The Andaman Tour – Sea, Sand and the Patriot in Me

Andaman, Sea, Beach, Boat, India, Island, Travel
Life at Andaman is relaxed, slow-paced and peaceful.

If winter in Kolkata is a tease, an Andaman winter is a myth. Temperatures in late December and early January remain at a warm 25 to 28 degrees. This is the first stark difference you experience, as a man shivering at the Calcutta Airport two hours ago, the moment you step out of the Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair.

Andaman is an unbelievably beautiful place. This was my first time on a trip to an island, and I absolutely loved it. The Andaman archipelago is dotted with several islands, 572 to be exact, with only 37 of them being inhabited by humans. The islands are home to some of the most glaring relics of British dominance over colonized India, as well as provide mesmerizing avenues for natural beauty with flourishing beaches, mangrove forests, lush green vegetation and surrounding it, a sea that seems to keep changing colour from emerald to blue to almost a thick black. It is this sight of black waters from ships that brought inmates to the Cellular Jail in colonial times that gives Andaman the name “Kalapani”.
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And The Plastic Medal Goes To… #Rio2016

India, Olympics, Rio 2016, Medal, Sport
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu kisses her silver medal at #Rio2016. Picture – www.indiatvnews.com

P.V. Sindhu has made every front page today, courtesy her silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games. She will probably make a Sports page headline tomorrow as well. The day after, she will find space in a corner with other statistics. Two days after that, she will find no mention, right up to the point when she wins her next tournament.

The problem with finding backing in Indian sport is this – the average Indian looks at the Rio Olympics as nothing more than TV entertainment. The occasional Indian medal-winner is glorified, deservedly so, but none of that momentum translates into nurturing our next set of winners. How many of us actually care about any Olympic sport in the four-year interludes? Do we as the common masses find too many instances where youngsters are encouraged to follow sport and make a career out of it? We are so engrossed in the plastic praise of a medallist that we do not care about inclusivity of sport in general.
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What the India vs Pakistan Clash Stands For

india, pakistan, cricket,kolkata
India vs Pakistan encounters have historically been competitive for on and off-field reasons. Picture – Hindustan Times

HeyNo matter how vehemently you deny, you know you’re waiting for Saturday evening with bated breath. To every Calcuttan (every Indian, really. And possibly every Pakistani too), it is a huge deal that India will be taking on Pakistan in a World T20 encounter on the 19th of March at the iconic Eden Gardens.

Cricket matches against Pakistan have always meant more to the sport-loving Indian populace than matches against any other opposition. The reasons are many – a historic political rivalry, two Asian cricketing giants fighting for glory, a popular perception of the other country (and its cricketers by association) as the “enemy”, and most importantly the disturbances in political fluidity between the nations in the last decade or so.
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Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam – The Ignited Mind

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Politics is a funny game. There is not one man in the country who has been involved in politics, and has not evoked a single negative comment from the citizens. None, that is, except Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He was the only politician to capture the entire nation’s imagination. He was truly the “People’s President.”
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International Day Of Yoga 2015

International Day of Yoga commemoration at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata. Photograph – Anirban Saha | www.anirbansaha.com
 
On the occasion of the very first International Day of Yoga celebrated across the world on 21st June, Healthy Billions organized an event focusing on the benefits of yoga and nuances of corporate yoga, at the Taj Bengal, last evening. Among the dignitaries present, mostly from the corporate field, Anirban Saha and I were invited to the event as bloggers.



The Crystal Banquet at the Taj was all decked up in anticipation. Yoga, an ancient Indian practice, was finally being given a special day of recognition all over the planet. The International Day of Yoga came to be only after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched the idea at a United Nations gathering. The day was celebrated with much gusto, yogic demonstrations being held at places like the Eiffel Tower and Times Square. In India, over 35,000 people assembled at the Raj Path, in the largest mass demonstration of yoga in the world, breaking the previous Guinness record of 29,000. In addition, the yoga demonstration at Raj Path also broke the Guinness world record for most countries represented – volunteers and invitees from 84 different nationalities came together and participated in it. Almost every state in the country organized yoga events, with thousands of people taking part in a day of celebrating health and fitness.

 
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Mohun Bagan Win the League

Champions of India. Mohun Bagan celebrates its league victory. Photograph – NDTV Sports 
Mohun Bagan has always loved the big stage.

The National Club of India, the first Indian club ever to beat a European team back in 1911, the club that has united generations of football lovers, the club that shares almost the entirety of Bengali football glory with its great rivals East Bengal, is back in the limelight. As Mohun Bagan lifted the I-League trophy for the first time in thirteen long years, thus becoming the best club in the nation once again, a million hearts erupted in joy. 

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The Fallacy of Women’s Day

Image source – www.wallpaperup.com
We’ll be celebrating Women’s Day tomorrow. Women’s Day. But not Night, because we all know that a decent Indian woman must not have any existence to the outside world after 6:30.

It is downright disgusting to note how supposedly educated men throw up the words “Indian Culture” as if it were an impenetrable curtain that must be accepted without objection or clarification. Whilst our leaders talk of progress and development, their mindsets are still stuck in the medieval age. The scariest part of this is that these men who run the country actually believe what they say – that it is up to a girl to ensure her own safety, that men are allowed a little mischief every once in a while, that provocation justifies assault.

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Kiss And Tell

Protesters in Delhi celebrate love. Picture – Youth Ki Awaaz

Welcome to India, the hotbed of ridiculous controversies. The latest to hit the streets is a protest against moral policing, that originated in Kochi and rapidly spread to other parts of the country – including Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata. The protest, being called the “Kiss of Love Campaign”, was sparked off when members of the youth wing of the BJP reportedly vandalised a cafe in Kochi, following reports of a young couple engaging in kissing and hugging at that place.
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My First Hero – Sourav Ganguly

To the man who dared to play out the scenes from a local derby at the oh-so-proper Lords balcony.
Bengal’s favourite son turns  42 today.
As an exponent of a generation that grew up in awe of his batting, along with his captaincy, I find it irrestible to admire Sourav Ganguly. Never mind the fact that he was only the third person in ODI history to amass 10,000 runs. Never mind he still shares the best ever World Cup partnership of 318 runs.  Never mind again that he is one of only three players to ever achieve a treble of 10,000 runs, 100 wickets and 100 catches. Notwithstanding the pile of records that follows his name, “Dada” was just a joy to watch on a cricket pitch. Better than God on the off-side, and a daredevil captain to boost, Sourav Ganguly is the reason millions flocked to their TV screens, and thousands bought match tickets for an Indian match.

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Thank You Sachin – A Tribute

“I have seen God – he comes in to bat at No. 4 for India.” – Matthew Hayden.
“He has been in form longer than some of our guys have been alive!” – Daniel Vettori.
A short man with a bat that looks heavier than him stands in front of the stumps. He looks up once, and then takes guard, ready to face the opposition attack. On his helmet, you see a tiny tricolor, and on his shirt is painted the number 10. In the stands and outside, a billion enthusiasts await with bated breath.
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