Dear Reader,

Did you know 11 out of 10 dentists have never been part of a survey? You’ll get the WhatsApp memo soon, so make sure to delay any dramatic exits from family groups.

 

In the meantime, be sure to ignore the text that tells you to drink a bottle of bitter gourd juice. It is not a cure for diabetes, cancer, misbehaving children, hair fall, brown skin, shortness of depth, paucity of intelligence…or anything, really. What it does do is kill you, and a “fitness enthusiast” from Pune was done for within an hour of consuming it last week.

 

(No, I don’t think that’s a metaphor for a country dying slowly because of the comfort it finds in consuming bitter mistruths. You do.)

 

First, you disbelieve that someone defied a poison because of her conviction. Then, you realise conviction itself can be poisonous.

 

I’m left wondering, for example, how many years of perceived superiority it took for the lady at a wedding ceremony I attended to openly reprimand a group of boys for saying the word ‘chicken’ in a conversation that she wasn’t part of.  Then I wonder how, ten minutes later, someone from that same group of boys thought it wouldn’t raise alarms if he choked his friend for giggles. At the front of the hall. On the periphery of the stage. As people were getting married, possibly for the only time in their lives. IN THE PRESENCE OF AN OVERPAID DRONE OPERATOR!

 

The ringing bells in the background weren’t alarms, but the hands doing the ringing were attached to some very shocked pandits. Them of the vibrating bosoms and suspiciously thin garments, clunking metal together, dunking ghee into a fire that comes with seated human chimneys, raining down rice at anyone in a ten-yard radius, glaring as a 38-year-old man lost consciousness, lamenting, no doubt, the insouciance of those damn chicken-eaters.

 

Shit happens, I suppose. We’re creatures of varying convictions who are in a constant state of clash with each other. That’s a theory that has growing on me anyway, with the stuff I’ve read since we last spoke.

Among the first ones I read was the story of how the infamous BJP IT cell, which has singlehandedly revolutionised the art of WhatsApp forwarding, was supposed to be something else altogether when it was launched over a decade ago. I then came across a story straight out of a thriller, or more specifically, the first season of House of Cards, about the affair between a young journalist and a senior US public official. And there were a few more: one about an artist who gave and gave and gave for a man she loved, until he was gone and she had a month’s worth of money left. That’s our illustrated story of the week, sitting next to a deep-dive into human minds, from the daughter of a dementia patient who doesn’t quite know what reality is anymore.

 

The story of the week though, is that of a maverick. A genius actor with a stellar filmography, believed to have made $650 million from movie payments alone. He started running bills of $2 million a month, splurged on 14 houses that he still owns, got his old pal’s ashes fired out of a cannon for a bill worth $3 million (he says five), before he was part of a public outing by his ex-wife who he beat up. Now, broke but not bitter, Johnny Depp is fighting his management company and, to some degree, his own family. As the debts grow, he’s barely surrounded by people who aren’t paid to be there. He’s convinced he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Yours,

Varun

 

 

Articles:

Story of the week: The trouble with Johnny Depp

 

How an Affair Between a Reporter and a Security Aide Has Rattled Washington Media 

Illustrated story: A woman’s work – home economics

A dementia patient begins to question her own grasp on reality

The ABCs of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A+

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