About: the world this week, 12 September to 18 September 2021, edging spacing, shape-shift evolution, US Open opens up to teenagers, India breaks vaccination records, and fashion blasts in New York.



Flying to the edge of space is fast becoming a tourism habit. Virgin Group Boss, Richard Branson, started it and was quickly followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. They rushed to the edge touched it and returned home within the space of a few hours. And on returning, Jeff Bezos even pulled out a Texan hat, grabbed a horse and raced away to the edge of the desert.

Now, Elon Musk’s SpaceX was galvanised to do something better, and this Wednesday a SpaceX rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral, Florida, in a first ever mission to the Earth’s Orbit, crewed entirely by four Tourists, none of who are professional astronauts. They include a 38 years old billionaire who self-funded the mission, a 29 years old childhood cancer survivor, a 51 years old geologist and community college teacher, and a 42 years old Lockheed Martin employee-who got a ticket through an online raffle.

The Tourists will spend the entire mission aboard the special Capsule that detached from the Falcon-9 launch rocket after reaching orbital speed and successfully manoeuvred into its designated orbit. They will remain in orbit for three days strapped to their seats in the Capsule, before returning to Earth in a splashdown ending, off the coast of Florida, this Saturday. The Capsule will circle around Earth once every 90 minutes travelling at more than 17,500 miles per hour during which time the passengers experience weightlessness and will be enthralled by panoramic views of the Earth. The crew will share a special zero-gravity-friendly toilet located near the top of the Capsule and sleep in their reclining seats. They will come back with lots of stories to tell.

While other tourist spots across the world struggle to get people over to soak in their sights, the Space Tourist spot is above them all.


We have tirelessly and endlessly talked about climate change: hurricanes, landslides, incessant rain and flash floods, melting icebergs, wildfires, heat waves, and the kind, which swept through and flooded the media in recent times. While mankind knowingly or unknowingly made disastrous changes-causing climate change- in the name of development and advancement of civilisation, other animals are quietly adapting: making internal adjustments, actually shaping up to things to come. Shape-Shift!

Animals have sensed the change, in their own mysterious ways, and are growing larger wings, beaks, or legs, or ears, as Planet Earth grows warmer and races towards becoming blazing hot. Looks like increasing their appendages is a cool way to cool off. For e.g., an Australian parrot species saw its beak size increase to between 4% and 10%, on average, since 1871.

Within a species, animals in warmer climates are growing larger appendages, such as wings and beaks, with the greater surface area enabling better body temperature control and regulation. At the same time, body sizes are tending to shrink, since smaller bodies hold on to lesser heat. I reckon they can teach us Mass and Heat Balance.

Now, will mankind in turn, grow longer noses, larger ears, or even tails and wings, to balance the climate change effects? We need to closely watch these spaces (and our ‘backs’ for any signs of tail growth).

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden warned of a Code Red moment on climate change during a tour of parts of the USA affected by extreme weather in recent times: New York, New Jersey, and Louisiana that were devastated by Hurricane Ida, to California which is dealing with raging wildfires.


This Friday was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st Birthday and India gave him a stupendous birthday present of having achieved over 25 million vaccination jabs in a single day – a world record – and reaching a total of over 791 million COVID-19 inoculation shots till date. That’s more than the combined population of 78 countries, in just one day, Wow! The Prime Minister said he was humbled beyond measure…and his hair keeps growing. Happy Birthday to a very hard working Prime Minister. I wish he had a birthday haircut! Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!

US Open Tennis

Last Saturday, eighteen years old Emma Raducanu, of Britain, won her first-ever Grand Slam US Open Tennis Title beating nineteen years old Leylah Fernandez, of Canada, without dropping a single set in the entire tournament. And in the process served many aces to set new world records. She won in straight sets of 6-4, 6-3, with some amazing, unbelievable shots, fearlessly dominating from inside the baseline. And sealed the match with a serve ace!

Emma, ranked 150 in the World, started the Tournament as a Qualifier and ended up receiving the trophy from the hands of Tennis Legend Billie Jean King. Another British tennis great, Virginia Wade, looking as beautiful as she was in her playing days, watched and cheered from the stands.

Let me take a quick detour to the phenomenal Virginia Wade who won the Women’s Singles, US Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1972, and the Wimbledon in 1977 – in Wimbledon’s 100th Anniversary year. She was the No.1 British Player for over a decade, in her time. She had also won four Grand Slam Tennis Doubles Championships. She retired from Tennis in 1986 and has worked as a commentator on BBC and various news networks in the USA. The now 76 years old Virginia Wade has ‘remained single’ throughout her life keeping her personal life absolutely personal and secret. And has never been seriously linked or seen with another person in her entire career. That’s a singular achievement.

Back to Emma, some of the history making and records breaking stunts Emma Raducanu achieved goes likes this: First Qualifier in the open era to win a Grand Slam; First British female winner in the US Open since Virginia Wade waded to the podium in 1968; youngest women’s Grand Slam winner since Maria Sharapova’s Wimbledon win in 2002; youngest Briton to win a Grand Slam Title; First woman to win the US Open without dropping a set since Serena Williams did it 2014… The young are bouncing back with a vengeance and the old are still trying to serve with resilience.

Serbian Novak Djokovic, 34, the No. 1-ranked men’s player in the world was on the verge of making history to break a tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who also have 20 major titles, for the most in men’s tennis history. And also the first man to win all four majors: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open, in the same year. But, Russian Daniil Medvedev, 25, spoiled Djokovic’s party by defeating him in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, to win his first Grand Slam US Open Title. That’s as straight as it can be!

Recall that Medvedev went through two Grand Slam final defeats before this win, and somehow it seemed that this was his to take. Failure strengthens the arms and legs, and pain needs a winning outlet. Medvedev received the trophy from another Tennis great, Stan Smith (I remember Stan Smith’s Tennis Classes during ‘my’ playing days).

Please Yourself

The Met Gala

This week we saw celebrities of the world carefully strutting about in the weirdest and wildest possible, eye-catching costumes at the Met Gala Event in New York City, USA. And expanded the dimensions of Planet Earth, with imagination running riot. Well, what’s the Met Gala about?

The Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala is an annual fundraising event for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s, Costume Institute, in New York City. The event raises money for the Institute – one of the biggest fundraising nights of its kind in the City- which is the only one of the Met’s curatorial departments that has to fund itself. It also marks the opening of the Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.

Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute Exhibition, which in turn sets the tone for the formal dress of the night. Guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit. This year’s theme was, ‘explore American Independence’.

Let’s get underneath the Gala story:

The Met Gala was established in 1948 by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, and the first Gala started as a midnight dinner with entry tickets. Based upon the legacy left by former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland, who was a special consultant to the Costume Institute, since 1973 the Met Gala has become well known as a luxurious, blockbuster event, ‘the jewel in New York City’s social crown’ and regarded among the most prominent and most exclusive social events in the world. Attendance is by invitation only. From 1948 to 1971, the event was held at venues including the Waldorf-Astoria, Central Park, and the Rainbow Room, and includes a cocktail hour and a formal dinner.

The Met Gala is also fashion industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, and brings fashion designers, supermodels, and Hollywood stars together to show-off the best of their bodies, awe-inspiring ideas, and the clothes adorning them.

I saw the true colours of our origins, identifying ourselves with the animal and plant kingdom in which we are the intelligent rulers, with colourful brains. We also reached out to a possible upcoming world of machines.

I saw a fully head-to-toe covering black outfit, which would put a bat to shame and give the Taliban a run for their guns; a feathered bird dress, which dare not fly; a horse, racing on a chest with its tail in hand; flowers creeping all over the body, one even had a white-yellow flower springing-up from a milky breast; iron-clad body armour; and even the back of ‘Tax the Rich’ – bright red on white, among other stunning costumes. And nearly all were worn by cats walking down the ramp. If some wore the barest minimum, others made up in kind, with miles of clothing. And it was a dazzling melange of colours in a potpourri of fashion.

I saw through Kendall Jenner’s sheer gown, embellished with glittering rhinestones inspired by Actress Audrey Hepburn’s, My Fair Lady, Givenchy dress. Her sister Kim Kardashian was the one who arrive in the all-black, making the Taliban heads turn. I liked co-host, singer and songwriter Bille Eilish’s peach gown, sweeping the carpets. Other celebrities who were decked-up to captivate the audience are supermodel Gigi Hadid, Actress Jennifer Lopez, Singer Alicia Keys, Singer Rihanna… I disliked singer Olivia Rodrigo’s skin-tight lace dress. And thought brand new US Open Winner, Emma Raducanu did justice to Tennis in her printed monochrome Chanel outfit with a pearl belt detail at the waist.

We held all of this in our minds? I’m sure the animals and plants that have been left out would demand representation.

More fashionable stories to sing in the coming weeks. Stay dressed with World Inthavaaram.


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