About: The story of what we did this week in our World. Last week, among other things, I talked about Old Birds, this week there is a story of Old Humans, Meteorites, and Music. Read on…


Meteorites from Outer Space – Aliens throwing them?

On the night of 28th February the Wilcocks family living in Winchcombe, a market Town in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, heard a dull thud outside their house. One of them stood up and looked out through the window, but it being awfully dark – couldn’t see a thing.

The next morning on coming out of the house, they saw a lump of ‘a coal kind of thing, a kind of splatter’, on their drive. Could someone have been driving around lobbing lumps of coal into people’s gardens? Or could it be an upturned barbecue tray?

Meanwhile, Scientists-they are always watching-knew fragments of a meteorite must have landed in the Gloucestershire area, as their tracking cameras had recorded a rock coming through the atmosphere, that Sunday night, creating a huge fireball. And they made an appeal for people to come forward with any finds.

When Planetary Scientists saw the pictures sent by the Wilcocks, they were blown away, and almost instantaneously thought it must be a meteorite from outer space.

It was indeed a meteorite, the first find of its kind in the UK in 30 years. It was a carbonaceous, dark stony material that retained unaltered chemistry from the formation of our Solar System 4.6 billion years ago, and hence could give fresh insights on how planets came into being.

This would keep Scientists busy for years to come in trying to unravel the mysteries of the Universe. Let’s hope they, ‘lift the veil’ on just about everything we know about our Solar System and the origin of life.

Lifting the Veil

In a Referendum, results of which were declared this week, over 51% of people in Switzerland voted to ban women from wearing the burqa or niqab in public spaces. The argument by the Swiss Government was that religious veils are a symbol of oppression of women and aren’t suitable to modern society. Full facial veils will be allowed inside places of prayer and for native customs, such as carnivals. Exceptions to the law will include face coverings for reasons of security, climate, or health, which means protective masks worn against Covid-19 are acceptable.

The initiative behind the referendum was launched in 2016 by the Egerkingen Committee, an Association that also successfully pushed for a vote to ban the building of new Minarets, in 2009.

With this outcome Switzerland joins France, which banned wearing a full face veil in public in 2011. Full or partial bans on wearing face coverings in public are also ‘off the face’ in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

The face is the index of the mind. If I cannot see a face-and the many lines formed and un-formed, crooked or straight, how do I read a person? I believe religion should be veiled inside one’s heart, mind or home. And-I’m assuming-the best results better be visible on the outside.

Oprah Winfrey, Big-Bang

Do meteorites striking the United Kingdom have mysterious big-bang effects elsewhere and echo in the Kingdom?

When it comes to interviewing people on Television there is none better in the World than Oprah Winfrey. She pulls it off skilfully, as smooth as silk, always making the interviewee feel safe and protected, cleverly nudging them to opening up about themselves and uncover shocking, hidden secrets. She talked to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who quit their royal duties in England, to build their own life outside the control of the Royal Family.

The revelations, about animosity, deep-rooted racism, double standards, and a dearth of support from the Royal Family were like carpet bombs raining down on the Crown – the monarchy. It will be remembered as one of the most brutally explosive royal interviews in history.

The Royal family had concerns and conversations on about how dark Harry & Meghan’s son, Archie’s skin might be when he’s born. Archie was not made a Prince and hence not given the kind of security that other younger royals enjoyed as an entitlement. Meghan spoke of suicidal thoughts she experienced and the lack of support from the Royals-you have to deal with it yourself she was told. She felt trapped and alone, unable to venture out freely.

It was also striking that Harry was absolutely open about his own mental and emotional struggles, speaking frankly about the pain in family relationships.

Someone remarked that Harry’s emotional intelligence could be used as a springboard for ‘enhancing the emotional wellness of our men and boys’.

We get to see the picture of the British monarchy being a family that gives little support to those who marry into it, where a woman of colour finds the ensuing abuse simply unmanageable. And there is this ‘Institution’ or ‘The Firm’ or ‘The Preservers’ that straight-jackets the Royal Family, coming in-between the Royals and all others.

Oprah concluded the interview by telling Meghan that her story with the Prince “does have a happy ending-because you made it so”.

Let me tell you a true story-doing an ‘Oprah Winfrey Selfie’:

In the days when I was hunting for a bride-in the South Indian arranged marriage system-I went to ‘formally see’ a girl, with the family in tow. I saw her, talked to her, and liked what I saw and heard, in the one-to-one brief meeting. And decided to take the chance-given the options-and say, yes. But the family found many shades of colour-the girl was slightly dark-and some surface defects, and asked me to reconsider. I overruled them and asked for a more valid reason beyond the ‘physical aspects’. And I said, I saw inner beauty-I found her likeable in my own way. I was firm and the issue remained in suspended animation for almost a year with me ‘launching a me-only protest’ and declaring, ‘I won’t see any other girl’. Meanwhile, a truckload of the family made another visit to ‘look again’. And did not change their mind.

We were building a new House at that time and Dad and I disagreed on the colour of the wash basins and water closets, with me insisting that they should be sparkling white and Dad saying they should be chocolate-brown. Then, he comes over and says, ‘You want everything white in the bathrooms and yet you are okay with a dark girl?’ This, in the early 1990’s-an India obsessed with the fair & lovely skin!

I had to move on as I had not means of furthering the relationship with the person I met only once. Later, I married another ‘slightly fair’ brown girl, after another formal seeing.

Some memories stay with us for a lifetime and I hope to meet ‘this first girl’, one day, and take stock of how the colours have faded and how we got here!

The Torch of the Tokyo Olympics 2021

I read about oldest living persons so often that I’m getting old with who is really old. This is an attempt to get young with the old, and set the age records straight – of the verified longevity claims.

Japan’s Kane Tanaka, at 118 years of age, is the world’s oldest living person and she is preparing herself to carry the Olympic Torch this May when it passes through Shime, in her home prefecture of Fukuoka, Japan. She will be doing a 100 metre run-in her leg of torch carrying-which means Tanaka’s family will push her in a wheel-chair for most of the distance. And she is determined to walk the final few steps to pass the torch on to the next runner. That’s definitely the sporting spirit which is the fuel of the Olympic flame.

When Kane Tanaka indeed does it, she would be the oldest person to ever carry an Olympic Torch and ‘run a leg’ of the journey to the inaugural of the Games.

Tanaka was born in the year the Wright Brothers made history by successfully completing the world’s first powered air-borne flight. She has twice survived cancer, lived through two World Wars, two global pandemics (The 1918 Spanish Flu and this Covid-19) and loves fizzy (Coca-Cola included) drinks. She married a rice shop owner at the age of 19, went on to cook four children, and worked in the family store until she was 103. Tanaka has five grandchildren and eight great-grand children. One of her grandson’s said of her,’ I don’t remember her talking much about the past, she’s very forward thinking, she really enjoys living in the present’.

She now lives in a nursing home and plays math games-the board game called Othello-every day. So, we now know her secret of longevity. Lessons for us? Other secrets of people who have lived beyond 100 are: family unity under the rules of love, mutual respect, honest work, and proper education based on family values. Japan is home to some of the oldest of people and we would do well to learn the way they live, and adapt.

She is not done, as yet. The record for the oldest person to ever live is held by a French Woman, Jeanne Louise Calment who died at the age of 122 years and 164 days. And Kane Tanaka has her sights on beating this milestone. Will She? See you – and her – in 2025. This will be after the next Summer Olympics, which incidentally is, Paris 2024. And the French have an ‘old age’ competition. Welcome to France.

Tennis at the Qatar Open

The ATP Qatar Open underway in Doha is Swiss, Roger Federer’s first comeback Tournament since returning to playing from knee injury-two back-to-back arthroscopic surgeries. He made a good start and almost made it to the quarter-finals when he was beaten in three sets by Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Roger has decided to return to training, and has exited the upcoming ATP 500 event in Dubai.

The nearing 40, Tennis superstar showed class and some vintage ‘Roger Federer shots’, making us want more of them, from him. It’s worth the wait. Hope to see him back on court, soon. Welcome back Roger.

On the COVID-19 Trail

Brazil plunges into a crisis.

A second wave of COVID-19-believed to be caused by a deadly new variant of the coronavirus-is whiplashing through Brazil pushing Hospitals and Intensive Care Units towards the brink of collapse and claiming a record number of daily deaths.

This Wednesday, Brazil’s Health Ministry registered a devastating new high of 2,286 lives lost to the virus. In total, more than 270,000 people are known to have died due to COVID-19.

What is the cause? Health-Care workers blame the recent surge in cases on large parties and gatherings that began around New Year’s Eve and continued through the Mardi Gras carnival holiday and into the present. Many of these were held in defiance of local city and state restrictions.

On the Vaccination front, more than 345 million doses have been administered across 121 countries at about 8.74 million doses per day.

Israel has reached a milestone of 100 doses per 100 people; about 56.5% of the population has received at least one shot, and 45.2% are fully vaccinated. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has given 60 doses per 100 people, The United States (US) has given 30 doses, and the United Kingdom has done 37 doses per 100.

India has given about 2.82 crore vaccine doses till date, at 2 doses per 100, with 1.7% receiving at least one shot and 0.4% fully vaccinated. There appears to be a murmur of a second wave in India with over 20,000 positive cases and with the States of Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu seeing an uptick. We are still in the thick of the fight with the virus and should hold-on with our guard-not lowering it down, until the vaccination, and better times, reach us. I’m sure the Government is working to a plan.

The Sound of Music

The Storm over Saranga Dhariya

The Telangana folk song ‘Saranga Dhariya’ (meaning, musical instrument Sarangi – a bowed short necked stringed instrument – worn as an ornament) featured in the Sai Pallavi movie, ‘Love Story’, has become an internet dance sensation garnering over 31 million views on You Tube, over 10 days. The song is sung by popular folk singer Mangli and the lyrics are by Suddala Ashok Teja, an award-winning lyricist. In the yet-to-be-released movie, Actress Sai Pallavi dances to the beat of the song in the way, only she can. Remember, ‘Rowdy Baby’?

However, there is now a brewing controversy on Tollywood’s (Telugu Film World) appropriation of Telangana Folk Music.

Ten years ago, Komala, a folk singer, from Telangana’s Warangal District auditioned for a talent show-in which Lyricist Suddala was a judge – with the song aired on the TV Show ‘Real Re’, which brought her fame and recognition. Kamala says she heard her grandmother sing Saranga Dhariya while working in the fields from where she plucked out the song and strung the music to it.

Komala learnt about the appropriation only when the promotions of the film were released and was dissatisfied with the adaption and not being given due credit for ‘her song’, first rendered in the competition. And later she had even released an album of the song.

In the film, the song is about a woman – her beauty, her strong mindedness, one who is not easy to attain and who adorns the sarangi instrument. Komala’s version is more about righteousness and virtue of a woman, than her beauty. The film version has taken the song to greater heights than Komala, and her grandmother, could even imagine.

Meanwhile, let the music play on. It’s irresistible to keep your body parts immobile to such an earthy beat – righteousness, virtue, and beauty, all dancing in unison.

The Grammys – up ahead.

Every year, March is definitely the month of ‘reaping the fruits’ in showbiz, of the seeds sowed in drama and music in the year gone by. What, with the Oscars and the Grammys showing.

The 63rd Grammy Awards Show – The Grammys 2021 – will take place in Los Angeles, United States, this Sunday and winners of the nominated 83 categories of music will be announced.

Look forward to live performances by some of the best music Artists in the World, coming together to play music for each other as a community, and celebrate music that unites people across civilisations.

Black Pumas, Billie Eilish, Mickey Guyton, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert, Cardi B, Brandi Carlile, Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, Chris Martin, Thee Stallion, Taylor Swift, and more are lined up to sing and dance.

Beyonce leads with nine nominations, while Taylor Swift is favourite to pick up the coveted Album of the Year Award. If she wins, Swift will become the first woman to scoop the Best Album prize three times. Only three others have done it before: Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.

Someone said, ‘music is the soundtrack of life’. We all have our own unique soundtracks and let’s play it well -to be heard.

More music and stories landing on your drive in the weeks ahead. Try looking out of the Window to see what you can find.


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