A Lot Is Wrong With The Citizenship Amendment Bill

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) seems to have taken the country by storm. The Bill hasn’t been received well by the minorities. Many believe the Bill is ‘undemocratic’ and aims to hamper the nation’s integrity.

People believe that the country is fast turning into a majoritarian state (much like the Sinhala-led Sri Lanka). Recently, Assaduddin Owaisi, the leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), tore a copy of the Bill in the Lok Sabha. The AIMIM chief believes that the Bill will divide the country into countless fragments.

The CAB hasn’t been well received by the minority communities because it violates the constitution.

Here is how the Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB) violates the Indian Constitution:

First and foremost, the Bill violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality to people (Indians and foreigners). Categorising people along religious lines violates Article 14 of the constitution.

Next, the classification of people along religious lines is unjust. Classifying people based on religion is against the idea of secularism, unless the govt. wants to turn the country into a radical Hindu state.

India is a secular state, and the same has also been mentioned in the Preamble. The Preamble is the guiding light that helps interpret the constitution.

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Furthermore, the Bill also ends up violating the Assam Accord of 1985 by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants (on the basis of religion) who came here before December 31, 2014. The CAB clearly violates the Assam Accord, which says that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh (those who came after March 25, 1971) will be deported.

The CAB will also nullify the impact of the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in the state of Assam if people, who were left out of the final list, are given citizenship through the CAB.

In recent times, the Election Commission and the Assam Border Police have labelled many as illegal immigrants (many of them happen to be Hindus). The govt has proposed to drop all of the charges against the Hindus, which means only Muslims will be deemed as ‘foreigners’ by the law. Earlier, the contracts of those classified as ‘foreigners’ were terminated by the BJP. Now, we’ll have only Muslims standing before the Tribunals, which will make the exercise even more unjust and discriminatory. 

The curious case of the Lankan Tamils

The problem doesn’t end here. More than 2.5 million Lankan Tamils have been excluded from the list. Why isn’t the govt paying attention? The Lankan have witnessed some of the bloodiest struggles in the history of mankind. They ought to be included in the CAB if it is a genuine attempt to grant citizenship to the Hindus.

Culturally, the Tamils in Sri Lanka have a lot in common with the Tamils in India (The language and diction might differ a bit). Most importantly, Indian Tamils will be more than happy to welcome their long-lost brothers from the island nation, then why has the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ denied citizenship to the Hindus in Sri Lanka? And, why is nobody questioning this? Recently, Tamil actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan questioned the govt’s intentions after the Lankan Tamils were not included in the CAB. 

Possible reasons

Tamils aren’t considered a vote bank by the Bhartiya Janata Party. They account for little in BJP’s Hindu Rashtra because a majority of them do not speak Hindi. Furthermore, Sri Lanka is not a Muslim-majority country wherein the Hindus are being suppressed. As long as Muslims don’t come into the picture, the issue does not make it to the BJP’s list of priorities.

To draw the curtains

Simply put, the Bill isn’t a symbol of BJP’s love for the Hindu population residing in the neighbourhood. It is a tool that has been meticulously designed to pin-point the Muslims. The CAB seeks to achieve what the NRC could not. It seeks to disintegrate the country by alienating the Muslims. 

The Knight Before Christmas Sets The Tone For The Winter Festivities

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December’s here. Yes, Christmas is around the corner, which means we will get to see some lighthearted comedy films. Also, most of us have started loving title puns. ‘Falling Inn Love’ happens to be a prime example.

Now, we have The Knight Before Christmas, a film that features a Knight who’s on a quest that needs to be completed by midnight on Christmas eve. Well, if you are tired of watching those slam-bang action flicks and want to watch something lighthearted, then The Knight Before Christmas just has to there on your list. Let us take a closer look at the film.

A brief overview

The Knight Before Christmas follows Sir Cole (Josh Whitehouse), a 14th century Knight who gets transported to 2019 from 1334 as part of a quest to transform into a ‘true knight.’ Here, he gets to meet Brooke Winters (Vanessa Hudgins), a cynical teacher who doesn’t believe in love. According to her, knights in shining armour do not exist. The rest of the story deals with Sir Cole’s adventures in the modern world. 

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An engaging yet simple plot

The plotline is quite simple– there’s a lovely young lady who doesn’t believe in love. Fifteen minutes into the film, she bumps into Sir Cole, a handsome knight. In all fairness, the story has nothing new to offer. It has all the elements of a classic children’s’ fairytale. The predictability of the plot does leads to an element of monotony (at times). Watch it, and you’ll be able to predict just everything.

Performances

Josh Waterhouse is the star of this medieval rom-com. He looks perfect in that shining armour of his. Girls are bound to go ‘aww’ over his ‘chocolate boy’ looks while watching the film. He nails his part to perfection.

Let us discuss Sir Cole in detail. He is our knight in shining armour. His name sounds continually like Sir Cool (read: circle) as the other actors mouth it. He comes from Norwich (1334) and lets us know that he was knighted by King Edward III’ six years ago.’ Cole says that he hasn’t had the opportunity to see his parents since he was sent away to be a squire while sympathizing with Brooke over the loss of her parents. This guy can bring down a Christmas tree with a single stroke of an axe. Also, he loves chocolate mead.

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Vanessa Hudgins plays Brooke Winters ( that surname sounds interesting). Less than five minutes into the film, she says, “We all grow up fantasizing about being a princess, and finding true love with a knight in shining armour and living happily ever after, but the thing is, that’s all it is. A fantasy.” Boy, and I thought I was disillusioned.

Hudgins hasn’t been provided with much material to work with despite being the film’s producer, but looks quite believable. Her dialogue delivery sounds quite convincing, and she ends up breezing through her role with ease.

What works

The Knight Before Christmas is your rudimentary rom-com flick. If you wish to enjoy the film, then keep your brains aside. If you happen to search for logic in just about everything that you come across, then don’t watch it. Moving on, the film has a much broader (and moving) message to convey. The film makes us realize how fortunate we are. It motivates and pushes us to lend a helping hand to those who aren’t as fortunate.

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What might not work

Do keep your expectations in check if and when you are planning to watch the film.

The verdict:

The Knight Before Christmas is your lighthearted rom-com that makes for a decent one-time watch. It’s one of those gushy-mushy films that get you in the mood for Christmas.

Rating: 3/5

Film review: “Marjaavaan” will crush your will to live

Marjaavaan, Milaap Zaveri’s latest directorial venture, has finally hit the big screens. Starring Siddharth Malhotra, Tara Sutaria and Riteish Deshmukh, the film tells the story of Raghu, who works as a thug under Narayan Anna (Nassar), a water mafia don.

Well, could Siddharth and Riteish recreate the magic of Ek Villain? Well, not quite.

Spoiler Alert: It’s no prequel to Ek Villain. (Sigh)

Overview

As stated earlier, the film follows Raghu, the ace hitman of a local Don named Narayan Anna. Narayan loves Raghu more than his son. 

Consequently, Vishnu, Anna’s biological son, falls short of his father’s love. Not to forget, he’s a dwarf and keeps shooting metaphors around height. The story is simple: Raghu is Anna’s most trusted right-hand man and was taken in by Anna after he was abandoned as a child. Vishnu is jealous of Raghu and wants an opportunity to destroy him.

Storyline

Quite frankly, the story has nothing new to offer. Marjaavaan is a standard revenge drama film with half-baked dialogues and mindless action sequences. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra can be seen smashing the bad guys. Also, a few plain and tasteless dialogues have been used to ‘ornament’ a largely mediocre film.

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Tara Sutaria, who plays a mute Kashmiri girl named Zoya, wants to transform the lives of slum children. She believes music can change lives. So, our hero converts a Mumbai slum into Indian Idol. Zoya happens to be assembling a troupe for a music festival in Kashmir.

Halfway through the film, the leading lady dies, and our protagonist can be seen crying his eyes out over her lifeless body. The second half is no less painful. Just when you think you have had enough, goons jump into the frame, and you will get to see some substandard ‘dishoom-dishoom’ sequences. Simply put, Marjaavaan’s story will remind you of those over-the-top revenge dramas from the 80s.

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Dialogues

Okay, here’s the interesting part. The dialogues don’t leave much of an impact but do end up providing some unintentional comic respite. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra says: “Main Ek maarunga, Marr jaayega. Doosra Janam lene se darr jaayega.” Post interval, we can see Raghu staring at Zoya’s (Tara Sutaria) grave. At this moment, yet another flavourless dialogue can be heard escaping Raghu’s lips: “Zoya, main badla Nahin, Inteqaam loonga” ( Badle ko Urdu mein inteqaam kehte hain. XD). There’s love, there’s melodrama (a lot of it). Not that melodrama hasn’t worked for Bollywood films in the past, but some uninspired dialogue delivery tires you out eventually.  

The film’s writers are to blame. Not much thought has been put into the writing bit.

Performances

Siddharth Malhotra looks disinterested in the film. His dialogue delivery doesn’t end up creating much of an impact. Also, why is he wearing a leather jacket? Does it get cold in Mumbai? Well, god knows. Rakul Preet Singh plays Aarzoo, a dancer. She looks bubbly and charming but was not given much to work with. Also, her dress sense reminds us of the cabaret dancers from the good old 1980s.

Tara Sutaria looks charming. Her expressions are quite believable. Also, her on-screen presence is bound to instil a sense of optimism. Unfortunately, she has been shown as a helpless young woman. A gush of blood pours out of her mouth after she is shot. Optimism and charm die a slow and painful death, alas!

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Ravi Kishan, who plays a cop, looks quite convincing. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given a meaty role. Also, South Indian actor Nassar looks impressive as an underworld don.

Riteish Deshmukh, the film’s antagonist, tries hard to look ruthless, but nobody fears a three-feet tall ball of hair. Also, a villain doesn’t talk in verse, does he? Our villain seems to be obsessed with metaphors around height. All in all, the acting part is weak. The film needed some well-defined characters.

Music

The film’s background music makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s too loud. As far as the soundtrack is concerned, “Tum Hi Aana” sung by Jubin Nautiyal will remain in your playlist for a long time. “Thodi Jagah” by Arijit Singh is easy on the ears. The rest of the songs have just been copy-pasted. Boy, music directors and lyricists need to unleash their creativity.

The verdict

Simply put, Marjaavaan is a hotchpotch of epic proportions. It is not something you’d want to watch. Well, if you wish to kill time, then give it a try. Marjaavaan is a film that could have been a full masala entertainer, but a largely predictable plot doesn’t let it rise above its limitations. 

Rating: 1.5/5

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Our Adversities Only Make Us Stronger…

“If you’re mentally unhealthy in the first place, it’ll affect your body. The first thing you need to do is to accept it, and go through the difficult part thinking it’s a part of a much bigger scheme of things.”- Gulraj Bedi

Confidence is often considered a precious commodity. It is something only a few people are born with, while the rest of us are left wishing to get a taste of it.

Confidence, in all fairness, is not a fixed attribute. It is a fickle companion. It depends significantly on the thoughts that fly through our mind and the decisions that are taken by us. It is an age-old fact that the beliefs we hold and nurture, help us in directing our actions and shaping our mindset.

I still remember the day an interviewer asked a question that caught me off-guard. Well, he asked me when do I feel the most confident.

Now, this question might appear quite straightforward, but the answer is quite tricky. Confidence is viewed differently by different people. A lot of people believe confidence is an external characteristic. They believe confidence is synonymous with appearance. However, if the entire concept of confidence is deconstructed, we’d realize that confidence can be summed up in three words, these are self-belief, security, and trust.

I must also discuss insecurities because a lot of us are surrounded by them all the time. Be it relationship or work; insecurities are bound to keep in out of nowhere. 

Then, there are social interactions. Well, social interactions aren’t my cup of tea, I must confess. I feel like no one cares to be my friend and that not even my family knows me because nobody is bothered to know me enough. But despite insecurities, I feel confident enough. And sometimes, it’s good to have insecurities about something as important as work, because those insecurities make us work harder.

I believe all of us have a unique story to tell. The degree of hardship varies. There are struggles and challenges. I’m sure there are ups and downs as well. There are things we would have liked to have done differently, things we’re proud of. All of that is a vital part of our story. Instead of getting bogged down by the struggles and hardships we are subjected to, we must learn to embrace them.

The game of cricket has taught me quite a bit about adaption. I’ve learned a lot of lessons through cricket. One such lesson I’d like to share is a lesson on adversity. In life, we aren’t given a lot of liberties or guarantees. Our stories may be different, our hardships may also be different, but there’s one common link in all those stories. All of us, at some point and in some way, are bound to face some kind of adversity. All of us have gone through adversities, and the thing that inspires us to keep on moving is the belief that we will succeed.

To keep on moving is as inspiring as it can get. That is a huge accomplishment. Because of all the adversities we face in our lives, we’re left with countless decisions to make. Should I continue? Would I lose belief in myself if I continue?

The biggest problem we face today is: we get things underway, but we find it hard to complete them. That holds true for almost all of us. Whatever we come across in life ends up shaping our mindset. Sometimes, situations and circumstances don’t really go the way we want them to go, but that is exactly where we end up learning our lessons. We just need to make sure that we end up accomplishing the tasks that have already been started. Once we have finished something (despite limitations), we will be really proud of it when we look back at it.

Robert Lewandowski resides in bite-sized moments of brilliance

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Think of Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski’s name will automatically come to mind. It certainly would not be an overstatement to say that this star striker from Poland has been one of Bayern Munich’s most consistent performers in recent times. During the 2018-19 season of the Bundesliga, Lewandowski could be seen eating goals for breakfast. He finished as the season’s leading goal scorer (22 goals).

Lewandowski was bought by the Bavarian Giants in 2014 to bolster the club’s attacking lines. Since the Polish striker’s arrival, they have enjoyed a lot of success. Bayern Munich have been winning the German Bundesliga since 2012-13. In 262 matches for the German powerhouse (across competitions), the Polish star has scored 206 times. Wow, these are staggering numbers. Those following him closely would be aware of the difference he makes every single time he takes the field. He is expected to score the moment he takes control of the ball. No matter how formidable the opponent’s defence lines are, Lewandowski will decimate them within no time.

The moment he misses a scoring opportunity, several media outlets across Europe can be seen losing a lot of ink. Earlier this year, the Bayern Munich forward was criticised by Didi Hamann, an ex-Germany midfielder, for failing to score against Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal round of 16. Lewandowski termed the criticism aimed at him as “flat-out stupid”.

 What does Lewandowski bring to the table?

He is the axis around which other rotate

It has to be said that Lewandowski’s scoring rate is phenomenal. Every time he comes out to play, he ends up making a difference. He spearheads the club’s attacking lines, sometimes almost single-handedly. Also, there is a circle of energy and enthusiasm that surrounds Lewandowski from all possible sides. He brings along a lot of energy and optimism into the side.

The go-getter

No matter how precarious the situation is, Lewandowski will find a way to tackle it. If Bayern Munich is in need of an equaliser, he will come out all guns blazing and score a goal for his side. The opposition’s defence lines can be seen running for cover if and when the Polish great is on song. He scored 14 goals in the first 10 matches of the 2019-20 season. After looking at his numbers, he can be easily counted as one of the contemporary greats.

His ability to soak all the pressure makes him an intangible asset. Bayern Munich have been winning the Bundesliga since 2012-13, all thanks to Robert Lewandowski and his on-field brilliance. He wants to score the moment makes his way out. He wants to win matches for his side.

The fighter

Just one or two bad games do not seem to have much of an impact on him. The moment you write him off, he tends to strike back. Criticism makes him stronger. He is not known for launching verbal attacks and lets his on-field brilliance do the talking. Different people have different ways to counter criticism, and his way is to come out all guns blazing.

The impact player

Robert Lewandowski happens to be the heart and soul of Bayern Munich’s attacking lines. He keeps on scoring consistently.  In numbers are phenomenal, but Lewandowski’s game has never revolved around numbers. He wants to help his side win matches. That is what makes him different from other strikers. His on-field persona happens to be his biggest strength.

To conclude the argument

He too feels bogged down and frustrated at times. He overreacts and makes silly mistakes. Well, he isn’t a wish-granting fairy. Lewandowski doesn’t really care much about being judged by others. This lad from Poland just goes about his business. Simply put, he resides within countless moments of brilliance.

The toothbrush story…

The last time I experienced a severe toothache
I was 16 years old
I had eaten shit loads of chocolate cake
And drank cola
Boy, it was too cold

Mornings were tough
Toothbrushes were rough
Life was a rush (it still is)
We made our way to school
Something without bath and brush

Brushing teeth was boring
But the toothpaste was not
One fine day, I ate an entire tube
In the act, I was caught

Brushing teeth was mundane
It was a pain
I would say to my mom:’brushing teeth isn’t cool’
She would say: ‘You’re a pretty big fool’ XD

Now that I am a grown up
I know that brushing teeth is important
While going out on a vacation
I always keep a toothbrush, a mouthwash, and a drinking cup

Colas and cakes are guilty pleasures
They’re priceless, just like treasure
But brushing teeth is still a boring exercise (very much)
But skipping it comes with a heavy price

 

 

 

Fatal Mist…

Sit in a closed room, close your eyes and imagine this: Salman Khan pulling a pack of Marlboro cigarettes out of his pocket and smoking a few of them before going all guns blazing against the bad guys. After that, think of Ranbir Kapoor smoking a cigarette while reliving the fond memories he spent with his beloved.

Now, think of a man sitting in a dark room. He is too weak to move. Imagine him smoking a pipe and coughing continuously. After that, imagine him lying still on his death-bed, vomiting blood. He’s dying a slow and painful death because of lung cancer. Does that sound ‘cool’?

Every day after having lunch, I have this habit of taking a stroll right outside the office area. It happens to be a great way of keeping yourself up and running. The moment I step outside the office, at least 10-15 people can be seen gossiping and smoking cigarettes with filters lying scattered all over the place.

There’s a young lady I used to work with. Back in 2016, she was in her late 20’s. I must confess I haven’t seen a writer as good as her. One fine day, while attending a client call, I saw her carrying a lighter. She held it firmly in her right hand and was on her way to the smoking zone (just outside the office). The very sight of her making her way to the smoking zone made my heart sink in an ocean of gloom. That’s because I had a crush on her. XD

I followed her while she was making her way to the smoking area. She had one cigarette, which she was sharing with one of her female colleagues. She took a few puffs and passed it to her colleague. I stood there motionless as I saw them smoking and giggling.

I wish I could barge into the smoking area and snatch that cigarette from her. I wanted to tell her that smoke wasn’t the only thing that was being blown away by her. Quite frankly, I didn’t utter a word, but the sight of those giggling faces kept flying through my mind for the rest of the day. Take a minute and look around yourself. You’ll see a lot of people smoking around us. From colleagues to friends to strangers outside Metro Stations, the list is never-ending.

A lot of people hesitate to admit that they smoke. Questions about smoking are often swept under the carpet. Some people might even go on to bully you, saying: ‘Man, grow up’ and ‘You haven’t lived your life’. Now, would someone be kind enough to tell me how on earth is smoking associated with growing up?

Smoking kills nearly eight million people globally. (That’s a huge number). College goers and young working professionals are falling prey to this menace. Earlier, cigarettes were cheaper, and people could light a cigarette almost anywhere. Cigarette manufacturers used to sponsor charity events, discussions and seminars. However, in those days, access to information was pretty much limited, and people weren’t ‘aware’ of the health risks associated with excessive tobacco use.

Today, the cost of cigarettes has skyrocketed, and people can no longer smoke as openly as they once could. Smoking is banned in public places. Furthermore, a warning sign pops up whenever a person lights a cigarette on the big screen.

Why do people smoke?

A common ‘reason’ they give is: ‘Zindagi mein Bahot tanaav hai’ (My life’s stressed-out). I quickly follow it up with another question: Would it fade away after you’ve smoked? What follows my question is indomitable silence.

As individuals, all of us need to decide how we want to live our lives. People need to understand that the real face of smoking isn’t glamorous, and neither is it cool. The real face of smoking is covered with misery and disease. It is a disease that intensifies every time you light a cigarette.