Oh, August’18


Over the past days and weeks, this August 2018, we have seen the passing away of many famous people in the realm of politics, literature, music, sport, and journalism. The line-up included, an always dark-spectacles-wearing Politician, M. Karunanithi, in Tamil Nadu – wore it in his final fight to his grave on the Marina Beach as well; Literature Nobel winner V. S. Naipaul – A House for him, and Mr. Biswas, in Heaven for sure; Singer Aretha Franklin – the Queen of Soul goes up. I Say A Little Prayer out of Respect for her; former Prime Minister of India, Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee – this time, his long pause was for good; former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Winner Ghanian Kofi Annan – goes over to globalise Heaven against the laws of gravity; former Indian Cricket Captain Ajit Wadekar – clean bowled this time, Summer of 42 left behind; veteran Journalist Kuldip Nayar – he retold the Emergency and has now gone Beyond the Lines …the list goes on.

Three Indians in the above list crossed 90 years of life on Earth and perhaps they are sterling lessons of longevity in India!

August 2018 has been treacherous for lives on Earth, with the good God calling back his best creations – perhaps to neatly file them in his Heavenly Archives. He also rolled out a devastating carpet of rain – in his own Country of Kerala; torched fires in the USA, launched earth-quakes in Indonesia…and the kind. Maybe, God wants to remind us who’s the Big Boss in our House on Earth?

While God attacked us on Earth, we decided to take the fight to the Heavens: NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe to dare ‘touch the Sun’ and hopefully comeback with blowing hot and cool stories to tell. While NASA was in such solar glare, India’s ISRO got a clean knock on its head with the Prime Minister of India – speaking on Independence Day – setting a goal of independently putting a Man on the Moon by 2022. I’m sure, when that happens we’ll find a Man from Kerala – having escaped the deluge, selling Ice-Tea on the Moon, using the ice that’s just been discovered. Moon-walking may become the order of the day, soon, with or with-out James Bond!

While NASA was doing what it does best, an air-side ground staff man in Seattle’s Airport quietly ran away with an empty Aircraft parked on the run-way: flew it and crash-landed to death, after having enough of the air of life. I think it’s time Pilots lock the Cockpit doors, like we do our cars, while they are parked; if not they are asking for trouble. Airport Security now have another angle to probe, and more doors to frisk! This maybe out of boundary for the upcoming US Space Force, created by its trumping President, but space in Space is being challenged.

There are so many things happening upside down these days that I could not but wonder – as the BBC reported- at Daniel Mirera, a Kenyan Student who has been writing upside-down since he was a child. Well, he also reads upside down too – turns a book on its head and races off to read effortlessly. He has been doing this normally and consistently as the upside-down thing came naturally to him. He has persisted, despite being endlessly teased on whether one’s legs can be found on top of the body or the hands growing at the bottom. I’m sure he must be having a better perspective of this complex world of ours; and they say he is a very bright student.

Meanwhile, across India’s Western Border, a Cricket World Cup Winning Captain becomes its Prime Minister after a long innings of over twenty years in politics, and some ‘deadly umpiring’ by the Pakistan Army during the talibanzied Elections. That’s an incredible journey indeed! Photos showed him glowing with an openly dressed modern ‘gold smith’ first wife; a partially covered TV-anchoring second; and a fully covered, spiritually-guiding conservative third. Now, there’s no guessing in which direction he is headed – with those playboy looks, and acquired captaincy skills. India can expect majestic reverse swings on the Kashmir issue and we need to pad-up to loft them over with hefty helicopter-shot sixes. Imran Khan would require more than the guidance of spirits; some ‘uneven turban-wearing hugs’ might help lubricate the journey to a possible stardom. Lets ‘place our bats’ on that!

With the progress of human civilization, we have moved from living in the open-under the wide sky, to trees, caves, thatched and mud huts, brick & mortar houses to modern Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) Structures and multi-storey High Rise Buildings. Recently, an RCC Highway Bridge collapsed in Northern Italy, killing people driving on it, who must have though that they were surely safe on a structure with a life of over 100 years. Engineers build lots of safety factors into these structures, but the elements of Nature, stress and corrosion have a way of getting into the steel – as if to test if it is from Superman’s Krypton, and in the process settle down to make it their permanent home. While some suggest that we may have to shorten the long lives of the RCC makes– we gave them that in the first place- I think we should challenge ourselves to invent new materials and dupe Nature into thinking that they are its own. For a start, I imagine a toughened Graphene RCC bridge!

Maybe, we should go back to the great Opens; the French have hit this seam, and recently Paris has installed open-air urinals, which has raised quite a stench of criticism. Did they get this refurbished idea from India – now that we are slowly doing ‘the one & two job’ from the wild outdoors to the safe indoors? Lots of Work to do in these spaces!

The 18th Asian Games-2018 now playing in Indonesia, showed the real ‘India shining’ through. A young sweet-sixteen-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary shot Gold in the 10m Air Pistol on a superb debut, and Vinesh Phogat became the first woman wrestler to win an Asian Games Gold even as Bajrang Punia wrestled a Gold – dedicating it to the passed Vajpayee. The story and fame of the Phogat Sisters continues to spread and make headlines, going beyond the movie Dangal, as a real–life sequel!

We live in a wonderful World: so much happening all the time. Are we doing our best to hold it together? We must!

Let the games of life and the music play on! Have a safe weekend


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