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The Day A Biker Taught This Minivan Mom An Important Lesson

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A few years ago, when my daughter was in preschool and my son was a few months old, I was making my usual morning drive to drop my little girl to school with her baby brother tucked into his car seat. It was one of those mornings when we overslept, so it was a mad scramble trying to get her dressed, pack her lunch and then take off with the baby and her. I did make it to the school on time, but my son dirtied his diaper on the way.

On reaching the school, I realized that due to the rush in the morning, I had forgotten to pack his diaper bag in the minivan and therefore I did not have wipes or a diaper. I borrowed some wet napkins from my daughter’s preschool and cleaned up the baby. His shorts were messy too and I did not have an extra pair of shorts either, so my son was only in his t-shirt!

I’ll be home soon, I thought, but then my eyes went to the gas meter. I realized the low gas light had been on for a while and I would not be able to make it home without filling up.

I should have remembered to tell my husband to do this for me the evening before, I thought, feeling a little flustered as I am not good with machines. When I first came to America, even the vending machine confused me. Where do you put the money in and how do you make the selection come out? ATM machines bewildered me, too. Since then, I have learned to use both those machines which in retrospect hasn’t helped me much, as I eat way too much candy and buy soda all the time. I have also learned that when you take out cash from the ATM, you spend it very quickly! Gas pumps, though, haven’t been as easy to master.

I managed to park the van correctly, so the gas tank was well aligned with the nozzle. Thank God for small mercies, I thought, as being a new driver at that time, sometimes I had trouble parking properly in a gas station.

However, as soon as I inserted my credit card, I realized I had put it in the wrong way. I don’t know what I did, but the credit card got stuck in there. I thought, “Oh no! What have I done? Why do I get so nervous? If only I had kept my calm, I would have swiped the credit card correctly! Now what? I cannot go inside and ask the cashier to help me, as the baby is only in his t-shirt and I cannot leave him in the van! Oh, how I admire and envy people who have it together, who are organized and who are on top of their game. I wish I could be like them. Why do I always land in a mess?”

Surprisingly, there were no other people around. The whole place was empty. “Where is everybody?” I thought to myself. Then I saw a couple of bikers park their motorbikes close to the convenience store at the gas station. They were big and brawny with rippling muscles, adorned with tattoos which were well displayed by their sleeveless t-shirts. They were wearing bandannas and had long beards and looked intimidating. I felt a little nervous and overwhelmed. They both were looking at me and talking to each other.

Just the night before, I had seen bits and pieces of the movie Mad Max and images from the movie came flashing back to me. I had seen the part where Mel Gibson’s wife is followed by a rival biker gang. Her van breaks down and she starts running on foot with her baby, but there is no escape. The evil gang follows them, taunts them and then runs them down with their motorcycles and they are killed; Mel Gibson arrives too late to intervene.

Coming back to the present, I saw one of the bikers striding down purposefully towards me with a blank look on his face. The other biker went inside the convenience store. I got a little scared. I knew logically that movies are different from real life and he cannot hurt me in broad daylight, but still my heart rate increased, and I was shaking a little bit. “I should have eaten breakfast,” I thought, “I feel so nauseated.”

He came right up to me and asked, “Is there a problem?”

“Err. Err, problem? Yes, yes. My credit card got stuck,” I mumbled.

Without saying a word, he managed to take the credit card out, swiped it for me, lifted the nozzle, asked me if I needed to fill the whole tank. And when I said yes, he filled my minivan with gas and shut the valve for me.

I was so relieved, and so grateful. I had no idea why I had been so petrified before. “What a nice, helpful man,” I thought, breathing a sigh of relief. I wanted to give him a hug and thank him, but did not have the nerve to do so.

“Take care now,” he said, and he turned and walked back towards the convenience store.

“Thank you so much!” I shouted to his back, and he turned and nodded his head.

Later, I came to know that the movie Mad Max is set in a future dystopian world and does not mirror our current reality, so I had no reason to be worried in the first place. Being new to the country and watching some scenes unfold in a movie had prejudiced my thinking.

Unfortunately, I realized, we form impressions and judgments about people even before we have talked to them. However, assumptions are not reality. We have to question the existing stereotypes about groups of people and their associated behaviors.

The smart thing to do is to explore, examine and evaluate each person you meet as an exclusive and unique individual who is independent from his or her group. I know that is a hard thing to do, but it is definitely worth a try. Don’t judge a book by its cover!

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Keanu Reeves says ‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ cast and crew ‘barely rehearsed, if at all’ on set

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  • Keanu Reeves told Entertainment Weekly “The Matrix: Resurrections” team “barely rehearsed.”
  • Reeves compared the filming of “The Matrix” original trilogy to the fourth movie.

Keanu Reeves told Entertainment Weekly that the cast and crew for “The Matrix: Resurrections” “barely rehearsed” when it came to filming the sequel.

The upcoming movie is the fourth installment in the sci-fi franchise about the battle between artificial intelligence and humans. The original trilogy was directed by the Wachowski sisters, Lilly and Lana, however, only Lana has returned to direct the new movie.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Keanu Reeves, who starred in the trilogy as Neo and reprises his character in the sequel, spoke about how filming “Matrix 4” compared to the previous movies.

Reeves said that Lana was “more behind the monitor” but “still hands-on” in the original trilogy. “The Matrix” star added: “[With ‘Resurrections’] she was participating more with the movement of the camera, and more interested in doing than rehearsing.”

Reeves then said that the team “barely rehearsed, if at all.” Reeves was not the only one to say that the filming of “The Matrix 4” was unusual.

In February, Neil Patrick Harris told the “Just for Variety” podcast about the filming: “It didn’t feel large because it felt like she was in her sweet spot, which was filming on the fly, filming using natural light. Sometimes you’d sit around for an hour waiting for the clouds to clear, and then you’d quickly film. You’d film pages at a time in 30 minutes and then be done.”

Keanu Reeves says 'The Matrix: Resurrections' cast and crew 'barely rehearsed, if at all' on set
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in “The Matrix Resurrections.”Warner Bros.

“You would think that a giant movie would be 100% storyboarded, animatics, and we’d be checking off shots,” Harris added. “I think she lived that before three times over, and I would suspect that she wants to do things her own way now. It wasn’t often that you felt that you were doing something gigantic because she made it feel very intimate.”

Jessica Henwick also told Collider last month that she has “never worked with a director who is going so much on a gut feeling.”

“She loves running takes, so we’ll often go 20 minutes without a single cut,” Henwick said. “Everyone had to be aware that it was 360, at all times. She would stand next to the operator and she would be shooting. Keanu is speaking and she’s shooting. She’s handling the camera, zooming in on him, and then she would just turn, and suddenly the camera will be on you, even though you’re on the other side of the line. That’s how she shoots. It’s very much how she feels, in the moment. It’s very instinctive for her. It’s fascinating to watch.”

“The Matrix: Resurrections” is in theatres December 22. The movie also stars Carrie-Anne Moss who played Trinity in the original trilogy. However, the movie also has new actors such as Jessica Henwick as Bugs, Neil Patrick Harris as The Analyst, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Morpheus.

Abdul-Mateen previously told Entertainment Weekly that his Morpheus is “a different iteration of the character” played by Laurence Fishburne in the original trilogy.

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Maharashtra announces new Covid norms, says no to Centre missive

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IN THE latest tussle between the Centre and Maharashtra over Covid norms, the Union Health Ministry Wednesday conveyed to the state government that its revised guidelines for international travellers, following the emergence of the Omicron variant, are “in divergence” with Central norms, and urged it to “align” them for “uniform implementation”.

However, Maharashtra Chief Secretary Debashish Chakraborty told The Indian Express that the state will not “amend or revise” its guidelines — for now. Later, official sources indicated that there “might be some changes” Thursday with revisions to some restrictions.

“Under the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act, the state government holds the power to put in additional conditions to prevent the spread of the virus. So the state, acting in accordance with its authority, has decided not to mend or revise the current guidelines issued for international passengers,” he said.

According to Chakraborty, the Centre’s communication is “an advisory, not a compulsion”. “There are basic requirements that need to be observed, which we are following. In future, if any changes need to be made, considering the local situation and convenience of international passengers, we will consider them,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Dr Pradeep Kumar Vyas that four specific guidelines passed by the state for international travellers are “in divergence with the SoPs and guidelines issued” by the Ministry.

According to the Centre, the four key points of divergence are:

* Mandatory RT-PCR testing of all international travellers at Mumbai airport, irrespective of country of origin. The Centre has mandated such testing only for those from “at risk” nations.

* Mandatory 14-day home quarantine for all international passengers who test negative upon arrival. The Centre had specified seven days.

* Mandatory RT-PCR test for passengers planning to take connecting flights after disembarking at Mumbai; further travel is subject to a negative RT-PCR result. The Centre does not have such a norm.

* Requirement of negative RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to date of journey for domestic passengers travelling from other states to Maharashtra, irrespective of vaccination status. The Centre has not issued such a guideline.

“I would, therefore, urge you to align the orders issued by the state with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health…so that uniform implementation of the guidelines may be ensured across all states. I would also advise that such modified orders of the state government are given wide publicity to obviate any inconvenience to travellers,” Bhushan wrote.

Maharashtra has also mandated institutional quarantine of seven days for all passengers coming from “at-risk countries”, which is not part of the Centre’s latest guidelines.

This is not the first time that the Centre and Maharashtra have differed over issues linked to Covid, particularly after Maharashtra flagged the issue of vaccine shortage and lack of adequate medical oxygen supply several times.

On April 7, the then Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, responding to remarks from Maharashtra’s Ministers on vaccine shortage, had said that there were “deplorable attempts” by the state government to “distract attention from their failures and spread panic among the people”.

On April 17, Union Railways and Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had posted on Twitter that he was “saddened to see” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s “gimmicks” on oxygen, claiming that Maharashtra had received the maximum quantity of oxygen in the country.

On Sunday, following reports from across the world on the emergence of Omicron, the Union Health Ministry specified five steps for international travellers arriving from countries tagged as “at risk”:

* They will have to submit a sample for a Covid test at the point of arrival, and wait for the result before leaving or taking a connecting flight.

* If they test negative, they will have to follow home quarantine for seven days. This will be followed by a retest on the eighth day of arrival. They will have to self-monitor their health for the next seven days.

* If travellers test positive, their samples will be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network.

* Those testing positive shall be sent to a separate isolation facility and treated as per standard protocol, including contact tracing.

* The contacts of positive cases will be kept under institutional or home quarantine and monitored strictly by the state government concerned as per protocol.

Apart from all countries in Europe, including the UK, there are 10 other nations currently listed as “at-risk” by the Health Ministry: South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

Additionally, for travellers from countries other than those at risk, a sub-section — currently two per cent of the total flight passengers — will have to undergo post-arrival random testing at airports on arrival.

A senior officer from Maharashtra’s Covid task force said that since “the virus has already spread to over 10 countries, we can’t restrict the screening to countries at risk”, and that “an RT-PCR for all travellers will ensure better safety”.

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Ahead of ‘Money Heist 5’ season finale, The Professor, Tokyo, entire cast gather at red carpet in Madrid

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‘Money Heist’ Part 5 Volume 2 streams on Netflix from 3rd December 2021.

The global hit series ‘Money Heist’ returns for its final season on 3rd December 2021. Ahead of the release of its last five episodes, the entire cast and crew of the show gathered at the red carpet for a promotional event in Madrid on Tuesday night.

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