Quiz time. Watching TV nonstop makes you a….?

By Nivriti Butalia

Sometime last month, the term ‘binge racer’ trickled into my consciousness. ‘What?’ Yea, well, I hear you. As far as I can tell, there is no difference between being a binge racer and being a couch potato. Apart from the fact that, to me, couch potato brings back parental admonishments from my childhood when I used to be parked in front of a big, ugly BPL TV: “Stop being a couch potato! Go out and play!”

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What history has to do with Padmavati being real, or not

By Anamika Chatterjee

Histories are written by the powerful, but memories are owned by the powerless as well. That might explain why a 14th century Rajput queen has made her way to our primetime debates. Today, Rani Padmavati — she of unparalleled beauty, devotion and valour — exists somewhere between this tussle between history and memory.

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Be watchful of kids playing those violent video games

By Bikram Vohra

Are 16-year-old boys capable of killing in cold blood? Indeed, they are. Thanks to the desensitising effect of violent video games and the comfortable relationship between youngsters and gratuitous hi-tech killings and genial bloodspills, actually engaging in such an action could well be seen in today’s world as a bit of a lark, a bit of a dare and something heroic as far as one’s peers are concerned. About the same bravado as kids of the sixties showed when smoking secretly behind a school bush and earning the awe of their classmates.

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This was the year many of my favourite musicians died

By Allan Jacob

The rhythm has given way to the blues. I’m talking of my frail spirit with flu-like symptoms which I hope will vanish as I try to sound upbeat in this column. There’s a ‘whole lotta shaking going on’ in the music scene these days and I hope you will forgive me for striking a few discordant notes. Taylor Swift is staking her Reputation, her latest album that has already sold 1.04 million copies since its release last week. It’s great for the numbers game, but the songs (or the material that I managed to listen to) fail to move me. The diva has become a victim of her own reputation in the age of social media with her music-on-steroids routine. She’s fighting back against the virtual slander (and the bots) through her music that the youth seem to lap up. I like Swift, or at least some of her early Fairytale songs which have country roots, a genre that I enjoy. If you haven’t listened to Swift’s latest chart-buster, you should, at least for the lyrics in New Year’s Day. “Hold on to the memories; they will hold onto you,” she sings.

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She wrote about her life as an Arab immigrant in Germany

By Maan Jalal

One of the most powerful takeaways from reading Souad Mekhennet’s memoir was something her grandfather told her. The people with power are the ones who write history, he said. This statement is something that proves true, time and time again, in Mekhennet’s life. It is the foundation for the work she does and what drives her to put her life at risk as a journalist.

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