Betty Rivard: The roller coaster ride of politics, pandemic disconnect

Betty Rivard: The roller coaster ride of politics, pandemic disconnect

Politics are complicated because life is complicated. Each of us still has the choice to act from love or from fear. Change is also an inherent fact of life.
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‘Lambeg Boogie makes you feel all right’: Irish drum track cuts across politics

‘Lambeg Boogie makes you feel all right’: Irish drum track cuts across politics. Popularity of video fusing loyalist marching drum with Irish dancing leads …
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Pothole politics: Such a bummer!

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One of India’s most popular writers, Shobhaa De has seen it all: life as a model, a copywriter, a journalist, a socialite, a scriptwriter, a bestselling novelist and a busy mother of six children. “Straight Talk”, which has been appearing as a column in The Times of India, carries her sharp observations on politics, society, economy and relationships LESS … MORE The Mumbai Police fan club is growing by the day. Well, at least on social media, where their professionally handled, cleverly scripted and highly humourous posts get shared and reposted regularly. I only follow 34 accounts on Instagram — and the Mumbai Police feature on my restricted list. It’s a good thing they manage to bring a smile to thousands of faces with smart copy and apt visuals that rely heavily on Bollywood for inspiration. It’s fine —Bollywood remains on top of the recall list, when it comes to popular songs and iconic dialogues. Our Mumbai Police have quickly cottoned on to the power of movies to spread their message, encouraging citizens to behave themselves. Nothing like a bit of levity in these grim times. Citizens need humour in gigantic doses to put up with monumental chaos on a daily basis. I love it that the BMC brazenly claims there are ‘only’ 264 potholes in the city. Hello! There shouldn’t be ANY! Come on, guys — who are you kidding? And this is before the rains have arrived. The civic body also claims to have filled and repaired 150 potholes. This number comes from their tracking system, which citizens have lost faith in. So, here’s the choice — death by COVID or death by pothole. Year after year, the city faces horrific accidents with potholes the size of moon craters. The job of filling them is often shoddily done, with loose gravel and mud hastily thrown in to cover gaping pits in the middle of busy roads. This year’s excuse is that the overworked BMCwallas are busy with COVID cases and vaccination drives. Meanwhile, our former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been roaring like an enraged tiger whose hunt for territorial domination has been challenged if not totally curtailed by other predatory beasts who think they are the asli tigers. Why, he demanded aggressively, has the monsoon legislative session be shortened to just two days? Why, indeed? Even we want to know. Here’s a city that is struggling to function despite the lockdown (more strictures coming up, folks). But the MVA bosses have decided to conclude unfinished business in 48 hours? Fadnavis believes the MVA is using the pandemic as a shield to run away from dealing with the prickly Maratha and OBC reservation issue. Honestly, at this moment, Mumbaikars are more concerned with getting back to work as soon as the lockdown is lifted and all current restrictions removed. I’m not sure they really care a flying fig whether or not the Speaker gets elected as per the Constitution. Fadnavis is going hammer and tongs at the Shiv Sena, pointing out that this administration has arbitrarily scrapped a 40-year-old legislative decision to not grant new liquor licenses. Babykins… whip them on other issues, but leave booze alone! You are talking about new licenses being issued at airports, metro stations and the creation of more watering holes for thirsty citizens. Forty years is a long, long time to stay thirsty, don’t you think? Those who are hardcore, incorrigible boozards will always find a way around laws that try and curb their nasha. ‘Jhoom Barabar, Jhoom Sharabi’ was not written for nothing! To bring in mandir politics into this controversy is a bit much (“Maharashtra is the only state where the mandirs are shut but madiralays are overflowing during the pandemic”). Booze licenses have caused far more problems and led to widespread corruption all these years. Why not make the process more transparent and take a cue from other global cities? It’s a pity Mumbai is still stuck at Level 3, and unreasonable restrictions are in place, preventing people from earning their livelihoods. All this talk of a third wave is creating panic, without sufficient data to back such a prediction. In all probability, there will be that dreaded third wave down the line. But hey — there may be a fourth and fifth one, too. Till then, what are citizens supposed to do? The vaccination drive seems to have lost its momentum all of a sudden. God knows what the real reasons are, but Maharashtra ranks really low when it comes to numbers of successfully vaccinated citizens. This is such a bummer! People are getting restless as hell — I am dying to flee! As of now, a mere nine countries are opening their doors to Indians (Russia, Serbia, Iceland, Rwanda, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Mauritius). There is Thailand, too. My top choice is Russia — I’d go there in a blink! Second choice? Belgrade — such a gorgeous city in Serbia, with a much raved about romantic spot — Kalemegdan. To say nothing of its rich history. Most such destinations are cheaper than tourist attractions in India. Take Mussoorie, for example. Try getting a booking — go on, try! Till I pack my bags, I guess I will have to settle for pothole adventures and waterlogged streets in aamchi Mumbai. Wake up, grand old party: Regional parties do not add up to a pan-Indian whole. Opposition desperately needs a Congress revamp Beware the Twitter trap: Social media is a distraction, undeserving of so much sound and fury, whether from govts or the media Long view from Ladakh: Galwan’s lesson is that India needs allies against China. Three kinds of alliances are possible Let them eat … A diverse country will have diverse diets. Politics over food is bad for national health Justice delivery system is headed towards a disaster. Judges must take responsibility. Here’s what they must do Cracks in fortress Beijing: Insularity, inequality, conformity, discord with neighbours – these didn’t make America No 1
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