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Kohli’s Resurgence in Indian Cricket

By Sunil Sarpal

Image courtesy Insidesport.in

Virat Kohli leading India to victory against Pakistan in T20 world cup in Australia this October takes us back to the Asia Cup match played against Afghanistan just a little over a month ago when he broke a jinx and his resurgence began.

Indian Cricket is not spared from dirty politics and jealousies. In Kohli’s words, when he gave up captaincy, only one man showed concern and called upon him. That was MS Dhoni. Others also had his number, he complained, but were probably jealous of his record tumbling feat.

Kohli’s dipping form for over 3 years has been a cause of concern in cricket fraternity. Had he been in the Australian team, he would have been shown the exit door. But a better sense prevailed upon BCCI that he had been persisted with.

It took Kohli three years to score 71st International ton. During his dry period, Indian legend Kapil Dev talked in terms of writing him off and spoke in favour of better bench strength and in-form players.

Now, those critical of his inclusion in the side, will twist their statement, saying it was their way of motivating Virat so that he starts delivering yet again. That is why it is a well known fact that our society is riddled with hypocracy.

Now that Kohli has finally scored 71st ton, he shall be the most relieved man.

It is not imperative on part of past legends such as Kapil Dev and Gavaskar to make irresponsible statements. It’s unbecoming of their status. It is only their way to keep their name afloat and remain in the public eye. They do not want somebody else joining them in greatness. They are apparently ego-centric and biased.

Kohli, in an interview, said that till the time God wills, he will keep on playing. In fact, past legends outbursts do not bother him much. On the other hand, cricketers from abroad spoke highly of Kohli and wished him success.

Definitely, his blade will keep on accumulating runs till the time God so desires. God always stand by those who have a clean and unbiased heart, like Kohli.

Kohli and Dhoni Sportsmanship



Natsamrat NatyaUtsav Schedule March 2022

Natsamrat Natyautsav Season 2022

During the six-days there will be participation from ten different directors on one platform. The directors are: Chandershekhar Sharma, Vishaw Deepak Trikha from Rohtak, Rajesh Tiwari, Ashraf Ali, Varun Sharma, Sunil Chauhan and Shyam Kumar and the plays are ‘Lajwanti’ , ‘Gadhe Ki Barat’ , ‘Kambakht Ishq’, ‘Jaanch Padtal’ , ‘Charandas Chor’ ,‘Aadhe Adhure’ ‘Digdarshak’ , ‘Shikasta Booton Ke Darmiyan’ ‘Chuhal’ & ‘Ek Ruka Hua Faisla’.




OTT Series: Aranyak
on Netflix / Sanjiva Sahay

Aranyak
The brand new Hindi webseries on Netflix

▫️ Welcome to the world of murder mystery that has the deceptive appearance of a folklore. This character- नर तेंदुआ- imaginary or real, would hammer your brain across 8 episodes. Since a fresh killing and rape of a girl , the sleepy town of Himachal Pradesh is jolted again. The police station, uncountable natives …complete with an influential politician and a high status business family. The probe begins, so does your journey into a narrative which is thrilling in the beginning and a big disappointment after 3 episodes. Lengthy, tedious and long drawn.

▫️ Casting is almost perfect. Parambrata excels as Angad Mallik, the investigating police officer. Surprisingly, Raveena as the SHO on leave, Kasturi Dogra, manages to get into the character effortlessly. Then we have actors like Ashutosh Rana, Zakir Husain, Meghna Malik among others who try earnestly to lift a dull screenplay. All remain stereotypes with some clichéd, overdramatic dialogues. The hangover of the forgotton era of the ’80s.

▫️ A mixed bag indeed. Average direction and writing, above average performances (better than Candy at least), effective background score. O yes, watch the series on faster speed for the breathtaking and picturesque locations. The climax has been shot in thick snowfall all over and looks phenomenal.

▫️ Nothing less, nothing more.




Where Time is Non-Existent / Sanjiv Bobby Desai

I remember my first learning after starting to live here in the hills. 2010, I think. Those days we were still city slickers who would travel up by the Ranikhet Express after putting in a full day at work. We would head up on a Thursday night and head back down by the Sunday night train to get into work on Monday morning! Gosh! I’m feeling tired just writing about those crazy trips!

During one of those trips, I remember we decided to use the local public transport of the shared Boleros that ply up and down from Ranikhet and stop anywhere they want to pick up or drop off passengers. We had bought some plastic chairs in Ranikhet and had tied them to the carrier of our chariot for the return journey.

After waiting for about 20 minutes for passengers to be rounded up, we set off at around 2 pm. As the vehicle was pretty crowded, Tripti sat in the middle seat and I squeezed into the extremely intimate back benches where five people and a baby were forced to rub knees and ignore touching thighs and hips! After about five minutes when we had just exited Ranikhet, the baby who was in her mother’s arms sitting next to me decided to entertain the bored passengers by evacuating her lunch onto my jeans and shoes. The mother turned a deep shade of red in embarrassment as she profusely started apologising and at the same time asking the driver to pull over.

I sat struck dumb, looking at the child’s lunch, trying hard not to react rudely or at all actually, while the driver pulled over on the verge and the rest of the passengers got off and hung around chatting idly. Gently reprimanding the mother for travelling with the little one so soon after her lunch, he pulled out a jerry can of water and came to the back and started cleaning the floor, the seat, my jeans and shoe. I thanked him and got off as well as he diligently finished the clean up operation. The whole operation from barf to boarding took around 15 minutes.

As I waited with Tripti, I looked around at all the rest of the passengers waiting with us. Some were squatting and smoking, some chattering, some busy on their phones, some cooing and chatting with the baby and her mother. 15 minutes of this. Once the driver announced the all clear, we all got back into the jeep and set off again.

And that’s when it struck me.
In all the time we had been waiting outside, not one passenger complained about getting late, expressed annoyance at the driver or the mother or in fact, expressed any kind of reaction of any kind whatsoever! This was totally amazing to me, coming as I did from a life where delays like this might mean the collapse of democracy as we know it or the heavens deciding to fall! 15 minutes? And not a peep? What was going on here? And that’s when it finally dawned on me. Time was a fictional concept invented by man to make life intolerable! What the local people knew instinctvely was that neither democracy, nor the heavens, nor in fact anything at all of import would ever happen in their life by waiting for a young mother to clean up her baby and make it more comfortable. Patience. Yes,that was my learning that day and I was humbled by it. Truly humbled. And just for that, I am forever indebted to these hills and to it’s truly human populace.




Tete-a-tete with the Sighting Shadows / Gouri Nilakantan

Firm structures are delusional, they are nothing but myths that we are constantly chasing in our closed mind doors and heavily curtained windows. We have grown to believe that we must adorn structures much like the daily practice of wearing our clothes, taking a shower or having our food. Do we even once care to stop and chase the sighting shadows of the passerby? By not giving authority to these shrouded imprints, we fail to notice the wondrous
sights that life has to offer to us, the miraculous forms and figures of the “much needed to define shadows”.

Shadows of course are hazy, difficult to pin as someone true, and further becomes even more not worth a glance, if it belongs to mere passerby. However, for once it is important to
gaze deeply and give the shadow its much needed worth and respect. The bystander needs to be witnessed thus to give it a valuable definition. It is foremost hence for once to believe
in the onlookers’ misty rooted figures and give it a much needed honorable name. Only then will we witness the miracles of life where these clouded shapes have the power to change…
to change your life.

Once we stop to talk, to think along, cry along the sorrow or laugh along the joys of the onlooker and embark on his journey, we are constructing the paths to universal living and
true harmony with all. One only has to believe that the paths to his story are golden and are the flights of the rainbow to the diamond crusted view of the universe. Each figure has the
potential to hold our attention to such an extent, that we come to realise and recognise the prodigy in each person. Our lives are only enriched by these sighting shadows that have voices and conversations we must not only hear, but hear to recollect to enrich our own ways.

We must therefore join in their sightings and believe in the sightings of clouded beings and discard our own fears to join in their tete-a- tete. Nothing then can be thrown clumsily out as worthless and the value of all is in the faithful spirit of all.




Ruchi Kishore’s : DIRTY CHAI, a hip hop Bollywood musical

DIRTY CHAI, a hip hop Bollywood musical, is a colorful & crazy dramedy, full of heart!

Chaya Chandrika Gopi, or “Chai” as she likes to be called, is a rebellious Indian-American bride-to-be. Chai’s parents have promised her to a nice Indian boy and the wedding is in ten days. With her back against the wall, not yet ready to give in to this assault on her freedoms, Chai leaves home but unexpectedly falls in love with a charming & mysterious stranger, making a powder keg out of an already complicated situation. Chai finds forbidden love with a fearless American girl, Ronnie, and is trapped between upholding her family’s traditions or following her heart, which goes against everything she’s been taught.

Chai is a messy concoction of two very different cultures, two conflicting identities, and two opposing desires, just like the dirty chai she orders each morning- a perfect brew of espresso and chai (tea).

Her Indian father, Mr. Hardik Gopi, is a traditional Hindu man.

Her White American mother, Mrs. Rani Gopi, converted to Hinduism after falling in love.

Filled with excitement and sarcasm, DIRTY CHAI challenges the walls of formality, fear, and judgment that separate people. Every cause has an effect in this intricately interwoven dramedy about human lives, embracing family, and the chaos of falling in love.

P.S. There will be a wedding so, “chai” not to miss it! o.O

Directed by Adam Marcus
Starring Ruchi Kishore as “Chai”
Sponsored by Café Cafe Mobile Coffee

Now Watch the play online on this link:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=194272942628895&id=103549798665628




Satish Alekar: Remembering Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu at Turf Club, Pune.
Behind from left: Satish Ghatpande, Dilip Gokhale, Avinash Limaye, Arvind Thakar and Suresh Basale

In 1975 to celebrate 100th show of our Theatre Academy, Pune’s original Marathi Production Vijay Tendulkar’s: Ghashiram Kotwal, we invited Dilip Kumar and Shashi Kapoor as the chief guests. Thereafter not many know that Dilip Kumar became our friend. There were many occasions where Jabbar Patel, Anil Joglekar and me were invited to his home on the Pali Hill. Several story ideas were discussed to make film. Story drafts were discussed but never materialised. But we became friends. Dilip Kumar used to speak Marathi fluently. He had seen many popular Marathi Sangeet Natak’s. Sometime at his home he will take out harmonium and sing old Marathi theatre song made popular by Bal Gandharva. Dilip Kumarji and Saira ji used to visit Pune during weekends. They used to stay at famous Turf Club and used to invite Ghashiram actors Gang for a high tea and chat. Above is one photograph of their 1993 visit to Turf Club Pune. Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu seen with ( from left: Satish Ghatpande, Dilip Gokhale, Avinash Limaye, Arvind Thakar, and Suresh Basale) We lost all these three actors over the years.

100th Show of Ghashiram Kotwal in 1975 Dilip Kumar seen with Shriram Ranade, Chandrakant Kale and Shashi Kapoor
100th show of Ghashiram at Shanmukhanand Hall, Mumbai
Dilip Kumar is with the artists.

Five minutes monologue of Dilip Kumar in 1953 film Foothpath written and directed by Zia Sarhadi




Sherni: The latest Vidya Balan starrer on Amazon Prime / Sanjiva Sahai

Fherni on OTT
Vidya Balan as and in Sherni

Sherni. The latest movie on Amazon Prime⬜️ Not as hard hitting as director Amit V. Masurkar’s previous one (Newton), but that hardly takes away the sheen from this true-to-life movie. In the same breath, it’s NOT meant for everyone. Period. If the killing of animals infuriates your being, if ultra slow unfolding of the story fascinates you, if no-frill acting style makes a great connect, do find time to watch it.⬜️

This is Aastha Tiku’s very first attempt at story and screenplay. Quite impressive. Dialogues by Yashaswi and Amit appear improvised, sound natural and sharp. Lovely. Benedict and Naren have come up with some extremely restrained musical scores that elevate the sense of mystery in the jungle. And yes, Rakesh Haridas with his available-light shots provide some real-life experience for the viewers.⬜️

Vidya Balan, the protagonist, sails through this forest saga with ease and intensity. An ace performance. Vijay Raaz, Sharat Saxena, Brijendra Kala and Neeraj Kabi have lent a good sense of authenticity. Didn’t like Ila Arun at all. Overdone sequences. Okay, what really drew me close to the film was Sampa Mandal as the villager (Jyoti). I guess she was the one playing Phulia (Phoolan Devi) in Sonchiriya. Would love to watch her in different roles: rustic or urban. Superlatively talented.⬜️ All said, the title should have been Baghin (Tigress), not Sherni (Lioness). Whether what we get visually (tigress and her cubs) or metaphorically (Vidya), बाघिन was apt.




Chronicle of my Curious Corona Case / Susmita Mukherjee

Susmita Mukherjee in her Farm in Orchha

It all started with what in Mumbai’s parlance is known as ‘ Pateli’. Let me elaborate, Pateli‘ and it’s stronger aspect ,also known as ‘ Vatt Pateli’, loosely translates itself as arrogance or false bravado. You see I have been living in my idyllic farmhouse in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, with my family since March 2020 lockdown, along with our cows, dogs, cat and even peacocks so how did I get the dreaded Covid?   I did Pateli.  To be honest I have tried to be disciplined most of my adult life ( ever since I gave up being a 4 packs of cigarettes a day smoker back then in 1989) and had turned into a unrecognisable creature who gave up smoking, meditated, did yoga, pranayam, ate clean food and basked in the adoration of  friends and family who  made me feel pretty invincible. In fact I hadn’t taken a single pill for the last 3 decades, and combated the rare fever with coconut water and fruits.

So I swung around with full pateli,with the belief that Corona or whatever the world was talking about with such fear, could never reach me. It helped that we don’t have a TV as ours is a microclimatic  zone, and so I kept myself occupied with reading novels, and occasionally watching ” goody goody” stuff on my cellphone.  Then I made 2 fatal errors.On the 10th of April, I sauntered with my friend, (a woman who was contesting as an Independent candidate for the Zila Panchayat election from a backward seat, )as we wove in and out of Bundeli villages, drinking water from the homes we visited, not realising that some water came from wells, others from bawois and some from God knows where. So we had ” ghat ghat ka paani‘, because in these parts refusing water is equivalent to hurting the host.   

Error No. 2. On the 12th, I accompanied my husband and our manager who got their vaccines but I bluntly refused. Vaccine? Oh no , not for me. Vatt Pateli.   That very evening I was invited as chief guest  for a function in Jhansi, where my friend, Dr Neeti Shastri was celebrating National Street Theatre Day and as I had been part of the street theatre movement in Delhi, back in the early days, I was happy to attend.  The only problem, (which of-course I realised in hindsight,) was that the anchor, a veteran journalist, who stood and sat next to me had a very bad cold and sneezed a lot which reminded me to keep my mask on firmly but when the photographers wanted to see my face, vanity kicked in ( I’m an actress) and I let my mask down in more ways than one, with chilling consequences., (Error No. 3).   

13th, 14th and 15th of April were busy days as I prepared to welcome Mother Durga who  it was said was coming this year on horseback and did not portend well for mankind. And I , in my fervour,  was determined to fast and pray and so I ignored the horrid body pain I felt for 3 days not for a moment imagining it could be the dreaded Corona. Then on the 4th day the pain vanished mysteriously and I had no memory of it as I gaily completed the Naudurga, fasting on fruits, coconut water and one  small meal of permissible items. I was continuing with my yoga, meditation, walks. No cough, no fever, no body pain.   Suddenly it got curious.

Error No. 4. On 23rd April, I committed another Pateli. I walked out in the noon heat for a small pooja we were perfoming at the farm for the creative Academy my husband is building and returned dizzy from the heat. ‘ Vinaash kaale vipreet buddhi‘ 2 hours later I was on my way to Jhansi, 15 kilometres away, helping my team source iron and cement blocks for the construction..After that every thing got black. I declared to all that I would self quarantine. I may have had a slight fever but since in the past I had never paid attention to it, coupled with the fact that we did not own a thermometer and did not see the reason to have one ( Pateli), I dropped into a pitch black hole of sleep, utter fatigue and an unquenchable thirst. A small cough started. Not dry or racking but just an irritating moist cough with phlegm. I did not listen to my husband who sent me a strip of paracetamol but cunningly tore one pill away and hid it under my pillow, in case he inspected the strip ( Pateli)   From 23rd to 30th, I kept myself strictly self quarantined. Food was sent to me outside my door but I was not particularly hungry. But thirsty, yes, and fatigued, by my standards. My yoga, walks, meditation continued but with difficulty. 

So for 21 days after possible infection I was sustaining without any medicine, only on fruits and coconut water.  Suddenly on 30th morning, I woke up with a panic attack and called my doctor in Mumbai who immediately prescribed some pills and asked me to take the RTPCR test. Now this test had been the bone of contention for a while. My younger son who is studying to be a scientist in New Zealand, along with his school classmate, My doctor,, who is in the frontline of Covid treatment in India, had been pleading with me to get a test done.  I had dismissed it as medical haranguing.I had first heard the term from my very concerned older sister, and ofcourse I was determined not to go to any hospitals for testing ( Pateli) But my Mumbai doctor was not going to listen to this insane patient in Orchha. A conversation happened between him and my husband and I was bundled off to to our small but clean hospital in the village where they stuffed some cotton up my nostrils and the dreaded RTPCR test seemed like child’s play.

I was seeing the outside world after 3 weeks, the weather was nice and I felt really well.   My husband’s younger brother and his wife were visiting and knowing my propensity to cure myself with fruits and water were not unduly alarmed as I now started to hang out with them, albeit always at a safe distance.   Then on 2nd late evening, the verdict came. Covid positive. We had been sitting out in the cabana, chatting, having tea, and suddenly within minutes my family disappeared like in stop block and reappeared covered from head to toe in whatever plastic they could lay their hands on. It was such a comical sight in an absurd situation where  within minutes the whole scenario changed. Of-course in hindsight it was not so funny!  Next day, 3rd of May came the epiphany, the real reason to write this personal chronicle. My husband, Raja Bundela, is well known in these parts as an activist leader, and without my knowledge an ambulance, an oxygen cylinder and a hospital bed in the most premiere hospital had been lined up. Lucky me!

No more Pateli for me

Clearly my family was in panic. I was pretty well and when I reached the hospital in Jhansi, a doctor rushed to me and slipped something plastic in my index finger, where I met an oxymeter for the first time. Puzzled, he did his check again and murmured…” 98″Then he asked me” Can you walk or do you need a wheelchair”? I was astounded even a bit enraged ( me, the compulsive walker!!!) Much too sweetly I replied,” No, I can walk. Thank you so very much’. To make my point, I walked faster than usual as he led me inside a door which read ICCU. It closed behind us. The room was abuzz with doctors, nurses and wardboys. Next they moved me to a sheetless bed and said that it had been sanitized for me. To my left I had a glimpse of a brown wrinkled arm and several people were thumping him up and down. (He died minutes later) The air was rent with what seemed to me like demonic sounds of people moaning and groaning, all out of synch, ; the AC was not functioning at its best and it smelt of anasthesia . I was asked to lay down on “my ” bed as the doctor hurried out.

I had 2 options, I could look around or I could shut my eyes. I suddenly remembered a line I had read somewhere, that during World war 2, the only Jews who had escaped the concentration camps were people who kept their inner bodies clean. And then all of a sudden, the developmental biologist, Dr Bruce Lipton and his seminary work, ‘ Biology of Belief’ popped up in my mind. He claimed that our cells prosper in the Petri dish of our bodies only if they feel safe inside. So despite the shock of being unloaded in the ICCU without warning, I closed my eyes and within minutes, I was roaming inside my body which till date I can remember clearly. I was surrounded by million, trillion tiny sparkling lights, much tinier than the string of fairy lights we put out in Diwali and Christmas but they were golden  yellow and each point was disappearing into another point which went deeper into another point in an amazing non stop dance. It felt as if I was roaming inside a large warm golden honeycomb. I thought I lay there endlessly as the sounds around me dimmed.  I am told that about 15 minutes later, I was aroused by the doctor who arrived with a flurry of nurses. He handed me a sheaf of papers to sign mandatory before being admitted to the ICCU. Shocked, I almost charged out of the unit, desperately looking out for my family.  Some more conversations happened. I convinced them that I was well enough not to utilise the ICU and to give it to someone who was really critical.   So I was sent to the room where my CBC and urine were taken. The sight of the stoic south Indian nurses, in their pink frocks, made me weepy with gratitude. A chest x ray was taken and I was allowed to go home. 

Next day I was asked to return to the hospital in Jhansi where they took a CT scan. Latest medical knowledge says it has the power of 300 chest x rays but this one was from the University of Whatsapp so it is yet to be authenticated.    By evening the report came. All was well.  But with Covid there is always a risk of pneumonia and I had a slight chest infection. And with that the allopathic medicines were started on me.Technically  then, I got my first shot of medicines after 21 days of infection.     This was the worst cycle. My body completely unused to medicine lay drugged and fatigued. I used to get panic attacks at meal times because the very thought of food was nauseous. I was dizzy. I fell down twice and was in a very bad place. But I ploughed through because of the immense loving care from my extended family. For 10 whole days my insides were  bombed with antibiotics to deal with the dreaded Covid. My body shocked and confused, just collapsed into a heap .

During meditation,the part who I think is ” me” I would often pity that dead weight . That was the time I thought of writing my will when I realised the full idiocy of chasing career, fame, money when my body was deciding whether it wanted to be “killed”, by chemicals in order to “survive” the virus. The existential question came up: Can matter destroy matter?After my ICCU experience, I can say with utter serenity, that in my case, energy was the most potent tool to kill matter.   This is not to say that one should not take medicine if attacked by the virus, or not take the vaccine, because physicians and doctors too have a life purpose, which is to help cure us. But the best cure is not to identify with matter. In other words don’t get hooked into the disease, don’t give it the attention it is craving. In short, do what the doctor tells you to do, but at the psychical level, give Covid the BIG IGNORE! 

Instead,while distancing yourself from your body, treat it like a ” treacherous friend” who when the time comes, will walk off the earth in death, whether one is ready for it or not. So while  still on earth, keep giving it the antibodies it needs in the form of laughter, sunshine, positivity or whatever it is that makes you happy. Joy is energy. This will create the best immunity to recover. This has been my first hand experience.   In conclusion then, I had spent the first 3 weeks without any medicine and then 2 weeks with lots of them. A huge thank you to everyone who helped me crawl out of the black hole, back to sunlight, yoga  meditation, barefoot walks in my beloved farm, albeit with much more gratitude and. .ZERO PATELI!  

From a spiritual perspective, there may be good news. It appears that disease, is like the cream that collects, when milk is boiled. The more it is boiled, the more cream comes to the surface. This may be equated to our ‘ Prarabdh karma’, or alloted karma, which has to be worked out this lifetime. So the onset of a disease ( likened to the surfacing of cream), forces us to work out our karma when we are still conscious and able bodied. By this token, who knows, the Carona may have reduced our karmic load, both individually, as well as from the perspective of collective humanity.

Epilogue

Susmita Mukherjee finally got her first Jab yesterday the 7th August 2021. Cheers to that.




Pagglait; a film with a different streak / Sanjiva Sahai

🎥 Pagglait
A Netflix original Hindi movie streaming now

⬜️ Tragedy strikes the Giri family when Astik dies just after a few months of his marriage leaving behind a young widow. Another take on the decadent societal norms and the age-old perception on death, loss and widowhood- you might think and anticipate. Thankfully, writer-director Umesh Bist manages to brush aside the clichés to bring in some new insight, underlined by wit and a relatable plot.

⬜️ I guess this is for the first time Arijit Singh is being introduced as a composer. Songs and theme tracks are heartwarming. They might not be chartbusters but are apt for the movie. Arijit and Neelesh Misra have done the lyrics which, to me, appeared average.

⬜️ The ensemble cast empowers the film with authenticity and some memorable moments. The patriarchy, the inner wranglings, the greed, the romance – it’s all there in this saga featuring three generations. Sanya Malhotra shines gloriously in an understated performance. Ashutosh and Sheeba, as her parents-in-law, are again delightfully subtle and genuine. Shruti Sharma (Sanya’s friend) and Sayani Gupta (in a brief appearance) have some off-beat sequences to their credit. Raghubir Yadav, Rajesh Tailang, Meghna Malik and Jameel Khan contribute their bit to add some more dramatic tension, but nothing path-breaking.

⬜️ Watch if you have time and a subscription.
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