It’s a pleasant surprise: Shreya Ghoshal as Angana Morey hits No.2 on Billboard Triller Global Chart - The Daily Guardian
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It’s a pleasant surprise: Shreya Ghoshal as Angana Morey hits No.2 on Billboard Triller Global Chart

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Shreya Ghoshal
Shreya Ghoshal

Popular singer Shreya Ghoshal recently got candid with NewsX in an exclusive interview as a part of its special series NewsX India A-List, wherein she spoke about her latest song release Angana Morey, her musical journey and more. Angana Morey is garnering a phenomenal response in India and around the world.

Not only the song is being loved by the listeners but is also smashing records of popular singers like Selena Gomez and has made it to number 2 on Billboard’s Top Triller Global chart. Angana Morey is even more special to Shreya as it is in collaboration with her brother Soumyadeep Ghoshal. 

Expressing her gratitude to all the love and appreciation coming her way for Angana Morey, Shreya said, “While making this song, we did not have any such expectations. I think it’s a pleasant surprise, it’s a great feeling! Not just me, especially the fans are rejoicing. Somewhere they always hoped that Shreya or as they call me Shreya Di, will make it to the Billboard one day. So it’s a sweet gesture and I feel very happy, I hope it’s the start.”

Sharing insights from the making of Angana Morey, Shreya further added, “Angana Morey was born in the lockdown, so it was a very interesting experience. Soumyadeep is a fabulous musician. This was our 2nd project together. Over the phone and on video calls, we only talk about music and the possibilities of doing so many different things. So, he pushed me into it and said that don’t worry about what the trends are or what are people doing off late, whatever you want to do, you should do and stop thinking about it. That is how Angana Morey was born. This is a very different kind of a song from my kitty anyway and that’s why I went Indie and when you are doing independent music, you have no pressures of following any rules. So, I broke all of them and did a slightly classical-based number with a very modern, electronic and transient, groovy kind of a song.” 

Talking about her first song and how that proved to be a ‘game-changer’ for her, Shreya said, “The first song that I did, would always be the most momentous experience and time of my life. Devdas- Bairi Piya, it changed my life. I was about 16-years-old. Being called for a song like that by Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a film of that stature, was definitely unexpected. It was amazing, and from there onwards, there has been no looking back. There have been many more such songs, milestones, concerts, world tours and experiences, which of course have added so many different layers to my life and how my journey has moved from here to there. But, it’s too hard to count them now, it’s lovely! I am very blessed but I will always look back at my first song, my first film as the most sentimental and the most emotional and important milestone of my life.”

The interview ended on a musical note with Shreya singing one of her songs, Ghar More Pardesiya from the film Kalank.

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Million Dollar Vegan has distributed 1 million meals since start of pandemic

The international non-profit thinks that access to sufficient, nourishing, and pleasant foods is a basic human right.

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The international non-profit organisation Million Dollar Vegan will meet its goal of distributing one million plant-based meals to communities all around the world this month.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the group has collaborated with volunteers, small vegan businesses, and neighbourhood charities to distribute plant-based snacks to Covid 19-affected communities. It promised in March 2020 to distribute one million meals, together with hygiene supplies, seeds, and equipment, as well as knowledge about how to prepare inexpensive, nourishing plant-based meals, where they were most needed.

“We could see many communities struggling with the loss of income and access to basic healthcare. Some people felt isolated and lonely. Others were desperately worried about their livelihoods and futures. It seemed more important than ever that we connect with people, learn from them, provide support where we could, and showcase veganism as compassion in action.”, says Darshana Muzumdar of Million Dollar Vegan India.

Million Dollar Vegan supports people from all walks of life, from those who have been displaced to youngsters to those who are fighting for labour rights, by providing delicious plant-based meals. Million Dollar Vegan thinks that access to sufficient, nourishing, and pleasant foods is a basic human right. The organisation also works to spread awareness of the advantages of veganism and how it contributes to a more compassionate, secure, and healthy society for all.

The number of animals farmed in factory farms is in the billions, and a growing number of reputable environmental scientists and research organisations are advising people to eat plant-based diets to prevent the planet’s climate from breaking down, according to Million Dollar Vegan.

Continues Darshana: “One thing is certain: our own health is connected to that of the planet and animals, and when we harm one, we do harm to all. Pandemics emerge when we destroy the natural world; antibiotic resistance is driven by the overuse of antibiotics in factory farms; rearing animals for their meat, milk, and eggs generate vast amounts of greenhouse gasses; while the consumption of animal products is connected to some of the world’s biggest killers, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Eating plant-based addresses all these issues and more, and helps us create the future we all want.”

Despite exceeding its initial goal of one million meals, the organisation, which has campaign staff in ten countries, emphasises that this is not the end of its work in food solidarity. It intends to keep preparing and distributing plant-based meals where they are most needed as well as educating, motivating, and encouraging individuals to make healthful eating decisions.

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AI-BASED SYSTEM AT DISPLAY IN INTERNATIONAL POLICE EXPO

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On Wednesday at Pragati Maidan here, more than 18 nations took part in the International Police Expo-2022, displaying their cutting-edge weapons and AI-based safety systems for the protection of society.

Senior police officers from Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, and other states stopped by the booths to learn about the most recent tools available to deal with any law-and-order scenario. An AI-based facial recognition system that can recognise suspects with masks on their faces and goggles on their eyes has been demonstrated to visitors. The software-based method just needs 40% of the face, from any angle, to recognise the person from the server-stored list.

The International Police Expo 2022, organised by Nexgen Exhibitions, will close on Thursday. More than 350 top-tier firms from nations including the UK, US, Israel, Germany, France, Dubai, UAE, Singapore, Australia, Russia, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and Sweden are currently exhibiting there.

Highlighting the key attractions, Mukesh Kharia, Organiser, International Police Expo said, “With this gala inaugural of our two-day International police expo, we are confident that senior police and law enforcement officials, security agencies, government representatives and professionals will successfully connect and interact with global and domestic manufacturers, suppliers and innovators so as to shape up a bright future for policing and homeland security in India.”

Companies from different nations are showcasing their most recent ideas and solutions for mob and riot controlling as mob violence becomes a big concern for policing in India. “With significant advances in technology and AI, Facial Recognition today has become increasingly valuable for authorities and agencies to rapidly extract biometric imprints of perpetrators in mob or riot situations. Corsight’s technology enables authorities/agencies to quickly run investigations in order to resolve dangerous situations and identify those involved. This can be done in large crowds, with poor lighting, obscure camera angles and even with individuals wearing sunglasses or masks.”, says Prashant Kaul, Regional Sales Director, Corsight.ai.

India’s leading companies and government organisations such as PLR Systems – Adani Group, (Advanced Weapons), Cellebrite, (Internationally acclaimed company for mobile forensic), Pelorus Technologies (Forensic products), Ordnance Equipment Factory – A Unit of Troop Comforts Limited, Munitions India Ltd (Ministry of Defence, Government of India), Advanced Weapon and Equipment India Ltd. (Govt. of India Enterprise, Ministry of Defence) and Abbott Diagnostics Medical Private Limited are participating at the 7th edition of International Police Expo.

“We are the leading manufacturers of indigenous quick response hand-held anti-drone systems for use by security and police forces for countering rogue drones and unauthorised photography. We are displaying our state-of-the-art three-channel system and projecting a seven-channel system at International Police Expo 2022.”, says Col. Balaram Pillai, Head, Defence & Aerospace, HILD Defence and Aerospace Pvt Ltd.

A Noida-based startup called Sparsh CCTV has created a breath analyzer that can identify the presence of alcohol from a distance of two feet, improving on-road safety.

According to official data, it will help reduce the number of drunk driving incidents where drivers refuse to take a breathalyser test and claim they can receive Covid by blowing into the metre.

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MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MONSOON WEDDING

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After the sweltering hot and sunny days, the monsoon season brings in the much needed wet and cool climate. If you are getting married in this romantic weather, make the most of it by following the simple tips by wedding curators Aaradhana & Prateek Kashyap of Made in Heaven.

Venue: Check the weather forecast before finalising the date and make sure the venue is monsoon proof. Opt for an indoor venue. Choose one that has glass walls, transparent ceilings or even windows to enjoy the lovely weather. Have humidifiers at the venue to balance the temperature. Also, an indoor venue will keep all the decorations safe. Make sure the venue is well ventilated and has a constant power supply as there are sudden electrical breakdowns due to bad weather.

Going in for an outdoor venue will be cumbersome as you will need to go in for waterproofing and don’t forget to have a bug repellent plan in place as the monsoon invites lots of bugs. We have a lot of umbrellas and sheds in the venue. Always have a backup plan in case you want to go in for an outdoor wedding. If you really want to go for an outdoor venue, look for a convertible venue if you really want to go for an outdoor venue, or opt for a venue that has both indoor and outdoor facilities so that if the rain comes, the entire wedding can happen inside, but make sure the indoor is big enough to accommodate all the guests. 

Make sure the venue has valet service so that the guests can easily leave their vehicles and move in if it’s raining. You should have escorts and ushers, especially if there’s a distance between the parking area and the venue. You should have a hot beverage station to serve hot beverages and snacks the moment guests arrive. Plan out flexible times for your festivities as the monsoon invites a lot of traffic jams.

Décor: A monsoon wedding calls for a vibrant and colourful décor. Avoid real flowers as they get spoilt easily in rain, and they might attract small insects and crawlies. You can use origami, sheer curtains, glassware, and bright floral print fabrics and can add umbrellas, boats, origami, danglers, and fairy lights for the decor. If you choose an outdoor venue, avoid using props as they might fall in case it rains or the winds are heavy. Floral umbrellas, light colours, and the vibgyor theme are popular décor themes in the monsoon.

Food: Have plenty of live stations for hot snacks and beverages. You can have South Indian dishes, Chinese and grilled sections. Avoid raw salads and any cold beverages, as they can make you sick easily. Make sure the food is fresh and prepared hygienically, as rain brings in a lot of bugs and food allergies. Sweet dishes like garam jalebis and gulab jamuns are a must-have in your menu. Avoid dishes that have leafy veggies as ingredients like palak paneer, green chicken, hara bhara kebabs, etc., as leafy veggies are high in infections due to the conditions, they are grown in. Avoid risky sea foods like shrimp and an overdose of non-vegetarian preparations, as meat too leads to a lot of stomach infections this season. Plan a pre-wedding rain dance party and enjoy the lovely monsoon weather. A rain dance theme bachelorette party or even a pool-side party. You can even plan your haldi ceremony followed by a rain dance party. This can happen if you plan a destination wedding or book a hotel.

Wedding invites and favours: Opt for the monsoon theme for designing your invites, e.g., a couple dancing in the rain. Accessorise the wedding favours with umbrellas, cute raincoats, and other rain-wear gear like flip flops.

Photography & Videography: How about a pre-wedding shoot in the lovely monsoon weather. The romantic weather can definitely bring in the love in the air and complement the Pre-wedding shoots. 

Wedding Outfits: Choose lighter outfits, and not too long hemlines and trails. It’s advisable to keep a spare.

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Bring mindfulness to the workplace

High-quality connections are shown to improve individual functioning, and positively affect group outcomes, such as psychological safety and trust.

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The real payoffs emerge when an individual’s mindfulness is translated into mindful interactions and relationships, says a new study. Such interactions infused with intentionality, compassion and presence can bring about more harmonious and healthy organizations.

“An understanding of how individuals bring mindfulness with them to work, and how these practices may contribute to interaction and relationship quality, is especially relevant as work landscapes are ever-changing and interdependence is increasingly becoming the norm,” said Christopher S. Reina, PhD, an associate professor of management and entrepreneurship in the VCU School of Business.

 In the study “Your Presence is Requested: Mindfulness Infusion in Workplace Interactions and Relationships,” which was published in Organization Science, Reina and management professors Glen E. Kreiner, PhD, of the University of Utah; Alexandra Rheinhardt, PhD, of the University of Connecticut; and Christine

A. Mihelcic of the University of Richmond explores how individuals bring mindfulness to work and how it infuses their workplace interactions. These practices may be formal, such as engaging in a mindful pause before beginning a meeting, or informal, such as listening to someone with a high level of attention.

The qualitative study draws on the experiences of actual leaders to explain how they bring mindfulness into the workplace. Primary data sources included interviews and on-site participant observation. The researchers conducted 30 formal interviews with managers, professionals and consultants who practice mindfulness in the workplace and more than 50 informal interviews with a wide variety of individuals who apply mindfulness principles at work.

“Interestingly, interviewees noted how other individuals around them had noticed the emotional effects of their mindful behaviours on interactions and relationships,” Reina said. “We found initial evidence that our interviewees› efforts toward bringing their mindfulness into the workplace were seen by their colleagues as having a positive effect.”

High-quality connections are shown to improve individual functioning, and positively affect group outcomes, such as psychological safety and trust.

In addition to mindfulness arising within an interaction, the study also found that mindfulness practices could be used to set individuals up for success in future interactions, such as when preparing for a difficult or important conversation.

“Mindfulness reminds us that our thoughts and emotions are complex,” Reina said. “They are contextualized by prior events experienced within a social environment, and within this social environment, individuals must be aware of both their own and others› thoughts and emotions in order to navigate these complexities with skill and compassion.”

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THE TURNING POINT IN THE CHEESE STORY

Most Indians have unquestioningly accepted that cheese, much like many other goodies, was brought to India by the Portuguese or Dutch as Hindus considered curdling milk as inauspicious.

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Long ago, before the dawn of the selfie age, cameramen used to instruct the group being photographed to say ‘cheese’ to make the subject’s lips break into a forced happy smile. That was the closest contact that many Indians made with edible cheese. Even those who were anglicized and liked their sandwiches with slices of cheese were restricted to processed cheddar that came in small round tins. This was the stuff that was grated and spread over macaroni and baked vegetables (to melt in the oven).

However, there always has been a minuscule minority of cheese snobs who talked of other cheeses, more expensive and exotic. French blue cheese like gorgonzola (that had blue veins), Roquefort, Gruyere and harder cheeses like edam, gouda, parmesan, and the rest. They remembered nostalgically when they could enjoy to their heart’s content, different varieties of cheese, with crackers at breakfast or opt for the non-sweet dessert course of a cheese platter post-dinner.

It was not only the French cheeses but the Swiss cheeses with holes that had made themselves familiar to the audience of comic-reading kids. Wedges of Swiss cheese were encountered more often on the TV screens where Jerry the mouse would be seen scheming to steal cheese from the mouse trap set by his arch-nemesis Tom on the dining table. Of course, in classier fine dining restaurants, the ‘continental’ chefs took delight in showing off their skills with tabletop fondue cooking. Feta cheese made with a strictly prescribed mixture of ewe and goat milk is increasingly popular with health-conscious salad eaters. Non-dairy cheeses prepared with oil seeds have been created for the increasing tribe of vegans.

For the majority of Indians, cheese has meant paneer (aka cottage cheese often confused with cream cheese). It is only in recent years that Indians have also tasted cheesecakes and other varieties of cheese traditionally made in India in Himachal Pradesh or among the Parsi communities like (Kalari and ‘Topi wala’ cheese). Chenapod is a traditional baked cheesecake in Odisha that has for centuries been offered to Lord Jagannath at Puri.

Most Indians have unquestioningly accepted that cheese, much like many other goodies, was brought to India by the Portuguese or Dutch as Hindus considered curdling milk as inauspicious.

It is very difficult to concede the claim that cheeses were unknown to Indians before the advent of Europeans. How on Earth can anyone explain a Bhutanese dish like Ema Datshi (molten cheese and chilis) hidden in the hard-to-reach heart of the Himalayas was terra incognita till the 1960s. 

It remained forbidden to ordinary travellers and traders for decades after that. Obviously, the cheese made with Yak milk and highly pungent local chilis owes nothing to the much-hyped Columbian exchange. Another cheese that has traditionally been prepared and relished from Yak milk all the way from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh is called Churpi. It is a hard toffee-like substance that keeps the mouth moist and the jaws working. Even if one keeps Chenna out of this controversy other Indian cheeses like kalari from Himachal Pradesh can legitimately claim to be a child of this soil as perhaps can the Kashmiri Chaman. Other Indian cheeses like Bandel and Topi Wala Cheese are certainly adaptations and improvisations of the French or the Dutch Cheese theme.

Cheese is widely used in Mediterranean, Central Asian and Turkish cuisine. Milk was curdled in leather bags and the cheese so obtained was pressed to drain off moisture, matured, smoked and flavoured.

A turning point in the cheese story came in India when western fast food entered India and proliferated in all corners of the subcontinent with great speed. Mcdonalds’ was the first chain to insist on quality standards for the cheese supplied to them. They were large enough a buyer for the cheese makers in India to clean up their act and strive to become the chief vendor.

The same happened when Pizzas — Pizza Hut, Pizza King and Dominos — lured the younger generation of Indians with seductive extra-cheesy toppings and cheese-filled crusts around the rim. Mozzarella came on its own and Amul the legendary milk cooperative started producing it. Likewise when Italian pastas of different sizes shapes and flavours were included in the menus of speciality restaurants drizzling of hard Parmesan became another acquired taste.

In recent years, with growing affluence among the urban elite cheeses like wines, have become aspirational. They are symbols of an exclusive exotic delight to the masses – privileges of like, special status symbols. Many Indians, past middle age suddenly are drawn towards golf and cigars. A platter of cheese to be paired with wines or a cheese platter as an option for dessert is a clearly discernible emerging trend.

It is on this cheese platter that one finds the more expensive and the more exotic sharp smelling and sharp-tasting French blue cheeses. However, few Indians have the stomach to try the maggot-infested Casu martzu or the crawling cheese from the Italian island of Sardinia. Because the larvae in the cheese can launch themselves up up to 6 inches when disturbed, diners have to hold their hands above the cheese to prevent the maggots from leaping away!

The turn of the century witnessed the advent of the artisanal cheese makers, mostly in hill stations or in areas where Europeans have settled for generations like Kalimpong, Pondicherry, Ooty and Bhimtal. Some like Mansoor Khan, director of Bollywood hits like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak took a break to pursue their passion. Khan moved to Coonoor in 2003, to start making Gouda, Colby, and other cheeses. In Pune, ABC Farms’ has been producing versions of Gorgonzola, Cheddar and mozzarella for over three decades now. They supply tonnes of cheese a month, to leading five-star hotels in Mumbai and Pune.

The Indian Cheese story continues to be written.

Pushpesh Pant is an Indian academic, food critic and historian.

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Voters must be made aware of healthcare issues

Suravi Sharma Kumar

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Covid 19 pandemic is when we have so clearly understood how broken our health systems are and this has made us contemplate the role that the government should play in ensuring healthcare for all in the country. Surprisingly Indian election manifestos across all parties don’t allow healthcare any decent space. And more curiously, India’s voters appear to place little emphasis on health as they decide whom/ which party to vote into power. For instance, in the state elections in Bihar in October-November 2020, as found in a post-election survey, only a meager about 0.3% of the voters considered health as a priority–even against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic factors and general developmental issues loomed much larger to voter priorities against providing good healthcare.

Why do our voters not prioritize health despite their having to pay one of the world’s highest out-of-pocket (at 78% OOP) expenditures and catastrophic spending on health for decades? The reasons for the low prioritization of health in elections seem to be complex and rooted in our psychological imprint. Our people have surprisingly non-existent expectations of government as healthcare provider/s. This most likely is because the health system had been unresponsive and unaccountable for way too long. People’s minds have been turned away from this in their upbringing years while going through the thick and thin of their woes around hospitals and clinics. There is simply no expectation in their minds. 

An expectation is the emotional anticipation or belief of an occurrence that may take place in reality in the future. It’s a potential reality that we look forward to being manifested in our lives. But mindsets primed over many decades are transformed to such a state that it doesn’t allow the emergence of any such expectation in people. The very concept of government providing healthcare doesn’t exist in the minds of the multitude in our country.

The other cause of such reaction in voters may also be because none of the political parties provide the subject of Health any decent place in their election manifestos. They make no promises about improving health care. So this leaves the people to themselves as far as health is concerned and are left with no scope to choose a political candidate or a party on that ground.

Political leaders, on the other hand, stay away from promising improved healthcare, either because they don’t have the answers, or they find it too complex an issue to analyze and come up with an agenda on offer, or because timelines for improving the system are well beyond the life of their political regimes. However, we get to see that where political leaders have delivered well on health, such as in Kerala, it has created an expectation from citizens which compels leaders to offer election agendas prioritizing health. Despite the pandemic, it has been hard to identify any shift in the electoral politics of health provision even in the world’s richest party governing our country. The ruling party under the charismatic leadership of the honorable prime minister has also been stressing other welfare goals even in the backdrop of a pandemic. The ruling party is also seen to garner benefits from maintaining a raft of welfare schemes since 2014 adding several such schemes and promoting them actively during elections. 

Various factors/reasons are under play for this and the most prominent one is because reforms in the health sector are harder to enact and much slower to yield any tangible outcomes for voters to take cognizance of and manifest any impact in terms of votes earned for the party undertaking such a complex agenda. Hence, foregrounding health sector investments have been seen as politically riskier than other result-oriented schemes/ agendas. For instance, improvements in the distribution of food grains or gas cylinders (Ujjwala) are more visible and tangible/measurable for the general public than enabling efficient medical caregiving policy/ scheme which is a far tougher and time-consuming task to undertake. Welfare schemes based on the ‘delivery’ of a product are much simpler and tangible than improving services like health and education, which are much more complex. 

Healthcare depends on a system that includes infrastructure, human resources, medical protocols and resources, high accountability, and capacity. For this reason, perhaps, the main electoral pledge in the health sector in recent years has been on health insurance and a few free treatments offers rather than comprehensive infrastructural reforms within which this product can be effectively utilized.

The social determinants to health that are highly prioritized in the UN sustenance goals must find a place in any discussion on health infrastructure improvement. They are important contributory factors to health status in general and get varying degrees of priority in governments. But there is a need for more focused coordination to ensure optimal allocation of resources across various sectors touching the subjects of safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition. Their contribution to good health is unarguably a lot but these need to be adequately recognized, measured, and evaluated.

There is also a need to establish a coordinating body in the country’s highest offices to connect the dots in health and other social determinants of health and coordinate the work of various agencies contributing to health improvement to enhance and better utilize these for the general good.

Experts would agree rebuilding India’s health system requires first and foremost better financial allocation and some policy work around the clarity of roles of the national and state governments. The other area is creating empowered institutions with evidence-based healthcare governance and administration. The motivation for these will emerge from creating (or making more visible) the demands of Indian voters for improved health. Social help groups and non-government organizations should work on voter awareness, their perception of health schemes, and even the politics behind these.

The author is a Consultant Doctor, Moolchand Medcity.

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