Face masks
Photo for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Pexels

COVID-19: The mask makes the man

Weekend outings are undoubtedly a problematic monotone of masking and unmasking, sanitising and distancing, worrying and over-worrying during the global pandemic, but on a Friday, a break from couch-time led my family and me to the Swan Lake in Hatta (“COVID-19: How to wear fabric masks safely”, Gulf News, July 08). The serene waters nestled in Hatta's rocky landscape have recently become the muse of vloggers in the UAE and a popular destination for families looking to beat the heat.

While the driveway at the surface level of the water, the geese swimming majestically over their terrain and the water that seemed to take on a different hue every time you looked at it were magnificent enough, they were not what piqued my attention in the intensely crowded place. Instead, all I could look at where the people clustered together like sardines in a tin. Some of them were either unmasked or wore the masks around their necks like accessories.

While the UAE is slowly and steadily flattening the curve, none of us is truly immune to the disease yet. Months of imploration by experts and leaders around the world and the need to wear masks becomes apparent, to protect both yourself and others unless in exceptions that have been prescribed by authorities.

Yet, the President of the United States of America still refuses to wear one. The President of Brazil took his one off even after having tested positive. A few thousand miles away, the President of France proudly flaunted the French flag on his, while the President of Slovakia matched hers to the fuchsia of her dress. Millions still shun this cheap yet effective barrier; whether it is because of the initial discomfort, it works on the wearer or because of the need to make a statement. Elsewhere, masks are in vogue. The cold surgical blue and the plain white are being pushed out by intricate designs and vibrant colours. Madurai-based restaurant Temple City is welcoming mask awareness to the culinary world: Their mask-shaped parottas (Indian flat bread) sell at Rs. 50 a set.

Much knowledge about COVID-19 remains in crevices humans have groped around for but haven't found, but if there's one thing experts have been screaming in certainty, it is this “wear a mask". And not around your neck; it looks infinitely better on your face, shielding it from infectious droplets that lurk in the air.

Fashion has accepted masks into its fold, but have we?

From Ms Malavika Rajesh


Global warming: Protecting our planet starts with you!

Let us not take our planet for granted. Climate change is for real (“ Climate change turning US mountain lakes green with algae”, Gulf News, July 08). It's been happening for many years. It is the threat that is affecting the entire species adversely. We need to work collectively together to make our planet a safe and better place. A few simple things we can do to help protect the Earth. Let us follow the policies of "reduce, reuse and recycle", and cut down on what we throw away. Conserving water, electricity, choosing sustainable items, shopping wisely, and understanding the values of natural resources is vital. Overuse of natural resources is like destroying the planet. Switch off and unplug the devices when we are not using them, opt for renewable energy, use water carefully, minimise the use of disposable items, avoid fast food and waste, and plant trees. These are some of the simple yet effective ways to protect our Earth. Let us not wait for Earth Day to think about the ways to make the environment cleaner and protect our plant. Protect the greens and browns for creating the energy vibe of sustainability, calmness, balance and peace. Let us take good care of it.

From Ms Jayashree Kulkarni

Pune, India

India: Jagdeep’s death marks the end of an era of comic films in Bollywood

Last few months have been unfortunate for the Bollywood industry (“Bollywood actor Jagdeep laid to rest at Mumbai cemetery”, Gulf News, July 08). We have lost many of its stalwarts. Actors Irfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor, music director Sajid Khan, lyricist Yogesh Gaur, film director Basu Chatterjee, choreographer Saroj Khan and now evergreen comedian Jagdeep have bid adieu to the world. The loss of these stalwarts will remain in the heart of cinema-goers forever.

It was in the late 1960s when Jagdeep got his real break in Bollywood as a "comedian" in Shammi Kapoor's movie "Brahmachari". With this role he became an ‘iconic comedian’ of Hindi cinema, whose big smile and crazy facial expressions became mandatory in several Bollywood films. In his five decades of career in Bollywood, he acted in more than 400 films.

Jagdeep will be best remembered for his role in the film Sholay as ‘Soorma Bhopali’, where his dialogue delivery was so iconic that it became his moniker, following which he became one of the most sought-after actors for comic roles.

With Jagdeep's death, an era ends in Bollywood. In present-day films, the role of comedians is diminishing, his contributions to the industry will always be remembered. Thank you Jagdeep! You were a real genius and made us laugh and brought happiness in our lives. May your soul rest in peace.

From Mr Ramesh G Jethwani

Bangalore, India

Southampton Test: Bowlers put West Indies in commanding position against England

Southampton Test marks the return of international cricket after 116 days of an enforced break due to COVID-19 pandemic (“Cricket: Dowrich keeps West Indies on top despite Stokes’ four wickets for England", Gulf News, July 10). Though this West Indies team, led by Jason Holder is considered to be the weakest, the captain has led from the front with his career-best bowling figure of 6 for 42 to bowl out England's star-studded team for 204 ,to take the upper hand in the first Test match. After this, Jason Holder has proved that he richly deserved the world's number one all-rounder ranking. Hope his team is able to tackle the England bowlers to take a healthy lead to pressurise Ben Stokes to win the test and prove his detractors wrong.

From Mr N. Mahadevan

Chennai, India

Editor’s note: Is there a news report that you feel strongly about? Something that has to be addressed in the community and requires resolution? Email us on readers@gulfnews.com. You can also post a comment on our Facebook page or tweet to us @GNReaders