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Criticising is easy, learn to support

After body shamming Kate Middleton Shobhaa De is back in action with a new target: Team India at the Olympics.

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Miss De tweeted this today. For those of who are unaware De is best known for her depiction of socialites and sex in her works of fiction. Now I am not implying that De doesn’t have the right to comment about India’s performance, but such scathing remarks?
News Flash Miss De, these Olympians give their heart and soul for the games, they train with all their might because no matter how many medals they win in other events, the Olympics are their ultimate goal. No medal will ever be able to compete with an Olympic medal. It takes great dedication and hard work to qualify for these events.
The statement shows how regressive our society’s attitude is towards sports. In a time when we should be encouraging our players comment like these are extremely disappointing and shameful. These players have fought the odds to reach where they are.  With corruption in all federations and sub standard infrastructure, it is by no means a cake walk to achieve success at the global level. Bar cricket all the sports are considered lowly in our country.
This is the same Abhinav Bindra who fetched us our first individual Gold medal 8 years ago in Beijing, and today when he lost a medal by just 0.1 point you post such demoralising comments? Yes it hurts to lose, but do you ever stop and consider how these players feel after losing? You think they jump around with joy? Wouldn’t Abhinav Bindra himself want to end his career with a medal?
And as far as taking selfies is concerned, aren’t you the one to talk Miss De, you roam around taking Pg 3 selfies yourself with your fellow socialites and then have the audacity to comment about the players. Now Isn’t that hypocritical!?

A word of advise Miss De, if you can’t support them quit questioning the integrity and the dedication of our players.

This post was published by Youth Ki Awaaz

Shobhaa De, How You Taunted India’s Athletes Is Utterly “Disappointing And Shameful”

The Danish Girl

Opening the film is a marriage of two artists, Einar and Gerda in an apartment filled with paints and paintings in the Danish city of Copenhagen in the early years of the twentieth century. While wife Gerda is an illustrator of magazines like Vogue or La vie parisien, Einar’s strength are  landscapes. The artist couple seem completely congenial at first , but a tumultuous journey lies ahead.

One day Gerda’s model doesn’t turn up, lagging behind in her work she asks Einar to wear stockings and high heels so she can complete her painting. The revival of Einar’s ladylike emotions start from the moment Einar touches the stockings and white dress and Lili is born.Einar and Gerda initially only see this as a game, they created Lili, a woman, which is essentially Einar in dress and  makeup. But over time, the sense of wanting to become a woman is clear and overwhelming for Einar, it is no longer a game in disguise that Gerda had created.

The story is complex with several layers. It is the tale of Einar, an artist, shy and serious, Lili within the same body, frivolous and superficial, who did not want to paint and Gerda who is selfless, brave and  whose love for her husband, traps her between the two conflicting personalities of Einar and Lili.  A story that takes us to see the limits of love and authenticity. Two people worthy of admiration.

A story of courage, first known person to face a gender change operation, Lili’s, courageous battle against a guerilla of doctors who had her pinned down as a patient suffering from a range of mental illnesses. Matching her stride to stride is Gerda, who loves her husband deeply and  is supportive of  his  decision at every step, even when he decides to kill himself so Lili can live.

The director does a good job of portraying Einar, Lili and Gerda’s mental state of mind in scenes like when one day Gerda returns home to see Einar physically but his feminine posture makes it evident that it’s really Lili inside. The sheer brilliance of the scene breaks your heart and makes the helplessness of the characters palpable. Bravery, grief, extra-ordinary sacrificial love, joy, a sense of the tragic and of turmoil all tumble into the mix. The empathy and the pioneering spirit of the surgeon paves a path for hope in the future.

But the director misses out on certain issues that should have been explored with more depth like Gerda’s ambivalent sexuality. Was she a bisexual and that is why continued being sexually active with Lili? What exactly was the correlation between Lili’s transition and her artistic career. Does becoming a woman overpower her urge to paint, is it that simple and easy to just stop doing something so abruptly? It was Einar’s profession for crying out loud. What was the pioneer nature of Lili’s surgery? If you are making a movie on the first recorded sex change operation at least explain the procedure well in detail rather than the amateurish way in the movie. Lastly the director could have highlighted the liberating effect of Paris on Lili. Paris in the 1920’s was much more open than the rest of the world, it was the age of the Expatriate movement, the age of Bohemian culture. This was one of the reasons Gerda, Einar and Lili moved to Paris.

Watching Eddie Redmayne  act in the movie is a delight. He portrayed both characters with precision and expressed each emotion with absolute finesse. Alicia Vikander was perfect with every line and every emotion. Both of them were mesmerising and the photography stunning in Copenhagen, Dresden and Paris. Alexandre Desplat has provided a good background score. Overall the movie is good with flashes of brilliance.

Game.Set.Match.Fix

The Australian open also known as the ‘Happy slam’  was rocked by  allegations of a widespread match fixing racket.  With BBC and Buzzfeed News publishing a report exposing evidence of widespread speculation of match fixing the atmosphere at the Australian has been anything but cheerful.

An average fan may not be aware that Tennis is the most gambled on sport in the world. It allows mid-match bets and the scope for match fixing is immense. Fixing a match in tennis easy, as it deals only with a single player and doesn’t necessarily mean losing a match, but could mean taking money to drop a set or double fault.

Although none of the players were named, the report alleges that all of them have been ranked in the Top 50 and have won a grand slam in single or doubles tournament. What is disturbing, is that the report also states that the sport’s governing bodies have been aware of the suspicious activities involving numerous players, and have been anything but enthusiastic in addressing the problem. These  players have been flagged as suspicious time and again to the Tennis Integrity Unit, but no action has been taken.

The report draws from the August 2007 Poland open match between Nikolai Davydenko, ranked four and Martin Vassallo Arguello ranked 87th.   Davydenko was the overwhelming favorite, yet during the match and hours before it started more than $5 million was bet on his opponent. Seemingly cruising to victory, Davydenko retired early in the third set, raising speculations of fixing. Investigations did take place and although both the players were cleared of any charges by the Association of Tennis Professionals (A.T.P), the new report reveals that Davydenko had refused to cooperate in the investigation and his opponent was found to have extensive contacts with the members of an Italian gambling syndicate.

Lack of transparency in the governing bodies is another obstacle the game is facing. The above is not the only instance of the governing body remaining silent.  In 2013 Marian Cilic withdrew from Wimbledon stating a knee injury when the actual reason was a failed drug test in the previous tournament. Why was he allowed to cite an injury for a withdrawal when a failed drug test was the real reason? Andre Agassi failed a drug test due to the consumption of crystal meth in 1997, the public got to know about it in 2009, that too by reading his autobiography. If the governing bodies themselves indulge in such shady activities, who gives us the guarantee that our beloved sport is clean or at least attempts are being made to clean the muck.

Those close to the sport are not surprised, rumors of fixing have been doing the rounds for quite some time now. In an interview with the BBC, a player, who featured in several tour matches last year and is now a coach said “This (Match fixing) is like a secret on the tour that everybody knows, but we don’t talk about it.”

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic are the only grand slam winners in the past decade. If any of these players are involved in match-fixing, it would  be a calamitous blow to tennis. But the very fact that some of them have come forward and demanded names gives us solace that they might not be involved.

Andy Roddick tweeted: “In the age of leaks and social media, I don’t think secrets exist.” We certainly hope this secret is revealed, for no one wants tennis going down the controversial path football, cycling and cricket went. 

 

This post was published by YouthKiAwaaz.com

This ‘Secret’ In Tennis Is Something That ‘Everybody Knows But No One Talks About’

An underutilised state of the art facility.

KC Sports Club located at Akhnoor Road Jammu, adjacent to KC Public School had opened its doors to the Public last  April. It is the first of its kinds not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in north India.

The facility is spread over 3 floors, covering an area of around 60,000 sqft over 1.5 acres of land.  The ground floor consists of a gym with fitness equipment imported from  USA, along with a rock climbing wall offering  adventure enthusiasts a well-designed resource to learn rock climbing  under the guidance of an instructors. Although the facility boast state of the art equipment on taking a closer look the equipment was very basic and any Delhi Gym would  be able to put it to shame when compared.

The first floor of the Club measuring about 16,000 sq ft offers the facility of an indoor Cricket Hall. The flooring of the hall done with Tiger Turf imported from New Zealand  is ICC and BCCI approved. It offers surfaces for batting and has tracks designed for pace and spin bowling. An automatic Bola bowling machine offers the convenience of solo batting practice with the machine spewing out a variety of pre-programmed deliveries. The hall is fitted with specially designed lights to facilitate playing day and night cricket either individually or in the form of an indoor match. When asked if the JKCA had approached to use the facility the answer was a blunt no. With so many facilities at their disposal the JKCA ought to make use of the Hall which would help in improving cricket in the state.

Among other facilities there’s a 20 meter long  all weather swimming pool, multi sports hall for Martial Arts and Table Tennis. The complex is still under construction and plan to branch out into activities like creative dancing, squash and fencing.  While the club is no doubt full of facilities its membership is on the higher side, which means it only caters to the rich and elite.

Google turns Alphabet, Page turns Pichai

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On the morning of 11th August India woke up to the news of Sundar Pichai who was made the Chief Executive Officer of multi-billion company Google. But getting into the logistics of what has happened at Google is a little complex to comprehend. Pichai, though the CEO,  is not the head of the Google that we knew. Google has been slimmed down to make way for Alphabet Inc. headed by Larry Page.

What is Alphabet?  Alphabet Inc is the new mother company  and Google has now become a subset of Alphabet. Yes you heard it right. Alphabet will replace Google as the publicly traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all the same rights. Larry Page will be the CEO of the new mother company and will include, besides Google, units such as Calico, X lab and life sciences projects. Google’s investment arms, Ventures and Capital, will also be part of Alphabet. To suffice, Pichai although CEO is still playing second fiddle to Page and Brin. But this does not bring down his credentials.

Pichai has been a valuable asset to Google which has been tested and proven time and again. Since joining Google in 2004 as vice president of product management, Pichhai oversaw search and consumer products such as iGoogle, Google Toolbar, Desktop Search and Gadgets, Google Pack, and Gears. In 2011, Pichai became senior VP of Google Chrome and Apps, which includes the Chrome browser and operating system, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Drive.

Pichai is a popular man. Talk of the town was that Twitter  approached Pichai for the role of CEO. Google, in order to keep him, decided to kick start their new business venture along with organisational changes , giving Pichai the CEO title while keeping the same set of duties. Apparently Twitter tried to hire him three years ago and got very close but Google countered with a huge package. Pichai was also a front runner in the race to become the CEO of Microsoft.

All in all, Google is now Alphabet, Alphabet owns Google and Google has a new CEO(Pichai) who reports to the old CEO (Page).

Perfect Shade of Blue

Indian opener Mayank Agarwal smashed a brilliant 130 along with skipper Unmukt Chand, who complemented his teammate with a useful 90, as India A thrashed South Africa A by eight wickets in their second tri-series match. Chasing 245 for a win, India A reached their target with more than 12 overs to spare, courtesy a 219-run opening stand between Agarwal and Chand at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. India A are now in contention for a place in the final with a match to go. After a disappointing opener which saw the hosts suffer a 119 run loss to Australia A, it was a treat to watch the Indian team hit back and even managing to earn a bonus point for their efforts.

The skipper of the team is the one to look out for. Unmukt Chand, proved his mettle in both the matches by far by scoring a 52 and 90 respectively. Shooting to prominence by leading India to their first U-19 Cricket World Cup victory outside Asia in 2012. With this achievement Chand become the shining star of Indian Cricket overnight.

The latest addition to the line of Delhi batsmen, Chand is often compare to his predecessor  Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni for his calm, composed stature on field. Having had an illustrious career at the junior level Umukt Chand dreams of breaking it into the senior team “Each cricketer begins his journey with a lighter shade of blue and gradually reaches his dream. I  have represented my nation as an Under 19 player, an U-23 player and in the ‘A’ tours. But what I wore then were the lighter shades of blue, even wearing the dark blue of Delhi Daredevils and was a lighter shade for me. The blue Indian jersey is the perfect shade of blue to me and the dream is to wear it as soon as possible and then continue to embrace it..”

Sky is the limit for this young man but the pressing concern has been the inconsistency in his performance over the years since his glorious Townsville days. Known to be a “Big match” player Chand has failed to deliver since his transfer to senior cricket as well as in the Indian Premier League where he has given a score of indifferent performances.With India playing a lot of cricket in the next two years, performing well in the tri-series will be key in consolidating a position in the senior team and finally taking the big step.

So, here’s wishing Unmukt Chand a very prosperous forthcoming cricket career. Hope he proves his mettle in the upcoming matches  for India A Team and success kisses his feet in the long run.

The Return of Football with a spice of drama

After a three-month hiatus, mainstream football returned with a bang this weekend. With two exciting matches lined up fans of the sport were in for a treat. The match that took place on Saturday saw Wolfsberg defeat the illustrious German giants Bayern Munich on penalties. Pep Guardiola’s side lost as one of their key players Xabi Alonso missed a chance to convert a penalty.

The other match was scheduled on ‘Super Sunday’. It was no doubt a crackling affair. FA cup champions Arsenal were to face previous season EPL winners Chelsea. Now anyone who follows the English Premier League would know about the ongoing saga between the managers of both the clubs. On one side we have the technical genius Jose Mourinho and on the other is the Premiers League’s longest-serving manager, Arsene Wenger. Both the managers couldn’t be further apart in terms of their style of play. While Wenger is associated with stability and calmness who famously led Arsenal through an invisible season, Mourinho relies more on quick results and signings. The two share a rather frosty relationship nothing less than a saas-bahu saga filled with cat calling and passing snide comments on each other to the press.

The build up to th London derby doesn’t end with the managers, the players also have some amount of history with the clubs. The most anticipated aspect would be no doubt the Arsenal goal keeper, Peter Cech, who is a Chelsea legend moved to Arsenal this season and Ofcourse how can we forget the former Gunners Captain Cesc Fabregas. The Gunners have still not come to terms with his year old transfer.

The match was no doubt exciting with 21 year old Alex Oxalade Chamberlain fondly known as ‘The Ox’ scoring a stunner which ended the deadlock between the two teams. This  win not only won Arsenal the Community Shield it also held special significance for Wenger who finally succeeded in his 14th attempt in defeating Jose Mourinho.

The match ended on a dramatic note with Wenger snubbing Mourinho by avoiding the customary post match handshake. Mourinho wasted no time and cribbed about the incident to the media during the post match press conference. As the saying goes somethings in life never change. Till then we can sit back and enjoy this drama with maybe a bucket of popcorn and coke in hand 🙂

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