Sir — Whether it is a tattoo of one’s favourite song or the t-shirt of a popular band, music lovers like wearing their taste in music on their sleeves. Spotify Wrapped — an annual summary of our listening habits released by the streaming giant — has become a perfect way of broadcasting one’s taste in music to the world. However, the character archetypes like ‘pumpkin spice’, ‘alchemist’ and ‘vampire’ that are being assigned to listeners by Spotify on the basis of the kind of music they listen to make no sense. After all, Count Dracula was allegedly around in the 15th century. Surely, grunge rock — the choice of ‘vampire’ listeners — is not what the Count rocked to.
Shubham Dey, Mumbai
Sir — At least 15 people have been killed in Chennai in rain-related incidents as Cyclone Michaung made landfall on Wednesday. Further, several parts of Andhra Pradesh have been inundated by floods owing to the incessant rainfall, choking crucial arterial roads and hindering mobility. This is unfortunate.
Natural calamities have become frequent in recent years as a result of climate change. It is high time that policymakers focus on mitigating the human suffering caused by natural disasters and chalk out plans to combat the vagaries of nature.
Jayanta Datta, Hooghly
Sir — The devastation caused in Chennai by Cyclone Michaung has brought to light the inefficiency of the Dravidian parties that have been in power. Severe flooding has become an annual event owing to inadequate drainage systems, poor urban planning and unbridled urbanisation. This shows that hundreds of crores of taxpayers’ money are just amounting to waste. There is a stark difference between the preparedness projected by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government led by M.K. Stalin and the situation on the ground. The Bharatiya Janata Party is thus right to hold the state government accountable.
However, the political blame game that has become common in the aftermath of such calamitous events does little to alleviate human suffering. The government must deliberate on how to improve the city’s infrastructure.
M.C. Vijay Shankar, Chennai
Sir — Natural disasters are often disregarded as ‘acts of God’. However, what Chennai has witnessed in the wake of Cyclone Michaung is the result of governmental inaction. The extensive flooding harks back to the floods of 2016 caused by the cyclonic storm, Vardah. Even moderate rains in the November-December period can choke the entire city and pose challenges to the residents. Over the years, the governments of the two major Dravidian parties have failed to institute disaster-preparedness and response mechanisms.
Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai
Sir — In the aftermath of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s emphatic victories in the assembly polls in three of the five states, several Opposition leaders have voiced their concerns over the use of electronic voting machines (“Doubt on EVM, call for ballot papers”, Dec 6). This is disconcerting.
EVMs have been used in Indian elections since 1982. Moreover, EVMs had been used in several past elections in which results went in the favour of the Opposition parties as well as in the recent assembly elections when the Congress won in Telangana. The Opposition should be more even-handed in its charges.
Khokan Das, Calcutta
Sir — Opposition leaders have raised the possibility of EVM tampering in the recent assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh and demanded the switch to ballot papers in the general elections next year. Several countries like India, Brazil and Bhutan have been using EVMs while England, France and the United States of America have banned their use.
The concerns about the vulnerability of EVMs cannot be ignored. The onus lies with the Election Commission of India to clear the apprehensions about the use of EVMs and ensure free and fair polls.
Abhijit Chakraborty, Bally
Sir — The recent directive of the University Grants Commission — it has now been withdrawn — to educational institutions to set up selfie points featuring a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an instance of partisanship (“Just in time”, Dec 6). It is disconcerting that the academic regulator forced students to support the actions of the ruling dispensation when they have the constitutional right to differ.
Arun Gupta, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “Is anybody out there?” (Dec 2), elucidates the implications of loneliness. Hearteningly, several countries have been taking steps to combat this public health threat. Individualism, rather than economic compulsions, has disintegrated the family system. The increased use of technology is also a contributing factor behind social isolation, which weakens community bonds and decreases professional output.
Sukhendu Bhattacharjee, Hooghly