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Thursday October 29 2020

Of Unknown Origin

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Sanity Break #1

AR Rahman’s daughter Khatija made her singing debut with a gorgeously animated song ‘’. It traces the spiritual quest of a burqa-clad woman—likely a representation of Khatija who has been unapologetic about her traditional values. Read her interview here.

Sanity Break #1

Headlines that matter

FAKE NEWS TROLLS TARGET INDIAN AMERICANS In a very close US presidential election, votes of 1.3 million Indian Americans could prove critical in key districts. And that’s why they’ve become the target of fake news—circulating on every desi’s favourite news source: WhatsApp. Most often targeted: Joe Biden supporters since 72% plan to vote Democrat. Point to note: tested WhatsApp’s much-touted fake news-fighting chatbot and found it was virtually useless on topics used to target this community. TARGETED RAIDS ON KASHMIRI GROUPS The National Intelligence Agency carried out —in Srinagar, Bandipora and one in Bangalore. The targets: human rights groups, news organisations and leading activists. The allegation: funds being raised from “India and abroad in the name of charitable activities” are being used “for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in J&K.” Point to note: The raids come right after the government announced a new land law that allows anyone in India to buy land in Kashmir (our explainer ). Also: Accusations of ‘fund diversion’ have become a preferred weapon in targeting human rights groups (See our on Amnesty International India). THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A QUICK UPDATE * France and Germany have announced a four-week in response to spiralling numbers. In France, people will need a certificate to move around, and all non-essential businesses will be closed. Germany has only closed restaurants, bars etc. * A leaked government paper 85,000 deaths in a possible second wave in the UK. And new data suggests that the nation is adding a day! * Also worried about numbers: Delhi, which saw a record one-day high . * The founder of the private testing company Thyrocare—one of the top five diagnostic centres in India—says that the government is trying to . He claims that their technicians have been told not to pick up or test samples in key districts that may show a high number of cases: “[O]ne of the motivations is obviously they don’t really want to show a higher positivity scorecard. They want to show a better scorecard.” * A new study found that used to protect against tuberculosis may also boost immunity against the virus—especially among the elderly. * The ban on international flights has until November 30. OTOH, are ready to party starting November 1. * Speaking of bans, Hong Kong its ban on Air India’s Vande Bharat flights from Mumbai until November 10. The reason: A number of its passengers tested positive when they landed in HK—which should alarm all of us since they all need Covid-negative certificates just to get on that plane.   INDIAN NGO SCORES UN AWARD Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) has been awarded the 2020 UN Global Climate Action Award for being “one of the world’s first organizations” to use tourism and tech to promote solar energy. So what does GHE do?   > “GHE conducts ‘Impact Expeditions’ to remote Himalayan villages and uses a portion of the expedition fee to fund the capital > cost of the hardware, transportation, installation and training of village-scale solar micro-grids.”   To date, GHE has helped bring solar power to 131 villages, directly impacting the lives of more than 60,000 Indians. has more details.   In other must-read cheering news: has the story of Sreedharan—who dropped out of school in seventh class and spent 25 years putting together the ‘Dictionary of Dravidian Languages’. How the dictionary works:   > “For each Malayalam word, you find a corresponding word in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. For words with several meanings, all > meanings are given in the three languages. This way there are about 1.25 million words in this unique dictionary.”   THE ‘WHITE TIGER’ TRAILER IS OUT Check out Priyanka Chopra and Rajkummar Rao in the teaser . Reminder: This is an adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s prize winning novel.    KIM K’S BIRTHDAY GIFT TO THE INTERNET The dazzling Ms Kardashian turned 40 recently and posted party pics of her celebration accompanied by the following message:   > “After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to > a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.”   The “tone deaf” tweet instantly became a hilarious meme. has the story and a fun collection.    K POP SINGERS ARE NOW TOTALLY UNREAL A newly formed girl band —which is apparently a khichdi of the words ‘avatar’, 'experience’ and ‘aspect’—is made up of both real and virtual members. And it plans to explore the theme of “experiencing a new world via the encounter of the ‘avatar’, your other self”—confirming that we all do indeed live in a video game now (albeit designed by crap developers). See one of the members ‘encountering’ her avatar :  

Of Unknown Origin

Sanity Break #2

Inspired by Citizen Queen’s girl band medley, founding member Ameya Nagarajan sent along : The ‘Friends’ theme song performed in different styles through the ages—from the 1920s to the 1990s. We totally ❤️!

Sanity Break #2

Feel Good Place

One: How to school your (wait for it).   Two: Squirrels doing crazy stuff. This is not a staged photo but candid shot, and you can find both the story behind it and a delightful collection of photos .   Three: Snow day! Ok, .   Four: Signs of the times, courtesy the which has a little collection of the same.  

Feel good place

I recommend

I RECOMMEND EDITOR’S NOTE When Rytasha Rathore agreed to do an I Recommend edition for us, the splainer team was giddy with excitement. We’ve been total fangirls ever since she hosted Vice’s ‘’ series—and loved her even more in the delightful Netflix series ‘’. Oh, did we mention her awesome podcast, ‘’? Hi, I’m Rytasha—actor, creator, podcast host. I must confess, I don’t read as much as I’d like to anymore. I used to read more as a child and teenager for sure. Through my years at acting school, thanks to my teachers, I started reading more non-fiction and other books to enhance my journey as an artist and performer. And since then, I have read three books by women that have completely changed my life. I’d like to share those with you. '': This book by Julia Cameron was a part of ‘Professional World’ class in the third and final year at acting school. It’s a 12-week program that helps you rediscover your creative self. The book changed my life completely, and gave me tools that always help me find my way back to my truest self. It’s a must-read for all human beings, whether they are in a creative profession or not. Also: A big shout out to one of the greatest acting teachers, Adam Marple, for this gem. I’m eternally grateful. ‘’: The tagline of this book is ‘How to Use Positive Energy for Success in Every Situation’. This one also came to me because of the work I do, but as a book it holds value for every single person on this planet. Authored by legendary acting teacher and voice coach Patsy Rodenburg, it talks about the circles of energy we exist in, and how great performers, athletes, speakers are always ‘present’. While I found it fascinating as a performer, it blew my mind as a human being as well. Thanks to this book, I am present in my everyday life, or at least attempt to do so. I started interacting with the air I breathe differently. I felt a physical shift especially at moments when I found myself not ‘present’. It has helped me centre and ground myself in many nerve-wracking situations. It’s a great book and I cannot recommend it enough.   ‘’: This last one was gifted to me by a co-actor and really hit my spiritual spot. Anita Moorjani’s book is a memoir of a woman who had a near death experience. It opened my eyes to the magic of the universe and how little our conscious minds actually perceive. It changed my way of looking at life and the way I would typically deal with it. I guess the book also stayed with me because I read it at a time in my life when I was struggling with my mental and emotional health. It inspired me, filled me with hope and upped my faith in the universe.   Note: This is NOT sponsored content. We use this section to spotlight the recommendations of people we trust and admire.   One: How to school your (wait for it).   Two: Squirrels doing crazy stuff. This is not a staged photo but candid shot, and you can find both the story behind it and a delightful collection of photos .   Three: Snow day! Ok, .   Four: Signs of the times, courtesy the which has a little collection of the same.  

I recommend

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