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The COVID-19 Vaccine Countdown!

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  Experts say that while the novel Coronavirus that hit planet earth in December 2019 created an unprecedented crisis for humankind the response to it by researchers, medical scientists and pharmaceutical companies in trying to discover a vaccine is also unprecedented. Under normal circumstances the process of discovering, testing and producing a vaccine takes from 5 years to 10 years thanks to the high failure rate associated with it. Therefore, the probability of having an effective COVID-19 vaccine within a year of the pandemic invasion is incredible news that speaks volumes about the non-stop efforts, dedication, round-the-clock supervision, utilization of special funds and global coordination put into it. As per the World Health Organization, at present there are nearly 200 vaccine candidates out of which 44 are in various stages of human clinical trials, and a few are about to be approved by the regulators. This would indeed be another crowing glory of the human quest should a sa

A Peoples’ Leader Dies: Tarun Gogoi No More!

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  He has been much more than just a political leader; he has been an excellent human being with an ever-smiling face, friendly and spontaneous manners, a typical pure Assamese flavor in his warm communications, his deep roots in Assamese culture, his interest in fine arts and love for all forms of music, and an endearing lovable personality. Even in his ripe old age he used to mix with his admirers/supporters like one of them, talking to them in a warm personal tone, singing and dancing with them. Throughout his eventful political career, he maintained his clean image, at times against tremendous odds. People of Assam respected him as much as they loved him. We used to refer to him as Tarunda (like an elder brother) in our Assamese friends’ circles, and we were all fond and proud of him: as a leader who could articulate the state’s problems to the central leaders and in Parliament, and as a central Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Food under former Prime Minister PV Narsimha

India Vs Australia: Cricket New Normal, COVID Stress, Pink Ball And Expectations!

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  Photo: rediff.com India started their tour of Australia in 2018-19 too from November 2018 to January 2019, and created history by becoming first Asian cricket team to beat Australia in a Test Series in Australia. They also became only the second team of the world to beat Australia in Australia in both the formats of ODI and Test. The first test of that series too started in Adelaide in December and in that cracker of a match India won by 31 runs, one of their slenderest of victory margins. Australia won the second test in Perth by 146 runs, and India sealed the series 2-1 by winning the third test in Melbourne by 137 runs with the last match ending in a draw in Sydney. Then they went on to win the ODI Series 2-1 too. Under Australia’s split captaincy regime for different formats Aussie wicket keeper Tim Paine was the captain in the Test series and Aaron Finch captained the Aussies in the ODI and T201 formats, and they met Virat Kohli as the all-format Indian skipper. The rivalry rema

A Few Concerns As India Cross 9 Million COVID-19 Cases!

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India has crossed the 9 million COVID-19 cases mark today, taking 22 days for the last million increase as against 19 days for the previous millon cases. The recovery rate has almost reached 94% with active cases falling below 4,50,000. A few days back daily new cases fell below the 30,000 mark that was consistent only for two days, and new additions had again picked up. In the last twenty four hours total number of new cases was at 45, 882. Total deaths that started falling below 500 also picked up, and for the last twenty four hours 584 Coronavirus patients had died which is a bit worrying despite the fatality rate consistently at around 1.5%.  The increased numbers of daily new cases and daily deaths are largely due to record spikes in Delhi and high-volume numbers in Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Haryana. In states like Gujarat, Manipur and a few others the renewed spikes have raised a concern. In

Pandemic Response: Taking Precaution Is Not Out Of Fear Or Negativity!

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  Apart from the still fluctuating or increasing number of people testing COVID-19 positive across the Indian states, primarily Delhi and a few others, there has also been a growth of a sense of ‘false positivity’ in the response of the people to the pandemic. We had seen in an earlier piece about that surge of defiance in citizens to celebrate Diwali the usual normal way. This ‘surge of defiance’ is somewhat related to what we have said about that sense of false positivity. After more than eight months of paying subservience to the sticky virus people now seem to say and act accordingly, ‘No, enough is enough! No more slavery to the goddamned virus! We’ll do now whatever we feel like. We are least likely to be infected as we are positive about it, and if we do get infected, let it be!’   If fellow citizens around them insist on observing the norms like at least wearing masks they rule it out scornfully, ‘Don’t be scared, guys! Be positive, nothing will happen to you!’ If an elder

The Kitchen!

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  The kitchen, arguably the most appetizing word for humankind since times immemorial, is the place where we repose our absolute trust and hunger-related needs for the daily supply of our dishes, the more delicious the dishes the more the anticipation and satisfaction of the trust. Home is where the kitchen is, that is to say, we invariably mean here the kitchen every home has. Right from the steaming bed-tea cup in the morning to the last bites of the supper we lovingly follow the kitchen activities, every day. The aromas or the fragrances of cooking, irrespective of whether these come from our own kitchen and the kitchens of neighbors, never fail to energize us in the run-ups to the final acts of eating or devouring or gulping. When guests are around more delicacies get cooked and…well, those are the heavenly moments most of us must have experienced or still relish in life.   Taking the risk of being labelled as male chauvinists or misogynists we must say here that somehow the la

Bihar Maha Bitterness: Why Board And Then Blame The Sinking Ship!

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  After riding on a palpable anti-incumbency wave and the predictions of clear victory by all of the exit polls the ultimate narrow defeat of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in the Bihar Assembly Elections-2020 is bound to cause huge disappointment and bitterness. Unable to accept defeat the leaders of the RJD first started attacking the Election Commission on a variety of alleged anomalies in counting, and then picked out the main alliance partner, the Indian National Congress (INC), for letting them down. A prominent RJD leader attacked Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi for their alleged callousness towards the election. The leader further alleged that they did not come for the election campaigns attending a very few rallies, but were only interested in having picnics. He also questioned the internal management of the INC and its lack of introspection.   Having said that, we must examine the underlying factors. The RJD under the leade