The Table is Set: For Russia, Vodka or Champagne

Content advisory 18+ So, will the REAL Russia stand up and be counted? That is the question to be answered in tonight's Russia-Egypt football match which will likely determine whether or not Putin's boys advance to the next round. I will be watching and pulling for them, anxious to find out if the 5-0 shellacking of Saudi was a fluke.

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Of great interest will be (1) whether or not Mo … Read the rest

When Doctors became Murderers

Content advisory 14+ Does this title confuse? Well, if you are an Indian, it shouldn’t. For the past few years, the Indian public has increasingly turned against professionals in the medical profession, largely at the instigation of the rabble-rousing media, whose portrayal of the so-called incompetence of Indian doctors has ignited widespread fear and hostility toward them, the very people who stand by the public in the times of need.… Read the rest

1-0 After Penalties. But Who Will Be the World Cup Winner?

Content advisory 16+ So, at last, the long-awaited World Cup kicks off today. In fact, by the time this post hits the board, the Russia-Saudi Arabia match will be underway. Frankly, under normal circumstances, I wouldn't walk across the street to see an encounter between these two worse-than-mediocre sides, but, hey, it IS the World Cup.

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A few observations, based on recent World Cups. Look for the most entertaining football … Read the rest

Skyscrapers and the Mourning Morning Sky

Content advisory 18+ (Restricted content) Long ago I stood atop the Empire State Building and peered down at Manhattan far below. I don't remember my feelings precisely, but I am sure that I was in awe of where I was -- you know, the mere Fact of it ("Damn -- this is really the top of the Empire State Building!"). I do recall that we were securely fenced … Read the rest

The Sky Belongs to ME

Content advisory 18+ My family and I live in High Rise No. 378 in the southern city of D. Recently, to our immense delight, we acquired a new apartment on the 256th floor, thanks to its being vacated by its owner, presumably due to some sort of psychological pathology. His family, who live in the seaport city of L., some 250 km away, engineered the sale.
Our building is the … Read the rest

Being Online All The Time – Advantage Or Lack Of Self-Esteem?

Content advisory 14+ How does being online affect your mind? It is quite evident that many people across the world spend their entire days on the internet. The question as to why being online all the time is good has become so common today. Let see how this affects our lives.

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We can’t deny the fact that internet has become part of our existence, thanks to technology that has … Read the rest

Those Who Read Books Will Always Rule Those Who Only Watch TV

Content advisory 14+ There were times when libraries experienced heavy traffic as readers pop in to find the latest release. Days when one could hardly go to bed without reading a chapter or two, but what is happening nowadays? More time is spent on leisure and scrolling up and down a screen. That doesn’t mean that books are not treasured. There are few serious readers left. Are you one of … Read the rest

There is no sex in Russia. Sex Talk. Russia.

Content advisory 16+ Following the ideas expressed by Eric (USA-based opinion) and Roopsa (India-based opinion),) I want to give you the Russian one)
We have a long history, and often one of dramatic self-contradiction. one example was the belief, which lasted until the 20th century, that women should hide their hair under a shawl or scarf -- because revealing it was a sure sign of a sexually-charged nature and … Read the rest

SEX 101: Did YOU Make the Honor Roll. Sex Talk. USA.

Content advisory 18+ My Indian blogging colleague Roopsa has written today on the subject of sex education in India, and this has likewise awakened echoes of my own 'training' in the sphere, which of course happened many, many years ago. It was back in the days when babies really DID come from storks.

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Seriously though, I grew up with my grandparents and I was lucky enough to have a grandfather … Read the rest

The Sex Talk. India.

Content advisory 16+ With a population of more than 1.32 billion people, you might think that Indian citizens would be more forthcoming when talking about sex and educating their young about safe sex practices. India reports a huge number of teenage pregnancies and a staggering amount of sexual abuse. However, sex education in India remains a very controversial topic.

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In 2007, the Central Government announced the launch of the Adolescence … Read the rest

Why Multitasking is a Bad Thing

Content advisory 14+ We are all keen on multitasking. We love it probably for the rush it gives as much as for what we imagine it accomplishes. A role model? We worship the manic magic of the multi-tasker. We pay a higher salary to acquire the gymnastic cerebral services of these mental contortionists and thumb our noses at the plodding, slo-mo guys who can’t keep up. I mean. would … Read the rest

The Wild Face of Patriotism

Content advisory 18+ In the last couple of days, Russian "patriotism" has had its finest hour. First, a famous painting was well-nigh destroyed by a vodka-swilling nationalistic fool at the Tretyakov gallery; and, second, a Russian journalist, well-known for his criticism of the Kremlin, was fatally shot in the back as he tried to enter his apartment in Kiev, where he had fled in fear of his life in Moscow.… Read the rest

The Love Game: Mildew or Barbecue?

Content advisory 18+ I have been exchanging letters with a friend who writes novels. She is a woman of Moscow with long-established connections to New York City. Clever, sophisticated, and talented, she is, in fact, among the most unforgettably beautiful women I have ever seen. Hauntingly so, like the Mona Lisa. Or the Girl With the Pearl Earring. Except better.

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Feminist trash-talking being what it is -- if we can … Read the rest

Megapolis of a Different Kind (The Fields of Bliznatsi)

Content advisory 16+ Walking in the valley this morning with Poppy and Casper, we came across a dead forest dog. They are small creatures and you could not describe them as beautiful -- they seem almost deformed and probably lead lives of great deprivation at certain times of the year. At night, they set up a great plaintive howl in unison, and it seems they are creeping closer to our … Read the rest

The Rape Culture

Content advisory 18+ RAPE. Such a strong implicating degrading action with grave consequences, but a word used almost casually and thoughtlessly. So many renowned public figures throw out comments which not only makes light of the gravity of the action but also sends out a wrong message to the people who look up to them.

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Rape is such a common occurrence nowadays and people don’t even blink an eye … Read the rest

Soap Operas and Redneck Morality Plays

Content advisory 18+ Have you noticed that when one couple or family invites other couples or families as guests, they try to present a positive image? It doesn't always work out that way -- sometimes the grim and gritty truth of mounting disaffection spills out spectacularly over the dinner table and someone (usually female) flees the room in "flood of tears" (to use the British expression). But usually, the hosts … Read the rest

Enough! Or The Final Song

Enough is enough. Let`s stop speaking about 4% a year inflation when the real price growth is 1.6% a month. Let`s stop speaking about safety when the murder rate is 11.31 per 100 000, that is between Surinam, Botswana and Papua New Guinea (where the rate is lower) and Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica (where the rate is higher). Just stop it.

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(I had the most read post in our Read the rest

India’s Daughters; An Overview

Content advisory 18+ Being a woman is not easy. Being a woman in India is even tougher. Invariably, you are going to be subjected to so much discrimination since birth, that it eventually becomes the norm.

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Discrimination starts even before you are born. Pregnant women are made to undergo antenatal check-ups not to detect fetal abnormalities, but to find out the gender of the baby. And if it’s a girl, … Read the rest

A Long Night’s Journey Into Day

Content advisory 18+ F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of "The Great Gatsby") was, like many artists, an unstable person and drunkard. He was never among my favorite authors; nevertheless, amid his many collapses and psychological crack-ups (having Hemingway as a 'friend' probably didn't help), he came up with a single line I always remember. He said: "In a real dark night of the soul, it is always 3 o'clock in the … Read the rest

The Narrow Road to the Far North

Content advisory 16+ I was having a spirited conversation today, early, with a really bright man -- he was frying breakfast eggs while talking with me on Skype (the ONLY way to eat breakfast !) -- about the best way to go about living one's life.

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Of course, the thing about this very bright man (aged 47 and me -- a stout 69 as of today, 8 May--) is that … Read the rest