Friday, January 29, 2016

Not so much a film review - Airlift

Courtesy: Wikipedia 

After the end of the Iran-Iraq war, between Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran and Saddam Hussain in Iran, a battle that went on for 8 long years, Iraq was saddled with debt of $30 billion to Kuwait, which Saddam requested to be forgiven.  Kuwait refused. Saddam pushed oil-exporting countries to raise oil prices by cutting back production but again Kuwait refused. In addition to refusing the request, Kuwait spearheaded the opposition in OPEC to the cuts that Saddam had requested. Kuwait, literally back by US, was pumping large amounts of oil, thus keeping prices low, when Iraq needed to sell high-priced oil from its wells to pay off a huge debt. The Gulf War may have started 8 years ago, with Iran-Iraq, but it gained force, as USSR used the situation to pump arms and ammunition to Iraqi forces.

August 2, 1990

“At about 2 a.m. local time, Iraqi forces invade Kuwait, Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor. Kuwait’s defense forces were rapidly overwhelmed, and those that were not destroyed retreated to Saudi Arabia. The Amir of Kuwait, his family, and other government leaders fled to Saudi Arabia, and within hours Kuwait City had been captured and the Iraqis had established a provincial government. By annexing Kuwait, Iraq gained control of 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves and, for the first time, a substantial coastline on the Persian Gulf. “(See LINK )

Saddam had always argued that Kuwait was historically an integral part of Iraq, and that Kuwait had only come into being through the maneuverings of British imperialism See LINK) this echoed a belief that Iraqi nationalists had voiced for the past 50 years. This belief was one of the few articles of faith uniting the political scene in a nation rife with sharp social, ethnic, religious, and ideological divides.

In the background of this, the film Airlift is made.

Ranjit Katiyal (Akshay Kumar), is a successful businessman in Kuwait, who likes to call himself a Kuwaiti. He is ruthless and politically well connected. But in the face of the Amir of Iraq fleeing away with his family, Akshay Kumar is left with his family and 170,000 Indian workforce in Kuwait. Suddenly, the ruthless man is unable to go run away with his family, leaving the entire people behind him.

In perhaps one of his most controlled roles, Akshay, plays negotiator and prime mover taking with him, all the people, who are now refugees in Kuwait, occupied by Iraq.

The film brings out the lameness of the Indian government, in crisis situation abroad, but does not fail to cheer the greatness of our national carrier, Air India, which supplied the planes and the pilots, previously unwilling to fly over war zones.

“The 1990 airlift of Indians from Kuwait was carried out from 13 August to 11 October 1990 after the Invasion of Kuwait. Air India holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people evacuated by a civil airliner as a result of this effort. The operation was carried out during the Persian Gulf War in 1990 to evacuate Indian expatriates from Kuwait and Iraq. It is believed to be the largest civilian evacuation in history. The Indians based in Kuwait also helped in the evacuation efforts.” (See LINK

The film ends as the Indians salute Katiyal as they board the planes that will take them home.

Some effort that!

Why must you see the movie? Click Here’s Why


Directed by:
Raja Krishna Menon

Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katyal
Nimrat Kaur as Amrita Katyal
Feryna Wazheir as Tasneem
Inaamulhaq as Major Khalaf bin Zayd
Lena as Deepti Jayarajan
Purab Kohli as Ibrahim Durrani
Prakash Belawadi as George Kutty
Arun Bali as Bauji
Ninad Kamat as Kurien
Kaizaad Kotwal as Poonawalla
Surendra Pal as External Affairs minister
Kumud Mishra as Sanjeev Kohli
Abida Hussain as Simran(Simu)[11]

Click for Reference

MoEA GoI expresses strong reservation against Airlift story line HERE 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

When four letter words were not in fashion

And Insults Had Class...

 These glorious insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.

A Member of Parliament to Disraeli:

"Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.

"That depends, Sir, " said Depends Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."
 "He had delusions of adequacy.”
-Walter Kerr 

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
- Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
-Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
-William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
-Moses Hadas

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
-Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
-Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one."
-George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one."
-Winston Churchill, in response

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."
-Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
-John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
-Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others."
-Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
- Paul Keating

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."
-Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
-Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
-Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
-Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
-Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination."
-Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
-Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But I'm afraid this wasn't it."
-Groucho Marx

Via Email

And the unmentionable sound was not used in Advertisements.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Killing Me Sweetly!

The neighbourhood “kiranawala” or your  Departmental Stores from which we buy our daily food and beverages needs, is a storehouse of information. I, for one never miss a conversation with the neighbourhood kiranawala near my house. The talks vary, from food to spirituality, if the senior fellow is around, but with his younger one, who rarely can look up from #WhatApp, the conversation is short and crisp.

“I am looking for stuff without sugar, sweeteners and …” I started but was cut short by his curt response. Looking at me with a sneer, he said,

“Well then, you can’t buy anything! Even bread – plain bread, has added sugar in it!”

I must confess, dear reader, I am a bit obsessed with Sugar, blood sugar I mean. My maternal grandmother had it, which she inherited from her mother and passed it generously to almost all of her children. My mother was the worst hit – she was Type I, that is to say, she developed Diabetes as a young adult, and it finally took her life, although she was so disciplined and followed all the rules and dietary regulations throughout her life. I was the second born, the first, having died in her womb from sweet (Blood Sugar) poisoning. I have inherited from my mother, her discipline with food and knowledge on the subject of diabetes, because I was often with her when she checked up with Doctors.

One thing is very clear, that from the last few decades, industry, food, pharmaceutical and medical, have been in the Unholy Trinity of scoundrels aiming to kill masses sweetly and making huge profits before they do it.

Think: If everything has sugar in it, then, how much sucrose/dextrose will your body be able to absorb?  It perhaps needs only 120 gms maximum per day. So where is the rest going to go? They will run around in your blood quite naturally!

Think:  If sugar, sucrose/dextrose comes from refined sugar and carbohydrates, how much harder the body must work to break down carbohydrates and sugar, so that they can be used for energy.

Think:  If food industry works to increase the level of sugar in your blood, will not pharmaceutical companies join hands to help you manage the excess in your blood? And if they manufacture, it is because these drugs are in demand from the medical fraternity. Hence, it has been a successful threesome marriage that has lasted for decades now. Not to mention though, that there are drugs which may help cure one thing, while as a side effect increase sugar level in your blood.

Think:  At one time, Fasting Blood Sugar, which meant, you tested your blood for sugar, without drinking any liquid in the morning, used to be 80 – 120mg/dl, while postprandial (PP) which is tested 2 hours after meals, as recommended by The American Diabetes Association, postprandial glucose level under 180 mg/dl and a preprandial plasma glucose between 70–130 mg/dl, was the norm. But now, the numbers have been brought down to:  70 – 110mg/dl for fasting BS and 80 – 130mg/dl for postprandial.

Result? Almost everyone has diabetes when blood is tested! WHO has predicted that the estimated count in India alone of diabetics is as follows:  Year 2000: 31,705,000; Year 2030: 79,441,000 (See below for WHO Source) Doctors are trained not to talk of dietary control only; it is their profession to administer drugs and then talk of diet. Hence, even if the pancreatic glands are doing their job, pumping in insulin into the body, which breaks down the sugar to sucrose and dextrose which can be absorbed by the body, they will stop to produce the hormone, once it is coming into the body externally. The brain will signal off the production of insulin by the pancreatic gland. Voila! Work done! One more will willy-nilly become a diabetic.

Logic: Morphine addicts have given common man a clue to what happens inside the body, when, morphine, which is produced normally by the body in small quantities, is injected from an external source. The body stops to manufacture morphine, because, only a little is required daily by the body, which it produces. However, on receiving it externally, the body, in time grows tolerant to the external feed and craves more, to bring in the same result, which is called “tolerance” to a drug. Apply the same to insulin and the result is the same. So now, the patient first requires the drug to control the sugar, then the body develops tolerance to that drug and the doctor prescribes another drug; the patient responds, but gets tolerant to that drug too and finally insulin is injected to achieve the same result. The end is near, but the treatment has taken a long cycle, filling the coffers of the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

Think: Isn’t it time to take our health in our hands? It does not take much medical consultation at all, only mining up grandmother’s kitchen, mid-safe recipe to good health, relying on natural foods, nature cure, as taught by qualified and passionate people, like Gandhi ji’s Nature Cure (See references below) to take our bodies in our hands.

It is a fundamental right that I OWN the RIGHT to my body and what I WANT you to do to it.
So stop killing me sweetly, Medicine men and women! And driven by greed industry! You are playing a deadly song!


Preprandial/Postprandial: CLICK HERE 

Daily Intake of Sugar: CLICK HERE

Grandma’s From the Kitchen and Backyard: CLICK HERE 

Gandhi ji’s Nature Cure CLICK HERE 

World Health Organization Data on Diabetes CLICK HERE 

Credit Unknown. Picture from somewhere on the Internet

Saturday, January 09, 2016

My Mashi's Guitar

It was all forgotten! For year we did not remember that she ever possessed one. But one fine day, I saw a post on facebook which reminded me vaguely that my mashi, who passed away a year and a half ago had a guitar she loved to play.

She was a Physicist with a musical mind, my youngest mashi (my mother’s youngest sister) and while she was studying in Kolkata, she had acquired a guitar and often played on it, I remember, when I was little.

I remember clearly now that when she came to Shillong where I lived in my childhood, she carried an additional case with her, inside which was her guitar. She would sit on a stool and place the guitar on her lap and strum away at it, while I watched fully engrossed in it. The first sound of music played to my ear was stored in my brain.
Then for many decades everyone including my aunt forgot all about it. When I saw that picture on facebook, suddenly, as if from the past, the memory of the guitar came back to me. Since my mashi was no longer alive, I asked her son, where that guitar was which belonged to his mother.

“No,” he said, “as far as I know, she never spoke of guitars and she never said that she ever played one.”

Something hit me hard.

In the scurry for Degrees, Service, Jobs and marriages, we tend to put away much of ourselves away, as we travel along in life and never re-visit that past, which at one time was so dear to us. Not only that, as we forget parts of ourselves which are what we chose for ourselves at one time, others around us forget about it too. Displacing needs of the past with needs of the present is what seems most natural to many of us.

Until, the revival of that memory becomes a life and death situation.

After my brother’s response, I called my elder sister in Kolkata.

“Did you want that guitar? It was with me all these years, almost 50 years, but only a few days ago, I gave it to the watchman.”

I was aghast! A wild search began to get the guitar back and fortunately, miracles of all miracles, we were able to retrieve it back.

I don’t want to ever forget that part of my life, when, as a child I never wanted my mashi to go away to Kolkata in between. I resented it very much and would cry and howl when I knew she would be gone again for a long period of time. I longed for her to return to me and play her guitar.

She had a little trick for me in those days, which she used as an incentive to engage my mind in other activities till she returned to Shillong. It was learning by heart one or two poems from Rabindranath Tagore’s book of poems called Sanchaita, which I did very diligently, so that I could recite the poems by heart, when she returned from Kolkata. I didn’t know the long absences were because she was studying in Presidency College, Kolkata, then.

And I wonder if she knew then, that I would in her absence, remember the guitar, she too had forgotten in her lifetime.

The soul which struggled so much for a month, while the search for the guitar was on, has now found rest, as the guitar lies on my bed, in my home in Kolkata, waiting for me to carry her on my lap and play her strings, just like Chotomoni used to do, when I was a child.

I can never forget or ever put away from my memory that part of myself, which is my Chotomoni. 

Photo Credit Here