By Allan Jacob
When a thinking actor fumbles with his opening lines in politics, there’s an uneasy feeling that something is amiss and you wonder if it’s going to plan. Perhaps the role is not tailor-made for him. Did he simply embed his character into a comical storyline — if there is one? One thing is certain though: he’s unwilling to share screen space with other players in this make-believe pursuit of mass happiness and ‘service to society’. His trite opening lines at an academic seminar at Harvard (no less) gave me an indication where this is leading. In his cultured, cultivated tone he said he’d given up his distinguished movie career to build model villages in his home state in India. Nice try, Weinstein, er Einstein.
Continue reading Dear Kamal Haasan, stick to the movies
By Suresh Pattali
Manorama was raped. She was my friend. The palm-leaf fence between our plots never divided our hearts. My mother didn’t say it in so many words, but conveyed it to me in carefully crafted lingo that missed the enormity of the crime. At the innocent age of 13 or 14, we didn’t know what rape was till a college-going dude in the neighbourhood explained. Manorama was one among us, a battalion of village urchins who roamed around doing what normal kids do. The violator, three-four years older to us, was a black sheep, a ruffian, among us.
Continue reading When will they learn, women are not their birth right?
By Suresh Pattali
Enter Rajinikanth, the Thalaivar, or ultimate boss, of Tamil cinema. No skintight, checked vest this time. No groovy, voluminous wig. No sequin trousers. No swanky shades. No smoking gun. And no popping of cigarettes into the mouth with signature punch lines. Still, the audience in Chennai’s Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam erupted in applause for a full five minutes. No film event, but the dawn of the much-awaited Rajinikanth era in Tamil Nadu (TN) politics.
Continue reading Politically speaking, Rajini Sir could trump Kamal
By Bikram Vohra
So much for gau rakshaks and the fear of retribution. What bitter irony exists in the dilemma faced by Jyoti Singh, a 24-year-old corporate honcho who walked out of the corridors of power to engage in organic farming in Bulandshahr, across the Delhi border into UP. Literally on the horns of one.
Continue reading Bullies become bleeding hearts for bovines
The 10th-grade girls are acing it when it comes to verifying Ohm’s law in this remote village school. The boys are close behind, but the groups of girls seem to have done their math right and paid more attention in class. Ohm’s law, a fundamental part of physics, states that voltage and current are proportional. The students are trying to verify the law by conducting experiments on a resistance board.
Continue reading Retirees drive a science lab for students in rural India
By Anita Iyer
Every year, the families gather in the grandparents’ home and exchange sweets. Folks have spread far and wide. And the clan and now includes new faces. But the connections hold fast across continents
Continue reading Diwali has meant bringing home sweets and some… er, surprises
By Bikram Vohra
It’s not only a cry of pain. When a mother lost her son to the side-effects of prescribed drugs, she became determined to speak up for the thousands of young lives at stake
Continue reading To make sense of tragedy, a mother seeks answers