Thursday, July 11, 2019

Number of the day: 7%

It’s not yet law but the US House of Representatives just passed a bill that will make many Indians very, very happy. It lifts the 7% per country quota for Green Cards—which could mean an end to those agonisingly long waits for those who currently spend more than a decade waiting for permanent residency. But before anyone pops the champagne, the bill now has to pass the Senate and be signed by Trump.

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The unbearable heartbreak of that World Cup defeat

Most of us watched the game. All of us woke up with a giant World Cup hangover. India’s defeat in the semi-final was all the more heartbreaking because it was unexpected. After all, this was a team that had lost just one match in the entire tournament. And to lose the second one when it mattered the most seems unconscionably cruel. Well, we won’t belabour the details, or try and explain the debacle. Here instead are the best post-mortems, moments and memes of this memorable match.


The ‘45 minute’ debacle: The tragedy struck as tragedies do—decisively and without warning. The Indian team lost three wickets in 3.1 overs. The number of runs on the board: 5. As Virat Kohli said at his presser, “We played outstanding cricket as I have mentioned already throughout this tournament and to just go out on the basis of 45 minutes of bad cricket is saddening. And it breaks your heart also because you have worked so hard throughout the tournament to build momentum. You finish No 1 in the table and then a spell of bad cricket and then you are out of the tournament completely.” (Transcript of Virat’s press conference is here)


Coulda, woulda, shoulda: The day after second-guessing mostly focused on two points. First and foremost, was it a mistake to send Dhoni in late at number seven—rather than earlier to steady a Rishabh Pant who threw away his wicket. Sourav Ganguly said, "India needed experience at that stage. If Dhoni was there when Pant was batting, he would not have allowed Pant to play that shot against the breeze…. Dhoni should have batted up. You need that composure and not just his batting. He would not have allowed wickets to fall in cluster.” And both Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman agree. The other question mark: the selection of Rishabh Pant. Also: The Guardian captures the grumbling over the World Cup format.


Grieving Dhoni: Mahi left the stage of his last World Cup, shattering what remained of India’s forlorn hopes. The Black Caps celebrated with this remix of that critical moment. Indian Express has a lovely piece on his exit titled ‘MS Dhoni: The un-finisher’. Also: This brilliant video featuring Rohit Sharma which perfectly captures our heartbreak.


The victors: were gracious as the Kiwis always are. This lovely quote from Kane Williamson captured their spirit: “I hope they’re not too angry. Obviously, the passion for the game in India is unrivalled and we are all fortunate to play this sport and have a country like India be right behind it and the support that they have for their home team. But hopefully we can adopt 1.5 billion supporters and they’ll be supporting us.” (Read his full remarks here) Also: this fabulous Kane meme. And this tweet which makes clear which team we ought to be supporting come Sunday.


The most sane and concise: post-match analysis belongs to Rajdeep Sardesai. Watch his ‘My Take’ video here.


The bright spots: Sanjay Manjrekar displaying a rare moment of humour and self-deprecation as he comments on Ravindra Jadeja’s performance. These highlights of Ian Smith’s passionate commentary. These Kohli/Dhoni t-shirts in the stands. This darkly funny tweet which captures that early and brutal collapse.


The rich compensation: for the loss in England is Dutee Chand’s victory in the World University Games. She became the first Indian woman to clinch the gold. Her tweet afterwards: “Pull me down, I will come back stronger!” Maybe the Indian cricket team should embrace that as their motto.

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nursing your post-World Cup hangover

Your Karnataka debacle update is here: Two more MLAs quit the ruling Congress/JDS coalition—even as the Speaker refused to accept the resignation letters of eight of the MLAs who had quit earlier because they were not in the “prescribed format.”  Meanwhile, in Mumbai, the tacky drama played out in full public view as a senior Congress leader was blocked from entering a hotel housing the defecting MLAs. In related news: 10 Congress MLAs have switched sides in Goa. That’s 10 out of the grand total of 15. Yup, it’s that bad. 


Tiger, tiger, burning not so bright: For all our chest-thumping pride in the mighty cat, we are doing an awful job of preserving its future. Scroll reports on government-approved plans for uranium exploration in Amrabad Tiger Reserve which is one of the biggest such sanctuaries in the country. Meanwhile, Times of India has the story of a fully grown tiger that was forced to cross a four-lane highway in Maharashtra. At present, India has 50 tiger reserves across the nation which cover a paltry 2.21% of its total geographical area. The number of tigers in these reserves: 2,226. 


Sabyasachi and the bias against make-up: Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee got into a bit of trouble over an Instagram post declaring, “If you see a woman ‘overdressed’, caked with make-up, armoured with jewellery, it is most likely that she is wounded.” People were upset over all the ripped-from-Bolly stereotyping, and he apologised. But as this Huffington Post piece points out, the problem is bigger than Sabyasachi. In India, make-up is seen as presumptuous excess—a woman drawing attention to herself, being too ‘out there’, or just plain ‘too much’. 


RiRi had a Chinese makeover: She looks drop-dead gorgeous in her photo shoot for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar China. But is her ‘Chinese’ look cultural appropriation or appreciation? Bustle has the story, but the cover is here, and more photos are here.


Ariel got a black makeover: In its live-action remake of the fairytale, Disney picked an African American actress to play the iconic mermaid—and a bunch of white folks became very, very upset. So Freeform, a cable network owned by Disney and employer of Ariel-to-be Halle Bailey, issued this smack back on Instagram.


Someone deepfaked Jim Carrey Into ‘The Shining’: and it’s perfect and perfectly scary.


No one retouches Serena: The tennis star penned another first-person essay in Harper’s Bazaar. But what everyone’s talking about: her unretouched photos that are truly fab. (Harpers Bazaar)


Queen Bee dropped her ‘Lion King’ single: Listen to Beyonce’s ‘Spirit’ here. No prizes for guessing who’ll be winning an Oscar next year.


In other needless movie remake news: New research finds that people don’t really like them. Despite Hollywood’s obsession to revive and regurgitate, Metacritic and IMDB scores show that 91% of the remakes get a lower audience score than the original. And the same holds true for 87% of movie critics. (Washington Post)

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Unexpected, thought-provoking and always worth your time

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The ‘Women We Heart’ Edition

Indian women are breaking barriers, reinventing the old, leading the charge into new territory. Both Shunali Shroff and Samhita Arni represent that wave of change. Where one reworks old myths of bygone mythology, the other offers a fresh take on another kind of Indian royalty—Mumbai’s multimillionaires. (Full disclosure: Both women are friends of Broadsheet. Also: Every month, we will be highlighting women achievers—artists, writers, bureaucrats, business leaders etc. So do send us your suggestions.)

A SoBo kinda dysfunctional life

We are all voyeurs at heart. And as tabloids well understand, nothing entertains us more than the semi-fictional lives of the highly privileged. Shunali Shroff’s ‘Love in the Time of Affluenza’ has been described as “Feminine Mystique’ but if Betty Friedan had written that as slapstick set in Bombay’s upper crust.” It’s a rare writer who can make the very predictable Indian elite seem even remotely amusing. (Read excerpts here and here)

Love in the Time of Affluenza | Shunali Shroff | Amazon

Sex, Love etc 2

The man who honoured a woman’s rage

In ‘The Prince’, Samhita Arni reworks 'Shilappadikaram', a Sangam-era epic that tells the story of love, betrayal, grief and above all, wrath. This is tangentially the story of Kannagi—the enraged wife who took revenge on an unjust king who killed her husband. But the central character is the man who wrote her story, the author of 'Shilappadikaram', Ilango Adigal. (Excerpts are here and here)

The Prince | Samhita Arni | Amazon

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