When Ranbir and Mahira met in Dubai

Ranbir Kapoor and Mahira Khan at the Global Teacher Prize ceremony in Dubai on Sunday.
Updated 20 March 2017
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When Ranbir and Mahira met in Dubai

DUBAI: Videos of Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor and Pakistani actress Mahira Khan at the Global Teacher Prize ceremony in Dubai on Sunday are going viral on social media. The videos show the two actors engaged in animated conversations, leaving fans wondering what is going on between them.
In one video, clasping her hands together, Khan is seen pleading Kapoor for something, while he raises his hand questioningly.
In another video, Khan spiritedly reads from papers in her hand to people backstage. Kapoor appears happy, and she then walks away smiling. Cut to moments later, the two run into each other again, and the actress looks exasperated.
While some speculated that this may be some sort of act or promotional stunt, others said that some dispute arose between them.
Addressing the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, Khan said, “Teachers have the power to make a shy little girl like me believe in her dreams, so yes, teachers do matter.”
“You (teachers) are the true stars,” the actress added as she vowed to use her platform to empower people.
Kapoor, meanwhile, remembered the teachers who shaped his life.
“My favorite was my Hindi teacher. I loved his patience and encouragement. He made me into a confident person and I will always be grateful for it all my life,” said Kapoor.
“You can never disregard the contribution of teachers in a society ... Some of the teachers don’t even have blackboards or a classroom to teach, but they still persevere,” he added.


Rickshaw pullers fade from India’s streets

Updated 27 April 2018
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Rickshaw pullers fade from India’s streets

KOLKATA: Mohammad Maqbool Ansari puffs and sweats as he pulls his rickshaw through Kolkata’s teeming streets, a veteran of a gruelling trade long outlawed in most parts of the world and slowly fading from India too.
Kolkata is one of the last places on earth where pulled rickshaws still feature in daily life, but Ansari is among a dying breed still eking a living from this back-breaking labor.
The 62-year-old has been pulling rickshaws for nearly four decades, hauling cargo and passengers by hand in drenching monsoon rains and stifling heat that envelops India’s heaving eastern metropolis.
Their numbers are declining as pulled rickshaws are relegated to history, usurped by tuk tuks, Kolkata’s signature yellow taxis and modern conveniences like Uber.
Ansari cannot imagine life for Kolkata’s thousands of rickshaw-wallahs if the job ceased to exist.
“If we don’t do it, how will we survive? We can’t read or write. We can’t do any other work. Once you start, that’s it. This is our life,” he tells AFP.
Sweating profusely on a searing hot day, his singlet soaked and face dripping, Ansari skilfully weaves his rickshaw through crowded markets and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Wearing simple shoes and a chequered sarong, the only real giveaway of his age is his long beard, snow white and frizzy, and a face weathered from a lifetime plying this disappearing trade.
Twenty minutes later, he stops, wiping his face on a rag. The passenger offers him a glass of water — a rare blessing — and hands a note over.
“When it’s hot, for a trip that costs 50 rupees ($0.75) I’ll ask for an extra 10 rupees. Some will give, some don’t,” he said.
“But I’m happy with being a rickshaw puller. I’m able to feed myself and my family.”