Ongoing pandemic halts the iconic Ramleela celebrations in Lucknow this year

Much more than the sadness of missing out on performing this year, what is worrying the actors is the focus on virtual Ramleela by the state government.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic raging through the nation, Navratra celebrations have been muted this year. The annual prime attraction of this season, Ramleela, might not see the light of day in most quarters. The main artistes of this programme have returned back to their original occupations and most of the crew members have been left without any solid jobs at hand.

'Sita' is working at a salon; 'Ravan' is managing his garment business

"Since there will be no Ramleela this year due to the pandemic, we have no work to do. It does seem odd because for years, we have spent these months preparing for the shows," Sangeeta who plays the role of Sita, was quoted saying. Further, she mentioned, "I work in Ramleela and for the remaining time, I hold theatre workshops for children. But, now with the Covid scare, children are not coming so I have started working in the salon to keep things rolling and bring food to the table."

So Sangeeta is now working at her sister's salon, to get by. Rakesh Kumar aka 'Angad', is trying to get his gym back to business after a prolonged closure while 'Ravan' is managing his garment business along with his sons.

Speaking about the situation, Kumar stated, "We have reopened after almost six and a half months and I am working overtime to get the customers back. We have new packages, lower rates and timing relaxations to suit the convenience of customers. I do feel bad that I am not getting to play my role in the Ramleela this year- it was a small role but there was a great sense of involvement."

"The make-up artists, the costume houses and the light men have no work this year and they have not found another profession as yet. We are trying to get some work for them but these are difficult times," Rakesh said in a statement, who has employed two of his Ramleela co-actors in his gym.

Mohd Ashraf, who has been playing the role of Ravan for almost 12 years now, is equally disheartened. "It is almost like a part of my life has been put into a suspension, something missing. I have looked forward to bringing Ravan alive on stage, interacting with co-actors and learning up the lines. Suddenly, there is this vacuum because there is no Ramleela," Ashraf explained.

Much more than the sadness of missing out on performing this year, what is worrying the actors is the focus on virtual Ramleela by the state government. "If this trend catches on, then we will be out of jobs in the coming years too. A virtual enactment of Ramleela cannot replace the joy of performing in front of a live audience," says Ashraf.

This iconic ramleela event which has been happening at Daliganj area in Lucknow for years now, has left a gap in the lives of many, this season. Usually this time of the year is spent in rehearsals by the performers for this epic drama on stage, across the Hindi heartland as well as in the southern expanse.

With inputs from IANS

Mumbai scrapes-off fine for not wearing masks while driving private vehicles

Fines will still be imposed on people travelling mask-less in public transport and/or public places.

In a fresh set of guidelines issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Sunday, people will no longer be fined for not wearing masks inside private vehicles. In a directive issued by the BMC, all clean-up marshals were asked to exempt people in personal vehicles from the no-mask fine, priced at ₹200. However, this relaxation has not been extended to people travelling in public transport including taxis, rickshaws, buses and trains. Fines will also be imposed on people without face masks in other public places, stated the BMC.

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Abhishek Walia's latest show in Jaipur promises an evening of giggles and chuckles

The event is scheduled for the 6th of February at Jaipur's L.O.L cafe.

Have your new year vibes given up to the monotony of life already? Or, are you fed up with the uncertain times moving slowly through the pandemic? Then, light up your spirits for we know what you want! After your crazy laughter went on an uninformed vacation a long time ago, we know that your heart has been craving for an evening of exuberance, and comedian Abhishek Walia is coming to Jaipur with his brand new show, just to take care of that!

What's the cool thing all about?

Claiming to be an evening that would twist the obnoxious Kalesh in everyone's life into a laugh ride, the event promises to entertain its attendees with a live roast performance. The 1.5 hours long show would tickle its audience with the wittiest insights from the most usual experiences of life.

After winning The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Season 5, Abhishek Walia has made it to the hearts of young people across the country. A University of Delhi Alumnus with a history of working as an analyst and a trained anchor too, Abhishek has worked in a lot of fields before finally realising what his calling was. Having garnered millions of views on his roast acts available online, the artist shines bright in the Indian comedy circle.

For long we have been hooked to our youtube screens for all our doses of laughter amidst the lockdown and an outing like this, will surely provide for a fresh change for the head and the heart.

Knock Knock

Whether you are thinking of clearing your mind or dreaming of a memorable fun-time with your bae, this event definitely deserves your attention. To book your spots in the room of giggles and chuckles, find tickets here.

When: 6th February, 6 PM onwards

Where: L.O.L Cafe, Ashok Nagar Jaipur.

For the first time in Lucknow, ‘Gur Mahotsav' soon to be a sweet reality!

A haven for sweet-lovers, this fair will have stalls of jaggery, chocolates, sweets, candies and kheer up for grabs!

For the first time ever, Lucknow will host a 'Gur Mahotsav' showcasing the branding of jaggery and its related products. To be held in the city sometime next month, the festival was earlier set to take place last year. However, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, it was postponed.

A haven for sweet-lovers, this fair will have stalls of jaggery, chocolates, sweets, candies and kheer up for grabs! Bringing progressive sugarcane farmers from every corner of the state to Lucknow, this fest will also work as a central platform where agro-producers will be able to meet specialist producers and people from the food processing sector. This confluence will help the different groups to share their knowledge for symbiotic growth.

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In an attempt to benefit the children with special needs, the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has decided to implement a 50% reduction in the examination fees for them. Reportedly, a circular issued by the secretary of the Goa Board stated that the examination fee shall be decreased to 50% of its current value for all the specially-abled children who will sit for their class 10th or 12th board examination through an accredited secondary or higher secondary school.

No practical examinations fees for examinees with special needs

The amended fee amount stands at ₹ 525 for students who deposit within the stipulated time while it would be ₹ 1,025 if the late fee is added. These students will also be exempted from paying the fee for practical examination. Additionally, a reduced fee of ₹ 300 would be charged for providing the statement of marks and the passing certificate.

The board's resolve attempts to grant an advantage to the kids with special needs. Though the decision regarding the concessions was taken by the Goa Board's executive council in January last year, it is being extended to the students from the forthcoming board examination.

Not the first benefit scheme of the state board

As practised by all other boards of education, the Goa board also provides other relaxations to these students appearing for 10th and 12th examinations. Facilities like the help of a scribe are provided based on the nature and extent of disability.

The latest intervention is not the first of its kind in Goa. Since 2005, the Goa Board has kept a separate set of provisions for children with special needs. The scheme that underwent revisions in 2008 and later in 2018 is targeted towards providing financial aids to regular schools for establishing resource rooms and executing all-encompassing methods of education. Also, allowances are offered to the parents of these children for being able to avail facilities like physiotherapy.

A sanctum of serenity, Jaipur's  first-ever desert park, Kishan Bagh to open soon

Being the latest addition to the sprawling landmarks of Jaipur, this park is all set to shine like a jewel in the ornamented heritage of the city.

Fascinated by the marvellous architecture and culture of the historic city, tourists in Jaipur often lose out on exploring the mystifying deserts around it. To their rescue, comes Jaipur`s first-ever desert park, an innovative venture by the city development authority. Instituted in August 2016, Kishan Bagh may open its doors to visitors anytime soon as the works by the JDA and the forest department are nearing completion.

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