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“Mornings After” : The Book tells about Love in the shadow of ‘Nirbhaya’ Episode

Using Delhi's barbaric December 16, 2016, gangrape as both an anchor and a catalyst, writer and blogger Tharun James Jimani creates a stirring modern day-love story

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Delhi Rape Protest, Yahoo

October 12, 2016: Love, the most mysterious of human emotions, can be immensely uplifting or devastatingly destructive, but never static. As times change, so do its contours, and expected roles and responsibilities in a love story can be most fluid and unexpected. And there can be events, even with no direct link, which can cast shadows on the relationship and lead to changed priorities. The ‘Nirbhaya’ episode for one. Using Delhi’s barbaric December 16, 2016, gangrape as both an anchor and a catalyst, writer and blogger Tharun James Jimani creates a stirring modern day-love story, which delves not only the tangled thought processes and emotions of an unlikely couple, both transplanted Malayalis, but what their circle, their families and the wider world expect from them.

Jimani, in his second novel after “Cough Syrup Surrealism” (2013), has senior business executive Sonya meets footloose Thomas at a small beach town in Karnataka when her holiday is ending, and somehow deciding to give him her phone number.

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He, however, doesn’t contact her, and Sonya, with nothing to do one day, searches him on the internet though she doesn’t even remember his full name but only a fragment of their conversation. She finds he is a writer, and impressed by his blog posts, mails him and they have sporadic contact.

Sonya, however, regularly discusses him and his writings with her best friend, and when he lands up in Mumbai, it is her home in Bandra he comes to and they end up in a relationship.

While they do have fun (though Sonya pays for everything, including his clothes), there are pinpricks — his disappeared muse, his fecklessness, a mysterious past and, above all, the questions of her friends as to what he actually does — the intent being to know if he can support himself.

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These can sometimes lead to bigger issues when a former boyfriend, who somehow manages to annoy Thomas, ends up seriously ill at a lunch he has invited them too and Thomas is uncharacteristically keen on. Another bigger issue is Thomas’ tendency to go out like a light after getting high (alcohol or drugs) and his almost fetish-like inclination against any responsibility.

Though they go on vacations and even visit each others’ parents in Kerala, problems are evident. The process begins when returning from one party, Sonya has a near ‘Nirbhaya’-like experience, while Thomas is out cold. And then comes the Nirbhaya case itself, which brings in sharp focus the dangers she can face — and the lack of any reliable support.

When in the wake of the Nirbhaya case, she decides to leave her high-paying job to start a feminist magazine, will her venture will be success? How will she sustain herself after a comfortable life ensured by a fat paycheck? And will Thomas be of any help?

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Set in Mumbai, Bollywood is not far off, and there is an engaging subplot of a controversial macho but chauvinistic male hero whom Sonya and her friends derisively call “the Torso” (no prizes for guessing the identity) who can help her new venture succeed beyond their dreams but at what price? Twist follows twist as the story comes to an end with a horrendous event.

“Mornings After”, interspersed with what are ostensibly Thomas’ surrealistic blog posts, is not only about love or various facets of its modern urban manifestation, including what the maid might think of your live-in relationship, but also of roles and expectations as well as the responsibilities and commitments it demands.

With characters like the “Gender General”, it is also a tale of aspirations, self-discovery, gender relationships and depictions (there is an interesting debate on “item numbers”) but above all the desire for something the heart wants even when it means giving up comforts and violating norms of conformity and regular work, making it a heart-wrenching but compelling read. (IANS)

Title: Mornings After; Author: Tharun James Jimani; Publisher: Bloomsbury India; Pages: 272; Price: Rs 350

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Rape Survivors in India Still Face Humiliation with Two-Finger tests and Barriers to Justice says Human Rights Watch

Indian Rape survivors still face barriers in justice and humiliation with two-finger tests, reported the Human Rights Watch

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Rape Survivors
Rape survivors face humiliation during investigation. Pixabay.

New Delhi, Nov 9: Five years after the Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi, rape survivors are still facing barriers to getting justice in India, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services despite legal and other reforms adopted since the December 16, 2012 gang rape-murder of a 19-year-old physiotherapy intern in the national capital, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’, said the international human rights NGO in an 82-page report “Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India” released on Wednesday.

The report said women and girls who survived rape and other sexual violence often suffered humiliation at police stations and hospitals.

“Police are frequently unwilling to register complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading two finger tests. These obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counselling, and legal support for victims during criminal trials of the accused,” an HRW statement said.

“Five years ago, Indians shocked by the brutality of the gang rape in Delhi, called for an end to the silence around sexual violence and demanded criminal justice reforms,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of HRW.

“Today, there are stronger laws and policies, but much remains to be done to ensure that police, doctors, and courts treat survivors with dignity,” she said.

The HRW said it conducted field research and interviews in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — selected because of their large number of reported rape cases — as well as Delhi and Mumbai.

The report details 21 cases — 10 cases involving girls under the age of 18.

Rape survivors
Rape survivors feel harassed at police stations and hospitals. Pixabay.

The findings are drawn from more than 65 interviews with victims, their family members, lawyers, human rights activists, doctors, forensic experts, and government and police officials, as well as research by Indian organisations.

“Under the Indian law, police officers who fail to register a complaint of sexual assault face up to two years in prison. However, Human Rights Watch found that police did not always file a First Information Report (FIR), the first step to initiating a police investigation, especially if the victim was from an economically or socially marginalised community.

“In several cases, the police resisted filing the FIR or pressured the victim’s family to ‘settle’ or ‘compromise’, particularly if the accused was from a powerful family or community,” the statement said.

ALSO READ : Debunking Virginity Myths and Hymen Breaks

It said that lack of witness protection law in India makes rape survivors and witnesses vulnerable to pressure that undermines prosecutions.

The human rights body said that some defence lawyers and judges still use language in courtrooms that is “biased and derogatory” toward sexual assault survivors.

“The attempt at shaming the victim is still very much prevalent in the courts,” Rebecca Mammen John, a senior criminal lawyer in Delhi, was quoted in the statement. (IANS)

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Bollywood Deewane : 5 Most Anticipated Bollywood Films of 2018

Are you a Bollywood lover? Then plan your year keeping these 5 most anticipated Bollywood films of 2018 in mind!

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5 most anticipated Bollywood films of 2018
Are you a Bollywood fanatic? Then we are sure you can wait for these movies to hit the theatres near you! Instagram

Mumbai, October 10, 2017: Where fates change every Friday, some films catch more than just attention. These are movies that you already know will make it large, even before they hit the silver screens on a scheduled Friday.

Are you a Bollywood lover? Then plan your year keeping these 5 most anticipated Bollywood films of 2018 in mind!

Make sure you don’t miss the first-day first show because we know we won’t!

 1. Chanda Mama Door Ke

After hitting the ground to play captain cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sushant Singh Rajput is training hard to ‘fly high’ in a future project. For the same, the actor flew all the way to US Space and Rocket Center in Alabama, the NASA facility. But wait, what are we talking about?

India’s first space movie.

Yes, you read that right. Our very own Hindi film industry is ready to experiment with science fiction with Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan’s Chanda Mama Door Ke. The film will feature Sushant, R Madhavan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in titular roles, who have already begun preparing for their parts as astronauts.

The film is believed to trace and celebrate the journey of the Indian space programme, putting together an authentic space odyssey and culminating with India’s first astronaut’s landing on the moon.

Rajput, who received a brief training in the technicalities of flying in a space shuttle simulator and docking the shuttle to the ISS at Alabama, has been the first Bollywood actor to train at NASA. According to reports, even Madhavan will soon undergo a similar training for his role. These details make the film one of the 5 most anticipated Bollywood films of 2018!

The film, set for release on January 26, 2018, is believed to be India’s first realistic sci-fi film and has already created ripples in the audience’s minds. Let us see how all the Indian ‘Interstellar’ fans react to our very own production.

 2. Pari

From the first looks that have been revealed, Pari seems to be everything you will not expect it to be. Anushka Sharma can be seen in a tattered, bruised look with blue eyes and a piercing gaze.

Anushka Sharma’s third production and a love story, Pari also stars Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee.

5 most anticipated Bollywood films of 2018
Pari is being co-produced by Anushka Sharma

“Pari’ is a fantastic story. It promises an intriguing and engaging cinematic experience for the audience”, Prernaa Arora of KriArj Entertainment, the co-producers of the film, had shared in a previous interview.

Not much has been revealed about the film as of now, other than Anushka’s look that is going to haunt you for a long time. We think the silence around the film is doing great for the project, keeping people guessing and adding on to the eerie factor.

The film has been scheduled for a nationwide release on February 9, 2018.

  3. Sanjay Dutt Biopic

Sanju Baba’s biopic featuring Ranbir Kapoor is undoubtedly the most anticipated movies of 2018. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, the film will depict the journey of Bollywood’s most loved Munna in a way like never before.

A star kid, a heartthrob, a drug addict and then his conviction for his illegal possession of arms – Sanjay Dutt’s life has been no less than a Bollywood masala film. Now the story is all set to make it to the big screen and fans can’t wait!

The film also stars Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala (who will be playing Dutt’s parents), Dia Mirza (believed to be playing the role of his wife Maanyata) and Tabu in lead roles.

According to the rumors doing the rounds, the film is allegedly titled ‘Sanju’, which has been Sanjay Dutt’s nickname for quite a while now, with all his friends, family and fans alike addressing him like that.

The film is set to release on March 30, 2018.

 

4. Padman

After popularizing the need to build toilets and maintaining healthy sanitation habits, Akshay Kumar has another motive in life. In his next film, he touches an extremely sensitive topic- menstruation.

Was that an amused eyebrow raise I saw?

5 most anticipated Bollywood films of 2018
Akshay Kumar in and as the Padman. Instagram

In Padman, Akshay plays the role of a Tamil Nadu based social activist, Arunachalam Muruganantham, the magician who turned around the face of menstrual hygiene in rural India by devising a low-cost sanitary napkin machine.

Directed by R Balki of Paa-fame, the film also stars Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte.

Padman will hit theatres on April 13, 2018.

 5. Kedarnath

“Ours is a love story, parts of which have been shot in the temple where Shiv and Parvati met – the Triyuginarayan Temple” said Arjun Kapoor in a previous interview to a leading portal.

The first released motion poster of the film carries the tagline ‘Love is a pilgrimage’. A simple love story between a tourist and a travel guide. Wait, that can’t be all there is to the story?

Well, we don’t know for now. But from the looks of it, and the buzz that the film has already created, it seems like the production is going to win hearts big time.

And did we tell you about Sara Ali Khan’s enchanting look in the film? Bollywood Nawab Saif Ali Khan’s little daughter with his first wife actress Amrita Singh marks her debut opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in Kedarnath.

Kedarnath is scheduled to release in June 2018.

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter : SohaKala

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393