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Clooneys love it, so does DiCaprio. Now, this goofy sport is winning over Indians

So what if it was a yellow plastic ball with holes that ricocheted off my paddle with a ‘thwack’ before fluttering towards my opponent who smoothly lobbed it over my head. For someone whose last brush with sports was playing dodgeball in school or wielding a mosquito bat in adult life, just tossing a ball across the net with a backhand swing, made for a sufficiently inflated ego and a glorious introduction to pickleball. Pickle what? A sporting craze — best described as a mashup of tennis, badminton and table tennis.

How basketball became tool of resilience for wheelchair-bound

A familiar smell of perspiration soaks the air of a cavernous indoor basketball court in Mumbai University 's Kalina campus every weekend. The thud of basketball bouncing off the floor and full throated yells from the players, dominate the arena. It is a typical basketball training session with an occasional blow of the whistle telling them when it's time to switch things around. There's one sound that's different though.

Tribal influencers fight everything from Covid to child labour with cellphones

The art of showcasing talent online and influencing audiences is a common phenomenon now. But Arjun Pawara is not your typical Internet star. The 32-year-old is a founding member of Aadiwasi Janjagruti — a network of 45 tribal youths across 200 villages in the interiors of Maharashtra ’s Nandurbar district — using just their mobile phones and the power of hyperlocal news to script, enact, shoot, edit and upload sketches, short films and documentaries that enable a two-way flow of information between communities and local authorities.

Netas go on pre-poll ribbon cutting spree at jab centres

Wielding a pair of scissors, an MP from the city is in the middle of a weeklong jaunt across vaccine centres. One morning at Kurla, the next day in Vile Parle and the day after, in Chandivali congratulating the “corporator & all party karyakartas working hard to help people.” All the while, trailed by an army of aides, a photographer to capture the moments and an audience of vaccine aspirants queued up. There will be relief. But first, let there be a ribbon to cut.

How Japanese forest therapy transformed Mumbai's green cover

A canopy of kanchan, karanj, neem, jamun and palash trees casting a 20-feet high shade on the Central Railside Warehouse is barely reminiscent of the cement bags, construction debris and toxic air particles that once defined this corner of a massive cement storage facility in Jogeshwari until even a year ago. Hemmed in by concrete chaos and smoke-belching motor vehicles zooming past its busy roads, the dusty wasteland is now a foliage-rich micro forest.

In Bollywood, women get screen time but very little talk time

The year 2020 wrapped up what you might call a good decade for women in Bollywood with many steely, witty, sharp, cute, fun and badass female characters in leading roles. It felt like the narrative was changing, and women had become more than accessories. However, research tracking speaking parts in the world’s biggest movie-making industry reveals that in the biggest pan-national box-office hits from the past five years — on an average, “women have less than a third of the dialogue". In other words, men significantly out-talk the women.

Vaccine FOMO makes India’s seniors give it their best shot

Country legend Dolly Parton who recently broke into a version of Jolene that went — ‘Vaccine, vaccine , vaccine, vaccine/ I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate/ Because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late’ — would be proud of her contemporaries in India. Contrary to the stereotypes of elderly people — wary, slow-of-gait and particularly vulnerable to misinformation about the vaccine — what emerged was a reverse of the depressing story one might have expected.

Religion meets feminism with women qazis and pandits defying male-only tradition

The name Sheela Atta made headlines last month after a Bollywood actor invited the veteran woman purohit from south India to officiate at her wedding ceremony. Women breaking into the male bastion of priesthood and challenging patriarchy aren’t new, but a wider acceptance is. With more young adults swapping sexist rituals with forward-thinking options, an increasing number of people are actively seeking out women priests as they are known to display “a higher degree of emotional intelligence”.
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