“MSP (Minneapolis/St.Paul) people, stay safe” was a message that crossed my WhatsApp feed on April 20th. The concern was not for the virus, but because the George Floyd murder trial verdict was imminent.

Many were expecting a verdict that would enrage people enmasse. Minneapolis was boarded up and the police and national guard were on high alert. Cities across the country were bracing for violence.

Derek Chauvin, the policeman who snuffed out George Floyd’s life in full view of the public, was convicted of all charges. The nation breathed a sigh of relief. …

AirIndia Boarding Pass © AK 2021

February 2020, I was at the Dubai airport transiting. I was returning from India after visiting my aging parents. We were corralled like cattle down a corridor for a security check. Everyone was literally breathing into each other’s faces. A handful of people were wearing masks. A virus shutting down a city in China was headline news. But everyone seemed confident it was a crisis, taking place in a far off place, much like an earthquake or a violent storm.

Four weeks later the whole human world came to a grinding halt.

A year later it was time for me…

Scene of the Crime, January 6th, 2021

If January 6th left me with PTSD, February 13th pretty much gutted me.

An insurrection didn’t do it. So what would it have taken for those in power to hold a president accountable?

Maybe the president explicitly calling his supporters to capture and burn down the House? Or the death of Senators instead of policemen and rioters? Mike Pence literally being hung at the gallows erected by the domestic terrorists? Probably even that would not have been enough. …

© New York Times, Jan 06, 2020

The most jarring image that crossed my screen last week, was of a man holding a confederate flag inside the United States Capitol Hill building. While everything I saw this day left me with PTSD, this image sent a chill down my spine. It sent a clear message that the forces Abraham Lincoln fought all those years ago to keep the union from breaking - were alive and well and felt emboldened to rear their ugly head, to be heard and seen as starkly as possible.

What we witnessed on Jan 6th, 2021, was in the making for many years…

The Triboro Bridge was thick with traffic. In the distance the Manhattan skyline was sparkling. The spire on the Empire State building was red and green. Things seemed like they are supposed to, this time of the year.

Then to my right a driver pulled in with a mask on. He made sure I didn’t forget that things were far from the way they used to be.

The adjustment we have had to make to a virus, has forced us to take stock of who we are as a species and how we live with the planet.

Now with a…

Abraham Lincoln

Today we meet for Thanksgiving across the United States of America.

There is nothing more American than this annual family gathering that takes place in living rooms and then dining rooms across this land.

Weeks before this day of feasting, recipes are shared on cooking shows and in magazines and between neighbors and friends and the art of baking the perfect moist Turkey, becomes the subject of many a conversation.

In a seasonally early supper, Turkey meat is carved and consumed in copious amounts and the Trypotphan mixed with alcohol puts everyone in the mood for some drowsy family time…

Fort Greene, Brooklyn © AK 2020

At 11:47 am on Saturday, November the 7th, I was clearing leaves in my front yard. It was an unusually warm day. I began to hear isolated howls and screams coming from down the street. My neighbor stepped on to his front porch with a frying pan and spoon and started banging and my wife came out running, jumping for joy.

It was over. The excruciating fives days had come to an end — for now. The knot in my stomach reseeded. …

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn © AK, 2020

Walking through my neighborhood in Brooklyn, I came upon this Halloween decoration. While I was taking this photo a black man walked by me and said

“Huh!! Vote to end this nightmare! I thought reparations would end this nightmare.”

For a moment I found what he said amusing. He did not wait to engage but kept walking.

What he said certainly raised questions, especially in the times we find ourselves in, and more so, at a juncture where America’s future hangs in the balance.

“Reparation” means to make amend for a wrong that was done. …

Still from the film A Hidden Life, Director Terrence Malick

“Don’t they know evil when they see it? We are used to it now. Crime. No shame.”

This is a line spoken by an actor in the exquisitely poetic and heart wrenching film A Hidden Life, written and directed by the cinematic genius Terrence Malick.

The film is based on true events that took place in a small mountain hamlet in the early 1940s in Austria.

It is a love story between a husband and his wife, as they respond to a changing political climate that shatters peace and beauty in their idyllic village.

The husband is called upon to…

In February of this year, I was on a plane returning from India. In transit at the Dubai airport, I found myself caroled into a packed hallway, waiting to pass through security. I was literally breathing down the next person’s neck and the fear that crossed my mind was that of a stampede.

Chatter of a deadly virus spreading across China was in the air. Mild anxiety was palpable. Some people had masks on, most did not. I for one thought those wearing masks were overreacting.

In March, life as we knew it came to a grinding halt. The city…

Anand Kamalakar

Anand Kamalakar is a Brooklyn based documentary film director, producer and editor. His latest film SALAM can now be seen on Netflix.

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