Amitav Ghosh
Amitav Ghosh: ‘What we are seeing in India, and in other parts of Asia, is the wholesale adoption of settler-colonial practices by political and economic elites’

Around the time that Amitav Ghosh’s new book of non-fiction, The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (Penguin Random House, Rs 599), released in India this week, reports threw up alarming new data on the spiralling global climate crisis. Months after the “code red for humanity” sounded by United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which begins on October 31, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) released its report, “World Energy Outlook 2021”, on October 13. In it, IEA highlighted how the bid for economic recovery in a pandemic-ridden world has seen “a large rebound in coal and oil use”. “Largely for this reason, it is also seeing the second-largest annual increase in CO2 emissions in history,” the report said.

In India, Adivasis in Chhattisgarh launched a 300-km march to the state capital of Raipur to protest against the land-acquisition process and the mining projects in the Hasdeo Arand forests of central India; the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change proposed amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, that would ease diversion of forest land and offer exemptions to certain developmental activities from governmental clearance, even as state governments warned of an impending electricity crisis if coal stocks are not urgently replenished.

In Ghosh’s compelling narrative, such ruptures arrange themselves into a discernible pattern of violent aggrandisement that dates back to the arrival of the first European colonisers on foreign shores, and adopted since by governments and corporates around the world. Ghosh begins with the story of the nutmeg, a spice that had, for centuries, been grown and traded in the Banda Islands (now in Indonesia) on the Indian Ocean. The arrival of the Dutch colonisers in the 16th century and the violent profiteering project that takes shape destroys the islands and its indigenous community. Over the next several centuries, this model of rapacious appropriation would, quite literally, reshape, or as Ghosh contextualises it, “terraform” the Earth, and birth acquisitive cultures that thrive on narratives of unbounded growth.

Yet, writes Ghosh in the book, “As we watch the environmental and biological disasters that are now unfolding across the Earth, it is becoming even harder to hold on to the belief that the planet is an inert body that exists merely in order to provide humans with resources. Instead, the Earth’s responses are increasingly reminiscent of the imaginary planet after which the Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem named his brilliant novel Solaris: when provoked by humans Solaris begins to strike back in utterly unexpected and uncanny ways.”

Taking off from his 2016 work of non-fiction, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, Ghosh, 65, offers an intriguing examination of the mounting climate crisis, through a prism of history, politics, economy and philosophy to show how a colonial, capitalist culture of discrimination and violence in Asia and the Americas has led to this precipitous moment of ecological imbalance.

In this email interview, he speaks of stumbling upon the story of the nutmeg on a visit to the Banda Islands, the link between climate change and ethno-nationalism and the flawed principle of climate elitism. Edited excerpts:

You have been writing about the Indian Ocean for a very long time. Do you remember what first sparked your interest in its history and geopolitics?

I, too, have sometimes wondered why the Indian Ocean has loomed so large in my imagination. Maybe it has something to do with the years I spent in Sri Lanka as a child. Sri Lanka may be a small country but it occupies a central position in the history and geography of the Indian Ocean. Indeed, as you will have seen in The Nutmeg’s Curse, small islands, like those of the Banda Archipelago, have played a key part in the history of the Indian Ocean.

When did you first become aware of the clear and present danger that is climate change?

I started to become aware of the effects of climate change while writing about the Sundarban in The Hungry Tide (2004). Even back then, 20 years ago, some of the impacts of climate change, such as salt-water intrusion, were visible there. Since then, the devastation of the Sundarban, by a series of cyclones such as Aila (in 2009), made it clear that the dangers were indeed clear and present.

Amitav Ghosh Banda Islands in Indonesia (Photo: Amitav Ghosh)

You write in this book how you became immersed in the history of the decimation of the indigenous community in Banda during the pandemic. How did you arrive at the story itself, given how little was known of this event?

My awareness of this story came from my visit to the Banda Islands in 2016. Before that visit, I knew almost nothing about what had happened there, because very little has been written about it. One of the reasons for this, perhaps, is that the Banda Islands came to be absorbed into the Dutch Empire, the history of which tends to be much less discussed than the British, or even the Portuguese and Spanish empires.

How did it help you to connect the dots between market fundamentalism and colonialism?

Writing the book was indeed a process of connecting dots. And in this, I must say, the islands themselves played a significant part. It was in thinking about the terrible events that doomed the people of the Banda Islands — essentially because the Earth had given them a tree of matchless value — that I began to understand the connections between colonial conquests, race, extractivism and capitalism.

One of the most fascinating accounts in the book is the story of eco-migrations. I remember at the time of Gun Island (2019), you’d mentioned how during the course of your travels in Italy you’d come across a migrant camp in Caltanissetta where the many Pakistani immigrants had moved because of the various floods that had taken place in their country. Yet, somehow, when we think of the refugee crisis, we usually tend to look at it from a political lens and rarely from an ecological perspective.

Ecological impacts are, of course, very important drivers of the migrations that are currently underway around the planet. But, I think, we have to be careful not to be reductive in considering the causes of these migrations. As I’ve said in The Nutmeg’s Curse, in my travels I did not meet a single migrant who was willing to describe themselves as a ‘climate migrant’. Their journeys were driven by many factors of which ecological impacts were just one. It is important to remember that communications technology plays a very important role in the migrations of today. Pre-existing networks also play a very important part in enabling these movements. So, for example, among the migrants who are crossing the Mediterranean and the Balkans, there are many Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, but very few Indians. This is, I think, largely because the clandestine networks that enable migrants to move are not as extensive, or as deeply rooted in India as they are in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Both Bangladesh and Punjab have long histories of sending young, working-class men abroad, so the pre-existing migrant networks in these regions are very strong. In India, by contrast, overseas migrants generally tend to be middle class, except in Punjab, which is more akin to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi pattern. However, I think this will change, and similar networks will soon spread through India.

In one of his first interviews after his Nobel Prize for Literature win this year, Abdulrazak Gurnah spoke of how the Western imagination of migration is limited by a belief that ‘there isn’t enough to go around’ and that there could be a way around it if one could conceive that these people have something of value to offer in return. This limitation of the Western imagination is something you address, too, in your writing. But you serve a warning note when you say that it could spur on eco-fascism or ethno-nationalism if left unchecked.

Migration tends to create a strange kind of double-think in places that become destinations for migrants. Once migrants start working in a certain sector, it often happens that local people stop doing those jobs. So, for example, in Italy, the caregivers who look after elderly people are almost all migrants; native-born Italians just don’t do that kind of work anymore. That’s also true of some kinds of agricultural work. In the US too, native-born Americans (including the children of migrants) have stopped doing certain kinds of agricultural work. I met a Midwestern farmer recently who told me stories about how, in his teenage years, he would work on a farm for pocket money. He said that today it’s almost impossible to get American teenagers to do that kind of work, even if you pay them well. They would rather work indoors, as cashiers in a supermarket chain. I’ve seen this pattern evolve also in Goa, where the workers and labourers are now mainly from Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Many native-born Goans are reluctant to do certain kinds of work now, like gardening, masonry or waiting in restaurants. Yet, these very regions, which have become completely dependent on migrant labour, also often generate nativist movements, calling for the exclusion of migrants. The UK is a good example: the nativists thought that after Brexit, British people would rush to take the jobs that migrants once held. But this has not proved to be the case, as they have found to their cost.

nutmeg, amitav ghosh The nutmeg tree (Photo: Amitav Ghosh)

How do you see this ethno-nationalism play out within nations with regard to climate change?

That dynamic is visible everywhere, even in India, where Bangladesh is constantly being vilified in relation to migration. Yet, Bangladesh now has a higher per capita GDP than India, and has better social indicators as well. In fact, India is hardly an attractive destination for Bangladeshi migrants. In Europe (and also in India), hostility to migrants is often superimposed on religious divisions, creating a really toxic mix.

Countries such as India, with their traditionally animistic approach to nature, could have chosen a different approach to conservation. Where did we falter?

In India, as elsewhere, vitalist beliefs have largely been kept alive by people who have a close connection with the land. These people are generally those who live in forests or belong to disadvantaged castes. In India, many of these people are absolutely under attack by middle-class urbanites who are intent, not only on destroying their ways of life but also in seizing their lands. What we are seeing, essentially, in India, and in other parts of Asia, is the wholesale adoption of settler-colonial practices by political and economic elites.

Do you see the history of violence that shaped the Americas play out in a new form but with similar end results in Asia, now that the coloniser’s focus on ‘terraforming’ has been adopted by corporates and governments?

Yes, sadly this is absolutely the case. Throughout Asia now, there is a mania for building dams, for instance. Yet, in America, where dams have been used extensively to terraform the terrain, it is now becoming clear that dams will exacerbate the effects of climate change. Indeed, many dams are now being dismantled in the US. Unfortunately, this lesson has not been widely absorbed.

Two things that have emerged out of this pandemic are the erosion of public trust in institutions and a heightened awareness of the deep inequality that exists in society today. In India, for instance, the sight of the migrants walking back to their villages when the lockdown was declared remains emblematic of the first phase of the pandemic. What do you foresee as its impact in the coming days, given that climate elitism relies on the belief of the survival of the richest?

What happened in India in relation to migrant workers was completely horrific: it was an all-out declaration of a class war, waged by elites against the poor. The long-term effects will be terrible, in terms of climate resilience. One of the things that this pandemic has shown is that an absence of social trust creates terrible outcomes. So, for instance, the US, which led the way in coming up with vaccines, has been unable to vaccinate large sections of its population, simply because of a lack of social trust. In general, the countries that have been worst hit by the pandemic are those with high rates of inequality, and low social trust — most notably the US, Brazil and India.

nutmeg, amitav ghosh The spice that spurred on a colonial invasion (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

In The Great Derangement, you’d written that future generations would hold not just leaders and politicians accountable for their failure to address the climate crisis, but also artists and writers because ‘the imagining of possibilities is not, after all, the job of politicians and bureaucrats.’ Do you see writers addressing this crisis of vision better since?

Yes, I think there has been significant change in the literary and artistic worlds in the last few years. Many more writers and artists are paying attention to climate change. Nowadays, I receive books and manuscripts every day that say ‘this book was inspired by The Great Derangement.’ I wish I could read all of them but the sheer volume is overwhelming.

Moving away from The Nutmeg’s Curse, how was it to write in verse about the Bon Bibi legend in Jungle Nama (HarperCollins)? Have you always been a closet poet?

Working on Jungle Nama was completely wonderful, a new experience in many ways. Writing verse was one part of it, but another was collaborating with an artist and a musician. That too was a completely new experience for me. As you may know, the audiobook of Jungle Nama is out now, and I think it is absolutely fantastic, with music specially composed by (Pakistani artiste) Ali Sethi.

songs, Hindi songs, Hindi cinema, Bollywood, songs that define India, Indian songs, stories told through songs, movies, films, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express news
75 top songs from Hindi cinema that shaped our lives and history

The story of India will be incomplete without its songs – the background score to our lives. Be it the anguish of KL Saigal, when he crooned Jab dil hi toot gaya (Shahjehan, 1946) in his nasal voice, perhaps the most significant break-up song of the last century or our sudden belief in gold dust and green fields when we heard Mere desh ki dharti (Upkar, 1959) ringing out of our transistors. We were companions in misery with Guru Dutt when he lamented Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai (Pyaasa, 1957). And we will always look up to poet-lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi for asking a tough question “Jinhe naaz hai Hind par woh kahan hain (Where are those who are proud of India)?” amid the failure of socialism.

For decades, we lent our ears to Binaca Geetmala, as Ameen Sayani played the top 10 every Wednesday from Radio Ceylon, our loyalties bought forever by Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood and Kishore Kumar. If we were sold out on the grandeur of Pyar kiya toh darna kya (Mughal-E-Azam, 1960) where a brave courtesan professed her love for a prince before an invincible king, there was Kaifi Azmi’s Waqt ne kiya (Kaagaz Ke Phool, 1959), about the inevitability of life.

In the’80s and thereafter, songs of longing and unrequited love were replaced by street songs and realism. There were new stories to tell, new songs, new metaphors. The nation has always sung along.

1. 1947 Afsana likh rahi hoon (Dard)

Weeks after August 15, an independent India cocked its ears to this gently ditty put together by Urdu poet-lyricist Shakeel Badayuni and Naushad with Uma Devi crooning it in her earnest voice. Afsaana (story) became the song of the year.

2. 1948 Watan ki raah mein (Shaheed)

This Ghulam Haider composition carried the zest of the youth wanting to lay down their lives for the nation.

3. 1949 Mere piya gaye Rangoon (Patanga)

A trunk call from Rangoon (now Yangon, Myanmar) to Dehradun that spoke of love and longing was an inherently fabulous, funny and catchy number, with Shamsad Begum’s nasal inflection imprinting it in collective memory.

4. 1949 Aayega aane wala (Mahal)

This is the watershed year when Lata Mangeshkar, who sang this haunting Khemchad Prakash composition and took the nation’s breath away, sealing her supremacy in the Indian film industry for decades to come, with no rival in sight. The song broke all records at Radio Ceylon as people flooded their office with letters to ask for the singer’s name (The gramophone company only carried the character’s name – Kamini). Every composer took notice. Lata Mangeshkar had arrived.

5. 1949 Suhani raat dhal chuki (Dulari)

A favourite with Rafi, the piece catapulted him to fame.

6. 1951 Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer (Baazi)

In this rather buoyant melody, poet Sahir Ludhianvi says, overcome your ruined fate with faith. Composer SD Burman had Geeta Bali sing the ghazal as a club number in this Bombay noir.

7. 1953 Mausam beeta jaaye (Do Bigha Zamin)

In Manna Dey’s haunting voice, the song was a commentary on the rising inequality in the country.

8. 1954 De di hamein azaadi (Jagriti)

One of Kavi Pradeep’s early patriotic lyrics was dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, his ideas of freedom and non-violence. This Hemant Kumar composition is almost always sung every October 2.

9. 1955 Pyaar hua ikraar hua (Shree 420)

This iconic duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey will always be remembered for the iconic imagery of Raj Kapoor and Nargis under the umbrella.

10. 1957 Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye toh (Pyaasa)

Sahir’s poignant verse highlighted the eternal struggle between the crassness of materialism and peace of the spiritual. Who can forget Mohammed Rafi’s heart- rending crescendo Jala do isse, phoonk daalo ye duniya that tore into our heads and hearts.

11. 1957 Jinhe naaz hai Hind par woh kahan hain (Pyaasa)

This protest song by Sahir Ludhianvi established him as a peerless poet of the time.

12. 1957 Maang ke saath tumhara (Naya Daur)

This song complemented the memorable Ude jab jab zulfein teri. OP Nayyar turned to Punjabi folk in this composition and presented it with his trademark ghudtaal (the clip-clop of horse’s hooves) in the rhythm.

13. 1958 Yeh mera deewanapan hai (Yahudi)

One of Mukesh’s finest, the song became a refuge for every heartbroken lover.

14. 1958 Suhana safar (Madhumati)

Salil Chowdhury worked with the simplicity of Shailendra’s lyrics, bringing swelling strings and chirping birds into the tune, along with a unique pause-and-play effect.

15. 1958 Woh subah (Phir Subah Hogi)

When Ludhianvi’s sharp lines cut through the disparity between haves and have-nots.

16. 1959 Waqt ne kiya (Kaagaz Ke Phool)

Guru Dutt’s melancholic masterpiece was an amalgam of light and shadow, Kaifi Azmi’s words and Geeta Dutt’s voice.

17. 1959 Jalte hain jiske liye (Sujata)

Bimal Roy’s scathing comment on caste has lovelorn Brahmin boy Sunil Dutt singing for Sujata, a “lower”-caste girl.

18. 1960 Jab pyar kiya toh darna kya (Mughal-e-Azam)

The coming together of potent lyrics, Naushad’s composition, Lata Mangeshkar’s voice and Madhubala as Anarkali immortalising the song with her cracker of a performance. It became the song of defiant love for India.

19. 1961 Aye mere pyare watan (Kabuliwala)

Memorable for its rabab riffs, and Manna Dey’s soulful voice about home.

20. 1961 Allah tero naam, ishwar tero naam (Hum Dono)

This evocative bhajan by Jaidev gave India the message of unity.

21. 1963 Mora gora ang laile (Bandini)

Gulzar makes his debut using Awadhi in the lyrics to describe a woman’s desire to meet the man she loves without getting noticed, due to her fair complexion.

22. 1963 Aye mere watan ke logo

In the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian War, a disturbed Kavi Pradeep song, immortalised the words, Jo shaheed huye hain unki, zara yaad karo qurbani. The song, composed by C Ramachandra, eventually went on to become a tableau of nationalism. Pt Nehru is known to have welled up. Just like numerous Indians. Jab hum baithe the gharo mein, wo jhel rahe the goli… It hit home.

23. 1963 Laaga chunari mein daag (Dil Hi To Hai)

Sahir Ludhianvi took this line from mystic-poet-saint Kabir’s nirgun bhajan that highlighted the soul’s struggle with materialistic desires.

24. 1964 Mann re (Chitralekha)

This song in Rafi’s voice was the backdrop of a difficult year with the Kashmir crisis and the death of Nehru, India’s first prime minister.

25. 1964 Apni azadi ko hum (Leader)

The song became synonymous with revolution.

26. 1964 Naina barse rimjhim (Woh Kaun Thi?)

Madan Mohan creates this atmosphere that is both haunting and melodious. Squawking bats, gliding Sadhna in an ethereal white sari and a crematorium.

27. 1965 Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai (Guide)

This “freedom song” symbolised a moment of rediscovery, where Rosie reclaims her life again.

28. 1966 Sajan re jhooth mat bolo (Teesri Kasam)

This folk album came with moving lyrics from Hasrat Jaipuri, about this conversation with god.

29. 1967 Mere desh ki dharti (Upkar)

Manoj Kumar made the film on then prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s suggestion, to tell the story of the Indian farmer. The song soon became an anthem.

30. 1970 Jeena yahan, marna yahan (Mera Naam Joker)

Even though Raj Kapoor’s masterpiece was misunderstood and the film tanked, the music was a chartbuster and had Mukesh immortalise Raju, the joker.

31. 1971 Dum maro dum (Haré Rama Haré Krishna)

RD Burman’s most famous hour; he also got Asha Bhosle to sing this seminal piece.

32. 1971 Humko mann ki shakti dena (Guddi)

A Vani Jairam rendition, it was played often on radio as India went to war with Pakistan. It was adopted by many schools as their morning prayer.

33. 1971 Kahin door jab din dhal jaye (Anand)

The song from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s showcases the unfulfilled desires of a dying man.

34. 1971 Piya tu ab toh aaja (Caravan)

Helen’s groovy moves, Asha Bhonsle’s throaty rendition, the tried-and-tested RD Burman-Majrooh formula by Nasir Hussain, and that phrase, Monica, o my darling, made this into the best cabaret number Indian cinema has ever witnessed.

35. 1972 Kuchh toh log kahenge (Amar Prem)

The conversational song combines melancholy and joy to make this Anand Bakshi creation a classic.

36. 1972 Chalte chalte (Pakeezah)

This seminal piece by composer Ghulam Mohammed and poet Kaifi Azmi, describes the contemplations of a courtesan in love. The world of Sahibjaan hinges on the steam engine’s whistle, as a constant reminder of a love note she found in her ghungroo-laden feet. It is a spectacular piece of music; set along a looped tabla groove in Keherva, and Lata Mangeshkar’s fine voice.

37. 1973 Chaabi kho jaaye (Bobby)

This Laxmikant-Pyarelal song made Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia stars overnight.

38. 1973 Chura liya hai (Yaadon Ki Baaraat)

The tune of clinking bottles still gets our hearts racing.

39. 1975 Tere bina zindagi se (Aandhi)

Gulzar’s film was a storm to remember! It came in the same year as the Emergency and the protagonist Suchitra Sen closely resembled then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The film was banned for two years. The song by RD Burman speaks of a deep anguish, where an estranged couple looks back at their life.

40. 1975 Yeh dosti (Sholay)

This friendship song by RD Burman is remarkable for its guitar riff and Salim-Javed’s script.

41. 1975 Dil dhoondhta hai (Mausam)

One of Gulzar’s most memorable love songs owes a great deal to Mirza Ghalib, whose couplet forms the first line.

42. 1976 Kabhi Kabhi (Kabhi Kabhie)

Sahir Ludhianvi’s song makes apparent the pangs of separation in this number that many felt was written for another great poet in love with him, Amrita Pritam.

43. 1976 Parda hai parda (Amar Akbar Anthony)

This Mohammed Rafi song was made memorable with Rishi Kapoor’s sparkling performance, in a film that amplified the message of unity.

44. 1978 Hum bewafa (Shalimar)

Shalimar flopped at the box office just the way the Janta Party did in national politics. But the song found its place.

45. 1980 Tum itna jo (Arth)

This haunting ghazal, sung and composed by Jagjit Singh and wife Chitra, featured in Mahesh Bhatt’s film about adultery, love and loss.

46. 1980 Aap jaisa koi (Qurbani)

Feroz Khan discovered a young Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan in a London club and asked music director Biddu to make a song for her. It went on to become an iconic disco number. Bappi Lahiri followed the trend with another hit, Disco Dancer.

47. 1981 Yeh kahan aa gaye hum (Silsila)

This song saw the debut of music duo Shiv-Hari and poet Javed Akhtar.

48. 1981 Dil cheez kya hai (Umrao Jaan)

The song captured a generation’s heart, featuring Rekha in the role of a courtesan. It was also one of the grandest albums of the ’80s.

49. 1987 Mera kuchh samaan (Ijaazat)

Only RD Burman could turn a love letter into the most eloquent break-up song. Gulzar’s immortal lyrics.

50. 1988 Papa kehte hain (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak)

The immensely catchy song turned Udit Narayan and Aamir Khan into overnight superstars.

51. 1989 Kabootar ja (Maine Pyar Kiya)

Lata Mangeshkar sang this cult favourite, in a film about young love.

52. 1990 Yaara seeli seeli (Lekin…)

This Hridaynath Mangeshkar composition was one of Lata Mangeshkar’s finest moments from the ’90s.

53. 1990 Dheere dheere se (Aashiqui)

Kumar Sanu and Anuradha Paudwal entered our homes with this delicate composition. The soundtrack apparently increased the sale of music players.

54. 1992 Chhoti si aasha (Roja)

The fresh and dewy vocals of singer Minmini, arranged with synth and ghatam in the Hindi remake of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film, brought a new sound to Bollywood. It also introduced us to composer AR Rahman.

55. 1993: Dil hoom hoom kare (Rudaali)

Director Kalpana Lajmi asked her partner Bhupen Hazarika to create the tunes for this film about caste, and placed it in the world of professional mourners. Lata Mangeshkar brings the sadness of the “unlucky” Dalit woman to the fore.

56. 1994 Maye ni maye (Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!)

After the success of Maine Pyar Kiya Sooraj Barjatya repeated composer Ram-Laxman for this film that changed the meaning of blockbusters.

57. 1995 Tujhe dekha toh (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge)

The mandolin riff in this romantic melody rang through the film and in our hearts.

58. 1995 Tu hi re (Bombay)

Hariharan and Kavita Krishnamurthy sang this beautiful number against the backdrop of the Mumbai riots.

59. 1996 Chhod aaye hum woh galiyan (Maachis)

Vishal Bhardwaj’s film set during insurgency in Punjab, during the ’80s, had Hariharan and Suresh Wadkar as the lead vocals.

60. 1997 Sandese aate hai (Border)

Newbie Sonu Nigam’s soulful, “Rafi-like” voice carried the ditty with such competency. The film would resonate when the Kargil War broke out two years later.

61. 1998 Aye ajnabi (Dil Se…)

While Chhaiya Chhaiya found love, it was this underrated masterpiece by Udit Narayan that won everyone’s affections.

62. 2001 Chale chalo (Lagaan)

Another brilliant album from AR Rahman with folk music as its mainstay.

63. 2001 Dil chahta hai (Dil Chahta Hai)

This hip and zesty number introduced musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The song, like the movie, unabashedly celebrated aspirations for a good life.

64. 2003 Kal ho naa ho (Kal Ho Naa Ho)

Sonu Nigam sang about seizing the day and finding happiness in every situation.

65. 2004 Yeh jo des hai (Swades)

The shehnai prelude in this AR Rahman number draws you in to the story of an NRI, who is caught between staying home in a village in India or returning to his life as an engineer at NASA.

66. 2005 Baawra mann (Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi)

Swanand Kirkire’s greatest service to Bollywood is this beautiful song set in the ’70s, amid the Emergency.

67. 2006 Rang de basanti (Rang De Basanti)

With Rahman’s music and Daler Mehndi’s vocals, this song became a modern retake of a patriotic number.

68. 2007 Chak de India (Chak De! India)

Salim-Sulaiman’s anthem sung by Sukhwinder Singh was a rallying call for the female hockey team in the film. Written by Jaideep Sahni, it is played ever-so often at Indian sporting events, including this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

69. 2008 Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire)

This Rahman song will forever be remembered as the one that brought home two Oscars (Best Original Score and Best Sound Mixing) for Rahman and Resul Pookutty, respectively, through Danny Boyle’s film, Slumdog Millionaire.

70. 2009 O pardesi (Dev.D)

The film showcased composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist-singer Amitabh Bhattacharya’s masterful command over a range of musical genres. O pardesi lets us imagine as if a Haryanvi club song is being sung in Buddha-Bar, Paris, to scat singing and sitar riffs.

71. 2011 Sadda haq (Rockstar)

A power-packed performance from Mohit Chauhan alongside distorted guitars and synths, gave the composition a grungy rock feel.

72. 2013 Kabira (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani)

Amid criticism for plagiarism, composer Pritam played an inventive hand and gave us Kabira, lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya’s best work till date.

73. 2013 Tum hi ho (Aashiqui 2)

Arijit Singh broke into the big league with this Mithoon composition and never looked back. This earworm carried the airwaves for months.

74. 2015 Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai (Masaan)

Created by Indian Ocean, this couplet from Dushyant Kumar’s poem is complemented by Varun Grover’s lyrics and Swanand Kirkire’s fantastic baritone.

75. 2019 Azadi (Gully Boy)

It’s wild, it’s irreverent, and extremely catchy as it turns the spotlight on Mumbai’s underground rap scene. It’s one of the finest political pieces of music one has heard in a long time. The chant azadi traces back to feminist-poet Kamla Bhasin, who passed away last month.

Why people are moving from big cities to small towns

“Mum, chhi, chhi,” shouted two-year-old Rudra. He was in a park with his mother Neha Dara, when he entered a puddle on a rainy day. Dara, a travel writer who has spent most of her professional life hiking the Himalayas and exploring local markets in small towns, was horrified. Not from the slush on his sandals, but from his reaction. There had to be a better way to connect with the natural world.

“We initially moved from Delhi to Chandigarh in 2017. But with the pandemic, even in the city’s parks and forests, we felt uncomfortable if people didn’t keep the distance or wear masks. . It was then that we decided to move to the hills. We rented a cottage outside of the town of Rajgarh, in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, last October, ”says Dara, business manager at RoundGlass Sustain, a conservation website. wildlife and biodiversity.

Moving cities is nothing new in a pandemic. Mobility was a response to the plague even at the start of the 16th century. The young Tudor king, Henry VIII, often left the neighborhood, traveling a few miles away, “essentially trying to outrun the spread of infection,” says Euan Roger, senior specialist in medieval archives at the National Archives, UK. , in an online conference. “It was a lot for the rich. You had to have a second home or accommodation in the countryside, ”explains Roger.

Moving cities is nothing new in a pandemic.

In early 2020, the pandemic came with its scythe to reduce health, jobs, lives and livelihoods. In January of this year, the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy reported that in the service sector, employment fell to 128 million in the June 2020 quarter. Many chose to move to smaller cities, away from the mainstream. high rents and hamster cages in the subway, and the sight of migrant workers returning home will forever be representative of the harsh economic lessons of the pandemic. For many privileged, however, it opened doors to greener pastures and was a sign to embrace more thoughtful lives. Bloomberg News (in an April report) called this global phenomenon an “urban reshuffle.” It wasn’t really an urban exodus. Most of these trips took place within 300 km of a large city.

For Rudra, that meant finding mountain trails, gaining the confidence to climb slopes and being fine with mud on her sandals. “He learns that there are other people in the world around him and that it is also important to meet their needs. For example, in winter he knows we have to come home at 5 p.m. because after that the leopards come out. He will be three years old in a few months, and if we were in town he would be in kindergarten learning his alphabet. But here he learns so much more, and that, for us, is invaluable, ”says 38-year-old Dara.

While such a change may seem like an act of privilege, relocation can also mean relearning to negotiate space even within family structures. Last year, after four years in the capital, comedian-presenter-writer Kabir Singh Bhandari packed his bags for his hometown Kolkata. “I no longer had a full-time job and could no longer pay the rent on my 1BHK in Lajpat Nagar. Moving in with my parents seemed like the best option. The house had a balcony, the air conditioning worked, my mom would ask me every day what I wanted for lunch and dinner. Then slowly the friction began. First, it was a light I hadn’t turned off or a fan that worked if I was in the next room.

Parvada Bungalows in Uttarakhand (Courtesy: Parvada Bungalows @ VS Fruitree Estate)

At one point I sat down and told them that I loved them too much to fight over such issues. It wasn’t that bad, as if I had released a serial killer in the house, ”said the 34-year-old. He realizes that arguments are a small price to pay for the benefit of coming home to parents who have no objection to supporting him. “Of course, unlike Delhi and Mumbai, where I could bring my girlfriend home, here I can’t, but then I remember I broke up already, and it seems like everyone including my ex, is already married. On the bright side, Kolkata still has the best kathi rolls in the country. But, at the end of the day, I spend time with my parents and it made me realize that there are a lot of things in their life that I was oblivious to, ”Bhandari says.

For music composer Azaan Khan, grandson of legendary sitar player Ustad Vilayat Khan, moving to Goa late last year came with its uncertainties. “When the OddBird Theater & Foundation (a collaborating center for the arts) projects were put on hold in Delhi, I knew nothing was holding me back. I am quite a recluse and the city has never had any charm. But, I had to look for work to pay my bills. Fortunately, I found some teaching homework online. I realized that the conversations here are also different. In cities, people keep talking about the money they earn or the cars they drive. The fear of the pandemic is inherent. In Goa, people go on with their lives and COVID-19 or vaccines never enter the discussions. I was told that my last album also has more organic and tribal sounds. I take more time to write my songs too, ”he says.

He even convinced his father, sitar player Ustad Shujaat Khan, and his mother Parveen to leave Delhi a few months ago. “For my parents, that meant long walks in the forests, attending neighborhood ceremonies and filling their lungs with fresh air,” says Khan, 32.

Azaan Khan (Courtesy: Azaan Khan)

A sense of community and a creative ecosystem seems to be a magnet for many who choose Goa as their pit stop. For Delhi architect Verendra Wakhloo, 64, it was about putting an end to excess. With the March 2020 lockdown, there were fewer design projects and the need to connect with the outdoors increased. “Although it is too early to write a city obituary, there is a need to find smaller communities where people can ground in meaningful ways. I have a certain naivety about life, and in Goa my need to feel wonderful is answered in the bounty of nature. In Benaulim, south Goa, where I took a house, people do amazing things, grow their own food, make things with their hands, there seems to be a possibility of holistic living, where you feel like you don’t need a city, ”says Wakhloo.

On the other hand, with many people opting for Goa, its property prices have skyrocketed. Abhimanyu Sharma realized this when he moved last year from Ahmedabad to Siolim, north Goa, with his wife, Shreya. “Real estate prices have skyrocketed and rents are high. Currently in Siolim for a two bedroom 1,200 to 1,400 square feet you would pay almost Rs 40,000 but if you go further into Moira you could get it for Rs 25,000 to 30,000. lived in Gurgaon, I paid the same rent for a bigger house. So you can compare and then you can’t. Here in Goa I don’t mind driving a smaller car or having a cheaper phone, but it’s worth sleeping well at night, looking at the bamboo trees outside my window, or walking on the beach ”, explains the 34- Age.

Sharma, who works for a start-up at the head of emerging companies, says her working conditions are now non-negotiable. He chooses to continue in Goa and keeps his phone on silent on weekends. “Earlier you moved to the city that offered you the best job. I think pre-COVID was a lot more materialistic, all that mattered was how much money you made. Then, when we saw our loved ones leave, much younger than us, we knew that was life first. I’m pretty clear now, I want to put my life before my career, ”says Sharma.

A sense of wonder and slowing down of time is what people have found in relocation. Just as Dara enjoys reading stories to Rudra at bedtime as the sun sets through the pines, for Khan it’s about swimming in the ocean and eating dirt. “Goa’s master plan has so far maintained a balanced arrangement of settlement, orchard and agriculture. Thus, there is a landscape river that winds between the houses. In a city, our views are often hampered by the boxes around us. In the countryside, what you feel is the immensity and in front of this green expanse, you remember your mortality, ”explains Wakhloo.

Abhimanyu Sharma at home (Courtesy: Abhimanyu Sharma)

For Vasudha Sondhi, 56, and Sanjay Sondhi, 58, the pandemic offered a fresh start. The couple had finished building a place in Uttarakhand in 2018 and imagined it as a home. But the job in Delhi kept them busy. Their main activity is to manage outsourced sales and marketing for national tourism boards and international hotels and destinations. However, with the increase in COVID-19 cases last year, international trade was in the midst of a freeze. They chose to settle in their home in Parvada, a village just 10 km from Mukteshwar. Sanjay, who always wanted to farm, took over the plantation on his three-acre estate, filling it with apples, apricots, plums, peaches, rhododendrons and pear trees. Meanwhile, Vasudha has devoted his energies to training local staff and furnishing the host family they call Parvada Bungalows @ VS Fruitree Estate.

“The host family allowed us to get to know the village and its inhabitants better. There are boys from the village working with us now and some want to set up rooms in their own houses for tourists. We have helped them to do this and we hope to meet soon with the tourism officials to recognize Parvada as a tourist village ”, explains Vasudha.

But staying in the hills is not without its challenges. “When you’re young, you feel good. But for older people, especially my mother-in-law, finding a good hospital means traveling almost 60 km; a pharmacy is six kilometers away, ”explains Vasudha. Dara, too, asserts the constraints. “The flip side of life in the mountains is that sometimes, when there is a storm, we don’t have electricity all night. Which also means we might not have a water supply and the tank dries up, which isn’t the easiest time with a sick child.

What is it then in the city that makes people restless? University architect Durganand Balsavar, dean of Saveetha College of Architecture, Chennai, 55, explains that it has to do with the inaccessibility of public spaces and public institutions. “With last year’s lockdown, there were no open urban spaces, parks, beaches or universities to go to. Our cities have been waiting for a change for a long time, even before the pandemic.

There is little agency to appropriate and inhabit an urban space. We need to keep our conversations open, and every city and neighborhood needs to take the initiative in how they want to inhabit the urban space. A phase is emerging in which civil society in all its diversity rethinks the nature of change. This needs to be complemented by urban planning authorities, with more vigorous institutional explorations in universities, ”Balsavar explains.

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Eight movies and shows that take you to the countryside

Panchayat: The 2020 hit warmed our hearts with its heartfelt portrayal of Indian village life. The show takes us to a small village in Uttar Pradesh where Abhishek, a graduate in urban engineering, is to take a government post as “sachiv», And live there. Abhishek, who goes from hanging out in malls and taking selfies with his corporate friends, now has to deal with power cuts, do lauki ki sabzi on a stove, and walk the tightrope between local traditions and red tape even as he tries to implement government policy. Available on Amazon Prime.

Panchayat

Virgin river: The idyllic romantic series is one of the audience favorites as it enters Season 3 on Netflix. This is the story of Mel Monroe, who moves to a small riverside town in Northern California, leaving behind her hectic life as a nurse in a busy Los Angeles hospital. While she could have said goodbye to gunshot victims, here she must tackle weed growers, fishing accidents and all that comes with rural life. The series is based on the eponymous novel by American author Robyn Carr.

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Swades: The 2003 film had Shahrukh Khan as Mohan Bhargav, who quits his stuffed job at NASA, to return home to India and “light a light bulb” in the tiny village of Uttar Pradesh. Although he comes in search of Kaveri Amma, who looked after him as a child, he begins to embrace village life, warts, tradition and everything, including drinking unbottled water. The film is told through Bhargav’s eyes and addresses the issues of brain drain, tradition versus modernity, and how change begins at home.

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In nature: The award-winning 2007 film tells the story of Christopher McCandless, who graduated from a major American university but was disappointed with life. He gives up everything and goes on a hike in the extreme wilderness of Alaska. Unprepared for the harsh winter, McCandles struggles to survive and make do with the resources at his disposal. He also sets up a base in an abandoned city bus and learns to hunt. Directed by Sean Penn, the film is an adaptation of the book of the same name by American writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer.

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Hart from Dixie: The five-season show on Amazon Prime shows young and talented Dr. Zoe Hart failing to secure a scholarship in New York City, due to her “straight, too relevant” bedside manners. The only community she could get was behind and beyond the town of Bluebell, Alabama. She struggles with life in the south, where everyone takes care of everyone’s business, a long cry from New York. While Hart’s first instinct is to run, she eventually falls for the charm and serenity of a small town.

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Funny farm: While most shows and movies have a learning curve, some are pure disasters. The 1988 comic book Funny Farm shares the antics of Chevy Chase, who plays Andy Farmer, a New York-based sports writer. Farmer decides to pursue his dreams and moves to the charming town of Redbud, Vermont. But the seemingly charming town is full of quirky residents who don’t get along with Farmer. Whether it’s digging up exorbitant funeral bills or putting a house up for sale, pranks and charades are the order of the day.

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Grapes of Wrath: The 1940 classic, based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, is often considered one of the greatest films of all time. While the film is not the idyllic and charming experience that is most associated with moving to a farm / small town, it does delve into the challenges, both social and economic, that people face when moving to a farm / small town. they embark on a journey in search of a better life. We meet the Joads, a farming family who lost everything in the Great Depression of the 1930s and are on their way to California to look for work and better opportunities. The film was inducted into the US National Film Registry in 1989 by the Library of Congress “for its cultural, historical or aesthetic significance.”

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Schitt Creek: While the hugely popular show on Netflix may not offer the idyllic natural charm of a remote country village, the winding learnings of the extremely wealthy Rose family, as they adjust to a small town in the middle of nowhere, make a good story. Spread over six seasons is the story of the Roses, who once came and dined, and traveled the world, but were swindled out of their fortune, and were reduced to living in a motel in a small town of hick, called Schitt Creek. The city is littered with quirky characters and has frequent incidents involving the mayor etc. But the family is one and Schitt’s Creek also adopts the Roses as one of their own.

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Bruno Dumont’s France is an interesting show from a celebrity-obsessed culture: Express at TIFF

Bruno Dumont’s protagonist of France is a glamorous TV presenter and fearless reporter called France de Meurs, who knows exactly how to become the story rather than just reporting it. Léa Seydoux inhabits the character with great verve and conviction, always ready for action in her chic designer outfits and killer heels, brandishing her blinding lipstick like a weapon, and making France one of the most interesting films from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

From the start, we see France attending an important press conference. She is accompanied by her assistant Lou (Blanche Gardin) who seems to be there only to give her (France) encouraging looks and an approving nudge. It is obvious that France is not a recruit. So why does she feel the need for her assistant to stay nearby? The exchange of these looks, which carry more weight than the event that France covers, looks like a parody, and we quickly realize that it is indeed of that: having set the tone, the film is busy sending fame, and our fame – a culture obsessed, filtered and publicized by questionable ethics and overly ambitious practitioners.

All around us we see the impact of this crazy celebrity obsession. Having a million followers on Instagram is crucial. The rules of the gram, but other social media platforms are not far behind. Twitter needs to explode when someone known to be famous says or does something either inadvertently or at the direction of their public relations team, whose only job is to keep their client “out.” Either you are an influencer or you are nothing.

Certain situations in the film give rise to fear for France. She interviews an armed “terrorist” and asks him to ask, while she records her questions in a “better” background. In another case, we see her dodge the bullets and run haphazardly with her cameraman and interpreter. And here she is in a floating boat, chatting with fleeing refugees, the blue Mediterranean behind her. Where do these people come from? Are they real? Is this a “fabricated war” created to win the race for TRPs and populist votes? These questions have a strong resonance.

France has a husband that she cannot stand. And a young son with whom she is unable to care. She lives in a house that looks like a museum, with gigantic paintings adorning the walls and heavy curtains obscuring the windows. The pressure of being at the top and staying there is reflected in her; a terrible accident leaves her devastated, but stalking fans are still asking for selfies.

There are a lot of pretty obvious frills in this biting satire. Some of what France says and does makes you roll your eyes. But at no point does she appear fake, although you can see that she is faking it. “Things go on for 24 hours now,” said the kind Lou, “24 hours later, it’ll just be a memory. This is how TV works. The worst is the best. ” So true. Fame is fleeting. Nothing lasts eternally.

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Pourquoi arrêter de fumer est le nouveau scénario pour le bien-être mental et physique

C’est peut-être à la maternelle que nous avons entendu pour la première fois l’histoire de l’araignée implacable, celle qui a essayé, essayé, essayé encore jusqu’à ce qu’un roi écossais novice décide de vaincre l’armée anglaise. Ou, peut-être, c’était à l’école primaire quand on nous a appris que Thomas Edison n’a échoué que mille fois (ou 5 000 ou 10 000) avant d’inventer l’ampoule électrique. Peut-être que ce n’était aucune de ces légendes, mais la fois où nous avons remporté une médaille d’argent et qu’un entraîneur nous a dit: “La prochaine fois, l’or.” On nous a dit que le monde est notre huître, que le mot « impossible » n’existe pas dans nos dictionnaires, que nous pouvons réaliser tout ce que nous voulons, si seulement nous persévérons et ne perdons jamais de vue le prix.

Puis vint Naomi Osaka, lançant un marteau dans les travaux. En mai, la joueuse de tennis américaine de 23 ans – l’athlète féminine la mieux payée au monde – s’est retirée de Roland-Garros, invoquant des problèmes de santé mentale. Le mois suivant, elle se retire également de Wimbledon. Dans un article publié sur les réseaux sociaux le 31 mai, Osaka a écrit qu’elle souffrait de longues crises de dépression depuis l’US Open en 2018 (où elle a gagné contre Venus Williams) et qu’elle a eu du mal à faire face.

De même, en juillet, Simone Biles, 24 ans, a choqué le monde en annonçant qu’elle se retirait du concours multiple individuel aux Jeux olympiques de Tokyo. L’athlète américain de 24 ans, le vainqueur de la plupart des médailles aux championnats du monde et le plus grand gymnaste de notre époque, avait déclaré : « Nous devons aussi nous concentrer sur nous-mêmes, car en fin de compte, nous sommes aussi humains. . ” Biles a ensuite précisé que sa décision n’était pas tant d’abandonner que de réorganiser la définition du succès.

Les décisions d’Osaka et de Biles de choisir ce à quoi ils voulaient participer ont donné la permission à d’autres de le faire également. « Que quelqu’un puisse faire un tel pas à un tel niveau… surtout pour une femme de couleur. Il y a dix ans, cela n’aurait pas été possible », explique Shivangi Tiwary, 30 ans, un habitant de Bengaluru. La décision de Biles a résonné chez Tiwary, qui a terminé ses études de troisième cycle en genre, société et représentation en 2020, mais le chemin qui y a conduit avait été semé d’embûches.

En 2015, Tiwary a quitté son programme de MBA à Alliance University, un cours auquel elle s’était inscrite principalement parce que sa famille s’y attendait. Dans les jours qui ont suivi sa décision de démissionner, dans son appartement d’une chambre loué, Tiwary a essayé d’auto-diagnostiquer pourquoi elle se sentait ainsi. Elle savait qu’elle souffrait ; elle ne savait tout simplement pas pourquoi.

Finalement, lorsque ses parents ont appris la situation, ils l’ont soutenu, mais cela n’a pas vraiment aidé. Elle dit : « Il y a beaucoup de honte et de culpabilité à arrêter de fumer. Vous finissez par avoir l’impression de décevoir quelqu’un mais vous ne savez pas qui c’est. Cela peut être votre famille, la société ou cette tante qui rentre à la maison une fois par an et vous demande pourquoi vous n’avez pas terminé votre MBA. La stigmatisation contre l’abandon était si élevée que Tiwary a finalement terminé son cours en 2017.

La pression de toujours bien performer, avec le monde qui regarde, est un poids à supporter. Les enjeux sont élevés, nous donnant envie d’arrêter précisément quand nous sommes au sommet de notre art.

“Ce que Simon Biles et Naomi Osaka ont fait est tout simplement révolutionnaire : ils ont normalisé la demande d’aide au plus haut niveau de réussite, de reconnaissance et de renommée… article dans les médias de Nikhil Taneja, entrepreneur et défenseur de la santé mentale des jeunes basé à Mumbai, en juillet.

En 2017, après un an de thérapie, Taneja a quitté son emploi chez Yash Raj Films. Taneja, alors âgé de 30 ans, décrit cette période comme un point culminant de sa carrière – il était directeur général de la société de production et également producteur.

Suite à un diagnostic d’anxiété clinique, Taneja avait initialement opté pour un congé sabbatique. Son thérapeute a dit qu’il était proche d’une dépression nerveuse. « Lorsque vous remplissez un objectif de classe moyenne que vous vous êtes fixé il y a de nombreuses années, vous réalisez qu’il y a le suivant, puis un autre. Combien y aura-t-il de poteaux de but ? Jusqu’à la thérapie, je n’avais jamais cessé de considérer qui je suis ou ce que je voulais. Il n’y avait pas eu le temps de s’arrêter et de réfléchir », dit Taneja. Quitter aurait dû être la décision claire, mais il en doutait. « Est-ce que j’ai arrêté parce que j’étais faible ? Ai-je arrêté parce que je n’étais pas « fort » mentalement ? » il demande.

Nos vies, et leurs réflexions dans l’art et le cinéma, sont remplies de récits édifiants qui rendent difficile l’abandon, même lorsqu’il y a toutes les raisons de le faire. Et, quand on arrête, il est rarement permis d’être toute l’histoire. On s’attend à ce que les gens reviennent «plus forts», après s’être reposés et rechargés. C’est l’arc narratif des décrocheurs devenus milliardaires. Il répertorie sur les sites Web de coaching de vie des « personnes inspirantes qui quittent leur emploi pour voyager ». Quitter un travail écrasant (mais bien rémunéré) en ville n’est acceptable que si vous vous tournez vers une vie radicalement différente et épanouissante, comme acheter un vignoble en Italie ou cultiver dans les Nilgiris.

Shaheen Khan, psychothérapeute et psychologue basée à Delhi travaillant avec Proactive for Her, une clinique de santé numérique pour femmes, déclare : « J’ai vu que même si les gens sont extrêmement mécontents de leur travail ou si c’est un inadapté, alors aussi, ils ne t arrêter parce qu’ils pensent qu’arrêter de fumer fera d’eux un échec. La société capitaliste a enraciné en nous que si nous ne travaillons pas pour de l’argent ou ne générons pas de choses, alors nous ne sommes pas un membre précieux de la société. De cette façon, nous fonctionnons par culpabilité », explique Khan. En tant que société qui met l’accent sur la communauté, prendre du temps pour soi est considéré comme un acte égoïste, ajoute-t-elle. Nous n’entendons pas assez de personnes dans notre vie valider la décision d’arrêter de fumer. «Ce que nous devons comprendre, c’est que la plupart des gens arrêtent après des mois de réflexion, n’arrêtant que lorsqu’ils n’en peuvent plus», dit-elle.

C’est en thérapie que Taneja s’est rendu compte que s’il avait un week-end ou un jour de congé, il le remplirait d’activités pour tirer le meilleur parti du temps. « J’aurais cette anxiété à propos d’une journée libre », dit-il.

Cette régulation intense du temps et le besoin d’être éternellement productif sont peut-être la raison la plus importante pour laquelle beaucoup d’entre nous se retiennent d’arrêter de fumer. Nous sommes censés marquer les jalons de notre vie aux moments convenus, dont aucun n’est aidé par des listes ambitieuses de « 30 sous 30 ». La journée sans hâte ressemble à une occasion manquée. Étant donné que les pays asiatiques ont certaines des heures de travail les plus longues au monde, nous grandissons en nous évaluant en fonction de notre productivité. Cela rend l’abandon difficile, en particulier s’il n’y a pas d’offre d’emploi ou d’entreprise personnelle pour étayer la décision, ou si les raisons sont un environnement toxique ou un patron intimidateur. La même chose peut être dite de ceux qui gèrent la santé mentale, comme si nous laissions une maladie gagner.

D’une manière plutôt tordue, la pandémie a considérablement déformé notre sens du temps et a fait un changement soudain dans nos vies, conduisant à une réévaluation radicale de ces jalons prescrits. «Pendant la deuxième vague de la pandémie, des gens à Delhi mouraient et nous travaillions toujours, il y avait encore des délais, des réunions avaient toujours lieu. C’est un exemple énorme du temps industriel. Nous avons dû mettre notre corps et notre esprit en forme et faire tout ce qu’on attendait de nous pour produire un livrable et gagner de l’argent. Nous devions continuer à produire », explique l’écrivain basé à Delhi, Riddhi Dastidar.

Pendant ce temps, Dastidar, 29 ans, s’est porté volontaire avec des ressources médicales et a ensuite fondé Mutual Aid India, qui rassemble des collecteurs de fonds de collectifs locaux pour les communautés marginalisées. Cependant, le bénévolat a apporté son lot de chagrin, d’anxiété et de peur. Dastidar, qui gère son trouble obsessionnel-compulsif depuis l’université, faisait un reportage depuis Jharkhand sur une mission indépendante cette année. Elle s’est méfiée du grand nombre de personnes se déplaçant sans masque en raison d’un échec de la messagerie publique. Dastidar avait l’habitude de faire des reportages pour Khabar Lahariya, un réseau d’information féministe populaire, un travail qu’elle a quitté en juillet de cette année. Le revers de la médaille est que son style de vie devra être aussi frugal que possible. Arrêter, reconnaît-elle, est une question de privilège. « Clairement, je suis une personne anxieuse mais tout cela m’a fait réaliser que j’avais très envie de finir d’écrire mon livre, de me concentrer sur un projet bien à moi à mon rythme », dit-elle.

Pour Nasrin Anwar (nom changé), 25 ans, basé à Pune, quitter non pas un mais deux emplois depuis le début de la pandémie était une décision difficile à prendre. Avec un double master en économie et études démographiques, Anwar est confronté à un marché du travail en déclin. Son père était avocat et sa mère donnait des cours, mais en tant que seniors, aucun d’eux ne pouvait travailler. Le travail d’Anwar en tant qu’analyste de données dans le secteur de la santé publique est devenu beaucoup plus exigeant pendant la pandémie et ses employeurs étaient discrets sur les augmentations.

« Après avoir envoyé l’e-mail indiquant que j’arrêtais de fumer, je n’ai jamais regardé en arrière. Je me demandais pourquoi j’étais resté si longtemps dans les parages », dit Anwar. Rien de tout cela ne signifiait qu’Anwar n’avait pas à faire face aux retombées émotionnelles de l’abandon. Même s’il s’agissait d’une décision soutenue par ses parents, ils avaient déjà commencé à puiser dans leurs économies et ils étaient prêts à hypothéquer leurs bijoux pour le pire des scénarios. « Lorsque vous n’êtes pas productif, cela peut nuire gravement à votre estime de soi. Et la thérapie n’est pas toujours abordable non plus », dit-elle.

Anwar a finalement pris un autre emploi, mais la deuxième vague de la pandémie a radicalement changé les choses. Elle a perdu son père à cause du virus et sa mère souffre depuis lors des effets post-COVID-19. “Nous étions déjà endettés et j’étais dans la position étrange d’être une jeune de 25 ans qui a dû rembourser les prêts familiaux”, explique Anwar, qui a quitté son nouvel emploi en raison de discrimination religieuse sur le lieu de travail. « L’environnement dans la maison est vraiment tendu et je peux sentir le poids d’être un prestataire jour après jour », dit-elle.

Ce n’est pas de quitter son emploi ou ses cours pour le bien-être mental qui peut être épuisant financièrement. Après avoir été dans un mauvais mariage pendant plus d’une décennie, Preeti Didwaniya, basée à Varanasi, aujourd’hui âgée de 43 ans, a décidé de se séparer de son mari en 2014. “Mais les filles mariées vivant avec leurs parents ne sont pas si acceptables à Varanasi”, dit-elle.

Avec un fils à charge et ne recevant que l’entretien de base pour sa scolarité, Didwaniya a dû chercher un travail salarié, même si ses parents étaient plus que disposés à la soutenir. Parmi les raisons pour lesquelles elle avait décidé de quitter son mariage figuraient les abus physiques et mentaux, en plus du fait qu’elle n’était pas autorisée à avoir un emploi salarié. Maintenant, Didwaniya a accepté un emploi d’enseignante, mais alors que la procédure de divorce s’étendait sur des années, elle a atteint un point où s’occuper du ménage, de son jeune fils et des exigences du travail était trop difficile à gérer ensemble. « Vous quittez une chose, mais il y a une autre crise à affronter. J’avais constamment l’impression que je devais fuir, que tout pouvait m’arriver », raconte Didwaniya, qui a quitté son poste d’enseignante. Son divorce a eu lieu l’année dernière pendant la pandémie, après six ans. Didwaniya a ensuite ouvert une garderie à Varanasi grâce aux contacts qu’elle avait noués au fil des années depuis sa séparation.

Compte tenu de ces pressions, l’art de cesser de fumer est difficile à maîtriser et sans beaucoup de preneurs. En effet, il faut pas mal de désapprentissage pour reconnaître qu’il peut parfois être un signe d’agence que d’abandonner tout simplement. Que cesser de fumer n’est pas un signe désespéré, mais un investissement dans un acte d’espoir, en croyant que nous méritons mieux.

9/11
September 11 attacks: five repetitions on screen, new and old

On September 11, 2001, terror gripped America and will inform her life thereafter. It would also change lives around the world – in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America and more. The attacks from the Twin Towers changed the course of the 21st century. The way the world would see America on it, a mutant superpower. This led to the Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan 20 years later, last month. While much has been written and filmed about 9/11, what led to it and the offensive that followed on its 20th anniversary, let’s revisit horror and tragedy with documentaries, TV series and movies – the good and the bad. Here are five:

Turning point: September 11 and the war on terrorism

Where to watch: Netflix

The latest release, this year’s documentary – one season, five episodes – delves into “the most significant terrorist attack in human history” and the “sense of deep upheaval, upheaval, chaos, of uncertainty in the hours following the attacks “in color and black and white, in video footage and stock footage. Archival sound bytes of victims, such as the late flight attendant Betty Ann Ong, the first to report the hijacked planes. Interviews with survivors (“No one knew who attacked… why they attacked… what attacks would follow… why do they hate us?”) And American officials, former Afghan Vice President Ahmad Zia Massoud (Anti-Taliban Alliance of the North brother of Ahmad Shah Massoud), warlords and Taliban commanders. From the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to Trump’s call to leave as “music to the ears of the Taliban”. The composite documentary looks beyond the singular incident of 9/11.

Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror

Where to watch: YouTube

American journalist John Pilger’s 2003 documentary presents a personal take on ‘the truth and lies in the’ war on terror ‘. It follows post-September 11 America, its offensive in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. It shows Arefa, whose house and eight family members were bombed by Bush’s Operation Enduring Freedom (October 2001). She saw her husband’s chest and hand, her daughter’s neck and back shatter into pieces, and scooped up her daughter’s flesh stuck to the ground in a plastic bag. The late Rita Lasar, whose brother died on September 11, helped grieving Afghan women (through her NGO Peaceful Tomorrows) secure compensation, and young Marina, from Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan, speaks out about gender-based violence . Pilger shows “who is really responsible for far more serious acts of violence committed by Al-Qaeda fanatics, crimes that have claimed many more lives than 9/11, which devastated far places, America. Latin to Southeast Asia ”. The rise of “imperial terrorism that never speaks its name”.

The impending tower

Where to watch: on Amazon Prime

The 2018, 10-episode TV mini-series, based on Lawrence Wright’s 2006 eponymous book, opens with a follow-up aerial shot, before looking at America. It traces the growing threat from Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in the late 1990s, the rivalries between the FBI and the CIA, their respective counterterrorism divisions, the l-49 squad in New York and the Alec station. in Washington, DC, fighting for Intel, though the goal is one – to prevent an impending attack on the United States. A classic example of how internal struggles / internal fissures make it easier for external enemies to work and how this could have been avoided. The TV show, interspersed with live footage (Bin Laden’s interview with the BBC’s John Miller, etc.) is intended for entertainment purposes, and thus appears in the flamboyant fictional scenes in the private life of US Special Agent John P O’Neill, played by Jeff Daniels, who died on September 11.

zero dark thirty

Where to watch: Netflix

Kathryn Bigelow’s gritty drama of 2012 is the search for and finally eliminate the most wanted man on the planet in May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Tough Maya (Jessica Chastain won the 2013 Golden Globe for the role), a new recruit to the CIA black sites where inmates are interrogated / tortured to reveal Bin Laden’s location, she stubbornly pursues all leads. Dark isn’t just in the movie title, it goes through Bigelow’s slow burn, broken down into chapters, and, well, it’s pretty long (almost 3 hours) for those who aren’t used to Bollywood movies. of yesteryear. Actor Ronit Roy had apparently turned down this Oscar-winning film for Karan Johar’s Student of the Year (2012). A heavy cross to carry.

World Trade Center

Where to watch: Netflix

Oliver Stone’s 2006 film begins with a bang and then goes out. It would shame Bollywood, with its mythification of its hero (Jesus appearing with a bottle of water), and flashes of sentimentality and scenes where nothing seems to be happening. All that jars and mars. The only good and observable thing about this endeavor are the scenes with Nicolas Cage, as a veteran of the 1993 bombing, Sgt John McLoughlin, and Michael Pena’s Will Jimeno – two of 20 found alive at Ground Zero – immobilized, trying to keep himself alive. These sections, in close-ups, the dust and claustrophobia seem real, palpable. But that’s about all. The film that defends the idea of ​​America and Americanism, of family, of faith, is a disaster. How can a film based on real events go wrong? Cage aside, this disaster movie, as the genre is called, is truly a disaster.