"Democracy" in India continues to be severely impaired. It is mercifully loaned to the citizens only to cast a vote during elections, but at all other times "democracy" remains a mere throwaway phrase, conveniently molested by the Indian political class.
The first morning, I woke up to a view of paddy fields from my window and the sounds of Sahu's buffaloes. He borrowed a Nano car from his neighbour for a week, expecting me to drive with him to where the weavers lived, about 3km away.
My father is dying. I watch him in his hospital bed, his face alternately contorted in pain and peacefully asleep. He has lost 10 kilos in the last year. The needles leave dents in his skin and every day, another machine wheels in and clicks on, taking another part of my father. I look for clarity everywhere. In newspapers, in magazines, in books, in the Gita, the Dhammapada, the Bible, the Koran. But I don't understand any of them.
In the 1950s, when John Steinbeck visited this gem along the Italian coastline he wrote an essay for Harper's Bazaar. "Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it," he wrote. Nearly 64 years later, not much seems to have changed.
When the West Indies won the T20 cricket world cup in April, it was a moment of joy for every cricket lover, even as England's Ben Stokes, who got hit for four consecutive sixes, burst into tears. Every cricket fan appreciated the Caribbean team's performance, especially since nobody expected them to win the tournament in style. But the T20 triumph notwithstanding, the West Indies have been on a downward trajectory.
Don't go on pretending and laughing while your heart is crying. Don't smile if your eyes are full of tears. Don't be inauthentic, because by being inauthentic you are simply protecting your wounds from being healed. Your whole being will become rotten.
In our films, we are not telling the stories of the cities we live in, the cities that consume us day and night, the cities that live within us no matter what part of the world we are in. Sadly, in Pakistani films today, our cities are reduced to mere stereotypical backdrops, divided by differing accents and infrastructures.
Tell me, what is the role of Salman Khan in your career? Is he your godfather? Do you owe your career to him? Did he train your vocals? What is his contribution to your list of hit tracks? How many songs have you sung for Salman that turned into chartbusters? We know the answers to all these questions. You're a self-made guy who stitched his career using the threads of rejections and challenges.
We might be privileged in a lot of ways but not when it comes to our financial situations. Compare us to the actual poor layer of society and yes, we are "entitled and spoiled." But compare us to our counterparts in developed countries who don't work half as much as we do or are half as qualified as we are, but are paid a fortune, then no, we are not "entitled and spoiled", we are helpless.
Taxpayers are always on the lookout for legitimate ways to save more tax. While section 80C continues to remain a favourite, there are ways to increase your tax saves further. Have you contributed to the National Pension System (NPS) in the last financial year? If your answer is yes, your NPS contribution can help you save tax in your income tax return filing this year
The disabled community doesn't like adjectives such as special people, persons with special needs, differently-abled or for that matter divyangjan (divine bodied) being used in reference to them. They want access to education, employment and economic viability. Let's work towards changing mindsets, not names.
One intervention that has helped to lessen the burden of discarded Tetra Paks in Bengaluru has been the upcycling of those cartons into baskets and bags by the creative humans at Anu Life and Joy @ Work. These projects seek to empower women by building livelihoods for them out of creating useful and beautiful products from materials that would otherwise fill the city's landfills.
Recently, Amar Singh, a once-flamboyant politician who is now lying low, dropped a bomb in his usual style, saying, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to propose Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's name for the next President of India." While no one takes Singh very seriously, his comment comes at a time when speculation about Pranab Mukherjee's successor is heating up.
If you're a true-blue, born-and-brought-up-in-Mumbaikar, chances are that your folks or school made sure you paid homage to every typical sightseeing spot in the city. Our kids, though, tend to turn up their noses at these very places. Many of us just throw up our hands in despair and say, "There's nothing exciting for kids here!" Well, that's just wrong. Here's a "hat ke" list of Mumbai places and experiences that we think every kid below the age of 12 will enjoy. See part 1 of this series here.
ISTANBUL -- Turkey has a new prime minister. It may soon have a new foreign policy.
BERLIN -- Western society is becoming starkly divided, pulled to the fringes of politics -- both right and left.
The BBC recently voted Chandigarh as the most perfect city in the world. In the midst of defining what a "smart city" really is and a massive government program to spur private sector investments in Indian cities, Chandigarh's new "designation" should raise some eyebrows. There is nothing "futuristic" as such about it, and there are some areas where signs of "development" are barely visible. Yet, despite its shortcomings, the residents of Chandigarh simply love the city -- predominantly because of the aesthetic of its design and master plan.
In a conversation with Renee Epstein in 1975, Michelangelo Antonioni, the Italian virtuoso and director of The Passenger brings up dramatist Luigi Pirandello. The playwright was once asked, "Why does that character behave like that?" To which, Pirandello had replied, "I don't know why, I'm only the author." This brand of detachment -- a kind of curious standoffishness from his subject, is often exercised by Antonioni himself.