Tick Tock Who Needs an Atomic Clock

first_img“Last year the Nobel Prize recognized the significance of this field with John Hall and Theodor Hänsch,” says Chris Oates of studying optical atomic clocks. “There are a lot of new ideas coming out, and we hope that our idea is one of those that will help the clocks.” Chris Oates is one of six physicists who published a Letter, “Magnetic Field-Induced Spectroscopy of Forbidden Optical Transitions with Applications to Lattice-Based Optical Atomic Clocks,” in Physical Review Letters demonstrating a unique technique for creating more stable optical atomic clocks. Building on ideas suggested by two Russian colleagues, Oates and his co-workers at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a process to improve one of the most promising types of optical atomic clocks, which divide the second into extremely small pieces in order to enable better timing precision.Perhaps one of the more intriguing questions to come out of this is: Does it really matter whether we have a more precise atomic clock?Oates thinks so. “Atomic clocks provide exquisite timing,” he explains to PhysOrg.com. “One of the most practical applications for atomic clocks is GPS. The timing must be very good in order to properly pinpoint a position. Every GPS satellite carries multiple atomic clocks.” He also cites the communications industry, where faster data rates require more precise timing, as other applications that are affected by atomic clocks. But he admits that the new optical clocks will likely not be used for such applications.“These optical atomic clocks won’t be used in GPS, but rather for more far-out applications,” Oates says. “Space navigation or imaging would be good applications, and communications between satellites is quite likely.” But the real benefits of using optical atomic clocks comes in when one looks at the implications of increased precision in scientific measurements.“Timing for electronics in high-energy accelerators, where particle physics is investigated, will be improved. Synchronization is very important in these experiments, and what we are developing in the way of optical atomic clocks can only help,” Oates says. A note of excitement creeps into his voice as he continues: “Tests of fundamental physics is the place where these clocks will have the most immediate impact.”Oates explains that astrophysicists look back into time by observing quasars and other objects in space. He says that these studies reveal that some natural fundamental constants of nature may change over time. While these theories have yet to be tested, the ability to more minutely track seconds can lead to the ability to detect natural constants that change over time. According to Oates, building optical atomic clocks built on different atoms and ions, and then comparing the differences, can provide verifiable laboratory measurements that could possibly answer questions as to whether some natural constants might experience change. Redefining the limits of measurement accuracy This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Oates says that already obstacles are being overcome in the area of optical atomic clocks. One of the biggest problems is the magnetic sensitivity that the isotopes of neutral atoms have. In order to get around this, many experiments were done using ion traps. The major drawback to this method, however, is that only one ion can be trapped at a time. So, while the ion environment is very favorable and free of any sort of perturbations, it requires some time to take the number of measurements required.The team from the NIST and the Institute of Laser Physics SB RAS in Russia instead use about 10,000 neutral atoms, and hence achieve an average measurement almost instantaneously. The problem is that they move around, distorting results. The team put together an array of about 1,000-lattice “wells,” which Oates refers to as “pancakes” (see the PhysOrg.com story) that each hold about 10 atoms. The lattice pancakes hold the atoms very still, eliminating one problem. But the problem of magnetic sensitivity still remained.“The answer was quite simple,” Oates explains. “We realized that we could apply a magnetic field to enable the use of a different isotope of ytterbium and get rid of magnetic sensitivity. We could make what wasn’t allowed into something that was allowed.” He pauses with a small laugh. “Weakly allowed, but enough. We found that this works, and it really removes what looked like a major roadblock to the use of neutral atoms for optical atomic clocks.” Indeed, the successful experimental demonstration of this technique by the NIST team led by Zeb Barber and Chad Hoyt is described in another article in the same issue of Physical Review Letters.So, while optical atomic clocks appear to be making inroads in the world of physics, practical applications for the rest of the world are still down the road. But Oates doesn’t mind. “Sharing this with the world is a tantalizing challenge.”by Miranda Marquit, Copyright 2006 PhysOrg.comcenter_img Image source: GraphicsByDezign.com Citation: Tick Tock: Who Needs an Atomic Clock? (2006, March 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2006-03-tock-atomic-clock.html Explore furtherlast_img read more

Tribute to MIT Physics Prof Lewin FreeOnLine MIT Courses

first_imgThe Massachusetts Institute of Technology is offering 1800 full courses on-line to the public at no charge. In part the work of Professor Walter H.G. Lewin of MIT is the reason for the popularization of higher learning in science. Citation: Tribute to MIT Physics Prof Lewin: Free-On-Line MIT Courses (2007, December 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2007-12-tribute-mit-physics-prof-lewin.html Explore further Image of dye introduced into water in motion. Credit: Prof. Marshall MIT The machine that made the Moon missions possible The International Herald Tribune reporter, Sara Rimer has written a great story on Physicist Walter H. G. Lewin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge. The gist of the story is the availability of open source on-line physics courses offered by prestigious institutions of higher learning and their effect on the general public. Dr. Lewin has become a quartz star with a following that Mic Jagger would appreciate. The effect is spectacular, and has provided a real second-life to golden years professors by introducing them to the general public. Individuals who for one reason or another were unable to attend a prestigious school, but nonetheless possess an exuberance for higher learning. This article surveys various on-line opportunities for learning more about science. MIT Open Course Ware:The MIT Open Course Ware project is funded by donations and is free to the public. In addition to Dr. Lewin´s courses, there are about 1800 on-line complete courses offered by MIT. Courses are available in the undergraduate and graduate division list of courses. Many are survey courses and introductory type classes easily accessible to any one with a quest for knowledge. Examples:Do you have an interest in wireless communications or a job in communication and would like to add depth to your knowledge base? Check out a complete introduction course on the subject. This is not a teaser version. This is the entire course that MIT allows you to take for no university credits, but at no charge. All that is necessary is to download the course on your computer and point and click your way to achieve a solid foundation in wireless communications. 6.452 Principles of Wireless Communications at ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb .Are you interested in the Physics of Atmospheres and Oceans? This course was offered to students of MIT in the Fall of 2007. It is free of charge to the public and offered by MIT´s Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences with the eminent Professor John Marshall. The course lays out the laws of classical mechanics and thermodynamics. This vehicle allows you to explore how the dynamics of fluids combined with the rotating earth effect atmospheric winds, currents and climate of the earth. See: 12.003 Physics of Atmosphers and Oceans at ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Earth .Have you ever pondered the basis of how we hear and see? If you are a programmer, game developer or amateur inventor, knowing the fundamentals of the neural system is essential. MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences offers a free course called, 9.04 Neural Basis of Vision and Audition. The course will give you the science behind the perception. The course may not have been in the average software engineers core curriculum, but it should have been. See: ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Brain .In conclusion, the old adage, Knowledge is Power, subsumes the most important aspect. A solid education prevents you from “knowing a whole lot of junk, that simply isn’t true.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Ubuntu 910 just released

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Canonical is releasing Ubuntu 9.10, the Karmic Koala, the latest version of its open-source operating system, and it aims to attract business and enterprise users to join the growing numbers of Linux enthusiasts. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Installing some drivers can be an effort with Linux if they do not automatically install, especially if you are not used to using a command line, and a few peripherals will not work with Linux. A lively Ubuntu community provides help for anyone having difficulties.The release of Ubuntu 9.10 comes after Microsoft’s release last week of its Windows 7 to replace the unpopular Windows Vista. Apple also released a new version of its operating system, Snow Leopard, in August of this year. Ubuntu was recently brought to prominence when several major PC companies, such as HP, Acer, Toshiba and Dell, offered it as an alternative to Windows on their computers, and with the latest release, it may further increase its market share.The final, stable version of Ubuntu 9.10 is being released on October 29.More information: • Official Ubuntu website• Review: Ubuntu 9.10 v Windows 7© 2009 PhysOrg.com If you already have Ubuntu installed, upgrading is easy because it starts automatically and steps you through the process. Not only is the operating system kept up to date, but so is any software you have installed. If you do not have Ubuntu, you can download it from Ubuntu’s website and burn it to CD to create your own installation disk. You can either run Ubuntu from the disk or install it to your hard drive. Installing it alongside Windows is a simple matter with Ubuntu’s Wubi application, so you can use it without losing your Windows system. When you boot up, you will have a choice of which operating system to use. Citation: Ubuntu 9.10 just released (2009, October 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-10-ubuntu.htmlcenter_img Ubuntu is one of the most popular of the hundreds of Linux distributions, and is renowned for its simplicity of use, and its appeal. Ubuntu was developed by the Linux offshoot Canonical. New supported versions are developed and released every six months, and they are numbered after the year and month of their release. Downloading and upgrading Ubuntu is free.According to Jane Silber, Canonical’s chief operating officer, the latest version of Ubuntu has more user-friendly features and more operating system options. Among the features likely to be of interest to business users is the migration from Add/Remove Software to the Software Center, which will include commercial software for the first time, along with the open source software that has always been available. Another feature is an automatic file/folder synchronization tool similar to DropBox, with a free option offering 2 GB of space, and a paid one with 50 GB for $10 a month.An addition for software developers is an application called Quickly, which aims to accelerate software development (a bit like a Ruby-on-Rails type application for Ubuntu). Also useful are new utilities such as Palimpsest, a new GNOME utility that simplifies working with hard disks and partitions. Ubuntu 9.10’s improved support of Intel graphics will boost performance for most users, as will the short boot time of just over 10 seconds. As with all Linux systems, Ubuntu offers users with older computers an operating system that works. Explore further Ubuntu 7.04 to Arrive April 19last_img read more

The great Dodo weight debate

first_img Citation: The great Dodo weight debate (2011, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-04-great-dodo-weight-debate.html Dodo bird (Raphus Cucullatus) Back in the early 1990s, Andrew Kitchener from the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh constructed a model based on bones and concluded the Dodo bird was far skinner than images had depicted them. His findings put the bird’s weight in the range of 10.5 to 17.5 kilograms.In a new study last month published in Naturwissenschaften, a team of researchers led by Delphine Angst from the Natural History Museum in Paris looked at 75 Dodo leg bones, including 25 femurs, tibiotarsus, and tarsometatarsus which they had collected from 14 different museums. By studying these bones, they came to the conclusion that the real body mass of the Dodo was really that of about 10 kilograms.However, in yet another study published again this month in Naturwissenschaften, another team says that Angst and her team were wrong in their analysis of the leg dimensions and that it is the femur that is more relevant. Their research suggests that the accurate weight would have been in a range of 9.5 to 18 kilograms.Paleo-ornithologist Antoine Louchart believes it is important that they get these figures correct as it will help scientists trying to understand just how birds evolve when living on islands when it comes to an increase or decrease of size. (PhysOrg.com) — The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), a pigeon type bird that went extinct over 300 years ago is raising debate these last few months on just how slender or plump it really was. When the Dodo bird was first discovered by Dutch ships on the island of Mauritius, the drawings of the birds that were brought back showed a slender bird. However, over the years, the drawings showed a gradual plumping of the Dodo and this has been a big debate for years. The way of the digital dodo More information: The end of the fat dodo? A new mass estimate for Raphus cucullatus, NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN, Volume 98, Number 3, 233-236, DOI: 10.1007/s00114-010-0759-7 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

Evidence found for existence of intermediate size black hole

first_img HLX-1 has been described as being discovered almost by accident, as the research team at the time was instead focused on its host spiral galaxy. Black holes are generally more likely to sit at the center of galaxies such as the one that is believed to exist at the center of our own Milky Way. But HLX-1 was found, uncharacteristically, out in the spiral. It came to notice only because it was spewing a lot of x-rays and radio flares.Because of those findings, this new research team began to focus exclusively on the black hole, hoping that it would be the first example found of an intermediate sample. To figure out if it was, the team took measurements from around the time HLX-1 was first discovered and applied theoretical formulas that have been derived over the years to predict the behavior of intermediate black holes. Then, last year, they made a second round of observations and found they matched almost perfectly with what the theories had predicted leading the researchers to proclaim HLX-1 as the first discovered intermediate mass black hole. Citation: Evidence found for existence of intermediate size black hole (2012, July 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-evidence-intermediate-size-black-hole.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further An arrow shows the location of the black hole HLX-1 in the galaxy ESO 243-49. Credit: NASA, ESA and S. Farrell (U. Sydney) Journal information: Science (Phys.org) — Over the years, cosmologists have found ample evidence of just two kinds of black holes: stellar mass black holes and supermassive black holes. The former are considered small by most standards, just several times the weight of our sun; the latter, as their name implies, huge and as heavy as millions of our sun combined. Not so easy to find have been those that lie somewhere in-between, and because of that, their existence has been mostly speculative. Now, it appears that has changed as a group of international researchers has found evidence that suggests one such black hole appears to be on the order of 90,000 of our suns. The team has found as they explain in their paper published in the journal Science, that ESO 243-49 HLX-1, first discovered in 2009, appears to have the characteristics of an intermediate mass black hole. Galaxy ESO 243-49, about 300 million light-years away, is home to the newly found black hole. Credit: NASA, ESA and S. Farrell (U. Sydney) © 2012 Phys.org , Science Express More information: Natalie Webb, David Cseh, Emil Lenc, Olivier Godet, Didier Barret, Stephane Corbel, Sean Farrell, Robert Fender, Neil Gehrels, Ian Heywood. “Radio Detections During Two State Transitions of the Intermediate Mass Black Hole HLX-1.” Science Express, 5 July 2012. DOI: 10.1126/science.1222779ABSTRACTRelativistic jets are streams of plasma moving at appreciable fractions of the speed of light. They have been observed from stellar mass black holes (~3−20 solar masses, M☉) as well as supermassive black holes (~106−109 M☉) found in the centres of most galaxies. Jets should also be produced by intermediate mass black holes (~102−105 M☉), although evidence for this third class of black hole has until recently been weak. We report the detection of transient radio emission at the location of the intermediate mass black hole candidate ESO 243-49 HLX-1, which is consistent with a discrete jet ejection event. These observations also allow us to refine the mass estimate of the black hole to be between ~9 × 103 M☉ and ~9 × 104 M☉.Press release How intermediate mass black holes have come to exist is still not very well understood however. Some suggest they may have sprung into existence as tight clusters of stars collapsed into one single black hole. Others theorize that they may have come about as entities all on their own in the aftermath of the big bang; others yet say that maybe they started out as massive black holes that shrunk over time for unknown reasons. Because of the many possibilities, researchers will undoubtedly be kept busy for many years trying to find the best possible explanation, but at least now they will have a real one to study. Black hole came from a shredded galaxylast_img read more

Researchers find first instance of fish larvae making sounds

first_img Explore further Researchers find fish ‘yells’ to be heard over human made noise PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen More information: First evidence of fish larvae producing sounds, Biol. Lett. October 2014 vol. 10 no. 10 20140643. Published 1 October 2014 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0643AbstractThe acoustic ecology of marine fishes has traditionally focused on adults, while overlooking the early life-history stages. Here, we document the first acoustic recordings of pre-settlement stage grey snapper larvae (Lutjanus griseus). Through a combination of in situ and unprovoked laboratory recordings, we found that L. griseus larvae are acoustically active during the night, producing ‘knock’ and ‘growl’ sounds that are spectrally and temporally similar to those of adults. While the exact function and physiological mechanisms of sound production in fish larvae are unknown, we suggest that these sounds may enable snapper larvae to maintain group cohesion at night when visual cues are reduced. Journal information: Biology Letters © 2014 Phys.org Play “Growl” sounds produced by L. griseus larvae in the field. Credit: Biol. Lett. October 2014 vol. 10 no. 10 20140643 PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreencenter_img Scientists know that adult fish make noise, many fishermen have heard them, also, some have been found to actually “yell” louder to be heard when surrounded by other noise, such as from a boat engine. But, as the research trio point out, few studies have been conducted to learn about the possibly of noise made by young fish or even fish larvae. In their study, they looked at gray snappers (Lutjanus griseus) that live off the coast of Florida.Adult female gray snappers drop their eggs in the open ocean into beds of seagrass—larvae that emerge live off food in the seagrass bed until reaching maturity. To find out if the larvae make noise, the researches put a camera, microphone and lights into a waterproof clear box and dropped it into the sea at night—the lights helped find where the snappers congregated. To make sure the noises they were recording were coming from the larvae, the researchers captured several larvae samples and took them back to their lab where they were recorded in a tank of water. Analysis of the recordings showed the larvae made two kinds of sounds: “knocking” and “growling.” Interestingly, the knocking sound was very similar to the knocking sounds made by adults of the same species. They noted also that the pattern of sounds generated by the larva differed depending on if they were in the open ocean or in the lab tank—in the lab, the larvae produced more sounds per interval and had longer times between them, suggesting perhaps that they were waiting to hear a reply.The researchers can’t say for sure why the larva make noise but suggest it might help the snappers as a whole maintain group cohesion at night when it’s more difficult to see. They suggest the growling sound may be similar to the cries that babies of many species make to get the attention of the adults. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Lutjanus griseus. Credit: Randall, J.E/fishbase.org (Phys.org) —A trio of researchers with the University of Miami has recorded sounds made by fish larvae in both the open ocean and in their lab. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, Erica Staaterman, Claire Paris and Andrew Kough describe how they captured the larvae sounds and offer ideas on why they are made. Citation: Researchers find first instance of fish larvae making sounds (2014, October 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-10-instance-fish-larvae.html Play “Knock” sounds produced by L. griseus larvae in the field. Credit: Biol. Lett. October 2014 vol. 10 no. 10 20140643 last_img read more

National capital gets a Himalayan calling

first_imgThe display organised on the occassion of 52nd Raising Day celebrations of the Force by Himveer Wives’ Welfare Association (HWWA), welfare arm of the ITBP, continued till 29 October. The exhibition consisted of various products diaplying the skills of ITBP families and welfare activities undertaken by HWWA and ITBP. The pieces exhibited were prepared and manufactured in the welfare centers of the battalions located all over India. The exhibition also showcased rare artifact, handicraft and cultural heritage of the Himalayas. The proceeds gained from the exhibition are to be utilised for the welfare of the Force personnel. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Various field units of ITBP had displayed a wide variety of products in the HWWA exibition. The special attractions  of the show were Pasmina shawls, silk cushions, chandan malas, Budha statues from Ladakh; Kullu shawls, Kinnori topis, apple and dry fruits from Himachal Pradesh; buransh juice, rajma pulses, kulth pulse from Uttarakhand; Darjeeling tea, Cap pashmina, litchi juice from Sikkim; Assami gamchha, Naga shawl, Bamboo hut, Assam tea from Arunachal Pradesh; Chanderi saries from Madhya Pradesh, Lucknowi chikan and carved furniture of Saharanpur from Uttar Pradesh. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHWWA works for the welfare of the families of the Force personnel with a specific focus on women empowerment. It trains families in food processing, tailoring, weaving, stitching, beautician course, home management, computer training, yoga classes, embroidery, pattern making, painting and child care. Training of Spoken English is given to the ITBP wards, free of cost.  A special stall showcasing the history, training, operations, welfare activities and adventure sports in ITBP was also  set up and became the centre of attraction.last_img read more

Their head held high

first_imgI was alone, I was a woman, I was in one set of clothes for seven days and I had no way to inform my family in Delhi that I was alive. I spent an entire week taking refuge in one place after the other till I managed to reach the airport.  It was a harrowing experience which will forever remain etched in my memory.I could not save anything, not even my suitcase packed with clothes nor my bag. It all happened within a flash. I was not prepared for it. In fact no one was. My heart skipped several beats as I pushed through the crowds to find my way to the front. Water was gushing down the road where my home is located as if a dam had burst open. I could see the water forcing its way vehemently inside the lane, pushing through people and breaking through gates. It was stronger than the strongest currents I have witnessed in Pahalgam. I had only heard about floods causing devastation, of uprooting homes, families and lives. It was the first time I was a witness to it with my own eyes. Also Read – Gateway of criminal justiceI stood still, watching the boundary wall break and the waters violently fill up every inch of the lawns, slowly climbing upwards. I was helplessly left standing there watching everything being snatched away before my very eyes, not able to do a thing about it. My mind had stopped functioning. All of a sudden, I had been rendered homeless in Srinagar. Even until half an hour back I could never have imagined this. All around people were scrambling for safety-driving towards undecided destinations, running helter-skelter. Pandemonium had broken out. The entire city seemed on its way to getting submerged. My mind was not registering anything. I just could not get over the sight of my home getting washed away in front of my very eyes. I just wanted to shut off that view which kept playing on my mind over and over. I had only read about such calamities in newspapers or watched them on television. That morning I realised the enormity of destruction a calamity of this nature has on humans. Also Read – Turning a blind eyeIt took me six nights and seven days to find my way to the airport. I survived it all in one set of clothes which were on me and had nothing else apart from my purse and a laptop. But I will remain indebted all my life to everyone who lent me a helping hand on this never ending and arduous journey. I had nothing to offer anyone in return. There was helplessness all around. The streets were full of people in distress-homeless, uprooted, angry, stranded and deserted. I have never seen so many people looking so lost together. There were people looking down from buildings, people looking out of windows, people wailing, people sitting on sidewalks, people squatting on roads, people queuing for food, for shelter, for water. Everywhere I looked around I saw anguish and suffering. It made me feel weary and added to my torment and misery. I saw lifeless faces on listless bodies-as if they had given up on hope or had nothing but hope to cling on to.  And in the midst of that chaos, I saw a ray of hope in the warmth I received at every corner from people known and unknown, the helping hands which stretched out to lend support in times of despair. I would never be able to forget the man who ferried me across to from Bemina to Qamarwari on a dark night, with the help of torchlight and neither will I forget the young boys who helped me alight the kishti when the boat touch landed and carried my bag, refusing to leave me alone till the time they could manage to get me a lift from a relief van. How could I not be grateful to those in the van- visibly tired and weary with relief work all through the day yet who did not leave me in the middle of nowhere, not once losing patience as I took them from lane to lane trying to locate my friend? I owe gratitude to those countless nameless faces which helped me cross barrier after barrier-someone offering me a lift on his car, another guiding me with directions, a third walking alongside me till I could find my way and yet another refusing to charge me for services rendered. Yes, it felt unfair when I switched on the television set and browsed through the national dailies when I reached Delhi after a week and found it all splashed with the heroic deeds of the Armed Forces and their magnanimity as they airlifted flood victims. ‘Where was the army when I was there on the streets at night?’ I thought to myself. I remembered then. I had seen innumerable choppers in the skies engaged in sorties all day long. The sky was full of them.They were in the air, not in the waters. It felt strange that there was no mention of those young local volunteers out in the streets wading through deep waters, rescuing people all day and night. They had no work timings, they were not being paid for it, it was not expected of them neither were they bound to do so. Yet they were out there, risking their own lives to save others. Did anyone care to mention gratitude towards these unsung heroes without whom the casualty would have skyrocketed into mind boggling figures? One has often seen the symbolic image of a boy from downtown, face covered with a keffiyeh holding a stone in his hand. I wonder when we shall see the image of that very boy from downtown splashed across the same dailies- wading through neck deep water as he recues a baby or carries an ailing old man on his back.The state administration lay paralysed and defunct, the police was largely in their homes with families (barring an odd few) and nobody seemed ready to take responsibility at the helm of affairs. There was no one to take charge of the crisis and each man had to fend for himself. In a nutshell, the state was conspicuous by its absence. The communication system was facing the biggest possible breakdown in recent times in the history of the nation- it was a complete blackout. There was no electricity, no internet, no telephone lines working and the water supply as well came to a halt. Nobody could contact anybody. Kashmir was cut off from the world. The Indian Army’s movements were largely restricted Between Gupkar and Raj Bhawan (VIP zones). Perhaps there may have been an odd intervention here and there but I, for one did not see their presence anywhere. How can I write about something I did not see? I did expect them to be playing a much more active role in the rescue operations. Was it wrong to expect so? I wonder why and when the Indian media turned into PR machinery for the Indian Army. It does not come as a surprise to me to see anger simmering on the streets of Kashmir-like a live bomb ticking away. Yes, I do not deny and neither can anyone else that the army and the air force have played a crucial part in the evacuation of stranded people. Then where does the problem lie? Why are Kashmiris angry? The problem lies with the fact that it is only the Army which is being projected as the saviour of the flood victims? Were they not already supposed to be doing that? Is it not a part of their duty and responsibility? Was it not that the numbers in need of immediate rescue far greater than the ones who received help? Maybe if the state and the Indian army had given out a statement of apology for not being able to attend to as many people as they should have and expressed regret at the same owing to lack of resources or manpower or whatever their challenges were, there are chances that the fury against them would be far less in comparison, and perhaps, not any at all. Perhaps they would even have won over some hearts in the process. Unfortunately, when the numbers risking their lives out there in the waters are far greater in magnitude compared to the ones who claim credit for it, then one has to be prepared for sharp criticism. It is not ethical to rescue people and then boast about it and similarly it is not rational to expect sanity from people who are watching their life long earnings getting washed away, their children starving and their aging parents not being able to run for safety.Had it not been for my friends calling me and sending me messages all night, I would not have been awake. Had it not been for my landlord who kept banging on my door and window and made sure I did not fall asleep, I would not have been alive. Had it not been for those strangers who did not leave my side while I kept losing my track, I would have been stranded. Had it not been for those friends who opened up their homes and hearts to me, I would have been homeless. Had it not been for the friend who stopped his car when he saw me walking wearily under a hot, scorching sun, I would never have been able to connect with my family. Had it not been for the large heartedness of the hotel owner who gave me shelter without charging me a single rupee, I would have been penniless. Had it not been for the young boy who saw my desperation to get to the airport and volunteered to ferry me across muddy waters on a stranded boat in the wee hours of the morning, I would never have made it to Delhi. Yes, lastly had it not been for the armed forces, I would not have managed to get airlifted to the airport but then again, had it not been for the person who drove me till there and insisted that I be evacuated immediately on a priority basis, I would have been standing in queue for what seemed like eternity to me. But it took a lot to get till there and while the Indian army and the air force gets its credit, its fame and kudos, the others do not get as much as a mention even on the last pages. Is it fair? Who, apart from God should I be thankful to? It is for you to think. I already know my answers.last_img read more

Decoding media glare on Army

first_imgThe Indian Army is an excellent fighting force, and has few parallels in the world. But  of  late, the image of the soldier is diminishing which calls for immediate action. This is happening because the forces have to face divergent pulls and pressures which are different today than from yesteryears. Institutions have a long memory, take time to change. On the other hand, the Army has to operate in a dynamic environment, with an active press and a changing civil society which are able to apply pressure and push for changes. Also Read – Gateway of criminal justiceThus, it is the Army that is perceived at times to be unable to ‘keep up’ with the societal fluctuations, and due to its strict procedures, it is not able to present its side of the story with the dynamism expected of it. It has prolonged deployment in counter-insurgency operations leading to uncanny situations. Armies are trained, equipped, geared and made ready for the primary task which is to protect the nation from external threat. But today judgement is passed on it for how well it does its secondary task. In short, people tend to judge the doctor by how well the nurse performs. Also Read – Turning a blind eyeThe Army simply has no answer to live media carrying out television debates beaming live to soldiers’ bedrooms the twists and turns of various scams. In a democracy, this is the one thing that is acceptable, adds to transparency. But when quite often, officers are on the mat for becoming ketchup colonels, booze brigadiers, generals fighting over various issues and scams, some of which like the Sukna have been set aside by the Armed Forces Tribunal — the stage is set for a soldier to question: ‘What am I serving for, is this my officer class like?’ Does the Army need to change its value system? In fact, when threatened it must reinforce the old values, but its manner of interaction with the media, its manner of conduct when deployed in prolonged counter-insurgency operations, requires a holistic look and not a knee-jerk reaction. After the recent firing at Budgam, in which two young boys were killed, the Army admitted that it was a “mistake” and a violation of rules of engagement. The Army also said that it would complete its inquiry within ten days and take action against the guilty. The legal catch here is that once the Army Commander has agreed it is a mistake, are all procedural inquiries on the subject irrelevant? On the other hand, while the law enforcers are guilty, in the wake of protests and all good work done by the Army during the recent floods in that area and the fact that elections were around the corner, pressure was going up from civil society, reckless teenagers were moving in a vehicle to a restricted area, isn’t there also a need for civil society to look inwards as well? The ground reality is that because armed sentries are there everywhere in view of the live threat posed by terrorists, such incidents are bound to recur. If there is accidental firing, and a whole host of other scenarios, will the Army now admit to its mistake every time before an inquiry? This could well have happened in Delhi, but the issue inevitably takes a different colour in Jammu and Kashmir. Will the soldier be blamed before an inquiry? Some time ago, a paramilitary force in Delhi waited for its inquiry to take place, before having the added burden of having put the blame on any one. Loss of life is regrettable but loss of soldiers’ morale critical and difficult to restore.The greatest strength of the forces lies in its intangibles: such as, morale, training, ethos and value system, bonded by discipline. The Sukna scam and the Budgam incident touch upon all these intangibles, especially discipline and training. The Budgam affair was at best an operational cum training issue. By declaring the soldiers guilty before inquiry, a whole host of issues, which are morale-sensitive, have been opened up. Are these even debatable?  The Sukna scam AFT judgment opens up another can of worms, which the Army needs to take to its logical conclusion. If the military justice system is shown in poor light, won’t its soldiers need an answer?Television debates do need some introspection. The debates on geostrategy, arms and equipment do become interesting, but when discipline is debated or discussed yet nuts and bolts of the ground situation are generally not known, the picture becomes confusing. Of course, the media needs to report the various scams, it needs to show all the dead wood, but it should exercise its judgement, on what will be the impact on the morale of the soldier?  In the Sukna scam not an inch of Army land was involved, there was no trickery or fraud: then how come the word scam was used for a so-called issue of ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC)? Discipline is the very key to a soldier’s being and to impact on his sense of discipline, needs sense of responsibility from all, including the political class, who have left us equipment deficient. The impact of  the movie Haider which shows the soldiers in poor light  has also come at this juncture and what is the ‘langar gup’ one wonders.  How should the Army react in inadvertent cases? It should go back to the Chetwode credo, of safety, honour and welfare of nation first, soldier next and its commanders last. This implies, supreme national interest first, completion of inquiries before pronouncing soldiers guilty second, and the various twists and turns of scams and age related issues last and not on prime time television because of TRP. The Army has had a long stint in counter-insurgency operations. This tells on training there is a need to cut down exposure in counter-insurgency, but the drawdown from foreign forces in Afghanistan opens up a  different scenario and weakening of Army from the border areas improbable. The forces therefore, need to settle these issues in house. The entire issue is of faith and the generals need to have 56-inch chests while interacting with civil society and take on ‘bullets’ flying at the aam sipahi.The author is a retired brigadierlast_img read more

10month fiscal deficit crosses fullyear target

first_imgFiscal deficit rose to Rs 5.68 lakh crore in April-January period, breaching the budget estimate by 107 per cent which may call for harder measures by the government to meet the target of 4.1 per cent of the GDP for full 2014-15 financial year.As per the data released by Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Monday, fiscal deficit during April-January period was Rs 5.68 lakh crore or 107 per cent of the 2014-15 budget estimate of Rs 5.31 lakh crore by January-end.The overshooting of fiscal deficit is mainly attributed to subdued revenue realisation. The fiscal deficit, the difference between government expenditure and revenue, during April-January period of 2013-14 stood at 98.2 per cent.In the Budget speech on Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said government would achieve the 4.1 per cent fiscal deficit target in 2014-15.last_img read more

Youth found hanging in Digha hotel police begin murder case

first_imgKolkata: East Midnapore police have started a murder case in connection with a 30-year-old youth being found hanging from the ceiling fan inside a hotel in Digha.The family members of the victim, Abhijit Dutta, lodged a complaint at the local police station against Dr Sujay Dutta, his wife Payel and his cousin brother Tinku Mondal. Police have asked the trio not to go out of Digha for the sake of investigation.They were interrogated till late Friday night. Police are trying to ascertain if they were involved in the incident. A police picket has also been set up outside the hotel where the doctor and his family had been staying. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsDutta, a resident of Howrah’s Liluah, drove to Digha in a car belonging to a Howrah-based doctor’s family. The doctor had engaged Dutta as the driver of the car around a week ago. According to the police, the doctor, his family members boarded a hotel at New Digha along with the victim. Police also came to know during investigation that all the three youths including the doctor consumed alcohol inside a room of the hotel till late Thursday night, while the doctor’s wife had been sleeping in an adjacent room. It was alleged that the victim tried to assault the woman. His body was found hanging from the ceiling of a room on Friday morning.last_img read more

Graft case ED raids house in Tollygunge

first_imgKolkata: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Thursday raided a house in Tollygunge and seized documents.The ED officials are also investigating the links between the business which did not deposit PF of its employees and had links with the assistant PF commissioner.The ED officials have got information of 55 bank accounts which the accused officer shares with his relatives. They are probing the matter.Earlier, ED officials had raided six different places in the city, in connection with graft charges against Ramesh Singh, the accused officer. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedOfficers of the ED had got divided into separate teams and conducted raids at places including Park Street, Behala, Charu Market and Baruipur, including the office of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) at Park Street.Sangeeta Singh, wife of Ramesh, had submitted relevant documents to Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the case on Wednesday. Sources said that the ED officials have asked her certain questions in connection with the case.last_img read more

Kids with rich vocab shine in school

first_imgKids with larger oral vocabularies are better behaved and are also likely to perform well in school, new research has found.Other research has found that children who do better academically in kindergarten are more likely to go to college, get married, own homes and live in higher-income households.“Our findings provide compelling evidence for oral vocabulary’s theorised importance as a multifaceted contributor to children’s early development,” said lead researcher Paul Morgan, associate professor of education policy studies at Pennsylvania State University in the US. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The researchers examined data from parental surveys reporting on the size of their children’s vocabularies at two years of age. The researchers found that vocabulary gaps between groups of children were already evident by this early time period. Females, those from more economically advantaged families, and those receiving higher quality parenting had larger oral vocabularies. Children born with low birth weight or who were being raised by mothers with health problems had smaller vocabularies.When the researchers looked at how the children were doing three years later in kindergarten, they found that children with larger vocabularies at two years of age were better readers, knew more about mathematics, were more attentive and task persistent, and were less likely to engage in acting out- or anxious-type behaviours. The findings appeared in the journal Child Development.last_img read more

3 killed 15 injured in Bengal violence

first_imgKolkata: Three persons were killed and at least 15 injured in West Bengal as violent political clashes over the formation of the state Panchayat boards continued, police said on Wednesday. Armed clashes took place between groups allegedly belonging to the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in North 24 Parganas district’s Amdanga block late on Tuesday night. “The clash erupted centering around the Gram Panchayat board formation in a number of villages in the block,” an officer from Amdanga police station said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life According to local residents, two of the deceased were Trinamool Congress activists while the third person belonged to the CPI-M. Police have arrested 12 people including CPI-M district committee member Ahmed Khan, for inciting unrest in the area that was found littered with crude bombs, splinters, cartridges on Wednesday morning. The political parties blamed each other for the clash and claimed their members were stopped from forming the boards. Ten people have been allegedly killed since August 25 in political clashes over the Panchayat boards formation in different Bengal districts. The situation in several districts has been tense over the last few days over the Panchayat boards formation after the Supreme Court permitted the notification of the results of 20,159 un-contested seats in the state Panchayat polls.last_img read more

Various staterun private hospitals observe International Brain Tumour Awareness Week

first_imgKolkata: Various state-run hospitals and some private health establishments are observing International Brain Tumour Awareness Week from October 20-27 through various programmes.One of the main objectives of the move is to spread awareness among people about the disease and what needs to be done to check it. The incidence rate of brain tumours in India is rising. Around three percent of 78,4821 cancer deaths in India is caused due to brain tumours in 2018. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to a senior Radio Oncology Consultant in the city, different kinds of tumors are detected in patients at different age groups. While most cases have unknown causes, some are linked to genetic diseases such as Neurofibromatosis and exposure to radiations. A new emerging threat is the exposure to. While smart phones are everyone’s best friend, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has observed that radiofrequency waves from mobile phones are the new emerging threat to the disease. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, linked to mobile phones, may be carcinogenic and there is always a high risk in using them. Dr Jyotirup Goswami, Consultant, Radiation Oncology said: “Worldwide, one percent of approximately 3 lakh cancer cases are found to have brain tumours but Indian data suggests that as much as 10 percent of new patients could be suffering brain tumors.” As per Globocan 2018 report issued by the International Association of Cancer Registries (IARC) associated with WHO, as many as 28,142 new brain tumour cases are reported in India annually, while there are as many as 24,003 death. According to a report done by the government hospitals in Bengal, around 13.6 percent cancer cases are found to be suffering from brain tumour, Dr Goswami said. A recent study in Eastern India was done by Clinical cancer investigation journal by involving 130 cases with brain tumour found male preponderance. Most common tumour type in this study was neuroepithelial tumor (70 percent). Among the neuroepithelial tumors, most frequent subtype was astrocytic tumor (41 percent). The second most frequent brain tumor was meningioma (20 cases, 15.3 percent). While symptoms of brain tumours are not always specific but persistent symptoms like unexplained headaches, difficulty in speech, vision, hearing, unexplained nausea-vomiting, changes in mood or ability to concentrate, memory loss and numbness in the legs or arms are all causes for concern. If anybody complaints about any of the symptoms the patient should consult a neurologist immediately and if necessary the patient will be asked to get brain imaging done. If the patient is diagnosed with brain tumors, a surgery may be required followed by radiotherapy & chemotherapy.last_img read more

State govt says no to BJPs Rath Yatra but says party can

first_imgKolkata: The state government has denied permission to BJP’s “Rath Yatra” but stated that if the saffron party wanted to hold meetings, then it could go ahead with the same. A communication will soon be sent stating that the BJP can organise meetings and take prior permission from the administration for the same. The state government has clearly stated that the law and order situation might be affected due to the Rath Yatra and maintained that it would not be possible to deploy adequate police personnel due to the upcoming festive season. “A huge contingent of our forces will be deployed Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifefor Christmas tentatively from December 21 to 31 and from January 7 to 17 due to Ganga Sagar Mela,” sources said. Senior officials of the state government in the ranks of Chief Secretary Malay De, Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya and Director General of Police Virendra held a high-level meeting at Nabanna on Saturday after getting reports from the District Magistrates and police superintendents who stated that such “Rath Yatras” may disturb communal harmony.last_img read more

Five books to look forward to in February 2018

first_imgAfter an exciting start to the New Year with releases of over 30 books across genres in January, the upcoming month is once again dotted with several interesting titles that may catch the attention of bibliophiles. Narrowing down a list from dozens of books releasing in February, here are some recommendations for the month, dominated largely by fiction and accompanied by a memoir and a commentary on Pakistan, is both subtle and appealing at the same time. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHere are the five books that we cannot wait to read this February:1. A Century is Not Enough, by Sourav Ganguly A sporting classic and a manual for living Sourav Ganguly’s life has been full of highs and lows. Arguably among India’s greatest cricket captains, he gave confidence to the team, re-energised it and took India, for the first time, to spectacular overseas victories. But Ganguly’s story also came with great challenges – from his early days when he had to wait four long years before being included in the team to the ugly battle with coach Greg Chappell. He fought his way out of every corner and climbed back up from every defeat, becoming India’s ultimate comeback king. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveWhat does it take to perform when the pressure is sky-high? How do you fight back and win? How do you make a name for yourself when you are young and have started the journey which is closest to your heart? As Sourav takes you through his life, he looks at how to overcome challenges and come out a winner. Time and time again.2. Do We Not Bleed? Reflections of a 21st-Century Pakistani, by Mehr Tarar This is a passionate, illuminating book about contemporary Pakistan. Comprising original profiles of diverse Pakistanis – some of whom are internationally feted and many others who are relatively unknown – as well as essays that examine the major fault lines in Pakistani society, the book offers the reader an insider’s perspective on the state of affairs in the country today. The book is divided into five thematic sections, each corresponding to a subject that the author feels strongly about. ‘Religious Persecution and Other Discontents’ delves into the killings and oppression generated by religious discord that are now a routine feature of life in Pakistan. ‘The Pakistan You Do Not Know’ shows us little known aspects of everyday life in Pakistan. And the other three sections of the book too focus on similar aspects and bring many unknown facets to the fore.3. Karmachari: Short Stories About Ordinary People, by Vasant Purushottam Kale and Vikrant Pande You who stand in a queue, who try to board a running local, who tolerate your boss’s snide remarks and the trials and tribulations of marital life – you still manage to discuss politics with enthusiasm, to finish a game of cards, to laugh and to make others laugh… You are a true karmachari.A collection of unforgettable short stories about ordinary people, Karmachari is a mirror held up to society. Set in suburban Mumbai of the 1970s, yet universal, it is peopled by characters we might meet in real life. They come alive under V. P. Kale’s sharp but compassionate gaze, and prod us gently towards a world of greater kindness and understanding.4. On The Road To Tarascon, by Arnab NandyA lover’s note among a senile woman’s possessions sets off a chain of events that could lead to the discovery of a Van Gogh masterpiece – one of the most important paintings to have been lost in World War II. When travel writer Neil Bose falls for Eva Schicktanz, he does not know he is getting involved with much more than a dimpled girl in nerd glasses. Neil and Eva must stay ahead of unknown pursuers after a common goal, and follow an unusual trail charted in 1945. But after so many years, does the trail even exist? A quest spanning continents and seven decades, this edge-of-the-seat thriller keeps you hooked till the last page.5. A Murder on Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey Sujata Massey is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed mystery writer best known for her Rei Shimura series. Set in the multicultural mix of 1920s’ Bombay, ‘A Murder on Malabar Hill’ expertly combines the delights of Agatha Christie with the period charm of Downton Abbey. Intrepid and intelligent, young Perveen Mistry joins her father’s prestigious law firm to become one of India’s first female lawyers. Her tumultuous past also makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s rights.When Mistry Law is appointed to execute the will of Omar Farid, a wealthy mill owner, Perveen’s suspicions are aroused by a curious provision which could disinherit Farid’s three widows and leave them vulnerable. Are the Farid widows – who live in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to men – being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen decides to investigate, but when tensions escalate to murder, it becomes clear that her own life is in mortal peril and she will need to use everything in her power to outwit a dangerous criminal.last_img read more

Ceasework by docs takes death toll in state to 3

first_imgKolkata: The prolonged ceasework by junior doctors at various government medical colleges has claimed two lives in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 3 so far in the state.According to sources, a woman had given birth to a boy at the College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital at Kamarhati in North 24-Parganas three days ago. The newborn infant later developed respiratory distress. The family members of the victim alleged during a television interview on Thursday that the infant was denied treatment and hence they had to shuttle between the hospitals in the city with the baby. He was not properly treated and eventually died, a family member of the deceased alleged. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataIn a similar incident of negligence, 28-year-old Pratima Mondal died at the emergency ward of SSKM Hospital at around 12.50 pm on Thursday. The victim, a resident of Tamluk in East Midnapore, had been suffering from some ailments in her uterus. She was taken to a local hospital by her family members and later shifted to SSKM on Tuesday. Prashanta Mondal, a relative of the patient, alleged that she was denied treatment at the emergency ward since her admission, due to the ongoing strike of the junior doctors. He also said that the patient would not have died, had the Chief Minister visited the hospital earlier. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateWest Bengal Medical Council Chairman Dr Nirmal Maji said that they would take steps against the junior doctors who have been denying emergency services to the patients. Dr Maji said that there is a Supreme Court ruling which mandates that no doctors can join strikes, thereby hampering medical services to the patients. He also hinted at stern steps against the junior doctors if they do not join their work. Meanwhile, as many as 18 doctors from the College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital reportedly resigned, expressing a lack of security and infrastructural lapses at the hospital. The state medical council is keeping a tab on the entire development. Governor Keshari Nath Tripath on Thursday urged all the doctors in the state to resume their work and take care of the patients. A press statement issued by the Governor’s office said that the representatives of Joint Platform of Doctors and Doctors’ Association of ABVP West Bengal met the Governor on Thursday about the current situation. They submitted memoranda to the Governor, which are being sent to the state government for taking appropriate action. They have demanded adequate security and protection for the doctors in the hospitals, proper investigation and punishment for all those who attacked the junior doctors. The representatives stated that they will resume duties on receipt of firm and credible assurance of their security by the state government, the press statement says.last_img read more

Decomposed body of elderly woman found

first_imgCanning: The police on Friday recovered a decomposed body of an elderly woman from a house in Budge Budge area of South 24 Parganas district. Police reached the spot after neighbours complained of a foul smell emanating from the building in the southern fringes of Kolkata. They broke open the door, found the decomposed body and sent it for post-mortem examination. According to neighbours, the 65-year-old widow, who used to stay alone, went into depression after her son went missing four years ago. The elderly woman is survived by a daughter, who lives elsewh ere.last_img

Juggling between two worlds

first_imgDivyenndu is one of those actors who gets into the skin of the character he plays, brings it to life on screen and makes his audience feel every emotion that the character is experiencing. That is why as much as we love the aggressive yet sweet Liquid of ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnaama’, the evil Munna Bhaiyya from ‘Mirzapur’ fills our heart with anger and hate. To prove his acting skills yet again, Divyenndu is back with Zee5’s feature film ‘Badnaam Gali’ and Season 2 of ‘Mirzapur’. Read what he has to say about playing two entirely different characters at the same time. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHow is it to work on two different characters at a time (in Mirzapur and Badnaam Gali). My character in ‘Mirzapur’ is entirely different from what I am playing in Badnaam Gali, and it is tricky to keep the two worlds separate. It gets even more difficult when I have group reading and rehearsal sessions for ‘Mirzapur’ and Badnaam Gali happening simultaneously. Though I can’t do much about it, I try and concentrate on one project at a time and not think about the other. This helps in keeping things sorted to an extent. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsivePeople have high expectations from you after ‘Mirzapur’. Does that scare you? I actually don’t think about anything apart from my work. I believe in honesty and 100 percent involvement. That is why audience’s expectations don’t scare me, instead they inspire me to improve my craft. Moreover, I think, as actors, our only job is to work hard and enjoy every bit of what we do. Do you agree that web platforms give more artistic freedom to the actors. How? Yes, I totally agree with it as web platforms have no restrictions or rules. There is all the freedom to present a story in whichever way you want. Also, unlike movies, you don’t have to be worried about the weekend’s collection. You don’t compete with anybody and anything. All these factors have made web actors more fearless and creative, thereby giving them the scope to explore and experiment. If given a choice between web shows and movies, what will be your pick? That’s really difficult! But honestly, the platform doesn’t really matter to me. I would have been equally excited to play Munna Bhaiyya if ‘Mirzapur’ had been a film. It’s not the medium but the content that tops my checklist. I pick projects according to the content, character, and story. What’s your most prized possession? It might sound like a cliché but people who like and appreciate my work have a belief that ‘if this guy (me) is there in the film, then there must be something special about the project’. This appreciation towards my work…towards my craft… is what I value the most. Your feature film Badnaam Gali revolves around surrogacy – an extremely sensitive topic. Did you have inhibitions while signing a film, which discusses surrogacy in a humourous way? Not really, because it totally depends on the intention of makers and how they want to present it. What hit me was the fact that it is important for us to talk about things like surrogacy as normally as possible, without considering it a taboo. It is not something to be ashamed of, rather it’s a great way to give hope to couples who can’t have a child due to biological issues. Tell us about your character in the film. On a scale of 0-10, how challenging was it? It was quite challenging because I was playing a Punjabi guy who comes from a well to do family and is extremely confused in life. For somebody who is not a Punjabi, it is challenging to get the dialect right and maintain the essence. I had to pay attention to minute details and that consumed a lot of energy. So, I would say it was 8/10 for me. The story is focused on Patralekha’s character. Was it difficult to make your character look equally prominent? Not really! The story justifies both the roles equally. The story is about how Randeep Singh Sodhi (played by Divyenndu) comes to this Badnaam Gali and meets Patralekha (who is playing a surrogate mother). It revolves around how people have different opinions about her, consider surrogacy as a taboo, and create negative views in their mind. Randeep stands along with her all the while and appreciates her effort in helping couples who are biologically incapable of having a baby. So, both the characters are equally important for the story to progress.last_img read more