Friday, July 24, 2020

Road To Tokyo: Episode 15

24 July, 2020 - In normal times, today would have been the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics and also the culmination of the 4-year long Road To Tokyo series. Instead in these unprecedented times (am I the only one tired of this phrase?), we have to wait 52 weeks more. 

Sports will not change the ongoing crisis, it will certainly not create a vaccine or a cure but it does generate a feel-good factor in these depressing times. Just look at how the ongoing England-West Indies series has riveted the cricketing world together, or how the conclusion of the various European football leagues has brought back a tiny sense of normalcy. After all, as Mr. Nelson Mandela once said Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. 

With the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of receding any time soon, and potential vaccines still at very early trials stage, there is a big cloud on the Games taking place next year as well. And it is not just the actual event itself. Multiple Qualifiers to be held globally are still to take place. Quite a few nations might not even be able to send a team at this juncture. But we can wait and watch and hope that everyone is able to participate! 

In the meantime, the organizers have been busy preparing the contingencies including alternate Qualifying schedules. There is a growing spectre of the events being held without spectators and with strict quarantine & bio-secure bubble rules in place! But all this is a still a matter of conjecture. 

In India News, the 3x3 Basketball Qualifiers have been moved away from Bangalore and will be held in Graz, Austria, thus dropping India out of the Qualification race as well! 

Meanwhile lets all stay home and stay safe, so that we are all still part of the Olympics movement! 

Links: Road To Tokyo: Episode 14 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

BookMarks #70: The Ickabog

Title: The Ickabog
Author: JK Rowling
Genre: Fantasy, Children Fiction
Published: 2020

In these corona times comes a new story by JK Rowling, who unfortunately is currently mired in a social media controversy over some of her views. But that is a separate matter altogether.

The Ickabog is a children’s tale set long ago in a fictional happy land of Cornucopia. The story narrates how Cornucopia fell into despair and then rallied back. And how a creature whom many believed to be a myth turned out to be their savior through the heroic actions of some very brave children. Despite being essentially a children’s tale, the narrative covers contemporary themes like an incompetent leadership living in their own bubble filled with sycophants; use of fake news and propaganda to fill some private coffers; using a mythological figure for personal gain; voices of dissent being ruthlessly silent; flow of news choked; et al. 

However, for a children’s tale, it is quite grim, with the story riddled with multiple character deaths either through overwork or accident or even plain murder. In my opinion, a tad too violent for small kids. 

The serialized aspect of the story was what kept one hooked. A chapter or two, at times three dropped in every day. Each ending in a cliffhanger, which made you come back the next day. Although I did find it funny how the chapters released only on weekdays and never on Saturday or Sunday. I guess Ms. Rowling also believes in and strictly abides by a 5-day work week.

Overall, the Ickabog was a good entertaining ride. 

Previously on BookMarks: 281 And Beyond

Thursday, July 02, 2020

LearnNBlog #18: Ubuntu

umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu
“a person is a person through other persons” 

"Ubuntu is the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others. – Nelson Mandela 

“Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.” – Desmond Tutu 

In a world increasingly divided on the lines of race, religion, caste, nationality, ethnicity, politics – ubuntu is feeling which we should always keep in mind. After all we are what we are because of all of us. Covid-19 has shown us that we are in it together, the virus is not discriminating amongst us, so why are we? 


Previously on LearnNBlog: Okhil Chandra Sen's Letter