By Rajeev Sharma*
Daru aur cigarette
A 100-rupee packet of cigarettes going for Rs. 500, and a whiskey bottle worth Rs. 400 sold for as much as Rs. 2,500 in the `black market’- this is how things are in many locked down cities of India. As a meme trending on social media tells you: A number of scientists all over the world are searching for the vaccine; but in India, more people are searching for whiskey!
Some states like Karnataka, Assam, and Delhi have started the process of opening `wine and beer’ shops, but often with disastrous results. Uncontrolled crowds at the shops, a clear-cut violation of social distancing, has led many other states to look for better strategies. Such as home delivery of liquor. But the effective delivery system, I am afraid, will take some time to materialize. Till then, let me raise my piping hot cup of tea and say cheers to all my readers in Australia and elsewhere!
Miracle medicine claim for coronavirus?
While the global race among scientists is on to find a vaccine for the killer Coronavirus, we all seem to have overlooked one place which is claiming something in this direction. Camphor 1M is the name of the medicine, a tried and trusted homeopathic remedy for precisely such a nasty customer. And no less than the head of India’s top industrial house, Bajaj Auto, has been pitching for it.
Rajiv Bajaj, the MD of Bajaj Auto, swears by the efficacy of Camphor 1M. Interestingly, Rajiv has been at the forefront of pushing for homeopathy and holistic living. Prana, the organization started by Bajaj Auto a few years ago, does exactly this. Combining the principles of homeopathy and yoga has been the `mantra’ of Prana. Set up in 2013, Prana was inaugurated by Rajiv Bajaj and Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan.
In several media interviews recently, Rajiv has vouched for the effectiveness of Camphore 1M. He claims when swine flu hit India a few years ago, this homeopathic medicine was given to around 50,000 people in Pune, and not one of them contracted the disease.
Rajiv Bajaj’s belief is Camphor 1M wields similar power against Coronavirus. According to some reports, this homeopathic wonder drug is fast disappearing from medicine shops, owing to a large number of people lapping it up. Umesh Segal of the century-old Segal’s Pharmacy (Chandni Chowk) of homeopathy and is among the pioneers of this sector said, there is a sudden increase in the demand of this medicine.
Irfan Khan, the magician, and ‘Bobby’ boy Rishi Kapoor
In a span of 36 hours, the Mumbai based Hindi film industry lost two of its leading lights: Irfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor. The two were poles apart in their acting styles but had found a place in the hearts of millions of filmgoers. Since so much has already been written about them following their recent demise, I would limit my take to a few points- being an avid film buff myself! – which I personally felt about them.
First, Irfan Khan. An out of out Jaipur boy, it was, however, Delhi which provided him the first foundation stone, the spring-board which propelled him to the “creamy layer’’ of Bollywood and Hollywood. And Irfan never forgot the contribution of Delhi for honing his career. As a student of the National School of Drama (NSD) at Mandi House, Irfan-one can safely assume – would be spending time at the same place (around the Doordarshan head-office) where the likes of Om Puri and Shah Rukh Khan learned their craft.
It was at the NSD that Irfan met two people who turned out to be vital for his career: the first was his friend Tigmanshu Dhulia, who in the course of time turned film-maker and gave Irfan some of the most memorable roles in Haasil and Paan Singh Tomar, among others. And, the second was Sutupa Sikdar, whom he married.
Rishi Kapoor, on the other hand, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. The struggle was a word that never crossed his path. But somehow, I feel, he could have developed into a far greater actor. That spark of a shouldering talent could be seen clearly in the second innings of his career when, as an actor, he took on a wide variety of roles. Who can forget Rishi’s portrayal of cold-blooded criminal Rauf Lala in Agneepath? But unfortunately, such roles came to him in September of his life. His first, and arguably the most-remembered 1973 film `Bobby’, also gave him a school-boyish image that he could not successfully shrug off for close to two decades.
* Rajeev Sharma is a senior journalist based in New Delhi, India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org