About –the stories of the world this week, 4 December to 10 December: Artemis-I Moon to Earth; Iran and China buckle; Indonesia Rules; Haiti gangs up; India elects and elects; and magic at the Football World Cup, Qatar.


Return to Earth after a Honeymoon Sight-Seeing

NASA’s Artemis I’s Orion spacecraft after having gone further than any ‘Crew Capable Spacecraft’ had gone -the distant retrograde orbit -has left this cold place to return to warmer regions. It’s second main engine burn gave it the thrust to get in to the embrace of the Moon’s gravity. This Monday, Orion did a fly-by the Moon’s surface-just 127 km above-and its main engine fired again, in the longest burn, to kick it back to Earth. Orion’s splash down in the Pacific Ocean is expected on 11th December. Cannot wait for Orion to return safely, open-up, and tell its hidden stories.

Iran & China on the Same Page; Indonesia Opens a Book

Over the past weeks and months ‘one-of-a-kind protests’ raged in Iran and China, which saw brutal crackdowns on dissent. And they seemed to only fester and become unstoppable, on both sides.

Finally, this week, Iran buckled, abolished the ‘Gasht-e Ershad or Guidance Patrol’ – Morality Police- and said it will review the decades old mandatory hijab law, which requires women to cover their heads.

On the same page, China relented, eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and testing rules.

Both saw dictatorial regimes bending to the will of the people. When people speak as one, they effect change, and they win.

Iran’s Morality Police was established in the year 2005 under hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to ‘spread the culture of modesty and hijab’ and enforce it across the Country. The roll-back, is a massive victory for Iranian women protesting against the hijab law, which comes after more than two months of demonstrations, sparked by Mahsa Amini’s detention and death in custody over not wearing the hijab properly.

While Iran seems to have learnt some new lessons from old Rules, Indonesia doesn’t seem to be seeing anything at all-too much cloth covering its eyes? Indonesia is not a secular state: atheism is unacceptable – technically, it is compulsory to follow one of six prescribed religions.

This week, Indonesia’s Parliament has approved a new criminal code that bans anyone in the country from having extramarital sex; restricts political freedom, besides other ‘read the fine print Rules’. Sex outside marriage will carry a jail term of up to a year under the new laws, which take effect in three years’ time.

The newly formulated laws appear to be a ‘disaster’ for human rights, and a potential blow to tourism and investment. They apply equally to locals and to foreigners living in Indonesia, or visiting holiday destinations such as Bali. Under the laws, unmarried couples caught having sex can be jailed for up to a year. They are also banned from living together-an act for which people could be jailed for up to six months. Adultery will also be an offence for which people can be jailed.

Sex before marriage was already banned prior to the approval of this new criminal code, but the law was often not enforced. The old law defined adultery as sex between a married man and someone who was not his wife, while the new law bans all sex outside of marriage. The sentencing for those caught has also been increased from nine months to a year. For prosecutions to start, a complaint must be filed by the children, parents, or spouse of the accused couple.

The Gangs of Haiti

The Republic of Haiti is a country located on the Island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles Archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba and Jamaica, and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In size, Haiti is the third-largest country in the Caribbean, and has an estimated population of 11.4 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean. The capital is Port-au-Prince, nestled between green hillsides and the blue waters of the sea. Look deeper, and you can see the rot washing-up on its shores.

More than a year ago, on 7 July 2021, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, who took office in 2017, was killed during an attack on his private residence. Ever since, there is no Head of State, no functioning Parliament, and the United States (US) -backed Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, who took-over, is unelected and deeply unpopular.

Meanwhile, Gangs of criminals have moved in to fill the space and have taken Haiti hostage. They make their own laws. They kill. They rape. The cruel statistics is climbing every day. About 1377 people have been killed, injured, or disappeared between June and September of this year. There are now an estimated 200 gangs operating across Haiti, and around 95 in the capital, Port-au-Prince, alone. This has resulted in a huge insecurity crisis, with large-scale attacks on communities, politicians and journalists, high levels of violence, mass kidnappings and large-scale forced displacements. And drawing of ‘boundaries of control’. For e.g., in Port-au-Prince you cannot see visible boundaries, but you must know where they are. Your life may depend on it. Competing gangs are carving up the capital, kidnapping, raping, and killing at will. They demarcate their territory in blood. Cross from one gang’s turf to another, and you may not make it back.

In effect the State is missing in action, as the people suffer overlapping crises. Almost half the population is grappling with acute hunger. In the Capital, around 20,000 people are facing famine-like conditions, according to the United Nations(UN). Cholera has made a deadly comeback.

Kidnapping is a growth industry. There were 1,107 reported cases between January and October of this year, according to the UN. For some gangs, it’s a major income stream. Ransoms can run from USD 200 to USD one million. Most victims come back alive – if the ransom is paid – but they are made to suffer.

“Men are beaten and burned with materials like melted plastic,” says Haiti’s Centre for Analysis and Research in Human Rights. “Women and girls are subject to gang rape. This situation spurs relatives to find money to pay the ransom. Sometimes kidnappers call the relatives so that they can hear the rape being carried out on the phone.”

A return to horrific, medieval times?

India’s Elections

The always-in-election-mode-India is back in action. On watch were three Elections: One, the Elections of the Municipality Corporation of Delhi (MCD), in India’s capital; Two, the State Assembly Election of Himachal Pradesh; and three, the State Assembly Election in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

After the last vote was cast in the last of the above Elections, the Exit Polls swing into action, and we could imagine the results. An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) landslide in Delhi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comfortable win in Gujarat, and a cliffhanger in Himachal Pradesh.

While on counting day in the MCD Elections, the AAP swept to power, breaking a 15 year stranglehold of the BJP, it wasn’t the predicted landslide. AAP won a majority with 134 seats, the BJP came close with 104 seats, but gained 3% in vote share. This was the first election after a delimitation exercise when three corporations were merged and unified as one MCD. The AAP victory seems to be well-deserved as the BJP had failed in ward-level governance and delivery.

In Gujarat State, the BJP’s win was like a tsunami returning to power for a record-breaking seventh consecutive time, and after 27 years in continuous power. And the best ever win for the BJP garnering 53% of the vote share. The son-of-the-soil PM Modi, is unstoppable in this State.

In Himachal Pradesh it was made out to be a tough fight, and shockingly the Congress prevailed, winning 40 seats, but largely to Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) turncoats who switched over from the BJP to the Congress. They can form a government on their own, with the BJP at 25 seats probably making a good opposition. However, the vote percentage between the Congress at 43.9% and the BJP at 43% was razor-thin. And Himachal Pradesh kept its style of chucking out the incumbent Government at the end of every term.

Whatever, a win is a win. And India’s Grand Old Party, The Indian National Congress, despite being smashed all over the country breathes to live another day!

In India’s ever evolving, noisy but thriving democracy, the people have a say and you cannot take them for granted.

FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022

Football fever grips the World with the World Cup Football progressing from the Group Matches to the knock-out Round 16 matches, which played through the week.

The Quarter-Final line-up is: Brazil versus (vs) Croatia, Argentina vs Netherlands; Portugal vs Morocco; and England vs France.

In the first Round 16 matches the Netherlands knocked out the US, 3-1 and the second Round 16 match Lionel Messi playing his 1000th game sparkled on the field with some awesome footwork and opened the scoring for Argentina against Australia. And ultimately a 2-1 win took Argentina to the Quarter Finals.

In the first extra-time and penalty shoot-out of FIFA World Cup 2022, a rising Japan, and Croatia tied with a 1-1 score line on regular play, and kept the same in extra time leading to a penalty shootout. The Croatian Goalkeeper became a hero of his country with a hat-rick of saves and Croatia moved to the Quarter-Finals. In another penalty shootout, Spain lost badly to Morocco after a goalless normal and extra playtime.

Late this week the Quarter Finals began, and in the first match, in an unbelievable moment, five-time World Cup Winner Brazil lost to Croatia, on penalty shootouts. Neymar produced Brazilian samba magic to score the first goal in extra time, but Croatia equalised with a Bruno Pitbovic goal, about ten minutes later. It was then over to Penalty Shootouts, which Croatia won 4-2. They move to the semi-finals and have been in this place before. Remember, they lost to France, 4-2 in the FIFA World Cup 2018, held in Russia.

In the second Quarter-Final Argentina raced ahead with a Lionel Messi assisted goal by Nahuel Molina, followed with a penalty goal by Messi himself. But then, Netherlands clawed back with a header goal by Wout Weghorst, and in the dying minutes of the game Denzel Dumfries equalised, taking the game to extra time and then, yet again, on to Penalty shootouts. Argentina won 3-4 scoring four and missing one while the Netherlands missed two. They now meet Croatia in the first Semi-finals.

This World Cup has been full of twists & turns, and we might have a surprise Winner in the Finals.

Far away from the football field awful news came in that the great Pele has been moved to end-of-life palliative care after he stopped responding to chemotherapy. He is the only footballer in history to win 3 World Cups, and an icon of the game at the level of Muhammad Ali in boxing.

Prisoner Swap: A Star is Released

Brittney Griner, the United States’ Women’s National Boxing Association (WNBA) Star was arrested in Sheremetyevo Airport, outside Moscow, in February this year, after the start of the Russia-Ukraine War. She was in Moscow to play yet another season with a Russian league team. A sniffer dog, sniffed cannabis oil in Griner’s carry-on luggage and on checking Russian Authorities found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She was then arrested on drug smuggling charges and jailed.

Griner testified she had inadvertently packed the cannabis oil found in her luggage. She was sentenced to nine years in prison in early August and was moved to a Penal Colony in Mordovia in mid-November after losing her appeal.

This Thursday Brittney Griner was released in a one-for-one prisoner swap for Russian international arms dealer Viktor Bout in an agreement, which the United States negotiated with Russia, and was given final approval by President Biden.

Viktor Bout, one of the world’s most infamous arms dealers, called the ‘Merchant of Death’, has been wallowing in an American Prison for over twelve years.

The US proposed a prisoner exchange last July, aware Russia had long sought Bout’s release. The swap happened in Abhu Dhabi in typical ‘Hollywood style’ when the ‘two prisoners’ crossed each other on the Airport tarmac to reach their respective flights to take them home.

More elected stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Swap everything else for World Inthavaaram – No ransom attached.



About: the world this week, 17 October to 23 October 2021, Haiti’s waywardness, shooting in Space, Hindus under attack, floods in Kerala, India reaches a vaccination landmark, and a shooting gone bad.



Haiti is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles Archipelageo of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Haiti is the world’s leading producer of vetiver, a root plant used to make luxury perfumes and essential oils among other things. Vetiver is derived from the Tamil word ‘வெட்டிவேர்’ meaning ‘root that is dug up.’

About half the population of Haiti have roots in the agricultural sector but it still relies upon imports for most of its food needs. And Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the World.

In July this year, its President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in an attack on his private residence and the ‘root’ of the forces behind is yet to be dug up. Mercenaries appear with ease and ‘rowdy gangs’ seem to be able to spring-up from the ground at will and get away with whatever mischief they do.

Last Saturday as many as seventeen American Missionaries were kidnapped for ransom by gang members in Haiti, including three minors. The missionaries were travelling by a vehicle to Titanyen, north of the capital Port-au-Prince, after visiting an orphanage, when the kidnapping occurred.

Haiti may need to import help, to root out this ‘dangerous plant’ of violent gangs that is spreading through the country, keeping it the grip of violence, and strangulating its rise.


In a first of its kind, the Russians are ‘shooting’ in Space. Well, really!

Over the course of 12 days Producer-Director Klim Shipenko, Russian Actress Yulia Peresild, and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy filmed a movie, called, ‘Challenge’ – the first feature film shot entirely in space – working from the International Space Station. The had docked on 5th October and undocked on 16 October 2021, to safely return to Earth.

The movie tells the story of a surgeon, played by Peresild, who has to operate on a sick cosmonaut in space, portrayed by Novitskiy, because the cosmonaut’s medical condition prevents him from returning to Earth to be treated.

Previously a few films have been shot on board the space station, including a 2002 IMAX Documentary that Hollywood Actor Tom Cruise narrated. ‘Apogee of Fear’, a 2012 science fiction film running for about eight minutes, was also filmed in space by entrepreneur and space tourist Richard Garriott. Tom Cruise and Director Doug Liman revealed in 2020 that they were working together on a movie to be filmed in space, with NASA’s cooperation. The project is being developed in collaboration with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It’s a ‘mission possible’ that Tom Cruise could stay in the Space Station sometime this October. And he probably got the hang of it during a chat with the all-civilian SpaceX Inspiration-4 crew during their recent trip to space.

But, Russia has become the first nation to do this kind of shooting: they always seem to be one small challenging step ahead of America’s NASA. Some Big Steps coming up?


Muslim majority Bangladesh – a nation which India enabled to come into being, in the first place – in under severe stress with radical Islamists unleashing violence against the minority Hindus, under the garb of blasphemy.

Brutal attacks, vandalism, looting, and arson has returned to haunt Hindus in Bangladesh’s Noakhali district, as close to 150 households were attacked and at least three killed in a deadly clash on 13th October. A day later, a frenzied mob of radical Islamists attacked the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in the Noakhali district in the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh. The sculpture of its founder, was burnt down during the arson attack on the temple. In another incident, in Hajiganj Upazila, Chandpur District in the Chittagong Division, Islamists also brutally raped an entire Hindu family including a 10 years old girl.

Attacks on Hindus is increasing at an alarming rate across the free World. In America a three-day online conference, ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva,’ which was held last month with at least 30,000 attendees generated a lot of heat & dust. Some said it failed to adequately distinguish between Hindutva, generally defined as Hindu nationalism, with Hinduism, the religion, which is a way of life.

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the World and has been harmlessly coexisting -even baby-sitting- with all the newcomers, over centuries. And it should be respected – left to be.


God’s Own Country, Kerala, as been on the Indian News headlines for many reasons, from initially being an example in tackling the pandemic – during the first wave- to having outrageously high and consistent daily infections – the highest in India – and maybe earnestly trying to set an example of how not to tackle the coronavirus – during the second wave. Poles apart, with the virus caught in between?

Now, Kerala is among the rains, with floods causing havoc, killing people and cutting off towns and villages when rivers started to overflow their banks. For eg.,several houses were washed away and people became trapped in the district of Kottayam. Days of incessantly heavy rainfall has caused deadly landslides and the Indian military has joined rescue efforts.

Akin to its experience with the pandemic, Kerala sees heavy rains every year bringing with it deadly floods and landslides- happening almost religiously despite its best efforts at managing the situation. Kerala probably has to do something new and different to prevent the effects of this almost recurring too-easy-to-predict event. You cannot expect different results doing things the same way. Can you? Stronger construction and clever selection of places to build Houses would be one approach; better preparedness and forewarning residents in flood prone areas would be another. Maybe moving-in to the famous backwater boats – with stronger moorings- during the rains, would be yet another? God and his country should decide!

COVID-19 Vaccination

India scripted history this Thursday by crossing a huge milestone in having done 100 crore or one billion vaccinations in less than 9 months, for a population of 1.38 billion.

So far, India has fully vaccinated about 30% of its adult population and given one dose to about 75%.

China is at the top spot with over 2.25 billion vaccine jabs and Russia is close behind India, having itself crossed the 1 billion mark, a day after India did.

Please Yourself

This Thursday, Hollywood Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that accidentally killed a 42 years old woman Cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injured the Film Director while shooting for his latest movie ‘Rust’, in a New Mexico set. For now, the film production’s been put on hold indefinitely as authorities investigate what happened.

Alec Baldwin famously played ex-US President Donald Trump in the Television series, ‘Saturday Night Live’. Some of the movies he has acted in are, The Hunt for Red October, The Marrying Man, The Getaway, Pearl Harbour, The Aviator, and Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation…

What are prop guns? What comes to mind is a non-functional weapon or a toy gun that fires caps to produce smoke. Actually the term refers to real guns used as props. The reason a film production company would use a real gun is to lend authenticity especially in close-up shots. Prop guns are used with blank cartridges that have all the elements of a real bullet/cartridge except the projectile at the tip, which strikes the target. When you pull the trigger, you only get the bang, the recoil, the muzzle flash, and an ejected shell. Tragedy can strike if the prop gun isn’t loaded properly – or from ‘rusty’ planning-say when a cartridge with a projectile tip had unknowingly become stuck and when fired the projectile hits the target.

This is not the first instance of a fatal accident on a film set due to a prop gun. Actor Brandon Lee, son of the legendary Bruce Lee, was fatally shot by Actor Michael Massee with a prop gun during the filming of the movie, ‘The Crow’ in 1993.

Similarly, in 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum fatally shot himself with a blank discharged from a Magnum Pistol, while jokingly playing with the pistol on set, amid repeated delays in the filming of the television series ‘Cover Up’.

More real shots coming up in the weeks ahead. Nothing to cover-up: it’s all in the open and everything to crow about. Stay with World Inthavaaram.


About: the world this week, 4th July to 10th July 2021, a wonderful cocktail of coronavirus, happily married-ever-after, spelling, killing, political, death of a tragedy king; and ball game-football and tennis-stories.



It’s July and we have climbed over half the mountain height of 2021. Many had to use Oxygen Cylinders to breathe, to reach this top.

It seems like just the other day, in early 2020, when we first learnt to wear nose & mouth covering face masks-while some specialised in wearing stylish chin masks – wash our hands endlessly, and keep a measured physical distance from one another. The hugs and kisses shrank to ‘cave levels’. And we invented a new form of cave living called ‘Lockdown’.

We then quickly got our outstanding brains to collaborate and challenged the SARS-CoV-2 induced COVID-19 pandemic with brilliant Vaccines in double quick time. Pfizer, Moderna, Sinopharm, Astra Zeneca-Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson… became household names. And suddenly, we all became Google Doctors: never knew being a Medical Doctor was so easy!

When we thought it was almost over, there appeared fresh kids on the block: Waves-we called them. The first outbreak became the first Wave, then the Second Wave…and now we are living in various stages of Waves. Some just cannot figure out which Wave, though!

Then came the Coronavirus Variants furiously mutating to hijack the next available Greek Alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and now the Delta Variant is the most famous of them all, while other Alphabets are struggling on the sidelines to get noticed. The latest is that the Lambda Variant, at the WHO ‘Variant of Interest’ level, is ‘coming soon’. I hope we don’t run out of Alphabets…and Vaccines.

Never mind the Greeks, and the pandemic, I would love to move on to dance with former US President Jimmy Carter, 96, and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 93 who ringed in 75 years of rock-solid marriage. Is peanut farming, and all that came with it, the root of their enduring marriage? When Jimmy Carter left the Presidential White House in 1981, he was 56 years old and deep in debt. Forced to sell his Peanut Farm Business, Carter started writing books to generate income. He has published more than 30 books from a children’s book to reflections on his presidency. Maybe a Titanic Jim-Rose love-story is in the works.

There is support coming for Jimmy Carter’s writing:Zaila Avant-garde, a teenage basketball prodigy has become the first African American to win the US Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 14 years old from New Orleans, Louisiana, spelled her way to victory with the word ‘murraya’, a type of tropical tree. To get to that stage she had to spell out ‘querimonious’ (given to complaint) and ‘solidungulate’ (having a single undivided hoof on each foot, as in a Horse). The home-schooled girl said, “For spelling, I usually try to do about 13,000 words, and that usually takes about seven hours”. Despite practising for so many hours a day, she describes spelling as a side hobby. Zaila’s main focus is on becoming a basketball pro. I’m sure she can spell basketball!

Assassinations are back with a bang. Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, who took office in 2017, was killed during an attack on his private residence early on Wednesday. The attackers, believed to be mercenaries, stormed Moise’s home at around midnight and fatally wounded him. The first lady, Martine Moise, was also shot and quickly evacuated to a hospital in Miami, USA, for treatment. Haitian Police have detained two suspects and killed four others-all foreigners-connected to the assassination. The country has been reeling from violence for weeks and the acting Prime Minister, Claude Joseph, declared a ‘state of siege’.

Haiti’s President of the Supreme Court would normally be next in line, but he recently died of Covid-19. The acting Prime Minister Joseph has to be approved by Haiti’s parliament for him to formally replace the slain President. But without recent elections, the Haitian Parliament is effectively defunct. Throughout his presidency, Moise had repeatedly failed to hold elections at local and national levels, leaving much of the country’s governing infrastructure empty. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. And natural disasters like the 2010 earthquake have only worsened the situation. An estimated 60% of Haiti’s eleven million citizens live below the poverty line.

In another assassination-an attempt-prominent Dutch Crime Reporter-Journalist, and TV Presenter, Peter R de Vries, 64, was shot up to five times in a Central Amsterdam street on Tuesday and is fighting for his life in Hospital. He is famous in the Netherlands for exposing notorious criminals and speaking on behalf of crime victims. The attack has sent shockwaves through Dutch society, which has for years watched De Vries on Television, handling-and solving-notable cases, including some of the most illustrious judicial errors in Dutch crime history.

Even before these assassinations, Hackers went on the prowl. And Russian-linked hackers, attacked software provider Kaseya, affecting thousands of businesses in at least 17 countries. They impacted everything from grocery stores to schools. It could be the biggest global ransomware attack ever recorded. The group, which goes by REvil, is known for hacking Brazil based, American meat processor JBS (Jose Batista Sobrinho) back in May- and bleeding the company of USD 11 million. Now, it’s demanding USD 70 million from Kaseya.

Meanwhile, faraway in Space, USA’s NASA, keep flying Ingenuity, which made its ninth successful flight on Mars on Monday, when it remained in the Martian air for about 166 seconds and flew as fast as 5 meters per second.

In another part of Space, nearer Earth, China started space-walking its Taikonauts, outside its work-in-progress Space Station.

Back on Earth, India’s Prime Minister decided that cooperation was lacking in the country and started a brand-new ministry called ‘Ministry of Cooperation’ primarily to kick-off the Cooperative sector, best exemplified by the ‘utterly, butterly, delicious’, taste of India, Amul kind. His Ministers called it visionary: on our part, we need to taste the results to decide. Having bought the butter, the PM went on to re-slice his Cabinet bringing-in fresh faces, rewarding performers with better ‘butter’ positions, and sacking those who slipped on the butter, through the past years. It was a massive shake-up, bold and beautiful, with old-on-old-heads, old-on-young heads, and brilliant degrees-graduate, masters, doctorates… making the grade. Stirred & shaken, India should do ‘butter-well’ in the upcoming days, weeks, months, and years.

Yesteryears ace Indian Actor, Dilip Kumar (born as Mohammed Yusuf Khan) – The ‘Tragedy King’ of Hindi Cinema- gave-up his last breath this Thursday at the ripe age of 98. He is best remembered for the epic roles in the dramatic Devdas (1955) and the historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Dilip Kumar is considered one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema, holding the Guinness World Record for winning the maximum number of awards by an Indian actor. In total, he acted in 65 films over a period of 50 years. With his low-key, naturalistic acting style, he excelled in a wide range of roles augmented by his good looks, deep voice, and superb accent.

Dilip Kumar was romantically linked with famous Indian actress, the Venus of Indian Cinema, Madhubala, for over seven years until they broke-up. Madhubala went on to marry playback singer and Actor Kishore Kumar until her death at age 36, when illness related to a congenital heart disease took her away too soon and broke many an Indian heart.

Dilip Kumar then fell deeply in love with Actress Saira Banu, who was 22 years younger than him, and married her in 1966. The couple did not have children. And lost what could have been a son, in the eight month of a pregnancy, in 1972. Dilip Kumar later married Hyderabad socialite Asma Sahiba, taking her as a second wife in 1981. That marriage ended in January 1983. But he always had Saira Banu with him… till the last.

Over the past weeks Dilip Kumar had been in and out of Hospitals, and he must have seen this coming. RIP Dilip Kumar.

Ball Games

The Sporting World was kicking-up to Open Stadiums without spectators or space-out ones. The Euro 2020 Football Tournament saw some real kicking around and Italy has reached the finals. England beat Denmark, also to reach the finals, which is their first major final in 55 years. It’s an Italy- England showdown on Sunday, 11 July 2021. Time to take sides and cheer your team.

The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament is coming to a close and Swiss Legend Roger Federer,39, got mauled by world No 18, the 24 years old Polish Hubert Hurkacz, who played fluent tennis to win 6-4, 7-6, 6-0 in the quarter-finals. Roger exited quickly and gracefully, waving to the crowd on his way out of the stage where he acted many a winning game – but not this time. Will we see him again at Wimbledon? Au revoir?

Later, Hurkacz was felled in the semi-finals by Italy’s Matteo Berretini who is the first to reach the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Finals. Berretini plays Serbia’s Novak Djokovic who on Friday funnelled-out Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in the other semi-finals. Djokovic remains on course for a sixth Wimbledon Crown, and a 20th Grand Slam Title to go level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Coincidentally, it’s Italy’s ‘ball-run of the year’ reaching the finals of major Tournaments in Tennis and Football, both of which are being played on Sunday, 11 July 2021. It’s going to be a hard-working Sunday for many of us fans. What with our legs on a football and the hands on a tennis racquet (and the TV remote, and a glass of…).

While the great oldies battled the grass to try to whack that ball consistently over the net, without forgetting the drawn boundaries, 18 years old Emma Raducanu who entered the Tournament on a wildcard saw the tennis balls as big as footballs, in a dream run.

Ranked 336th in the world, and rated only the 10th best female player in the country, Raducanu became the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon in more than 50 years, after beating the experienced, in-form Romanian Sorana Cirstea.

Emma Raducanu was born in Toronto and moved to the United Kingdom when she was two years old. Her parents are from Romania and China respectively. Two months ago, Raducanu was sitting her final A-levels, in economics and maths, at a grammar school in South London. She speaks Mandarin, but said in English, ‘I’m just trying to stay here as long as possible’.

The long was cut-short in the next match when Emma sadly lost the match to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, when she was forced to retire after suffering from breathing problems, while trailing 6-4, 3-0.

Ajla Tomljaovic went on to lose to fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals, who keep her own breath to meet Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova in the Finals clash, happening this Saturday.

Emma Raducanu has left us gasping for breath. Must have been a terrible time retiring hurt after getting this far. I hope she comes out stronger and ‘wilder’ in her next Tournament.

And, of course, I would love to see Roger Federer play again.

More stronger, breathing stories coming up in the weeks ahead.