About: the world this week, 5 September to 11 September 2021, musings on mankind, abortion, the Kingdom of eSwatini, a Bishop in Spain, Tennis and Football, and a brand new Superhero movie.


Mankind has grown beyond the wildest imagination of our cave-dwelling, hunter-gatherer, stone-tool forefathers. And we are growing our known Universe every single day: we sight a new Star, a new Galaxy, a new Black Hole; spy a fiery Meteor, stare at a beautiful shooting star; find a new Sun-spot…the list goes on. Then we send out space-ships to get as close as possible, tickle them, even land and dig on them – ingeniously fly above too, testing space.

On dear Planet Earth, we discover a new kind of frog in the thick plant and leafy forest undergrowth, or a new species of fish, or my favourite sharks, in the depths of the mighty oceans. All this is made possible by stupendous, never-before in-existence technology, invented by the ever hard-working, relentlessly exploring man. On the way, we designed and manufactured ferocious weapons that can wipe out all of us – without a trace- from the face of the Earth, within seconds. We also created computers and networking – sewing the world together – and suddenly, knowledge is strewn all over the place; you just need to pick it up and use it to make your own thing.

Then it hits you like a sledgehammer: a narrow-minded, cave-thinking force, with their beards, menacing weapons, and disrespect for the woman of mankind emerge from the darkest corners of Earth and occupy centre stage in a country. Do they realise that their mothers are women? And there is a fear of that Country returning to antediluvian times. Have we come full circle? Should we?

This week, such a force, called the Taliban, which had with unbelievable ease gained control of the country of Afghanistan, lazily announced the formation of an Interim Government. It was bulleted with the Who’s-Who on the ‘Wanted List’ of the United Nations and many Countries. Where does Afghanistan go from here?

Unconfirmed reports fire-in that the Panjshir Valley, the last region holding-out, which is not under Taliban rule in Afghanistan and which has steadfastly remained out of any occupying force during its entire history has also been defeated and taken. But there is still signs of a resistance hanging out there.

There is nothing but hope to hold on to. Meanwhile, the rest of the world may start growing a beard and cover itself up!

Eswatini: A Last Kingdom

Eswatini is a tiny, land-locked country in Africa bordered by South Africa and Mozambique with a population of about 1.2 million ‘swazis’. It is officially known as the Kingdom of Eswatini – Kingdom of eSwatini- and was formerly known as Swaziland: the name change happened in 2018. It is the last standing, absolute monarchy in Africa. The country gained its independence from Great Britain in 1968 and is celebrating 53 years of Independence. Well, actually it is not.

Over the past months people are spilling on to the streets, protesting the strangulating monarchy, the brutality of Police and Military action, and clamouring for democracy and a better life, with over 60% of the population living in abject poverty. There are certain parts of the country, which even in this year 2021, do no know what electricity is or what it means to have clean drinking water.

Eswatini is ruled by the ‘superhuman’ King Mswati III, since 1986. He lives an obnoxiously extravagant lifestyle and has over 30 children from a ‘bevy of wives’ (at least 15, on the last count). He owns expansive mansions, a flat of expensive vehicles, and a top-of-the-line personal jet. While the poor people struggle for a livelihood, the King is hoping to surpass his father, King Sobhuza II, who had accumulated 70 wives and over 200 children, in the wife development department. Age is on his side and being in the fifties he may well get past his father. The famous annual reed dance festival of Eswatini helps him find suitable women to add to his collection. And it goes on…

With his talent for adding wives and planting seed, the King should be able to find the means and resources to improve the lot of his people and multiply their incomes. And crown himself with true people’s glory. Or, maybe Kings & Queens are an old-fashion item that need to be thrown out? Over to Eswatini. They decide.


Early this month, the State of Texas, United States, brought-in a new law banning abortions once a foetal heartbeat is detected, which is as early as six weeks. Many women don’t even know that they are pregnant around this time. Further, there are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Means, you have to carry on with having the baby. The Texas Law is one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the US. And Texas is also doing things differently. It’s giving private citizens the power to enforce the abortion ban. i.e., people can sue abortion providers, friends, and family members who they believe violated the law or helped someone get an abortion. And they can get a prize of at least USD 10,000, if they are successful.

India is, by far, more progressive that the US, on abortion. Recall the recently amended Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971, which allows women to seek abortions as part of reproductive rights and gender justice. The upper limit of MTP is twenty-four weeks for women including rape survivors, victims of incest, differently-abled women and minors. Failure of contraception is also acknowledged, and MTP is available to ‘any woman or her partner’. The Indian law is definitely empathetic and sensitive, rightfully allowing women to be in control of what happens in their bodies.

Continuing with the pregnancy theme, this week, Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that criminal penalties for terminating pregnancies are unconstitutional. The decision to decriminalise abortion in Latin America’s second largest catholic nation brought hopes that throughout Mexico women with the ability to carry a child have the conditions and freedom to determine their reproductive destiny.

The US takes many steps forward and least a few steps backward every once in a while. It can take ‘baby steps’ and learn from India, and Mexico. Some hand-holding is required!

A Spanish Bishop: Falling in Love

Xavier Novell became Spain’s youngest Bishop in the year 2010, at the age of 41, in Solsona, North-Eastern Catalonia. He was a strident critic of homosexuality, advocated gay conversions, and carried out exorcisms; holding on to traditional values of abortion; and being an outspoken supporter of Catalonian Independence. Despite being a a rising star in the Spain’s Catholic Church, last month he gave it all up and secured the Vatican’s approval to resign as a Bishop, citing ‘personal reasons’ – most of us have used this ‘pregnant-with-meaning’ phrase so often in our lives, haven’t we?

Turns out that he had fallen in love with a divorcee, who is a psychologist and novelist, writing Satanic-tinged erotic fiction. In his youth Xavier Novell had fallen in love with a 18 year old girl and wanted to marry her and raise a family, before deciding on the path of God, culminating in his becoming a Bishop.

Wow, what a way to fall – in love!

Paralympic Games, Tokyo: The End

The Paralympic Games came to an end on Sunday and India finished with a fabulous haul of 19 medals – the highest in its History. More sportspersons added glory than ever before.

In total, India bagged 13 medals (Gold-5, Silver-8, Bronze -6) and was placed 24th with China, Great Britain, and the United States topping the tables on most medals won – in that order.

I hope such medal winning unleashes the sporting spirit in India and every State competes with each another, to send the best Athletes to all forms of the Olympic Games.

Tennis and Football

The US Open is nearing the stage of the final matches and I talked about Emma Raducanu in World Inthavaaram 2021-28

Keep that in mind and read on.

Two teenage women who were not too well known to anyone before this US Open will play for the singles championship on Saturday in what is probably the most improbable matchup for a Grand Slam Final since the modern era of tennis began more than fifty years ago. Emma Raducanu, 18 years old, of Britain and Leylah Fernandez, 19 years old, of Canada are the two teenage sensations who knocked off seasoned professionals in the world rankings to get to this stage. May the best ‘born in Canada’ teenager win.

In Football this week, Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to give Argentina a 3-0 win over Bolivia in a World Cup 2022 qualifier, lifting him above all-time great Pele as South America’s top international scorer with 79 goals. It was Messi’s seventh hat-trick for Argentina.

I am already looking forward to the FIFA Football World Cup 2022 to be played in Qatar between 21 November 2022 and 18 December 2022.

Please Yourself

There are two famous Comic Book Entertainment Companies based in the United Sates, that have, between them, invented all the Superheroes we know – to wow us. DC (Detective Comics) which first created the magic of Mandrake the Magician and then brought to Earth, Superman, flew Batman, ringed Wonder Women…among others; while Marvel Comics spinned Spider-Man (the all-time best superhero revenue earner), forged Iron Man, led Captain America, went green with The Hulk, hammered Thor, and painted Black Panther…among others.

Most of these superheroes were of Western origin and the Eastern World was ignored, kind of felt left-out – needed its own Superhero!

Now, Marvel (Marvel Cinematic Universe-MCU)after looking deeply at Asia produced its first Asian Superhero Movie called, ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ based on its titular Marvel Comics character. The Ten Rings are ten mystical weapons that grant their user immortality and great power.

The film stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, a brutally trained martial artist and assassin who leaves his father’s secret organization, known as Ten Rings, to live an ordinary life in San Francisco, United States. The Superhero lives as a Valet Driver, Shaun, parking cars and spending weeknight karaoke sessions with his co-worker and best friend Katy, from which stage the story rings out.

The goofy exchanges between Shaun and Katy are a stand-out and along with the superb action sequences and special effects, the film is already one of the freshest Marvel pictures to come along in a long time.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who is of Japanese descent, the movie is made up of a predominantly Asian cast of, Awkwafina (Katy), Tony Leung, and the unmissable, Michelle Yeoh.

The Film released on 3 September 2021 in the US and has become a box-office hit.

More teenage sport and superhero stories up ahead in the coming weeks. You’ll fall in love with World Inthavaaram.


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