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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday Long Reads: Central Vista redevelopment, contagion in craft, relationship with wild, and more

Catch the special stories of this week here!

May 30, 2021 9:43:06 am
The India Gate has been a place of inclusivity, of romance, for people from all walks of life

When the Central Vista had space and light for all

As the Central Vista Redevelopment Project proposes to remake the heart of the national capital, here are some memories of cultural spaces that safeguarded a nation’s history and a democratic patch of green that opened its arms to all in a city of ambitions.


How an art show explores ways of seeing a contagion

art, art exhibition, Contagion, Bengaluru-based Science Gallery, COVID-19 pandemic, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express, indian express news Ant carrying leaf fragments; from the exhibit ‘Putting the Ant into Antibiotics’ (Courtesy: John Innes Centre, the UK/Science GAllery, Bengaluru)

On February 21, 2003, 16 people from across the world, including a tourist from Toronto, a UK-based couple and an air hostess from Singapore, checked into Hong Kong’s Metropole Hotel and took the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) back home with them. They most likely never met the source, a 64-year-old doctor from Guangdong, China, who was in town for a family wedding. But they did probably inhale the aerosolised particles emitted when the doctor vomited in the ninth-floor hallway. The contact reportedly led to around 546 cases of SARS across the globe.


How successive Indian presidents patronised sports and became champions too

IPA championship 1913 Viceroy’s staff team, winners of IPA championship 1913, with Lord Hardinge (Courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan photo gallery)

The British weekly — The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News — published an article on June 3, 1911, about a formidable cricket team from a foreign land. Edward Humphrey Dalrymple Sewell, a famous first-class cricketer and journalist, reported the arrival of the first Indian cricket team captained by Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala. That was barely six months before the Delhi Durbar of December 1911. Sports and games, of course, were an integral part of the British Raj. Cricket, in particular, was hugely popular among the British and the Indians alike.


How to enter into a relationship with the wild

ranjit lal, lion Lion-hearted: It requires a special kind of courage to pet a full-grown beast even if one has raised it from when it was a squalling runt (Source: Ranjit Lal)

HOW EXACTLY do you “bond” with the creatures ofthe natural world? Apart from the three dogs, I have never formed a “relationship” with any other creature, except, maybe, with the pair of goldfish I had to look after and who’d begun recognising me only because, I suspect, I fed them. Decades ago, my sister raised a baby squirrel that had fallen out ofits wrecked nest. She even took it to the convent school she attended (so that it could have a good education) and let it run free when it was old enough: it spent the days outdoors and came back home in the evenings until presumably it found its partner.


Why the father-son tale in Pebbles is both heart and brilliant craft

Between a rock and a hard place: A still from the Tamil film Koozhangal (Pebbles)

Koozhangal (Pebbles) is set in a landscape that is empty, bleak, arid. The earth is cracked and parched. Vegetation is scant, the trees more like stunted bushes. Harsh sunlight
reflects off a clump of jutting rocks which look as if they have been there since the beginning of time. The primal setting, in the heart of rural Tamil Nadu, is more than a character in this stunning, moving film: it is where everything wells up from.
An angry man barrels into his young son’s school, pulls him out of class, and asks him a question no child ever wants to be confronted with. “Who do you love more, your mother or me?” The little boy has no answer. His eyes, reflecting his unease and fear, do the talking.


Why our collective suffering should make us care better for others and our nation

Safe haven: The love of neighbours and affection of relatives thrive on freedom and independence, it’s a love that is unstructured, unscripted and unfettered

Everyone in our country is experiencing loss and every home is being touched by COVID-19. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m a ticking bomb, waiting to be infected by the coronavirus. No one seems safe, no one strong enough to be spared.
Abha and Ajay Kumar were my neighbours in Delhi. Their children and us, siblings, grew up together, and were off to nursery and primary school and beyond. They became fast friends of my parents and their children inseparable from us. I called them aunty and uncle, and this bond was built over the arc of my lifetime.


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