Coronavirus Chaos: We have taken things for Granted

Let’s face it; we have all been caught off-guard, including those in the medical fraternity. COVID-19 has left everybody, including the economy, in shambles. Stocks have crashed, businesses have gone bankrupt, and a large number of human lives are being lost every single day. With more than 300 confirmed cases coming to light thus far, India seems to be feeling the heat of the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Back in 2011, Contagion, a film directed by Steven Soderberg, predicted the deadly virus outbreak. Upon release, the film was met with rave reviews, but nobody would have ever thought that some of our worst nightmares would come to life approx nine years after the film’s theatrical release. 

Come 2020; a global health crisis has left the world reeling in tatters. Despite all of the chaos, the disease has made us learn a few valuable lessons:

Death Isn’t the worst of human fears, misery is

The fact is: we have all taken human life for granted, haven’t we? Ah, there’s no point denying it. The virus has made us realise that the human race isn’t invincible. In fact, ours is a race as brittle as glass, and all of us are prone to disease, death, and misery. Also, it goes without saying that all of our hard-earned money can vanish within minutes, all of it. Just look at the plight of the stock markets if you disagree. 

‘Normal’ life has been derailed

We seem to be learning that our planet, and the life forms it sustains, are fragile, and we’re learning it the hard way. A godforsaken virus is killing people in large numbers while forcing us to practice social distancing. Grocery stores are running dry as people have started with the panic-buying exercise. We can’t even go out in order to meet our friends and colleagues, and eating out is now a distant memory. So, to top it all, we have all been robbed of the bite-sized pleasures of life. 

In all fairness, many of us have this habit of taking things for granted, don’t we? Take this for an example: most of us waste a lot of food, don’t we? And now we are here, trying to keep our body and soul together in an era where food prices are skyrocketing because of panic buying.

Furthermore, many of the popular tourist attractions across the globe have turned into graveyards. Take the example of Italy, the European giant. The country, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, has turned into a ghost town. More than 4,000 have died in different parts of the country ever since the pandemic showed its ugly head. 

To make matters worse, the country reported 627 deaths on Friday (March 20, 2020). The sick and the elderly have been dying a slow and painful death, and cannot be visited by their relatives. A feeling of perpetual sorrow seems to have made inroads into the minds of people, but there’s something much worse than sorrow, i.e., helplessness. People have been dying in large numbers, and we have done nothing (because we can do nothing). Such is life, you see. 

In all fairness, death isn’t the worst of our fears, but it is the pain of dying in loneliness that makes our hearts grieve. Nearly 6000 have died across Europe, and a lot of them cannot be given a proper burial because of the fear of contagion.

Usually, we do not value people till the time they stay with us, but the moment they are gone, we tend to experience emptiness and sorrow, isn’t it true?

All of us are dying to get back to work, aren’t we? Well, it has been long since I travelled in a crowded metro. Once all of this is over ( pretty soon, I’d like to believe), I guess all of us will begin appreciating the beauty of everyday life. 

Movie Review: “Guilty’ Will Make You Question Patriarchy, Privilege and Consent

Consent has become quite a popular term in the post #MeToo era and Guilty, starring Kiara Advani, reminds us that men of privilege do not think twice before violating women. Furthermore, the film also throws ample light on the fact that a large number of rape cases still go unnoticed. Guilty, directed by Ruchi Narain, throws light on a set of burning questions that are often swept under the carpet.

An Overview: 

 Less than a minute into the film, we see a college-goer being questioned ( grilled, in some ways) by the cops. The members of a college rock band are questioned after VJ, the band’s lead vocalist, and the son of a powerful businessman, is accused of raping one of his batchmates. All hell breaks loose when Tanu, the victim, posts a tweet targeting VJ. In no time, we see VJ being targeted by various sections of the society, but there comes a point when everybody, even those investigating the case, begins questioning the victim’s claims. 

Storyline:

Quite frankly, the storyline is watertight and doesn’t give you much time to think. It took less than 10 minutes for the makers to establish all of the characters. The best part about the story is: it goes about its business without beating around the bush. A large chunk of the film is narrated from Nanaki’s (Kiara Advani) perspective.

 There are sequences that make you uncomfortable. For instance: one of the students being questioned tells the cops that the victim is nothing more than a f*ck girl. Furthermore, the viewers are also made aware of the fact that Rani, the victim, had ” trouble written all over her”.

Image result for guilty film netflix

The Film does raise some Important Questions:

Right from frame one, the film succeeds in maintaining a ‘stern’ look and feel. Well, that’s because the director wants the viewers to know that sexual harassment is a serious offence. 

  • Why is a girl called a sl*t if all she wants is attention?
  • Why are rape cases politicized?

Despite a few minor flaws, guilty has its heart in the right place. The narrative of the film keeps swinging to and fro, much like a pendulum. The first half of the film showcases Tanu as the ‘helpless victim’ who has been raped by a rich and spoilt brat. But victim-blaming shows its ugly head and everybody puts Tanu in the line of fire. 

Performances:

Kiara Advani is the star of the show and looks unbearably hot in her ‘punk’ look. She plays the heartbroken lyricist and does so with ease. Also, she comes across as a ‘coconut personality’ and it won’t take long for the viewers to realize that this punk babe has demons running wild inside of her. (Does that remind you of Alan Walker?).

Gurfateh, who plays VJ, the spoilt brat, does everything you could have asked of him. There is that carefree (rather nonchalant) look in his eyes that screams aloud at times. Also, right from frame one, you get a feeling that this guy will get away with the crime unscathed. 

Taher Shabbir enters the scene right from frame one as he begins interrogating VJ’s friends. He doesn’t speak much and goes about his business with the utmost sincerity. Unfortunately, he comes across as a stone-faced investigator who has little or no room for emotions. In short, our investigator required a few punchy dialogues to make his presence felt.

Next on the list is Akansha Kapoor, who plays Tanu Kumar, a girl from Dhanbad, one of the country’s mining powerhouses. She is shown as a headstrong woman and doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. Despite being raped, she chooses not to hang her head in shame (which comes across as a big positive). Akansha shines right from the start despite having a limited screen presence. 

Image result for guilty film netflix

Here’s the biggest problem ailing this film: despite playing the victim, Akansha hasn’t been given enough screen time as most of the film is narrated from Nanaki’s perspective. 

Direction:

Ruchi Narain does a fairly decent job behind the camera by handling rape, an immensely sensitive subject matter with a great deal of sincerity and maturity. A 2-hour-long runtime does test your patience (at times), but the film deserves a watch for the powerful message it has in store for its viewers. 

‘Guilty’, despite a few minor flaws, ends up holding the viewer’s attention. Watch it for the message it has in store.

कितनी दफ़ा…

Shannon Amidon Contemporary: The Distance 2018

कितनी दफ़ा यह कहे चुके
कितनी दफ़ा तुमने सुन लिया
जो थे कभी मेरे साथ में
अब तुम भी फ़ासले दे चले

तुमको कहीं पे खो दिया?
या फिर मैं तुम्हे यून मिल गया?
के साथ में चलते चले
और फासला मिट’ता चला

जो थे कभी मेरे साथ में
तुम यून जुदा क्यूँ हो चले?
के भूल के भी तुमको हम
दिल से कभी ना भुला सके

एक बार जो मिले कभी
तो फिर्र जुड़ा ना हो सके
तुझे थाम के आगे चलते रहे
तक भी गये तो ना थम सके
तू क्या साथ है, या साथ नही?
तेरी कमी क्यूँ खलती है?
एक बात तो बता दे तू
यह ज़मीन तेरे पीछे-पीछे क्यूँ चलती है?

इक दफ़ा तो आवाज़ दो
राहों में तुम मुझे थाम लो
फिर्र साथ में चलते रहे
और गुम गये ये फ़ासले

picture courtesy: Pinterest

A ‘Versatile’ KL Rahul is a Much Bigger Asset

KL Rahul has been in red-hot form for quite some time. The lad from Karnataka has been churning out fifties at a rate of knots. Shikhar Dhawan’s absence from the side ( because of recurring injuries) has been a blessing in disguise for KL Rahul.

Image result for KL Rahul

He might appear a bit frantic at first in 50-over cricket, but he makes batting look ridiculously easy once he gets in. Also, he is equally good at smacking the bowlers around in 20-over cricket. 

To top it all, KL Rahul seems to have come of age. His talent was never in question, but talent alone cannot help you win matches. You need to be able to score consistently if you want to make your presence felt. 

Now, consistency is not everybody’s cup of tea. You cannot showcase consistency if your position in the batting order is insecure, but KL Rahul seems to have learnt a lot about versatility at a young age.

His place in the batting order had been a matter of debate for quite some time. Surprisingly, the lad from Karnataka has turned into a multi-purpose cricketer. He can share the opening duties with Rohit Sharma if need be. Batting in the middle order isn’t a problem either. Furthermore, he has been keeping wickets for his side. To put things simply, he has been punching well above his weight and you cannot ask for anything more, can you? 

Image result for KL Rahul

Back in January this year, KL Rahul was seen smashing the Aussie bowlers all around the park in Rajkot. His 52-ball 80 took his side to a score of 340. The thing that stood out was: Rahul batted at five, which isn’t his regular position in the batting order. Furthermore, he went about his business without consuming too many deliveries. Rahul, who started out as an opener, seems to have grown accustomed to playing in the middle order. Harsha Bhogle spoke at length about KL Rahul’s versatility while commentating. Here’s what the Tweet from the veteran commentator said:

Well, KL Rahul did not have much to choose as the opening partnership of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma has been in the limelight for quite some time. Till date, Sharma and Dhawan have scored more than 4500 runs while batting together. Therefore, the team’s think tank never felt the need to look beyond Dhawan and Sharma.

Now that Shikhar Dhawan is facing injury concerns, the team’s think tank wants Mayank Agarwal and Prithwi Shaw to work together as openers, which means Rahul might not get too many opportunities to open the innings once Rohit Sharma is back. But now he can cement his place in the batting order because he is a specialist batsman that can keep wickets.

How is a versatile KL Rahul helpful?

A wicket-keeper batsman is an added plus: It is always good to have a wicket-keeper batsman in the top five. At present, Rahul is batting at five, which means a couple of all-rounders can be sent in at six and seven. Once Hardik Pandya is match fit, he can be sent in at six followed by Jadeja at seven. Having two genuine all-rounders in the line up will not only lend stability and depth to the batting order, but will also allow the captain to go into the match with as many as six bowling options.

Image result for KL Rahul

The opener that can don many hats: 

The ‘multi-purpose’ batsman: You can ask him to share the opening duties with Rohit Sharma if need be. Batting at number four/five isn’t a problem either. Having a jack of many trades, that can bat according to the team’s requirement, happens to be an added plus. Want someone to bat at four and keep the ship afloat? Rahul is there to do the job for you. Want someone to bat in the middle order and score a quickfire 70? Rahul will do it for you. Simply put, he can shift gears in accordance with the match situation.

In six ODI innings in 2020 (Feb 20, 2020), KL Rahul has scored 325 runs with a couple of fifties and a century. There’s more to KL Rahul than what meets the eye. The hundred scored by him against the Kiwis at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui came while batting at five, after the team’s top order was blown away like nine pins.

Image result for KL Rahul

The all-format player: Back in 2015, during the fourth and final test match of the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Karnataka lad made the Aussies sweat it out at the SCG. He stitched a crucial 141-run partnership for the 3rd wicket with Virat Kohli. The then 22-year-old spent a good amount of time in the middle as he was ready to knuckle down but did not think twice before punishing the looseners. 

Three years down the line, he showcased his power-hitting ability and scored 659 runs in 14 IPL games at an average of over 50. His heroics in the IPL helped him transform into an all-format player from a ‘Test specialist’.

During the 2018 Tour of England, Rahul scored a scintillating century at the Emirates Old Trafford.

KL Rahul has been a vital part of the playing XI in recent times and has done reasonably well in the limited opportunities he has got. Here’s a specialist batter that can bat anywhere in the top five and his wicket-keeping skills come as an added plus. Therefore, having him in the playing XI is bound to reap dividends in the long-run.

बर्फ सी…

"Melting Snow," by Min Ma 24 x 30 - acrylic $4060 Unframed

तुझे भूल गया
यान फिर याद रख लिया
तेरी बातों पे,
मैं हस दिया

तेरी तरफ मुड़ कर जो रास्ता मिला
उस रास्ते मैं चल दिया
एक पल भी ना सोचा कभी
के वापस ना मुड़ सकूँ
बस चलता चला

जो सहम गये तुझे देख के
लिख डाला तेरा नाम सौ दफ़ा बर्फ पे
के चाह कर भी तुझे कोई मिटा ना सके
तू नशा सा है, बहका हुआ

तेरी याद में, जो मैं खो गया
मुझे पता नही क्या हो गया
मेरे दिल में तू ठहर गया
ना तुझे छोड़ सके, और ना तू मिल सका
क्यू कि तू लम्हा है, बरा सर्द सा
सर्द सी, ये मेरी ज़िंदगी
वक़्त हूँ मैं, ठहरा हुआ…

मैं तुझे सुनता हूँ, अब हर दफ़ा
आ तू पास मेरे, सुना अपनी वफ़ा
मेरे साथ तू रहता क्यूँ नही
क्यूँ है बर्फ सी, ये मेरी ज़िंदगी
तू है एक लम्हा बर्फ का

लफ्ज़ मेरे बिखरने लगे
जब तू सामने आ गया
दिल को तेरी कमी जो खाली
तो यह लम्हा मैने चुरा लिया

तेरे साथ मेरा, दिल जम गया
तेरे बिना यह पल मेरा क्यूँ थम गया
के पास तू रहे जा ज़रा
और धागे मेरी साँसों के, अपनी साँसों में ले मिला
है पिघली हुई मेरी ज़िंदगी
और तू एक लम्हा है, बर्फ का

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

Sergio Aguero and the art of going all guns blazing

Manchester City’s forward line rotates around one man, i.e. Sergio Aguero. At present, it is impossible to think of Manchester City FC without mentioning Sergio Aguero. He is one of the club’s most-consistent goal scorers. The club has been decimating oppositions in recent times, and Sergio Aguero has been in the form of his life for quite some time. The Argentine has been scoring goals at a rate of knots in the Premier League. He is the second-highest goalscorer in the 2019-20 Premier League season, behind Leicester City FC’s Jamie Vardy( as of Jan 30, 2020).

Picture courtesy: Pinterest
Picture courtesy: Pinterest

The defending champions are placed second, 19 points behind Liverpool. (Jan 30, 2020). Well, that is because they didn’t get off to the best of starts this time around. In September last year, they went down against Norwich (3-2). Wolverhampton defeated them in October (2-0), and Liverpool made them bite the dust in November (2-1). The lads from Etihad have witnessed as many as five defeats in 24 Premier League games this season (as of Jan 30, 2020). Consequently, they are sitting 13 points behind Liverpool.

But they seem to have found their mojo, and Sergio Aguero needs to be thanked for that. The Argentine goal machine has been finding the nets quite regularly these days. The moment he senses a scoring opportunity, he wants to grab it with both his hands. He believes in decimating the opposition. Drawn games don’t excite him. He sets foot on the ground in order to win. That is the way he plays.

Image result for sergio aguero goals in 2019-20

The Gamechanger

The good thing about him is: he knows his game. He is well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Well, his technique isn’t flawless, but it is effective. The moment he takes possession of the ball, he wants to create scoring opportunities. If the team wants an equalizer, Aguero is the first one to put his hand up (most of the time). If he’s going through a purple patch, then he can score goals at will. Manchester City FC have been dominating the Premier League for quite some time. There happens to be a wide gulf that separates them from their neighbours in recent times. Aguero’s ability to score under pressure has been a major reason contributing to the team’s success.

The fighter, the Samurai

Sergio Aguero doesn’t come from the land of Samurais, but his attitude happens to be quite similar to that of a Samurai. Time and again, he sets the stage on fire with his ‘killer instinct’. He wants to create an impact by winning games. The quality of the opposition’s defence lines happens to be of little importance to him. If he’s going through a purple patch, then nobody, not even the heavens above, can stop him. People have often criticized him for being way too aggressive, but aggression happens to be the Argentine’s secret ingredient. Aggression is what separates him from the rest. Here is a lad who lives by the sword, and one has to say, dies by it.

The go-getter

Pressure situations tend to bring the best out of the Argentine. Throw a challenge at him, and he wouldn’t die wondering. This lad from South America is a go-getter. He doesn’t shy away from shouldering responsibilities. His fans know that he spearheads Manchester City FC’s attack, often leading by example. Even if he isn’t in the best of forms, you cannot keep him out of the game.

The Million-dollar baby

According to estimates, Aguero earns somewhere close to 13 million GBP per year (well, that’s a staggering amount, isn’t it?). Some might feel that he’s being paid a bit too much, but if his ability to win matches is taken into account, then people will realize that he is worth his price in gold.

To conclude

Sergio Aguero has redefined aggression. He can win a game single-handedly for his side. His aggression turns him into a lethal weapon. He isn’t as popular as the likes of Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, but he doesn’t care much about gaining recognition. He just keeps his head down and goes about his business.

Video courtesy: YouTube

It is important for Atletico Madrid to handle Joao Felix with care

João Félix 7 ⚽🔴🔵

At 20, Joao Felix is one of La Liga’s most promising youngsters. After enjoying a fruitful season(2018-19) with Benfica, the teenager was roped in by Atletico Madrid in 2019 in order to bolster the side’s attacking line. Atletico Madrid stood second in the 2018-19 season. Joao Felix is a talented youngster with his whole life ahead of him. Atletico Madrid wanted a long-term prospect to lead the club’s attacking line. The club wanted to infuse some energy into the forward line, and the lad from Portugal came into the side as a breath of fresh air.

A lot of promise:

He grabbed a lot of eyeballs during his time at Benfica. With 15 goals in 26 matches during the 2018-19 season, Felix ended up as the Portuguese League’s joint fourth-highest goal scorer along with S.C. Braga’s Dyego Sousa. He was bestowed with the prestigious “ Golden Boy” award in November last year. The award seeks to recognize the most promising youngster in the world of football.

The Pundits have lauded the 20-year-old for his ability to score goals under pressure. Also, his control over the ball is phenomenal. He can trick just about any defender in the world if and when he is on song. The good thing about him is: he’s young and brimming with energy. He seems to have learnt a lot during his time with Benfica.

There is a lot of pressure at Atletico Madrid
Well, things are quite different at Atletico Madrid. At Benfica, there wasn’t much pressure, but Atletico Madrid is a much bigger club. Therefore, the expectations from Joao Felix will be immense. Atletico Madrid have been performing really well. The lads from Wanda Metropolitano have been in good form.

joao felix | Tumblr

They stood second in 2018-19 (behind Barcelona). They were able to go past arch-rivals Real Madrid by eight points. Their recent victory against heavyweights Barcelona in the semi-final of Supercopa de Espana was greeted with great pomp and show.

We are halfway into the 2019-20 La Liga season, and Atletico Madrid stand third (on Jan 16). In 15 appearances for the club this season, the 20-year-old has found the net just twice. Well, you cannot expect a 20-something lad to go all guns blazing against the oppositions right from the word go. He needs time to get going, all of us do.

Speed and strength
Joao Felix is a genuinely talented lad. You don’t get to see such lads frequently. He can destroy the oppositions’ defensive lines within seconds. Also, his speed and strength cannot be taken for granted. No matter how good the opposition’s defence lines are, Joao Felix will score if and when he is in the best of forms. He can outplay his opponents in terms of speed. He is an able dribbler and can pass the ball with precision. Not to forget, he is an indomitable force when he counters.

Also, he is an aggressive player. Aggression is something that comes naturally to him. He is someone who can create scoring opportunities with a few deft touches, which means you can station him near the ‘D’ if need be.

The 2019-20 season

In 15 club appearances this season, the lad from Portugal has scored two goals. Well, the numbers might not be impressive, but Joao Felix’s game doesn’t revolve around numbers and stats. He believes in creating an everlasting impact. Fans, enthusiasts and supporters have witnessed bite-sized glimpses of his on-field brilliance this season, but the job is far from over. Atletico Madrid are left with 19 matches (as of Jan 16, 2020). Joao Felix needs to step up and score.

What does he need?
He needs to get along with the experienced pros in the side. The likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Moratta are seasoned campaigners. They can teach a lot to the likes of Joao Felix. Do not field him at the beginnings. Ask the likes of Moratta and Diego Costa to set the game up. One of these two can be asked to score. Once a healthy lead is maintained, set Joao Felix free. Let him put his creativity to use. Throw him a challenge and see how he responds. Go one step at a time.

Let him express himself. The more he plays, the more he’ll get to learn. The management needs to be a bit patient. He needs time to adapt to the rigours and vigours of Spanish football. Things will get better with time.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - AUGUST 10:   Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid scores a goal to make the score 2-1 during the International Champions Cup match between Atletico Madrid and Juventus on August 10, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)