I have the pleasure of presenting one more article for this weekend.
The article for this "Weekend Thoughts" column has been contributed
by no one other than Sukant Mishra. If you have seen his postings in
ORNET you musst have come across his evergreen philosophy "Smile: It
increases your face value". In fact, this is a very warm message
delivered by Sukant to everyone (young or old). 

The article submitted by him reflects not only his childlike
simplicity but also reminds each one of us about what we had left
behind us in India when we came to the USA. Childhood is a glowing
memory for everyone. The incidents that happened during the
childhood days reflects the personality of a person. Some of the
incidents are immemorable and we always long to get back to these
days which we have left behind.

The incidents described by Sukant must have been experienced by many
of us. I remember those school days when I took "Fine Arts" (it was
fortunately an elective for us). Everyday, I used to get a BetaMada
from the teacher for drawing something illegible when I should have
drawn a tomato. My brothers and sister can describe more about my
abilities to draw. However, it is still pleasant to think about it
and to cherish those childhood moments.

It is important to realize that "We are the Present...We rear the
future...But we learn from the past". The following article will be
a pleasant reading for each and every Ornet member and also for
their family and friends.

Cheers and have a pleasant weekend :-)

Debasmita Misra

			>>>>> Intro <<<<< 

I don't know how to introduce Sukant Mishra because what I might say
about him could be too less in words. He is a person who has brought
smile into everybody's face whoever has befriended him. A great
singer, comedian and a very wonderful person.

This is how I had met him for the first time. One evening, Dr.
Subhas Mohapatra, who was visiting the twin cities was having dinner
with us. After the dinner, we had endless discussion about IAFF,
Orissa, life in general (Subhas babu is a good talker), etc. We
never realized how time was flying and Subhas babu was getting ready
to go back to his motel in downtown Minneapolis at about 12:00
midnight. This is when we heard a knock on the door. My wife opened
the door and we saw three smiley faces of Dr. Binayak Mohanty, Deepa
Mohanty and Sukant Mishra. They were all returning from Fargo, North
Dakota after visiting Dr. Suranjan Panigrahi.

Well, that's basically how we met for the first time and uptil now
the last time too. Anyone, wants an evening of light Oriya music and
song session alongwith humor should think of Sukant. My best
wishes are always with him. However, I cannot wish him any
further success in his life because he is a success in himself.
The following is a brief intro sent to me by Sukant.
           Sukant Mishra

Education: B. D. Bidyapith, Tangi
           Ravenshaw College, Cuttack (I. Sc.)
           R. E. C., Rourkela (Mech Engg.) (B. Sc. Engg.)
           Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (M. S.)
           Univ. of Southern California, LA (Currently a Ph. D. student
                                             in Production Management)

Hobbies:   Music (mostly listening to it & only sometimes playing it), 
           Reading (various kinds of books), 
           Drama (both acting  and watching - well, it used to be so in India)
           Cricket (Proficiency at "street" or "saahi" level)

Aim in life: Well, Errrrr...Hmmmm... Can I tell you about it tomorrow? 

			>>>>> Article <<<<<

                            MY CHILDHOOD DAYS

        It was a tough day for me. I was sitting in the exam hall, answering
what I thought (at that moment) the hardest exam of my life. I was in the 5th
grade and that was the day of "Drawing" exam. For some unknown reasons, God
had been a little too stingy while pouring  artistic qualities into me.
Sometimes I wonder, maybe the jug from which He was pouring these qualities
had only a few drops left in it by the time my number came in the queue. 
Anyway, to take care of this deficiency, I had made some arrangements with
Mitali, whose roll number was next to mine in the class. Mitali was extremely 
good at drawing (she was probably the 1st in the queue at God's 
Artistic Quality Distribution Department). According to our agreement, 
Mitali was supposed to draw the drawings for me in the test, and, in exchange,
I was supposed to help her out in the math test. Lady Luck, however, didn't
seem to be on my side that day, since the teacher was constantly making
rounds in our zone, rendering it impossible for me to exchange papers with
Mitali. As time passed by, I grew more and more impatient till I finally
gave up hopes and started answering the test all by myself. As far as I
remember, among other tasks, I was supposed to draw an "eggplant". In my last
minutes effort to draw it perfectly, I ended up drawing an entity, which
to a great extent resembled an open umbrella. The stem of my  eggplant was
looking more like the "U" shaped handle of an umbrella. Lest the teacher 
be confused with my drawing, I wrote (in capitals) "EGGPLANT" beside the 
figure and drew an arrow from the text to the figure. The next week, the 
teacher declared the results (of the drawing test) in the class, in which I 
had barely managed to pass. What was more embarassing though was the 
subsequent display of my paper in the class for public view and the 
endless mockery I was subjected to by my friends throughout that day. 

        I spent most of my formative years in a small town near Khurda,
named Tangi. The town was located amidst a series of hills and plateaus.
My house (the Govt quarters in which we used to stay) had its back towards
one such splendid hill (in fact, it was a tiny mountain, named Gobardhan). 
The magnificent scenic views of the place had brought into me an appreciation
of mother nature's serene beauty and had probably unleashed my mind
to a world of rich, unfathomable imagination. When I was in the  7th-8th grade,
I used to read a lot of world literature series (Vishwa Saahitya Grantha 
Maalaa) adventure classics such as Ivanhoe, Three Musketeers, Rob Roy, 
Kenilworth etc. (abridged versions). These novels had a great impact on my
imagination too. I used to go into the plateau behind the Gobardhan hills
and walk among the tall, slender Eucaliptus trees, imagining myself
as a knight travelling on horseback in the forest, going to rescue the
(imaginary) pretty princess locked inside the fort. 

        I would get a novel from the school library and would "hide" it
inside the thickest text book available and read it at home during the evening
"study" hours. Sometimes, when my mother came into my study room 
to check my activities, I would immediately turn the pages on to
the boring, dull geography book (which was the thickest of all text books I 
had at the time, inside which the thin novel used to maintain a low profile).
However, this seemingly safe manner of novel-reading could not escape 
the ever suspecting eyes of my mother, who was rather surprised to notice my 
sudden interest in studying "geography" for five consecutive days. 
The "real" cause was ultimately detected and I was kept under strict probation
 for a few days (during which I had to study near the kitchen
under the direct supervision of my mother while she prepared the dinner). 

         As is the case with most kids, my life has been greatly influenced
by my parents. My father had (and still has) an incredibly great sense of
 humor. Apart from various other things, the most important thing  I've ever 
learnt from him is the art of keeping  "cool" and acting steady under pressure.
I still haven't mastered the art to the extent he has. He is a very joyous 
person, who never seems to have any problem in life. Everyday, the most 
pleasant moment at our home used to be the dinner time - when all of us at 
home would sit to eat and enjoy listening to jokes and interesting experiences
from my father. My mother, on the other hand, is a very perseverant person
who firmly believes in perfection. Under her supervision, once I used to be
very punctual,systematic, neat and clean. These virtues, to some extent,
seem to have faded away with time, placing myself a bit on the
messy and untidy side in my hopelessly careless bachelor life. My mother 
(as everybody else's would) still writes to me to be regular in taking food &
sleep and to take proper care of health. Well, thanks mother, I'll try my 
        I could go on like this for ever, narrating the eventful formative
years, but refrain from doing so because of (i) time and space constraints :-)
and (ii) inappropriateness of some of the events as far as narrating those in 
Ornet is concerned :-)

        I do not believe in dwelling in the past. However, past is 
important in the sense that it always gives us some chance to learn something
from it. It very often provides the opportunity to take corrective measures
for similar or related situations in future. Besides, it definitely acts as 
a reference point to one's deeds. After all, we as a human society, 
the position where we  are now  has only been possible owing to our learning 
from the past and building upon it. Otherwise, we would still be 
reinventing the wheel and would never have moved beyond that point. 
However, my purpose of describing the above incidents  was 
not because of the philosophical-sounding reasons I mentioned just now; 
it was because it sometimes just feels good to bring back the old 
sweet memories and to share them with others - it's just as simple as that ! 

		>>>> Review and Comments <<<<<


I had requested Subhas Mohapatra to provide his inputs after
reviewing the article. I don't think Subhas babu needs any
introduction. However, I had requested him to send a brief intro
about himself. The following is what he wrote back to me in his own

I do not know what I should tell you about me. Suffice to say that I am
a 55 year old man who feels invigorated and rejuvinated by coming in
contact, personally or through other medium such as Ornet, with the
young and vibrant minds. I came to this country in 1965. I have two
college going children who are in the same age group as some of the
daily participants of the Ornet. 

Nevertheless, we all know that Subhas Babu is the President of IAFF
(Indo-American Friendship Foundation) through which he has been
consistently providing help and support to India/Orissa. He is a
pleasant person to talk to but also he is very adamant in his
thoughts and beliefs. However, from my personal experience with him,
I have found that he always had room for discussion and
consideration despite his strong faith and belief. I have seen very
few people who talk very straight like Subhas Babu. The best part of
his life (that I have realized) is the sincerity and pleasure he
has/derives from what he does. I have always found it a learning
experience for me whenever I have talked to him or corresponded with

		>> Subhas Mohapatra's Comments<<  

Dear Debasmita: 

Thanks for asking for my comments on the article. It is
always a pleasure to work with you. I have no criticism whatsoever on
the article or its author. But I will make some comments. It would help
 to identify which Tangi is the author's abode, since there are two prominent
Tangis (and perhaps some lesser known ones) in Orissa: Cuttack Tangi and Puri
Tangi. If the author is identifying himself/herself with Puri-Tangi, the
article takes me back to my childhood. Not only I was a student in Puri
Tangi High School, I vividly remember the circumstances under which we
heard that Gandhi had been assassinated while I was there. 

The author also describes me when he/she describes about the drawing
exam-experience. I never had the competence for reading and
understanding novels because of my obsession with games and sports, but
I did know many of my friends in the same boat as the author. In short,
the author has described a topic which is experienced by all youths in
all countries in one way or other. Through his/her accounts, he/she has
demonstrated the unique ability of binding all the adults through the
same cord of youthful experience. I agree with him/her that it is simply
fun to be able to go back in time and laugh at yourself relative to
incidents which at the time seemed of life and death significance. With
respect to history, I hold that that while it is a mistake to ignore
history, it is even a bigger mistake to want to leave through it.
The mark of good leaders is when they are willing to learn from history without
living through it themselves or taking their followes through it. The
author has demonstrated that potential: bringing history to the front
just for reminiscence but keeping it in the background for life and living.


Your comments are always welcome...

Sukant Mishra

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