On The Rise : The 1975

I’ve come across a lot of people over the years who deeply yearn for a time machine just to go back and revisit the good ol’ days of music. If you’re one of those people who’ve been the victim of such a heinous crime by the limitations of technology, there’s nothing to worry about. Why? Because a Manchester-based band have been rising through the underground music scene with a sound that echoes the heydays of the ’80s music scene, richly doused with their own special blend of flavour.

Their lead singer, Matt Healy, was never one to be shy away from the entertainment business as his parents are well known British actors - Denise Welch and Tim Healy. With a bit of foundation in showbiz already imbued in the band via biology, Matt and Co. have established their own brand of smoothness in their live performances which is in perfect synchronicity with the style of their music. With a sudden yin-yang aesthetic being followed, enter George Daniel - The ferociously energetic drummer whose facial expressions while at work are not for the faint of heart. With the vocals and percussion in place, bassist Ross MacDonald and lead guitarist Adam Hann complete the exquisite foursome.

A fundamental aspect of The 1975 is that they do not simply create music, they create an artistic atmosphere for each and every one of their setlist. Their fourth EP, aptly titled ‘IV’ is a prime example of their craft. Their debut single, titled ‘Sex’, is as energetic as it gets with the band applying a modern touch to the late 80s post-punk undertones which can easily be noted. Adam Hann’s heavy use of distortion is the most distinctive feature of the song that initially set them towards YouTube stardom. However, it’s their more mellowed down tracks such as ‘Haunt//Bed’ and ‘Undo’ where they’ve excelled brilliantly. The band have projected waves of auditory melancholia so intricately boxed down within the suppressed rage of pure ambiance. Lyrically though, the group have stuck towards the more standard themes of sex, drugs, intimacy, and death. However, their vision for storytelling through sound makes up for their limitations with regard to topics.

So far, the band has released four EPs with a full length eponymous album set for release on 9th September. So, for all those bustling for a wave of nostalgia, go ahead and YouTube these amazing artists.

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Five Best Movie Fight Scenes (for the fantasy fan)

Sure wizards duels are cool, but let us set Harry Potter aside for a moment, and look at some of the awesome-st combat scenes in fantasy movies that pumps up your adrenaline.

1. Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Will Turner vs. Captain Jack Sparrow vs. Commodore Norrington : Over the the ruins, perching on the edges, rolling over the wheel, inside the wheel- the fight for the Dead Man’s Chest is probably the most entertaining fight scene you’ll see in your life time. It is not just the technique but also the style of the sword play, that leaves you gaping till the end. To add cherry to the topping Pintel and Raggetti with Elizabeth Swann bring laughter amidst the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’

2.The Matrix:
There is no need to say it out loud, but Neo’s slow-motion-bullet-dodging scene could be the most imitated fighting scene move in history. I bet you’ve thought you can do that in real life, haven’t you?

3.Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Anakin Skywalker fighting his Jedi master Obi Wan Kenobi while surrounded by a sea of lava. The clash of the light sabers and the Jedi acrobatics are truly unforgettable. A non Star Wars fan may disagree, but no weapon is more suited for a combat scene than a light saber.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
You might think that the Chronicles of Narnia movies are for kids, and I cannot say I disagree, but the sword fight between Peter and King Miraz is a must watch for any one who loves an onscreen duel. It is the sort of combat that takes one back to the Medieval days.

5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
Alright don’t gag seeing the name of the movie, but the fight with the Volturi was honestly the best scene of the series. In addition to providing an interesting twist from the book’s original plot, the supernatural battle scene with werewolves and vampires is one of the coolest we have seen in the last one year.

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The Portal

man on terrace

An architectural term used primarily to describe an external flat area protruding from a building. But it’s much more than that. A place where dreams are forged, personal battles are won and peace is achieved. The terrace holds a place in everyone’s heart. It’s where you go when you seek inspiration, when you need to escape from the world or even when you just need to feel alive. It’s your lone companion when the world seems to have given up on you and the go-to place when you need to celebrate with friends. It holds your deepest, darkest secrets and your most cherished moments. It is a portal to another world.

When you are up there, you feel on top of the world, and the situation which was swallowing you whole just a moment ago, seems like a petty inconvenience. You sit on the edge, the wind blowing in your hair, only the sky and the birds above, the great city below- nothing but an anarchic mess of buildings interspersed with greenery. Everything feels so small now. You look at the others on their terraces- the other dreamers, and you make an instant connection. The fat guy running on his terrace who is too embarrassed to face the world, the man twirling a cigarette in his hand pondering over a lost love- all of you seem to have an invisible bond, one thing in common, the terrace.

“Hey! We’re closing up.. get down from there”. The guard’s gruff voice cuts through your thoughts, and the cacophony of blaring car horns, children playing and street vendors arguing comes rushing back, as if it didn’t exist before. You look back as you walk down the steps back into the world as we know it, “Until tomorrow”.

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Mario Gomez-20 Million for That Hair? Yes, Sir!

mario gomez

Transfer season is upon and the incessant churning of the rumour mills are already at it’s peak. Holding true to tradition, transfer sagas involving a wantaway star, a recently triumphant club, and a host of suitors are in full swing. One that has carried on for the past two years has finally come to end with Neymar making a move to Barcelona. Definitely did not see that one coming.

The latest transfer story to bestow our favourite football forums and websites is the alleged end of Mario Gomez’s four year tryst with the Bavarians. Yes, the striker with a hairstyle as impressive as his goalscoring record, looks set to move to another club. All for a mere 20 million euros.

The recently crowned German and European Champions, Bayern Munich, is now under the managerial dominion of Pep Guardiola. Along with him comes his philosophy of hard pressing, possession based football of which Gomez is likely not to be a part of. Old Pep does have a history of selling major players - His first activities as the coach of Barcelona were the sales of Deco and Ronaldinho. What followed after was the creation of arguably the most dominating team the world has witnessed since the heydays of bitter rivals, Real Madrid. With Bayern Munich decimating Pep’s previous team in the Champions League semi-final, the ‘superclub’ titled seems to have relayed into the hands of the Bavarians.

Of course, this will be of little concern to Mario Gomez come the dawn of the new season. Fiorentina are reportedly the frontrunners to bag the German to spear head their attack, with Jovetic likely to leave. It would be a great boost for the Tuscany-based club if it falls through, having secured a Europa Leage spot with an impressive season finish of 4th. This would also make him the second German striker to join an Italian team after Klose’s arrival at Lazio the previous year.

Until then, Mario Gomez enjoys his vacation polishing his impressive trophy cabinet.

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The Dreaded JEE-Fair? Where?

It’s that time of the year again when a computer screen can make lakhs of students jump up in air or fall to the ground. Thanking god that I’m not on the receiving end of the supposedly biggest life changing news, I observe that this year the young innocent students with dark circles under their eyes full of hope who are impatiently awaiting their result are subjected to further mental pressure and disappointment. All credits to the normalization scheme of the IIT JEE Mains.
It was initially decided that 60:40 ratio is how the Mains and the Board marks will be normalized but somehow, after the exam was conducted the JEE interface group decides to change its mind. For those of you who did not notice, they made this decision AFTER the exam was over. It probably seemed to them that the increasing reservations, home state and other quotas were not enough reason to complain of the unjust system of education in the country today. Unfortunately, they did not get a good look into the mind of a 12th pass out and they chose to go ahead with the decision.
50% of Board marks be normalized by equating percentile among different Boards and anchoring them to All India JEE (Main) percentiles, and 50% be normalized by equating each Board’s percentile with JEE (Main) percentile marks of respective Boards. In simple terms, they are comparing you not just with students of your board but others as well. Somehow the whole concept of having a common exam for all students seems to have lost its essence here, looks like it’s just us who saw it.
I wish someone would explain to me the concealed justice present and being done to the student who scored 195 in the mains and ended up with a 20,000 rank while a student with a score of 150 ended up with 9000 and will be in the top NIT. If you scored 90% in your CBSE and are the topper in the JEE Mains, well, they don’t seem to have a seat left for you. Being in one of the best NITs myself, I would tell you the NITs are the ones losing out on great talent you don’t have to worry!

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The Egypt Revolution-Back to square one?

EGYPT-REVOLUTION-2013

The recent events in Cairo has plunged Egypt into uncertain times. The disposal of President Mohammed Morsi has allowed the military to assume power for a short period of time. Ironically, this has consigned Egypt to revert to the aftermath of former President Hosni Al Mubarak three decade-long rule. Egypt’s Chief Justice Adli Mansour has been appointed as an interim president to oversee government machinery till the next president is elected.

The culmination of intense protests across the country has been offered a mixed reception by the global community with responses ranging from endorsement to condemnation. With the Islamist ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ at the receiving end of the protests and subsequent arrests, it is not surprising that Islamists and ultra-conservative Salafists have vigorously opposed the transfer of power and have promised to conduct peaceful protests against the same. Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu has described the military intervention as “unacceptable” and a “coup”. The West remains skeptic; Obama has reiterated that the United States is “committed to the democratic process” and William Hague has stated that the “United Kingdom does not support military intervention” but has stopped short of derecognizing the newborn regime. More importantly, American law states the foreign aid should be cut-off to any country that has ousted its democratically elected leader. The transitional government will not look forward to loosing 1.5 billion Dollars in foreign aid. On the other hand embattled Syrian President has thrown his support to the recent events, calling the ousting the “defeat of political Islam”. The 34 million Egyptians on the streets do seem to echo his opinion.

This supposed ‘revolution cum coup’ is not the first of its kind. Pinochet in Chile to Musharraf in Pakistan have utilized this well versed hand. It seems that the Egyptians are allowing the very military establishment to assume control which they have been endeavoring to overthrown in the past few decades. There are reasons to remain optimistic, but it seems probable that Egypt will frequent this stalemate in the future as the Islamists and liberals seem to be at loggerheads with each other regularly. Perhaps, cruel irony will force the ‘Land of the Nile’ be chained by shackles of military rule. It will soon be found out.

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Neymar: The world at his feet

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior

Dazzling skills, a venomous shot and blinding pace- all the attributes that define a great forward, and all those possessed by Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. At only 21 years of age, Brazil’s prodigal son is already being hailed as the next Pelé. With the big ticket move to Europe, Neymar is on the cusp of greatness.

Neymar began his career with Brazilian giants Santos, and almost immediately, made an impact, with his elaborate tricks and quick feet. He continued to dominate the Brazilian League for five seasons, and captured the heart of all Brazilian fans. He was an embodiment of the Joga Bonito style of football. However, he had his skeptics, who believed that, while he was able to work his magic in Brazil, he would struggle against the stronger and more physical defenders in Europe and the international stage.

All doubts, however, were put to rest at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, where tough opponents like Spain, Italy and Uruguay awaited. With the whole crowd behind him, Neymar shone brighter than ever, carrying his team to victory, bamboozling defenders, netting 4 goals and creating 2. He won the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament. Neymar and Brazil now set their sights on the biggest prize of all, the 2014 world cup, in front of their own fans. If the Confederations Cup was any indication, not many teams will be able to stop them.

Having conquered the international stage, Neymar now sets his sights on the next challenge- Europe. FC Barcelona have acquired his services after shelling out 57 million Euros. The combination of the current Ballon d‘Or and the future Ballon d‘Or will be a treat to watch.

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Proxies and Chemicals

Proxies and Chemicals

With the recent allegations of chemical warfare in Syria surfacing, the West has remained uncomfortably undecided over the immediate course of action. A formation of a no-fly zone and the armament of Syrian rebel forces have been proposed, with the former likelier to be implemented. Kremlin remains unconvinced with the allegations, with a few insiders completely refuting the claim.  Amidst all these diplomatic bickering, the death toll in Syria has shot up to 95,000, with additional 5,000 with every bloody month.

The former French colony has always been precariously placed close to the epicenter of one the bloodiest conflicts in recent times; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its involvement and subsequent defeat in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war was a catalyst for 1949 coup, the very first coup in the modern Middle East. What followed was a series of forced transfers of power for the next twenty years characterized by increasing instability and the rise of various Arab nationalist, communist and Syrian nationalist movements.

Proxies and Chemicals

By 1970, the Baath party assumed power lead by Hafez al-Assad, former defense minister who consolidated his rule till his death at the dawn of the 21st Century. He was succeeded by his son Basher al-Assad. This familial continuation was greeted with mild optimism. However, this notion was quickly dissipated under various crackdowns on media and dissenters alike.

The Arab Spring proved to be the catalyst in this Civil War with protests against the government culminating in the defection of various military personnel giving birth to the Free Syrian Army. This rebellion has now mutated into sectarian warfare with various state and non-state parties involved. The United States had already enforced an embargo on the state.

More importantly, there are no absolutes in this conflict. The very rebels who aim to depose of al-Assad will kill members of his Alawite sect without a second thought. Iran and Hezbollah are providing arms and tactical knowledge to the Syrian army; the United States and E.U the same with the Free Syrian Army. With the entry of Sunni terrorist groups into the fray, this conflict has become murky waters indeed

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Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

For starters, this Edward is not a sparkling vampire.

If you haven’t already heard, Edward Snowden is a former NSA(National Security Agency) interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM and Tempora Internet surveillance programs.

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

You must’ve seen this guy’s picture atleast once on the news, a young white male with auburn hair sporting glasses, and you might also have wondered what all the buzz was about, but might have heard something in pig latin like the above sentence.

So let us clear things up: Edward Snowden is the guy who leaked out the information that governments in the US and Europe were collecting private information of their people as well as those of other countries by accessing every possible nook and corner of all secure data on the internet.

This basically means the ‘big boss’ knows everything from your browsing history to your personal messages, passwords and your deepest secrets. These data rightfully the private property of the people, are accessed by NSA and CIA in the name of ‘finding security threats’ and ‘national defense’.

Snowden, a former employee of a company that worked of NSA, has leaked to the press about the American and British mass surveillance done using top secret programs such as PRISM. Snowden said the leaks were an effort “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” A man on the run, he is a wanted criminal for the U.S. government, and is considered a traitor by half the American population and the entire Obama Administration who will stop at nothing to get him.

And for his selfless efforts, Snowden’s true fear was that the public wouldn’t care about the revelations, already having submitted to the fact that internet privacy is no longer their right, even though constitutionally it is so.
His fears are not baseless considering how 44% of Americans consider Snowden a traitor, and the international community is keeping mum about supporting Snowden.

Nevertheless many people all over the world,including technocrats like Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple, and the famous whistle blowers like Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, have shown outright support for Snowden, hailing him a hero. At HongKong where he was initially hiding out, the people had taken to the streets appealing to their government to protect their hero from U.S. extradition. Why Assange, reportedly, has even funded, Snowden’s stay in HongKong and has appealed to Ecuador to provide exile to Snowden.

At times of public deceit like these, telling the truth becomes utterly important. But will the people remain willfully ignorant, and unwilling to acknowledge their own rights? Or do they believe that this idealist on a manhunt is a hero?
Well ‘the people’ are conflicted!!

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The Russian Terminal

An alternate version of The Terminal is being played out in Moscow, starring Edward Snowden. As the former American intelligence man remains cooped up in the terminal of the Sheremetyevo Airport, the situation bears stark similarities to the plight of Mr.Navorski played by Tom Hanks in The Terminal.

Edward Snowden

Despite repeated pleas from the Americans, Russia have refused to extradite the man who is responsible for bringing out the mass internet surveillance of private accounts carried out by the NSA. Russia do not have an extradition treaty with the USA, but the USA has transferred many hundreds of Russians involved with high profile criminal cases in the past. Russia, however, has made it clear that they had no plans to detain him or hand him over to the US. Mikhail Fyodorov, head of the Russian President’s human rights council said that, “The man who exposes secrets of the special services, such as total digital surveillance, which pose a threat to society, really desrves political asylum in one country or another.”

US President Barack Obama, meanwhile, made it clear that he is not going to be “wheeling and dealing” for the 29 year old’s extradition.

The USA cancelled Snowden’s passport, thus he can neither catch a plane out of the airport not move out of the transit terminal. He cannot move beyond the tranzit zone, putting him in the same position as Mr.Navorski. He has applied for asylum in Ecuador, which could take months to process. If his request is rejected, Snowden might find himself permanently in Russia, as pointed out by WikiLeaks. Hope it’s comfortable there, Mr. Snowden.

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