Which Evil Do I Watch ?

It has been a non-stop series of breaking news for global media. As I switch from one news channel to another, I feel caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Which evil do I choose to watch? Europe is reeling from yet more terror attacks. The bus ploughing into a store in Sweden was followed by an attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team coach.

Trump’s retaliation to Assad’s chemical attacks quickly filled up news space. He also authorised the dropping of the Mother of All Bombs on Afghanistan. While Trump has shown he is not a throttle bottom, he is certainly a whiffler with his changing attitude to international matters. NATO has been reinstated with his declaration it is not an obsolete body as he had claimed during his campaign speeches.

His about turn regarding China no longer being a currency manipulator has been downright stunning. Meanwhile, his love affair with Putin seems to be on the wane with the grave proclamation of relations with Russia being at an all-time low. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer has gone and put his foot into his mouth with claims Hitler did not gas anyone, which makes him less awful than Assad. Jewish organisations the world over have certainly taken umbrage to that gross untruth and the news media was all over it.

And foot in the mouth, is exactly what Indian MP, Tarun Vijay did when he claimed Indians are not racist because they live with black people aka South Indians! I wonder about his concept of racism.

Meanwhile, Turkey gears up for a referendum on Erdogan that he seems likely to win and closer home, Kashmir goes back to polls after the last attempt was marred by attacks on poll booths and an abysmally low turnout. Kulbushan Jadhav’s court martial by a Pakistani court despite international uproar is a slap in the face for the Indian Government and while they may treat his execution as murder, they have been helpless so far in saving the man. Court-martial results aren’t always set in stone, there are lawyers who help with court martials when an affected party feels that they have been treated unjustly. Perhaps they will be called upon if the unrest continues.

On a non-political front, Pepsi was probably relieved United displaced them from hogging headlines. After all, Pepsi was not beating customers, it was simply trying to beat the competition with an irreverent advertisement.

Beating reminds me of one bright spot dominating Indian news currently and that is about which IPL team has been beaten in the day’s match. As a cricket fanatic, IPL was a large part of my agenda during April and May. My social life revolved around the matches. Far away from the action, I am grateful for Willow TV’s live telecast of the matches. Since my day job necessitates me to be on my laptop, I can now watch/hear as Rising Pune Supergiants succumb to all their matches after their initial win and applaud as my favourite team, KKR goes from strength to strength.

Cricket in India always brings to the fore one name, Sachin Tendulkar. He may have retired from the game but he is still as popular as ever. With his recent foray into the world of social media and reel life, he has ensured he keeps his legacy alive and kicking. Sachin has begun new innings by launching his own app, 100MB, in which fans can get all latest news as well as listen to Sachin speak directly to them.

Sachin’s song for the app, with Sonu Nigam, may even suggest the glimmer of a new career.

The trailer of ‘A billion dreams’, a movie based on his life, was just released. It shows how strong a hold Sachin has over a billion Indian hearts.

India’s other strong man has made a heartening announcement. PM Modi announced Indian women can now use their mother or father’s names while applying for passports and no longer need to change their maiden names in the passport, even if they are married. About time I say. I remember years ago, having an argument with an immigration officer simply because I used my maiden name as my middle name. He was insisting I use my spouse or my father’s name as my identity and not go against societal norms. His comments made me furious and only a nudge from my mother-in-law made me shut up. Who knows, he may have used his power to prevent me from leaving the country!

But eventually I did leave the country and though India is still a part of every pore in my body, I enjoy my life in New York. The city allows a life of anonymity and allows you to simply be. It is not easy to do that in India.

Now if only I can detach from my news junkie self and tune off from world news, I can well and truly simply BE.

Monique Patel

Monique Patel

Monika Patel – Monique to her friends – is now a permanent resident of New York City, but her heart is permanently in Pune, her home for 28 years.
Monique Patel

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