Big Brothers Big Sisters reaches ‘Dream Sponsor’ goals – in just one day

first_imgAnyone interested in supporting this initiative is encouraged to contact the agency directly at 250-787-9674. Just one day after announcing their need for ‘dream sponsors,’ Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fort St. John says they have reached their goal for donations needed to buy beds for families in need.The association says the overwhelming response from the community made it possible for more beds than originally needed were donated and can accommodate some extra families, bringing it up to a total of eleven beds being secured for local families.One company offered full sponsorship for the initial beds that were needed, while other residents and businesses made donations toward additional beds and bedding.- Advertisement -Executive Director Danielle Armstrong says there has been a greater need for the Holiday Hampers this year, and the generosity of people in the community always takes her breath away.“We were confident that the community would help to address this need, but how quickly it all came together was amazing,” she remarked.While the need for beds has been addressed, Big Brothers Big Sisters still has their Adopt a Family – Holiday Hamper program ongoing.Advertisementlast_img read more

FLANAGAN’S FURNITURE HAVE DEBTS OF €8.4M

first_imgBUNCRANA furniture company Flanagan’s has gone officially bust – owning an astonishing €8.4M!Creditors owed the cash yesterday appointed David Carson of Deloitte as liquidator of furniture store company.Flanagan’s had stores in Donegal as well as in Dublin, Kildare, Sligo and Wicklow. Forty people have lost their jobs.“We will be working now to sell off remaining stock and engaging with suppliers and creditors,” said Mr Carson.He was appointed at a meeting in Ballybofey yesterday.FLANAGAN’S FURNITURE HAVE DEBTS OF €8.4M was last modified: December 3rd, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:buncranaflanagan’slast_img read more

Di Matteo confirms Luiz is a doubt for Champions League clash with Barcelona

first_imgDavid Luiz is a doubt for Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona, Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed.Luiz picked up a hamstring injury during the Wembley victory over Tottenham and looks like he will miss Wednesday’s game at Stamford Bridge.Interim boss Di Matteo said: “We picked up some bruises and niggles. It’s a matter of assessing the team tomorrow to see who’s fit and available for the next game.“It’s very demanding for us at the moment with all the games, but we’re pleased that we can play in two Champions League semi-finals and an FA Cup final.”Defender Branislav Ivanovic, who is serving a domestic ban, is available to face Barca.Click here for the Chelsea v Tottenham quizSee also: Controversial Mata goal helps Blues thrash Tottenham to reach FA Cup finalFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Saving Kenyan wildlife from drought, one truck at a time

first_imgPatrick Mwalua drives a truck hundreds of kilometres four times a week to deliver much needed water supplies to animals in Kenya’s drought-stricken Tsavo West National Park. Kenyan conservationist Patrick Mwalua drives his water truck hundreds of kilometres every week to deliver water to animals in the drought-stricken Tsavo West National Park. A Go Fund Me online crowdsourcing initiative is enabling him to expand his work. (Image: Facebook)CD AndersonThe 41-year-old Kenyan pea farmer and conservationist Patrick Mwalua is the founder of Tsavo Volunteers, a small but passionate operation that delivers water to areas of southern Kenya, where rainfall is sparse and detrimental to animals in the area’s Tsavo West National Park.Mwalua personally drives his water truck hundreds of kilometres every week, delivering over 10 000 litres of water to the park’s dry watering holes. Despite being wild, elephants, buck and zebras recognise the sound of his truck approaching, and almost always wait patiently at the watering holes for his delivery.Kenyan conservationist Patrick Mwalua drives his water truck hundreds of kilometres every week to deliver water to animals in the drought-stricken Tsavo West National Park. A Go Fund Me online crowdsourcing initiative is enabling him to expand his work. (Image: Facebook)In an interview with the environmental website The Dodo, Mwalua says “(Tsavo isn’t) really receiving rain the way we used to… [since June last year] there has been no rain [at all]. So I started giving animals water because I thought [that] if I don’t, they will die.”The animals are forced to spend much needed energy travelling across the area to find active watering holes, often encountering violent confrontations with predators. Of particular concern for Mwalua, are the elephants, travelling into areas where they are more susceptible to poaching: “Elephants are becoming endangered and we need to save the ones we have left by providing water for them until the drought peril is over.”Inspired by interest from overseas tourists and conservationists, Mwalua has now taken his project worldwide, starting a Go Fund Me online crowdfunding page to help finance the costs of transporting the water and expanding the conservation awareness programmes he offers to schools in the Tsavo area.Kenyan conservationist Patrick Mwalua drives his water truck hundreds of kilometres every week to deliver water to animals in the drought-stricken Tsavo West National Park. A Go Fund Me online crowdsourcing initiative is enabling him to expand his work. (Image: Facebook)“I was born around here and grew up with wildlife and got a lot of passion about wildlife,” he says, “I decided to bring awareness to this so when they grow up they can protect their wildlife.”Using the power of online social media, Mwalua interacts with thousands of contributors from across the globe, keeping them informed of the progress of the project.Visit Mwalua’s Facebook page for updates on the Tsavo Volunteers project. To continue operating an effective water delivery system, Mwalua wants extend his operation to include several trucks, as his own truck, which keeps him on the road for hours every day, is starting to feel the strain. So far, the Go Fund Me page has raised over $100 000 (about R1.3-million).Visit the Tsavo Volunteers Go Fund Me page for news on the project and to contribute.“(Mwalua’s) commitment to the wildlife and his heritage is unmeasurable,” says US conservationist Cher Callaway, who, along with Tami Calliope and Angie Brown, have been active in raising awareness of the project overseas.  Mwalua, they say, often “risks his own life in the middle of the night to deliver water to a dry water hole”.Kenyan conservationist Patrick Mwalua drives his water truck hundreds of kilometres every week to deliver water to animals in the drought-stricken Tsavo West National Park. A Go Fund Me online crowdsourcing initiative is enabling him to expand his work. (Image: Facebook)With donations streaming in, Mwalua hopes the money can be used to find more permanent solutions to the crisis. He is also confident that the expectant rains in November this year will help lessen the strain for the animals.Until then though Mwalua stays on the road, ensuring the animals get what they need to make it through the dry season.Source: The Dodo Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

South African cuisine

first_imgSouth Africa offers culinary challenges from crocodile sirloins to fried caterpillars to sheep heads, but also a familiar global menu – anything from hamburgers to sushi to pad thai to spaghetti bolognaise. Check out the menu.South Africa offers culinary challenges such as crocodile steaks. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterSelect a section to read from the list: South African cuisineThe Cape Malay influenceIndia meets AfricaAfrican cuisine and the mielieBraaivleis and biltongThe Afrikaner kitchenA passion for prawnsSouth African cuisineFor the more daring diner, South Africa offers culinary challenges ranging from crocodile sirloins to fried caterpillars to sheep heads. All three are reputed to be delicious.For the not-quite so brave, there are myriad indigenous delicacies such as biltong (dried, salted meat), bobotie (a much-improved version of Shepherd’s pie) and boerewors (hand-made farm sausages, grilled on an open flame).Those who prefer to play it altogether safe will find that most eateries offer a familiar global menu – anything from hamburgers to sushi to pad thai to spaghetti bolognaise. And you can drink the tap water.On a single street in a Johannesburg suburb, one finds Italian restaurants, two or three varieties of Chinese cookery, Japanese, Moroccan, French, Portuguese and Indian food, both Tandoor and Gujarati. Not far away are Congolese restaurants, Greek, even Brazilian and Korean establishments, and, everywhere, fusion, displaying the fantasies of creative chefs.It’s not much different in the other major centres, such as Cape Town or Durban. Restaurant guides that categorise eateries by national style list close to two dozen, including Vietnamese and Swiss.Those in search of authentic South African cuisine have to look harder for those few establishments that specialise in it – like the justly famous Gramadoelas in central Johannesburg, Wandie’s Place in Soweto, the Africa Cafe in central Cape Town or smaller restaurants in that city’s Bo-Kaap, in Khayelitsha and Langa.Or one can watch for glimmers of the real thing. There are varieties of biltong in every cafe, in big cities and little dorps. Every weekend there wafts from neighbourhoods rich and poor the smell of spicy sosaties being grilled over the braai. Steak houses may specialise in flame-grilled aged sirloin, but they also offer boerewors.And sometimes, in posh restaurants, there is the occasional fusion dish – not the common merger of east and west, but north and south: marinated ostrich carpaccio at Sage in Pretoria, oxtail ravioli with saffron cream sauce at Bartholomeus Klip in Hermon on the Cape west coast, even Tandoori crocodile at the Pavilion in the Marine hotel in Hermanus.There is crocodile on the menu and kudu, impala, even warthog at a number of restaurants that offer game. But there won’t be seagull, mercifully, or penguin. Both were staple foods for the strandlopers (or beachcombers) – a community of Khoi who lived on the Cape shore – and the Dutch and Portuguese sailors who made landfall there.It was the search for food that shaped modern South Africa: spices drew the Dutch East India Company to Java in the mid-1600s, and the need for a half-way refreshment stop for its ships rounding the Cape impelled the Company to plant a farm at the tip of Africa. There are sections of Commander Jan van Riebeeck’s wild almond hedge still standing in the Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town.That farm changed the region forever. The Company discovered it was easier to bring in thousands of hapless slaves from Java to work in the fields than to keep trying to entrap the local people, mostly Khoi and San, who seemed singularly unimpressed with the Dutch and their ways. The Malay slaves brought their cuisine, perhaps the best-known of all South African cooking styles.The French Huguenots arrived soon after the Dutch, and changed the landscape in wonderful ways with the vines they imported. They soon discovered a need for men and women to work in their vineyards, and turned to the Malay slaves (and the few Khoi and San they could lure into employment).Much later, sugar farmers brought indentured labourers from India to cut the cane. The British, looking for gold and empire, also brought their customs and cuisine, as did German immigrants.And black communities carried on eating their traditional, healthy diet: game, root vegetables and wild greens, berries, millet, sorghum and maize, and protein-rich insects like locusts.Today the resultant kaleidoscope – the famous “rainbow” – applies not only to the people but to the food, for one finds in South Africa the most extraordinary range of cuisines.Back to topIndia meets AfricaSome two centuries after the first Malay slaves landed in the Cape, a boatload of indentured labourers arrived in Durban to work in the sugar cane fields. Others followed – both Hindu and Muslim, from all over India – and when their 10-year contracts were over, they stayed.Clearly there was a market here; merchants arrived from Gujerat and the north to service it and, like the labourers, they stayed. Indian cookery grew so popular over the decades that followed that Zulus in Natal adopted curries as their own, although they left out the ginger.The classic Indian Delights cookery book, first published by the Women’s Cultural Group in 1961 and since reprinted many times, claims that curry and rice is a national dish, and few would disagree.The variety of curries, atchars, bunny chows, samoosas, biryanis are a delight to the South African palate, and the growing popularity of tandoori restaurants over the last 20 years has enhanced a popular cuisine.Back to topAfrican cuisine and the mielieThroughout most of the country, however, South African cuisine relies on meat and mielies (maize). Many South Africans, black and white, would cheerfully go through their lives eating little else. Up to half the arable land in South Africa is planted with maize, which was grown by tribes across southern Africa long before the colonists arrived. Jan van Riebeeck imported some seed corn, but it didn’t take off; it was the strains grown by black communities that trek-farmers, looking for greener pastures, and voortrekkers, pushing well beyond the Cape to avoid British rule in the mid-1800s, took to their hearts and their palates.Maize has long been the basis of African cuisine. Each community, whether Xhosa or Zulu, Sotho, Tswana or Swazi, holds to slight differences in making it and preferences in eating it, but certain dishes have the approval of nearly all. Here are some of them:Fresh, “green” mielies, roasted and eaten on the cob, sold by hawkers almost everywhere, usually women, who set up their braziers on the pavement.Dried and broken maize kernels, or samp: samp and beans, or umngqusho, is a classic African dish.Dried maize kernels ground fine into maize-meal or mielie-meal, used for everything from sour-milk porridge to dumplings, fine-grained mieliepap (maize porridge) to phutu or krummelpap (crumbly maize porridge).Maize is mixed with sorghum and yeast for umqombothi, a popular African beer, or with flour and water for mageu, a refreshing, slightly fermented drink.Early African tribes planted millet and sorghum – and indeed, they still do. Millet makes quite a nice traditional beer, as does sorghum (called amabele, amazimba, luvhele), which can also be used for an excellent porridge.Africans from early times also raised cattle, but very few of the beasts ended up on the open wood fires of the braai. There was game to hunt and insects to gather – termites, locusts, and especially mopane worms, which are caterpillars that live on mopane trees. Dried, then fried, grilled, or cooked up in a stew, mopane worms were considered a delicacy in the northern part of South Africa, among the Venda, Tsonga and Pedi people, as well as in Botswana and Zimbabwe – and still are, served up as hors d’oeuvres at restaurants and pubs in the city.In the north, the caterpillars and other foods are cooked in peanut sauce; further south, it’s onions, tomatoes and a touch of chilli. One can find dishes made with amadumbe – rather like sweet potatoes – where African food is served. But the vegetables one finds most often in African homes are morogo (any green leaves, including bean and beetroot leaves), pumpkin, often sweetened or seasoned with cinnamon (a taste shared with Afrikaner cooks), and beans of all sorts. The meat can be goat or chicken and quite often is tripe, a delicacy here as it is in France, and possibly a legacy of the Huguenots (or, as likely, the kind of meat available to people whose finances didn’t stretch to fillet steak).Back to topBraaivleis and biltongThe braai (barbecue) is where the paths of black and white South Africans intersect gastronomically most often. Meat roasted over an open fire and stywe mieliepap (stiff maize porridge) served with tomato, onion and chillies, as a gravy or a relish – it is a shared taste. So is the national love of dried meat in its current form, biltong.Who first preserved excess meat from the hunt by smearing it with spices and hanging it out to dry? In this semi-arid country, the San would almost certainly have dried a portion of meat from each kill as insurance against lean times.Black Africans have traditionally preserved extra meat by drying it in strips, a handy shape for dropping into the stew. The Dutch brought the recipe for tassal meat from the Old World, rubbing strips of meat with salt, pepper and coriander, covering them with vinegar to preserve them. They later added saltpetre to the mix, sprinkled vinegar over and hung the meat up to dry.The Voortrekkers made of this customary food a delicacy, using venison, beef, ostrich – whatever they could find. In South Africa, it is unthinkable to set out on a family vacation without a supply of biltong; and watching rugby – either on television or at the grounds – is not the same without the stuff in some form, in strips or in slices.There are many variations. Sometimes, in the old Dutch fashion, the meat is dipped in vinegar, with saltpetre and brown sugar in the mix. If it’s venison, often juniper berries and ground spices are rubbed in. The meat is hung to dry anywhere from five days to a fortnight, after which it lasts a very long time.Back to topThe Afrikaner kitchenSouth African dried fruit is as famous as its dried meat, and South African preserves are unbeatable. Claimed by everyone but probably handed down by the Afrikaners’ French forebears, preserves, known as konfyt – probably from the French confiture – feature jewel-like pieces of watermelon rind, quince or other hard fruit, soaked in lime water, then cooked in sugar syrup and spices, presented in syrup and eaten on their own.Green fig is one of the best-known and most delicious, steeped in a syrup seasoned with cinnamon and dried ginger. South African puddings are generally superb, and extremely sweet, and the legacy of all its inhabitants, from English trifle to Afrikaner melktert (milk tart). So, to some extent, are the foods most commonly attributed to the Afrikaner: based on Dutch cuisine, with contributions from French and German immigrant communities, with a large dollop of Cape Malay, and tempered by decades of trekking.Potjiekos, for example, says food writer and restaurateur Peter Veldsman (who invented the term), has been part of South African life since the first settlement at the Cape. “In those days, food was cooked in an open hearth in the kitchen in a black cast-iron pot with legs so that the coals could be scraped under the pot,” he notes in Flavours of South Africa.Later, meat, vegetables and spices piled into a three-legged iron pot and cooked for quite a long time over a fire was the perfect way for trek farmers to keep body and soul together. When camp was made, game was stewed, or mutton, goat or old oxen; the pot, its contents protected by a heavy layer of fat, was hooked under the wagon when camp was struck, then unhooked at the next stop and put on the fire.The Afrikaner’s traditional way with vegetables and fruit – baked pumpkin sweetened with golden syrup or honey, spiced sun-dried peaches stewed with cinnamon, cloves, allspice and sugar, or baby marrows and braised onions – all brighten a meal.Boerewors (farmer’s sausage) is another standard Afrikaner dish, the legacy of German settlers who, with largely Dutch and French immigrants, formed Afrikaner ancestry. Exceptionally fat, boerewors, an essential at any braai, is made usually of beef, pork, coriander and other spices.Rusks – descended from the Dutch rusk, the French biscotte and the German zwieback – are far superior to any of these. They are chunks of bread made with yeast or baking powder, baked as a loaf, separated into rectangular slabs, then shoved back into the oven to dry out. They come in a variety of flavours – buttermilk, marmalade, aniseed, even muesli.They last a very long time – useful for trekkers and farmworkers and, today, an essential with morning coffee before setting out on a game drive or facing a day at the office. That coffee – especially if it is ordered at one of the many superb coffee shops – is likely to be the best outside Italy, thanks to an influx of Italian immigrants in the mid-20th century. Clearly South Africa hasn’t just got the rainbow – it has managed to hold on to the pot of gastronomic gold as well!Back to topA passion for prawnsThe Cape strandlopers aren’t the only South Africans who have enjoyed local fish, although it’s harder today than ever before, with the waters off the Cape and Namibia under siege from fleets of trawlers from countries that have depleted their own stocks from overfishing.Peri-peri for chicken and prawns, a gift of the Portuguese in Mozambique, has enlivened South African palates for decades.Besides a national passion for prawns, South Africans show a fondness for an odd fish called the kingklip – baked, deep-fried, grilled or pan-fried – and for snoek, a game fish that is braaied, usually, or smoked. Knysna, on the Cape south coast, is world-famous for fabulous oysters: large and small, wild and cultivated.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

National Training Camp

first_imgThe three day camp put the six National Youth Squads (NYS) and three National Training Squads (NTS) to the test as they endured intense sessions including fitness, skills, nutrition, patterns, physiology, psychology and video analysis.It was the first time that the NYS and NTS attended the same camp and the integration proved very beneficial. Combined sessions between Open and Youth teams allowed younger players to be mentored by leading Open coaches and players. Open players including Jason Stanton and Gavin Shuker showed their future coaching pedigree by holding sessions with the junior players who were keen to absorb as much information as possible by two of Australia’s leading players. Having joint sessions added in the competitiveness with some of the younger players to surely push for selection for the 2011 World Cup in Scotland.The NTS looked sensational in their new KooGa training gear as well as Body Science compression garments.Also enjoying the fantastic facilities at the Narrabeen New South Wales Academy of Sport were some of Australia’s leading referees. Under the guidance of National Referee Panel members, Lou Tompkins and Chris Dolahenty, referees undertook similar sessions to players including officiating in practice matches between the teams. Being able to be coached without the pressure of tournament conditions or official assessments proved to be positive and an ideal lead-up to upcoming tournaments including State of Origin, National Youth Championships, and the 2009 Youth World Cup.Combined with the National Training Camp was a Women’s Leadership Coaching Workshop. Individuals came from all across the country to observe national coaches with many aspiring to hold similar positions in the future.Much credit must go to the players and officials for giving their time up to attend the event with special mention to TFA High Performance Coordinator, Wayne Grant, who was responsible for the running of the camp.Footage from the camp will be available shortly on SportingPulse TV.For further information about TFA’s High Performance Program, please visit http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?assoc=3780&pID=14last_img read more

10 months agoRojo: I’ll fight for my place at Man Utd

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Rojo: I’ll fight for my place at Man Utdby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United defender Marcus Rojo has revealed how his injury hell has tested his mental strength to the limit.The Argentine ace has returned home for further treatment on an unspecified problem he first suffered in the World Cup that forced him to miss the first 20 games of United’s season.United have no idea when he will be back and Rojo, who has endured fitness problems for the past two campaigns, said: “The worst thing about it is that it is the second year running I have not been able to have a full pre-season with my team-mates.“These kind of things can happen in football.“That’s the game of football. It can happen to anyone and this time it happened to be me.“It’s all about being strong mentally. I am strong mentally and it is now about turning it around and starting again. I’m always going to fight hard to earn my place in the side.” last_img read more

Flipkart’s second data centre opens in Hyderabad

first_imgHyderabad: Online marketplace Flipkart on Monday opened its data centre in Hyderabad to strengthen its technology infrastructure. The new data centre, the second in the country and the first in Telangana, is a part of one of the largest private cloud deployments in the country and will help strengthen its growing marketplace e-commerce business, the company said. It is also expected to enhance the company’s ability to bring in more sellers and MSMEs to the platform and cater to more consumers in the country. This facility has been designed to be Tier-4 rated, most of the power consumed is fulfilled by renewable energy, and it is also one of the mostAenergy efficient data centres in India with a low overall PUE (power usage effectiveness). The data centre was inaugurated by Telangana’s Principal Secretary, Information Technology and Commerce, Jayesh Ranjan, along with Flipkart Group’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar. The data centre has been built in partnership with CtrlS, whose CEO Sridhar Pinnapureddy was also present on the occasion. “In the growing e-commerce business of Flipkart, data centres plays a critical role in serving our sellers and customers better, as well as ensuring business continuity. Our new data centre at Hyderabad is a testimony of our investment in the ecosystem and the state. We are determined to continue growing the business and create a viable ecosystem for MSMEs, local manufacturers and in the process create quality local jobs,” Rajneesh Kumar said. Jayesh Ranjan said Telangana was the first state to come out with a dedicated policy on data centres. “Flipkart’s investment and commitment to the business will further strengthen Telangana as the first choice of IT and tech companies to not only scout for talent but for further strengthening their technology infrastructure establishments as well,” he said.last_img read more

Web Check-In

first_imgWatching Delhi Crime was a spine-chilling experience. Tell us about the emotional impact you endured as an actor when you read the script and began shooting. When I first read the script, I was absolutely stunned by the detailing. I knew that Richie (Mehta) had spent a lot of time on it. It was very evident that he had done extensive research. The way he chose to put that research together was brilliant. Besides being procedural, Delhi Crime sensitively examines the lives of the women investigating the case and how they negotiate patriarchy alongside discussing a world in which a crime like this happened. That is what touched me when I read the script. But I felt its full impact only after I actually watched it. When you are shooting for something, you don’t see it holistically. When you are reading a script, you can visualise it to some extent. Sometimes, the result may disappoint you or surpass your imagination. In this case, it surpassed mine in just the way he chose to pitch the performances. The time he had spent on it, the research he had done and the script were all proofs of that. With any other team, it would have been difficult to sign up for a project like this. With this one, I was certain it would be handled with sensitivity. It would have been very hard to shoot for this if I hadn’t trusted the director. I don’t think I would have been a part of this series if I didn’t have that trust because it can so easily become exploitative. Shooting for Delhi Crime must have been akin to revisiting the tragedy. In the series, we see you interacting with the family of the victim. How did you internalise the situation and the emotional graph of your character? When you are part of a project like this, you have no choice but to give it all you’ve got. While it was disturbing to revisit the tragedy while filming, I really wanted the revisit to experience the incident differently from what I had experienced as a civilian when I had heard the news. I felt like I had moved on too quickly. I thought it was something that deeply affected me at that time and it is important to remember these incidents. It is also important to fight for a society which doesn’t allow incidents like this to happen again. We forget the victims very soon, we slip back to our lives and other things take over. I felt guilty for forgetting an incident like this. I wanted to remind myself and this project, in a way, was assuaging my guilt. Even though it was disturbing and painful, it was important to revisit it. What I found compelling about this character, Neeti, was the spirit and idealism that she comes with and how she begins to change. It happens for a variety of reasons such as her realisation that she is working within a system and her disappointment at everything around her. Hence, her idealism begins to crumble and that is very heartbreaking. The breaking of a woman’s spirit is something we see all the time. Rape does that too. Every day, something like that happens through an act of violence or even smaller things that erode a woman’s morale. I wanted to tell that story and be part of it so that I could trigger conversations among people. If I can do that through my work, then I would be happy. In Delhi Crime, we get to see the human side of the police, which we do not generally see in our Hindi films… (Cuts in) Yes, yes! That is why it was very new for me. The police are either valourised or they are villainised in our films. I don’t have any friend or family in the police service. So this is the first time I learnt about their lives. It was fascinating and the detailing was very interesting. The kind of the things they have to fight for in their jobs was a revelation to me. Delhi Crime, like you said, really humanised the police for me. As Neeti, I met a lot of IPS officers who were training at that point. Mirzapur, Made In Heaven and Delhi Crime are among the biggest web series India has had of late, and you have been a part of all three. What importance do they hold in your filmography? It feels so good to be part of these series. I have always had good work in terms of content, roles and scripts. But my films, unlike these shows, did not have this kind of reach among the audience. So it is lovely to see that the web has room for all sorts of content. There can be a Made In Heaven and a Mirzapur. They belong to two completely different genres. And then there is Delhi Crime, which is again different. All three of them are getting a very wide viewership, which means there are audiences for all kinds of genres. That is very, very encouraging and I think this is the best time to be an actor (Smiles). When I made my acting debut, there were lots of good films that were being made at the time but they would always get stuck in distribution. That was the bottleneck for small films and it still is. Smaller films just don’t get a chance even if they are accessible. I felt very disappointed when my film Qissa did not reach a wide audience. It deserved a lot more. Lots of people told me back then that the film was not accessible. I told them that we underestimate our audiences and they said to me that I am too much of an indie artiste who doesn’t understand the film business. Then there was a film called Tu Hai Mera Sunday, in which I played a small part. People labelled it as a very accessible film. Even that didn’t get the viewership it deserved because of the same issues – stuck in distribution, very few theatres and odd show timings. But things have changed for actors like me. Now, content is more important. Web platforms already have a viewership. They are not yet star-driven even though I have already begun to hear a lot of murmurs here and there and that is disappointing (Chuckles). But I hope it doesn’t change. Does it give you a high to see your work reach out to 190 countries across the world? Yeah! None of my films has experienced that. So, it is new territory for me. The other day, I got a message from somebody from Israel on Instagram. He said he had watched Delhi Crime. It is nice to get feedback. It is tells you things you might not have thought about. It is nice to see that your work has affected people, stayed with them and it is something they will carry with them because this is why you do it. When it comes to the web, the biggest plus is that there is no censorship. But there has been talk of regulation. As an artiste, how do you look at creative freedom? I believe that a story will dictate how it is to be told, if you are true to it and if your reasons to do it are not exploitative. If you are telling a story with integrity and truth, it will tell you how it should be told. Therefore, I don’t feel like there should be an outside body governing and telling an artiste what to do and what not to do. I know that society feels the need for rules and that is how we live with each other. But I hope the web remains a free space and we are allowed to say what we want to say through our stories. What is next on the cards for you? There are two films I have shot that are yet to be released. One of them is more in the commercial space than anything else I have done. It is in the comic zone. That should be out in the next two or three months. They have not announced the date or the title of the film yet. It is in its post-production stage right now. Then there is this independent film I did, which is an improvised film. We had a rough structure to every scene but we didn’t know how exactly we were going to achieve the intent of the scenes. So I worked with a lot of improvisers from this group called Improv Comedy Mumbai. My husband is a part of that group. I have worked with him in this film. Then there is Mirzapur Season Two, which I will start shooting for from next month. After that, I have Delhi Crime Season Two.last_img read more