WORLD INTHAVAARAM, 2022–18
About: the world this week, 1 May to 7 May 2022, heat of the weather and the dust of war, Glamour girls, unwanted babies, and WHO statistics on who died.
Heat & Dust
This week rolled by with temperatures flaring up across India with a blistering heat wave frying people in the country. In a way, to escape the heat, India’s Prime Minister made his first overseas visit of the year, starting with Germany, then Denmark and finally France. He drummed up support for India to wild cheers by the Indian diaspora, bear-hugged leaders, made sweet-soft, one-to-one conversations, dined with royalty on fine cutlery, and went on an Agreement signing spree to do better business and improve India’s beat in the World. The Indian head is high in the clouds, for sure!
Meanwhile, India’s favourite, entertainment-filled Congress Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi slipped in to nearby Nepal to attend a Friend’s Wedding and shake a leg. He was seen in a Pub with a Nepali woman- a friend of the bride- looking in his typical empty wild-eyed manner at the ceiling and wondering where the disco lights came from. Initially, there was some speculation that the woman was a Chinese diplomat, maybe an Ambassador.Is there something he can do right, after all? Pappu can dance!
The Russia-Ukraine War now concentrated on the Eastern part of the Ukraine is tanking on and this week Russia could not get its iron hands fully on the throats of Ukrainians, resisting-refusing to rust-from inside the Azovstal Steel and Iron Works. Russia had asked them to surrender, but the steely resolve is still under production.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of Hitler the Dictator, as having some jewish blood in him. And attracted quick-fire condemnation from Israel (they are always on an unmatched alertness), and later in the week an apology — yes an expression of regret-from the Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. He apologized for comments that his Foreign Minister made about Hitler and Jews, in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Israel, in turn promptly accepted the apology and thanked the President for clarifying Russia’s stance towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust.
Glamour at its Weirdest Best
I spoke about what the Met Gala is about, last year in September, https://kumargovindan.wordpress.com/2021/09/18/world-inthavaaram-2021-38/
This year the notoriously exclusive Met Gala red carpet happened on Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.
This year’s theme was ‘Glided Glamour and White Tie’ centering around the lavish era of American fashion in the last decades of the 19th century when industrialisation rapidly amplified the country’s wealth gap. During this age you were what your wore and it was a period when branding dished out from fashion houses was a novel concept.
The glamorous Reality TV star Kim Kardashian appeared in a sparkling skin-tight, body shaping gown -adorned with over 6000 hand sewn crystals-once worn by Marlyn Monroe when she famously sang, ‘Happy Birthday to President John F Kennedy, in 1962’. The iconic dress was loaned to Kardashian by ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’, a museum and events franchise that purchased the gown in an auction in 2016. And believe it or not, Kardashian had to lose about 7 kg to get her hour glass-curves et all- into the dress. Alterations were not allowed and it was almost impossible to walk with such as tight-fitting dress, but she was kept about upright by her holding partner. And of course Kim Kardashian later changed in to a replica of the original dress, for an easier cat walk…breathe easy!
Another sensation was Winter Olympian Eileen Gu, Skier and Model, who attended wearing a figure hugging Louis Vuitton mini-dress. Born and raised in California, 18 years old Gu switched her sporting allegiance to her mother’s home country China ahead of this year’s Beijing Winter Olympics. She became the youngest Olympic champion in freestyle skiing after winning gold in ‘big air’ and ‘halfpipe’, and a sliver medal in ‘slope style’ events.
American model Kaia Gerber -the daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford- appeared in a gilded and gorgeous vintage Alexander McQueen outfit. Kaia’s gown featured cutouts on her torso, a slight sheer skirt, and silvers jewels dripping from top to bottom. That had the men’s saliva dripping all over the red carpet!
Rapper Cardi B came in a Versace dress — chain embellished, which was made from a mile of golden chains. American Actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens wore an elegant black sheer Moschino gown and looked like she would take a butterfly flight any moment. Ex-US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton turned up with all her wrinkles on display, in a custom Jospeh Altuzarra design featuring the embroidered names of 60 women who inspire her.
What about India?
The Executive Director of the Serum Institute of India (SII), entrepreneur-philanthropist, Natasha Poonawalla 40, wife of Head of SII, Adar Poonawalla, was the sole Indian presence at the Gala. She made a stunning appearance, wearing a gold handcrafted printed tulle sari and trail by celebrity Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The trail was embroidered with silk floss thread and embellished with bevel beads, semi-precious stones, crystals, sequins and applique printed velvet.
The World’s richest man Elon Musk, who continues to hog the news, arrived in Tom Ford with his mother, the model Maye Musk who was wearing Doir.
Stars Blake Lively and her husband Ryan Reynolds, who are two of this year’s co-chairs, totally ruled the red carpet. Blake Lively turned heads in a metallic, colourful Versace gown that truly embodied the ‘Gilded Glamour’ theme.
The gala was a riot of imagination running footloose and beauty spiked and flowed in many dimensions.
To Keep or Not to Keep
The United States of America is struggling to keep some parts of its freedom, especially on women’s rights. India for one, is far ahead — for more you can read my post,
Decades ago, in 1973, in a path breaking landmark decision, in what is called the Roe vs Wade case, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that women have a constitutional right to an abortion — a pregnant woman can choose to have an abortion without excessive government intervention: in the 1 to 12 weeks (1st trimester) the Govt cannot prohibit abortions; in 13 to 26 weeks (2nd trimester) the Govt might impose health regulations; and after 27 weeks the Govt can step-in and entirely prohibit an abortion.
But, in an unprecedented leak of a draft ruling, the SCOTUS appears to be veering around to overturning the Roe vs Wade decision and also another, called the Planned Parenthood vs Casey: the 1992 decision that affirmed the right to an abortion and protected women from dealing with undue burdens trying to get them.
The final ruling in expected in June or July this year, and could it be that this rare leak is a test, to study the reaction?
Wonder what’s being impregnated in the US?
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the the pandemic wiped off nearly 15 million people worldwide. The total deaths officially reported across the World is 5.4 million and WHO believes that the extra 9.5 million deaths were direct deaths caused by the virus rather than indirect deaths. The WHO says many countries, including India, undercounted the numbers who died from Covid.
India countered that the WHO’s calculating methodology and modelling was horribly wrong for India. WHO’s estimate of 47.4 Lakh Covid related deaths in India in 2020 and 2021 is not in keeping with overall death data, historical trends in death reporting, and Covid death compensation (an incentive to report) from States. On an average about 83.5 Lakh people died every year in the last decade and a half (without the pandemic). And India’s death toll for a year has never been below 80 Lakh since 2007. WHO’s calculations put the non-covid deaths at 73 Lakh!
The measure used by the WHO is called excess deaths — how many more people died than would normally be expected based on mortality in the same area before the pandemic hit. These calculations also take into account deaths which were not directly because of Covid but instead caused by its knock-on effects, like people being unable to access hospitals. It also accounts for poor record-keeping in some regions, and sparse testing at the start of the crisis.
A Statistician from Seattle’s University of Washington says, “We urgently need better data collection systems. It is a disgrace that people can be born, and die — and we have no record of their passing”.
I wish the United Nations can measure up and show the same WHO calculated intensity in bringing around Russia to stop this horrific war in Ukraine. How about it counting itself in, networking with World Leaders and modelling a ‘satyagraha’ to stop the war?
More gilded, glamorous stories will cat-walk in the weeks to come. Dress-up with World Inthavaaram. And keep the count.