our existence. Any being belonging to any age group cannot afford to waste it. It teaches us how to be organized and have a productive and meaningful life. Once wasted, it can never be compensated.

3. “O Krishna, the mind is restless”
The mind is a powerful element that cannot be controlled by any force. It is its own master. At one point people believe in something and at the very other moment they support something else. The mind is always in a state of flux.

4. ‘Reshape yourself through the power of your will.’
Life should be conquered by the will. Will is the strongest emotion which drives the entire existence. People’s will to achieve their goals or to become something in life helps them to achieve success.

5. “Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward.”
People have the right to work, but never to the fruit of that work. They should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should they long for inaction. Hard work should be the soul dedication and the result will follow. People should always be patience.

6. “There is nothing lost or wasted in life.”
Everyone has the privilege of living only one life. People come into this world without belongings but as individuals. They should not have regrets in this life. They don’t even lose their loved ones, they are all here.

7. “Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”
Every man is an individual with different opinions and perspectives. A man is known by his beliefs. Whatever he believes in becomes his identity.

8. “There is neither this world nor the world beyond nor happiness for the one who doubts.”
Anyone who doubts his decisions, his likings, his dislikes or is not confident about his choices will fail to be happy no matter how many chances are given to him. He will not find happiness in any state of mind.

9. “One can become whatever one wants to be (if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith).”
All have hankering towards achieving goals in life. Though some are successful but some lose the battle because they are in doubt. People should understand humans have the capability to achieve everything in life only if they believe in themselves.

10. “I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Anything that takes birth is destined to die. Everything, that breathes, which includes plants and animals, also have a lifespan.