It was with great excitement that we 7 boys set out to watch this movie with much of the anticipation leaving our family behind. Rotten tomatoes has it 84%, said one, it is a long awaited Bond movie post pandemic beamed other. I had urged people to wear Tuxedo, just in case the movie required our assistance at the end. Then the action starts right where it was left off, Bond is disturbed by his peaceful vacation and kicks some asses of the bad guys, Bond is the only action hero who fights in Tux and then walks into the bar for a Martini shaken not stirred, speaking of Tux, Ana de Armas (Paloma) is the best part in the movie who fights like a ninja with her evening gown, barely covering her chest. With an intense fight sequence never does that gown slip once, take that Janet Jackson; wardrobe malfunction.
From here on the movie goes down hill, other than some exquisite shots of some unique locations, the good guy, bad guy rant continues as to how they are both same as two sides of a coin. Whatever happened to the definition of Bond as defined on top, Craig is carrying his daughter on his waist while he hands the gun to his girlfriend, Léa Seydoux (Madeleine) to fight off the bad guys, I would rather watch Family Man (wonderfully played by Manoj Bajpayee), who is truly a family man playing 007. While Craig is busy saving his family they have introduced a lady 007, Lashana Lynch(Nomi), uggh! they have put all the remaining clothing pieces of the Ana to her, her only mission was to rescue Craig’s family from harm’s way. It was Ana de Armas who showed us how a lady 007 would look like in her short stint, Halle Barry would have carried this role best.
Craig has quit 007 who comes back to the mission one last time before he turns into a family man, I say just quit, when you decide to quit, learn from Jerry Seinfeld, leaving on the high note.
Rami Malek as Safin is a convincing villain but his character is not developed from the beginning.
I really don’t want to spoil the ending for viewers, I want you guys to go thru that pain I endured for 3 hours to catch the ending, really there is no time to die, just sulk. Rest in peace Ian Flemming, you did not have to watch this.
Abstract I was inspired by this idea that we could bike entire New York, while the cars were taken off the street, it’s a forty mile ride spanning all five boroughs of the city and ascend few iconic bridges to reach the final destination. I added additional spice to this event by choosing to get the event by riding my bike from home taking mass transit to get there and back.
History Back in 1977 some 250 NYC bike enthusiasts held a 50 mile bike challenge to promote cycling in the city. Then with minimal security and within the NYC traffic they had completed the event successfully. Next year the then NYC Mayor Ed Koch officially changed the name of the event to FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR instead of challenge to attract more bikers to participate in the event, ever since it has been a popular NYC event, with the capacity as high as 25 to 30 thousand participants.
The journey begins… Well below is the picture taken at 5am on a Sunday morning. Most Sundays I spend my mornings in bed while my wife goes to jog. I had signed up for New York Five Borough Bike Tour. My luck had it that it got cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19, hence rescheduled in May 2021. As things did not improve it got postponed to Aug 22nd. Then came the Hurricane Henri it got postponed to Aug 29th, finally the day had arrived, I had to get off my bed.
Destination Downtown Most people would have written about the event experience itself, but I wanted to capture the whole stretch as to how I got to New York and back. Like the picture shows at 5am it was air/brake and water bottle check. I actually started to ride my bike at 5.30am to Princeton Jn station. The plan was to take scheduled 6.02am to Newark Penn and then board on to Path to downtown. Wanted to reach train station in time giving about 20 minutes to reach there but had reached in 10, was I pumped or what. So after a long wait the train arrived. The doors opened and there is a special section for bike storage in the train, to my amazement there were already two bikes stashed, bikers from Hamilton or Trenton headed to NYC Bike Tour. After Hellos I settled next to them. While we struck with conversations, time had passed by one of them asked what station is this, I looked up it was Newark Penn and train had started to move. Surprised as I asked them aren’t you getting off hear and taking path? to which the lead among them, now I know he is Israel, said, no we are going to New York Penn and from there will bike down the venue. Train had left the platform and now I was following them throwing my original plans out the window. Conductor passed by looked up at us as one of us was supposed to get off at Newark Penn. I raised my hand and said “that’s me and I want to bump my ticket“, pulling the cash out. Conductor has his way giving a pass to their patrons once in a while today was that day, he goes, “why don’t you download the NJ Transit app and purchase the ticket their and show it to me, I will be back” and he took off. This generally means that he will never come back and he wants to give me a pass. I know this since I am regular commuter. As expected NY Penn came and we all got off.
New York Penn Station Israel set out to look for the elevator and there were ten other people with their huge luggage waiting, the elevator looked small it would not fit three bikes and besides our turn would come after two shifts at least. I suggested lets ride escalator, which is what we did. Now we were in the main lobby of the station we had to take another escalator to get to the streets, riding an escalator with bike was easy, the tricky part was opening the heavy double doors with one hand while holding the bike with another. Last escalator, Israel had done and held the door for us, now it was my turn, with a struggle held the doors open and let the second biker out, by then Israel was on the street laughing at us. There was another set of double doors next to mine that was ajar all the while. Fun had begun, ice was broken. It’s been more than two years now that I am not a regular at New York, due to Covid-19 reasons, the beautiful change I noticed was their is a designated bike lane on either side of the road marked with green patch in all of Manhattan, I am like wow, New York City is getting Europenised; if that’s a word. So it was a breeze biking down the roads to downtown, soon we saw a bunch of bikers settled in huddle.
The kick off From the selfie below you can see the other two have Yellow number tags; they had signed up for yellow wave which would start at 8.30am and I had signed up for Orange wave which was scheduled to start at 9.20 which was basically a last wave after another which was Green. The Blue wave had started at 7.30am. We had reached the venue at around 8am. Israel suggested I hope on Yellow wave and I did not hesitate and we were off at 8.30am biking down the roads along with bunch of other bikers with no cars on the road, zipping by the red lights. Like the event says, this biking spans all the five boroughs of NYC, starting from Manhattan downtown, barely touching Bronx, cross the river land in Bronx and then take the next bridge and back in Manhattan. I wonder why, Bronx is the most notorious of all the five boroughs, although it is home of Yankees Stadium. My guess is next route would have been on National Highways, which the city authorities had no rights to block them. Then we crossed the Queensboro bridge also known as Ed Koch bridge to land in Queens. This was the first big bridge with steep elevation, people took a break to take pictures on the iconic bridge. Soon after we were forced to walk the bike in the rest area. Johnny’s lined up on one side and volunteers serving banana and water to the bikers on the other. Grabbed a banana and few snacks, relaxed on the side and we were back on the bike.
Knowledge is power I learnt this the hard way, while we began biking there was huge bottleneck hence we chatted while we rode, Israel asked “What is the pressure on my tires“, to which I said, “To make my riding easy I have pushed it to 20 or 22“, to which the other guy said, “What! mine is 100, 22 is way less, this will slow you down“, he rode a classic Schwinn, where he had received several compliments. “At next rest area you should check your tire pressure rating and put to the max” recommended Israel. The next break came after the Queensboro bridge. I had always put 18 to 20 on my bike comparing it to cars 33 to 36 PSI. My tire read 68 to 86, so I pumped it to 80 and then the life was smoother.
Fly overs We ride through huge bridges that is given but we also constantly bike over the fly overs pushing our limit of exhaustion up the hill and then a free ride down the hill. As easy as it sounds and rewarding riding down the hill, it can be really be painful on your rear if you don’t stand on the bike pedals. This reminds me of one thing, it is good to have a very good bike, I could see few of the riders breezing thru me with easy pedaling, they were probably very good bikes, but if I have to say one thing, if you can buy and $1000 bike then invest $500 on the bike and rest on bike seat, trust me your bum will thank you. After Manhattan, Brooklyn is the most beautiful borough, we drove thru some chic streets. Sad as it may sound we did not ride on the most iconic bridge of all the Brooklyn Bridge.
Verrazano’s bridge I guess Verrazano’s bridge is on the highest elevation in NYC, correct me if I am wrong, but on this bike tour it was. Also the winding road that leads to the bridge is quite a ride, a familiar car rider would know that. Hence this was the last climb up the hill of our 40 mile tour, with that excitement I pushed on and reached the peak of the Verrazano’s. I dismounted my bike to take pictures, from this peak I could see Russia but that’s me. From hear on it was down hill to the destination. Mind you there are few more flyovers and by definition there will be ups and downs. While I was taking pictures and recording, I saw a commotion next to me. There was a man lying on the road and someone else pumping his chest. The man lay still and people took turns resuscitating him, I stood afar from the crowd knowing that I had nothing to contribute while the pro riders were at work. Most of the bikers had stopped at distance and prayed for his recovery. Suddenly cheers erupted from the crowd yelled spread out and give him some air. That is when I thanked god and mounted my bike to ride, as soon as I peddled two steps, I heard the OHHH in the background, turned and looked to see that the man was back to square one, others thumping his chest again. Crowd was building up so I took off, paramedics and FDNY vehicles drove head on to us to pick up the man in distress. The man had made the peak, if only he had taken a little breather in between.
The finish line As for me cool breeze was slapping my face while I zipped by the down hill, by crossing the bridge I had landed in the fifth and final Borough Staten Island, somewhere it was posted 35 mile mark, I gave sigh of relief, but then the flyover came, now you have to pump again, I had to make a decision which cheek do I like more and whom do I punish. I repeat invest in the seat comfort, don’t make the mistake I did. Down the flyover and huge right bend, not having to pedal and then I see someone standing on the mega phone shouting, “Congratulations you have done it“, I was like, did I?, 40 is done, it’s over, should I drop the bike and kiss the floor? The next megaphone lady shouted dismount your bikes and walk it to the Bike Festival arena. And just like that my Five Borough Bike Tour had come to an end.
After freshening up and some water headed to beer stall to get some beer with my train buddies, who had finally arrived looks like they decided to hang out more during the tour unlike me just riding it down. The choice was IPA or Fat Tire, fittingly I chose Fat Tire having ridden lean tire for a while now.
The Ferry My friends chose to hang out there so I headed to the Staten Island Ferry that would take me to Downtown. Walk the bend led to the ferry, upon arrival the line was not huge, assumed everybody was still hanging out and having fun. The lady ahead of me was puzzled “Do we have to pay for this ferry?“, she was expecting it to be part of the whole tour package to land us back to the place we started from. I mumbled “Welcome to American capitalism madam!“, Immediately the lady attending the ferry pointed further saying that “You can board that ferry, that is free ride arranged by Bike Tour“. That led us to another ferry where more than 200 cyclists waited for the next ride. Thought this is going to be a long wait, to my amazement the next ferry hosted all the 200 and more, I had got the front seat(standing) overlooking the view to World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge in a single frame. It was a cloudy day, hence the gray pastel, great for biking but not for landscape pictures. You can’t have the cake and eat it too. Hoped off the ferry, it is amazing to watch how quickly they dock it, no wonder it is a everyday busy commuter ferry for SI residents, I had heard about this ferry as NJ residents could drive up to SI and park there cars to ride this ferry to reach Downtown for everyday work. NJ Transit trains who bag awards year after year are the worst transit system to NYC.
West Side Hwy Now starts my personal bike ride to reach NY Penn Station. Had known from past that there was a bike path along the Westside Hwy, which I used to cross over to the park during lunch from CITI overlooking Hudson river. Bikers gave a hard ring while we crossed their path. It was an amazing ride fully divided with two way bike path, following the bike rules, the rookie NYC riders who had come for bike tour rode on the other side of the path and got yelled by the opposite side, “Stay in your lane“. Through and through the bike lane is established along the length of Manhattan, I had to get off at 34th street while I looked at my old work building. Had no mood to ride on 34th street since it was another up hill and buses shared the bike lane for offloading passengers, hence walked the bike for most of the path until I reached Penn Station. My next train to Trenton was scheduled for 3.52pm which was more than 45 mins wait, trains run every hour on a weekend schedule. Was hoping and praying that the track assigned to our train would be 10 or higher number which usually have escalators, which is what we usually get on weekday schedules. To my hard luck finally 10 mins before departure they posted track 1, you need to walk down the steps with bike, uggh! This was going to be an hour commute to Princeton Jn, now I had to carry the bike thru underpass one last time and ride it home. I said my self “last mile” while I took a bend to my home.
Thanks Last but not least thanks to mother nature our Bike Tour was peacefully sandwiched between Henri and Ida, and special thanks to you for making it to the end, I feel your pain 🙂
It is very common in European countries that all the major cities have adopted to pollution free commuting, like riding bicycles around the city.
It appears that America has responded a little late, but none the less they have responded. What happened VP Kamala Harris, none of your Patti‘s live in India?
The U.S. is working closely with the Indian government to rapidly deploy additional support and supplies during an alarming COVID-19 outbreak. As we provide assistance, we pray for the people of India—including its courageous healthcare workers.
This is a TV Series about an Indian American teenage girl, Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) wanting to blend in the American culture, while her Immigrated mother pins her rooted to Indian values. It’s a hilarious series from the get go. Devi the protagonist falsely quotes at a Ganesha Puja celebrations that, “I love to say I am Indian”, John McEnroe laments, I am more Indian that you, girl. Well yes, John is narrating the whole story and quite funny at it, comparing her life with his personal tennis events.
The lines written are beautiful, acting by all characters are spot on. In end I like to say Mindy Kaling is a great writer, The Office fame, has created a goldmine.
“In order to get sick, you have to come in contact with a sick person, in order to get scared you just have to get in contact with a rumor.” Laurence Fishburne.
WhatsApp is a wonderful place to look for rumors, so I did, there is a video viral of Contagion’s trailer playing with uncanny references to the current Covid-19 predicted in 2011. As I dig deep into the movie, it is any other Sci-Fi thriller based of the previous virus outbreaks which almost all have been from China. Frankly speaking I have not seen the movie Contagion – duh! then what are you critiquing about!!!
Well as I googled to watch this movie online (you know I am working from home), although I have Netflix and Amazon Prime, I need to rent it to watch. So I googled Youtube, I did not find the movie but watched a review written by a Real Doctor, not Whatsapp doctors, but a certified one, Medlife Crisis.
Apparently he was compelled to review this movie in the wake of Corona Virus comparison. Boy do I love his review. He explains about the movie in such detail medical terms and finally gives a thumbs up to the attention to detail. More cool about his review, he sips a Corona Extra(vaccine) and runs for an extra boost once it’s over, doc has some funny bone.
Welcome to The Indian Doctor a TV series, set in the 1960’s, an Indian doctor is invited to a small town in England to practice as the towns existing doctor has suddenly passed away. The screen opens with the doctor Mr. Sharma(Sanjeev Bhasker) although the local British would like to call him Mr. Charmer, along with his aristocratic wife Kaamini(Ayesha Dharkar) if only Brits could pronounce her name correctly. She is either called Camini or CarMini. Let me tell you Kaamini is a beauty with brains in the entire village and she brings an attitude with it. Although she starts like villain, there is no sweeter lady than her in the end. Kaamini’s mother who visits the town puts down all the Brits as stupid lot, she is ashamed to speak to any of them for there stupidity. You will see the true heart of a doctor to serve his patients even though they doubt his ability as a doctor from India. Mr. Sharma leaves no stone unturned before he exposes the top cat of the coal mine, Mr. Sharpes, who has risked the employees health for windfall profits. He acts a little like a Monk the detective to expose his wrong doings; this brings an end to season one.
Season two starts with a Small pox outbreak, although Mr and Mrs Sharma had planned to pack their bags and leave to India(Kaamini finds this village too backward for her tastes), they stay back to help the town with the crisis. This is where you see the gentle and educated heart of Kaamini, who works with her husband to contain the outbreak, eventually conquering the disease with only one death, which is attributed to one adamant Pastor who is determined to cure with the help of Lord as opposed to science(medicine).
There is a chance that you might not like the episodes and find it boring due to the slow pace and village settings, the Welsh and other English accents can throw you off. Have you ever watched a movie with your parents and in-laws together and suddenly a sex scene arrives and you can’t find the remote; all are adults but everybody is admiring the drapes and sheets in the bedroom. Same here just enjoy the beauty of the landscape of this beautiful village, I promise it’s stunning!
The title of the movie is supposed to bring a very pleasant feeling but that’s not what goes on in the movie. Nakul(Ayushmann Khurrana) our lead lives in a joint family with his parents, younger brother and his loud mouth grandmother. It’s still a very happy family although he is very embarrassed to introduce his upscale girlfriend Renee(Sanya Malhotra) to them.
The movie is picturised in a middle class family living on row houses, every time we watch such movies it’s reminiscent of the fact the we are loosing this culturally knit locality to fast growing metros.
So Nakul is enjoying his life, hanging out with his new found love everyday, his brother going to school who gets a pocket money from his brother; it’s a greatest feeling. Grandma is happy controlling the family where both son and bhau(Neena Gupta) are obedient all the time. It’s a very happy family.
Then the pain starts, mother kinda falls sick. See this is a story based of a middle class family, there has to be some pain. So the whole family is attending to her now. Anyways before I go into describing her sickness, I really want to quote this classic dialogue which summarizes the whole movie. Nakul and his brother are sulking on the terrace with their mother’s “illness“, he goes,
“You really had to cry and beg to have your own room, hah!“, smacks on his back of the head. Corollary to that line ‘Can’t you just continue sleeping with parents!‘. Yes, his brother is in high school and children do sleep with their parents as long as they want,
a. for the lack of space
b. unlike American culture it is not looked down upon for children to hang out with parents. Instead it builds a lasting bond of caring, this story is testimony for that
c. the most important reason is that in India it acts a parent birth control.
Alright to the climax of their mother’s illness, she was feeling giddy and throwing up, the common problem at this age – gastric trouble. With the expert doctors visit, the unthinkable gets confirmed, she is pregnant!
The family falls apart, Nakul storms out the door saying, “What were you thinking“, younger brother never looks into his parents eyes. Grandma scolds them saying, “It is time to see your son get married and have children, and here you are having your own time“. These grandma’s have a heart of gold mine, but spits fire from their mouth. Well the only person who said Congratulations was the doctor.
Then the smirky congratulations keep coming from neighbors and distant relatives.
Nakul who was already feeling low with his status as stacked up against his aristocratic girlfriend, this makes him go even lower. In the heated argument, breakup happens. He is ashamed to meet his friends, skips going to cousins wedding. His brother comes home with a bruised face; he had gotten into a fight with his classmate who had teased their mother. Then it takes a turn, first Nakul goes to school with his brother and fixes that classmate, comes back home and comforts his mother that he would be there for the smooth delivery supporting the family.
Well it’s a two hour movie going melodramatic and addressing the family values in the society. Finally on the delivery day his girlfriend comes to join his hand in celebrating a beautiful new angel baby girl to life.
In this day and age where socially appropriated heterosexual sex has become a novelty, while the millennials are busy using all kinds of social media, texting and sexting, somebody has to keep the age old tradition alive.
The movie opens with a rant about racism, denigrating the existence of blacks as equals in the society among whites. It is none other than Donald J Trump! err sorry, I meant his SNL alter ego Alec Baldwin. This sets the mood of the film, so if you are a Trump-ster, you have wasted your money. But you sit and enjoy the intelligent comedy played by the characters. Then enters our protagonist, Ron Stallworth(John David Washington) prepping his nostalgic Afro hairdo, he becomes the first black police officer to join the force of Colorado Springs. Based of the true story, Spike Lee weaves the story from the past to present racism in America. Ron starts of his duty in records room, who gets bored very soon, requests his chief to assign him a detective work. Due to his persistence Chief assigns him to infiltrate a Black Panther Activist movement headed by Kwame Ture. Ron accepts it as to socialize with his own community, which in turn finds his love interest; the head of the student union Patrice Dumes(Laura Harrier).
While he is rationalizing with his own kind that police are not pigs, who have tortured the blacks at every juncture concealing his identity. He stumbles upon an advertisement in local newspaper seeking members for a new chapter of KKK in Colorado Springs. He picks the phone and dials the number, the man on the other side asks why would he want to join? Ron goes, “I am WHITE man and hate all those N-word who are sleeping with our white girls and raping them”. I dare not spell that n word, Omarosa might be taping. He pronounces the word WHITE with southern accent, VOIIGHT as it can be. The jaws drop in the office as the rant continues from Ron over the phone, hating blacks. Spike Lee shows that how the rest of the white crew in the office are supportive of Ron except to one bad apple. There is always one that spoils the entire basket. Needless to say the KKK clansman is impressed by Rons views and gets accepted and intends to meet face to face.
Ron’s partner, Filip Zimmerman(Adam Driver) reluctantly agrees to be the face of Ron Stallworth, with Ron as voice, Filip as face the duo infiltrate the KKK, they learn the plans to bomb the Black Panther to eliminate the uprising and end up meeting the master himself, David Duke!
Lee has juxtaposed the KKK and Black panther meeting both being intense in their own right although I would say that the presence of Henry Belafonte is real moving. Lee brings in a full circle and gets that one bad apple on the tape and has him removed from the police force, thus saving the basket from contamination.
In the end Spike Lee ends the movie as a documentary highlighting the events of Charlottesville and President Trump delivering the speech ‘There were fine people on both sides‘ at the cost of an innocent life Heather Heyer.
It’s worth mentioning here that throughout the movie audience is laughing at the jokes played by Ron and his colleagues over the phone with KKK, but when the commentary from Henry Belafonte is delivered there is a pin drop silence and tears roll down as Heather Heyer is commemorated.
Russian daredevil Kirill Oreshkin taking a selfie atop a hi rise building
I have conveniently dropped the Nanda at the end to make it more appealing. Yes it is Sr Bachchan’s daughter writing about Selfie. Not surprisingly very eloquent article; she hails from writers family, her father and grand father. Found it very interesting to note that she is totally against the selfies while she is surrounded by huge personalities.
Selfie was immortalized by Ellen DeGeneres of course promoting the phone she held at Oscars. The picture itself was beautiful with all the Hollywood stars posing triumphantly for the shot, then it went viral on Twitter.
I am not so much against the selfies, but I tend to agree with Shweta on the self indulgence of we humans. Although selfie can be used as medium to capture everybody in the group, but like she says, why do it, if there several other tourists around you who would be glad to help you out. Builds human interaction and social acquaintance.
She also vents about the children taking selfies with duck face. Sure she being a mother herself would be annoyed by that, but it is still cute as long they are limited to children. Unfortunately lots of adults have never grown out of their childhood and progress into belfies.
Selfies has taken a sinister turn, which she is not addressing, the deaths related to Selfies is overwhelming. The picture posted above is that of a Russian daredevil Kirill Oreshkin has earned a name as Russian Spiderman for his selfies atop a hi-rise buildings. Call it daredevil or dumb move, one mis-step could cause his death. Other daredevils have not been so lucky who have succumbed to death, pricenomics lists such deaths in this article.
Mumbai police has posted a sign for Selfie daredevils,
Don’t make ‘taking a selfie‘ mean ‘taking your own life‘.
scores of people are dead taking a selfie near Marine Drive or Bandra seaface. Statistics have shown that India had almost 60 percent of deaths of all selfies.
Finally Shweta ends her blog with a satirical note, where she contacted her doctor for sunburns over the phone, to which her doctor responded, “Send a Selfie”, you can read her entire article here.
All his life he showed us the finest dining places across the world and some remotest of places and proved that it is not necessary to be wealthy to enjoy life and have fun. He did visit the Malaysian remote island (could be wrong), for the second time; this time being more popular TV host and explaining them that he had then loved their culture, where people cooked and drank all night till they dropped dead; metaphorically, a simple living and sharing the food amongst the entire village. More so than food, he showed the beauty of connecting with people across the world at a personal level.
With his exhaustive traveling and carefree living, he once said “With so many tattoos, one more I can take”, he took every challenge that was thrown at him, though scared at times, he was real on camera as he was in his real life.
He made his life an envy of all, dining in the most exotic places, maneuvering yachts, blending with various culture around the world and families alike or was it an illusion, we will never know.
Tony’s death came days after another celebrity ended her life tragically; Kate Spade, what drove these greats to this extreme, world would never know. Every budding chef, journalists many other common person in different professions idealized his life, wanted to be Tony, except himself.
Lastly I would leave with a thought that his high point in life (sorry for speaking on his behalf) would be, he introducing the President Barack Obama a good cheap eat in Hanoi, Vietnam over a bottle of beer!, but Barack being another great he has tweeted his best moment with Tony already.
I would like to quote Neil Degrasse Tyson, “Life is precious, here were are investing in search for life on Mars, wherever we find it, we need to cherish and nurture it”.
The man who lived so much, the idea of he not being there anymore is surreal.