Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Cultivating Worldview

Here’s a thought- Why do we listen? I don’t mean listen and obey or listen and respond. Listening, truly listening for the joy of it is an art. And like all art forms, there is one basic reason we respond to it and why some music is just noise, some paintings just squiggly lines and paint strokes. We need art to be able to cultivate a better worldview. 

According to Wikipedia, Worldview is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point of view. To break it down in simpler terms, Worldview is the ability to look at the world with the knowledge and perspective of many different people compiled together. 

Some art moves us because it provides us with perspective. I look at the stars and some nights, I am reminded of the way Van Gogh looked at the stars and I try to find his stars among mine. Listening to Hozier’s Someone New reminds me of something similar I thought nearly a year ago but couldn’t put into words. A quote I found goes some like this- I befriend people who make me look at the world differently. This quote is both a mirror and a window. After reading it I seek out people dramatically different from me and I start creating patterns among the people who are already my friends. This quote makes me look at the world differently.

Friday, 23 October 2015

5. The Scarf Lady

Chapter 4 : Thursday

Chapter 5 : Friday

You must have a lot of questions; I know I did when I woke up this morning. In the heat of things yesterday I didn’t pay much attention but these questions needed answering. The first, most obvious one – How did the scarf lady know to approach me? It was a busy station road and I could be anyone. 

My second question was more of a fear. Should I attempt to close the trapdoor to prevent anyone else from discovering what I did? The butterfly did mention that they had more than one machine and they only used one which means there are more machines lying around. I didn’t, for the record. I didn’t close the trapdoor mostly because I didn’t know how to and I hope no one discovers it. 

I didn’t even want to visit that place but I didn’t know where would I find any information? I felt like I hadn’t seen the place properly yesterday and I should before I forget about all this, for closure whispered the dramatic side of me. Yes, this week is going to be buried deep in my mind, revived only when I need to tell a story. 

So this place, it was less haunting today because I took the hidden staircase (don’t even ask me to explain) instead of the trapdoor. Clean clothes can do wonders for your investigation activities. I went there after my French classes. There was a passage in the room along the side that was hidden behind the machine yesterday. 

It revealed a room containing two more machines and some broken parts. One of them was another sphere requiring a pass code and another one a simple shuttle. I entered the shuttle and of course I didn’t understand any of the gears and levers but I figured out the basics later. I saw the paper lying on the floor when I climbed out; the paper which the scarf lady had given me nearly a week ago. Nothing made sense, not until I saw the edge of the scarf peeking from my bag from the corner of my eye.

It was Gargi’s scarf, the one that was meant for Mahima. She gave it to me in the French class. It is also the same scarf that that lady was wearing. It is likely that she could have the same pattern of scarf but if we put all common sense aside, it is also possible that that lady was me. 

If hitchhiking mummies and zombies and large butterflies can exist then time travel definitely can, right? And yes, the shuttle was a time machine. It helped in operating the machine knowing I had done it before (If that makes any sense). I still don’t know how the paper came in my possession before this circle of passing it to the past me began. But it doesn’t really matter because I went back in the past.Can you believe that? For a mere few seconds but I did it and I gave myself a paper that contains 8 digits that will bring everything together. 

Oh my! It sounds like a lot to take in, I know. But it’s the truth. And if nothing good comes out of this, at least Mahima can stop scolding me for forgetting the scarf.

*** The End ***

Thursday, 22 October 2015

4. The Dead End

Chapter 2 : Tuesday
Chapter 3 : Wednesday

Chapter 4 : Thursday

Today was Dussehra and it is all about the victory of good over evil. I wish I could round up that theme with what happened today but I can’t. Hey! Real life isn’t a neat cut out with motifs and themes. Besides, good and evil are subjective concepts. 

I was busy in the morning with poojas and prayers, as you do on Dussehra. I even helped out in the kitchen a bit. But I had nothing to do in the afternoon, seeing that French classes declared a holiday. So I decided to keep up my promise and utilised this time to visit Neelam Nagar and Kelkar College. I didn’t want to though. It is very hot these days and stake outs are not nearly as much fun as in stories.

But I did it anyway and I’m glad I did. I went to Neelam Nagar first and it looked just like I expected it to look like- empty. I don’t even know what it was I was looking for but this place definitely looked residential and harmless. Kelkar was similar but here is the thing about Kelkar – the reason that street reaches a full stop is because the land beyond that is essentially marshes. 

And if there is anything suspicious about mummies, there is definitely something suspicious about marshy land. So I investigated, by which I mean I hung around that area for a while, looking for a way to walk without dirtying my shoes. And surprise surprise, I took five steps away from concrete and onto grass and dramatically fell through the Earth. I know what you are thinking and yes, it was a lot like doctor who and no, my arrival wasn’t smooth and my clothes were definitely not clean. But the situation I witnessed was far more bizarre than my appearance. 

I saw an angry zombie yelling at a flapping butterfly while a mummy unravelled itself in panic. Now that was a sentence I never thought I’d type. I was in a basement with the walls looking far too fragile for my liking. I had dropped down through a trap door. In the background was a big metallic sphere. Of course the butterfly and the zombie were here – I did see them move in that direction and if unrealistic things are happening all around, they are bound to be connected. It was the giant butterfly who noticed me first and surprisingly enough the only one of the lot who held a conversation. 

Here’s a summary because I don’t really remember the details. The butterfly had accidently brought in the zombie in from another world and so it was in charge of arranging the journey back. The mummy was simply hitching a ride. The butterfly had acquired a whole set of machines via illegal means and required one out of the collection for their journey. 

However, this machine, the fore mentioned metallic sphere required an 8 digit password and butterfly didn’t have it. That is why the state of distress. But given all the weird things that have happened this week, do you remember the first thing; the first unbelievable incident that I encountered? I seem to recall a moving statue of shiva, a crowded station and yes, the paper lady. And the paper contained exactly eight digits. 

I don’t like to call myself the saviour of fictional species, but I think I am. I punched in the numbers; they stared at me making me nervous. I was positive I would type a wrong number and make them angry with me. It was very dramatic, exactly like the movies. 

51029101

Funny how things work out, don’t they? I just wished mum believed me when I told her. She simply fumed about the state of my dress.

***
Chapter 5 : Friday : The Scarf Lady

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

3. Mummies

Chapter 3: Wednesday

I had a lunch planned today with Parth and Vama, two of my favourite people on this planet. I kid you not; hanging out with them is the best. But today was something else entirely, coming a close second only to the time we watched ‘Gunday’. 

You see, keeping in theme of unexpected things, right as I was on my way to meet them, I spotted a mummy near the station. I mean, it could be some idiot preparing for Halloween in advance but it is highly unlikely given that 1) we don’t celebrate Halloween, 2) it is still 10 days away and 3) it was mid afternoon, no one tries out costumes at this hour. Plus the mummy looked like a proper mummy and not someone badly wrapped in toilet paper. He or she (I don’t know how this mummy identifies itself) was moving pretty quickly like it was late for some meeting and in this hurry, I saw drop something behind. 

I decided to investigate, i.e, cross the street to pick it up. Turns out, it was a disgusting looking piece of paper and it definitely stank. I didn’t pick it up but I read what was written on it. 

DEAD END

Two words, 7 letters and it made no sense; Still doesn’t if I am being entirely honest. I told Parth and Vama about it and Vama suggested that it could refer to street dead ends. And there aren’t too many dead ends in Mulund (It’s pretty well planned okay) and so can you guess what we did after lunch? 

That’s right; we went hunting for dead ends; except it turned out to be a visit to MCC College because we didn’t know any other dead ends and then half an hour of reliving our not so good experience at The Laughter Chapter, a restaurant in that area. I think they were simply indulging my fantasies because we met after a pretty long time. Whatever their reason, irrespective of whether they believed in mummies or not, they came along with me, no questions asked. I love these two idiots. We had to go eventually because it’s hot as hell and Vama had to study.

I worked on my writing a bit more today and attended French classes, despite not feeling quite ‘bien’. And the reminder I wrote for myself yesterday didn’t work because I forgot to get Gargi’s scarf from Mahima. I asked Gargi to remind me tomorrow and that is when I hit jackpot on the mummy mystery. 

I told her about how I had spent the afternoon looking for dead ends and she gave me two in Mulund East – Neelam Nagar and Kelkar College. Is anyone else noticing how these colleges are situated in shady dead end streets? I doubt it’s very safe for teenagers, i.e. people who tend to attend colleges. I mean sure, technically speaking, Kelkar curves off into another road but I would count it as a dead end. I think I shall check them out tomorrow. 

P.S: Akhilesh asked me if the mummy dropped that paper, was it a paper it scribbled on or was it its own skin. Internet tells me, contrary to popular belief; mummies are not actually wrapped in toilet paper. In hindsight, it was probably a bad joke on his part.

*** 
Chapter 4 : Thursday : The Dead End

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

2. Zombies and Butterflies

Chapter 1: Monday : The Beginning of the End

Chapter 2: Tuesday

You are going to think I am going mental but I am not. I am aware however of how unbelievable everything I am going to say sounds. I saw a zombie. Well, either it was a zombie or a really drunk man who hasn’t bathed in day coming out of a fight following a large butterfly. I mean the latter is plausible but I sound just as mad. 

Right, context! You’re confused. So I was on my way to my French classes when I spotted a man looking like a zombie or as I believe him to be, a zombie. I have to walk through this shady looking, mostly empty street to get to my classes so I was on alert with regards to my surroundings and he clearly rang all the alarms in my head; except he didn’t seem to notice his surroundings at all. He looked lost and put all of his efforts into following the large butterfly and nothing else.

And oh yes, a super large butterfly was involved. In hindsight, it did look pretty but in that moment, I was a bit concerned with its size and the zombie running behind it. There was a zombie on the streets and no one noticed. 

Is it just me? Have zombies been around since the beginning of time and I just never happened to notice? Because I know it’s possible. I am utterly, desperately unaware of my surroundings. I didn’t know for the longest time there is an ice cream shop right underneath my building. I used to go all way to this other shop 10 minutes away to get ice cream. My brother would inform you that it is him who does all the ‘ice cream getting’ in this household but I digress. 

I told this to Akhilesh and he wanted to know where this lead to (of course he does. Trust him to ask the difficult questions) but I can’t answer that. As that horror street came to end, the weird duo went the other way. He informs me I should’ve followed them. It’s like he doesn’t read the newspapers. There are a million dangerous things that could’ve happened to me and I don’t want to open that door. Besides, I was late for my French classes and I hadn’t finished my homework. 

I think I must be terribly dull as a protagonist in a story but then again, it depends on what story you are telling. 

P.S: I also talked to Mahima today who wanted me to borrow a scarf from Gargi and I am writing this down because if I don’t my terrible memory will betray me. Also, Mahima thinks because I am so idle in these vacations, I have begun hallucinating. I am not mental! But I think I will resume knitting just in case.

*** 
Chapter 3 : Wednesday :  Mummies 

Monday, 19 October 2015

1. Beginning of the End

Chapter 1: Monday

It's Monday or as I prefer to call it, the beginning of the end of the world. Honestly, Garfield has got his mind in the right place when it comes to Mondays. They serve no real purpose except to make me miss weekends even more than usual. Although, I have been informed that people with actual jobs hate Mondays even more than I do. We should just do away with the idea of Mondays. If you agree with me, sign this petition here. 

My Monday (or mundane, if you are into puns) was slow. I worked on a story in the morning, watched some T.V, and cursed at the pigeons. Usually it’s 2 or 3 at the window but today it must’ve been 10 at the very least. And it is difficult to get anything done with the creeps staring at you.

Speaking of weird things, a completely random girl walked up to me today and handed me a torn up piece of paper and asked me to hold on to it for I shall discover its other part soon enough. Is she playing some sort of life size jigsaw with me or what? And before I could ask her anything, she walked away. I don’t even know what she looks like - she was hiding under a scarf. 

The paper she handed me is probably still stuffed in my bag and honestly, I can’t be bothered to get rid of it right now. I am settled in very comfortably in my bed. But, I digress, the paper read – 51029101. So what, Is the next piece of this puzzle going to be 8 more digits? And how does she even know me? Is this really bad publicity for some product? In which case, how can you be bad at handing out pamphlets?  

This happened on the way back from my French classes and I forgot about her momentarily because around the corner of my street, there was way too much commotion. The mannequin of Lord Shiva apparently moved and everyone is convinced it’s a sign from the heavens above. I wish for them it were a sign but it’s probably just faulty machinery. But I did enjoy premier seats to the spectacle from my bedroom so it’s alright. 

I did have a mild headache later in the evening so I went up to the roof because nothing is more relaxing than my roof and barely managed to catch the sunset. I had to leave soon though because mosquitoes started attacking me. I know a comet would not be the scientifically correct term, but there was a spark of red color (from the last of sun rays) that traveled across the sky like a comet. I know it’s not true but it made me feel like our world is one of those snow globes, neatly packaged and the streak was someone taking a knife across it. If were true however, and it would kill this world, well it makes sense that it’s on a Monday right.

***
A/N : I am trying out a new thing here, please stick around for it to make sense. Feedback is greatly appreciated.

***
Chapter 2 : Tuesday : Zombies and Butterflies

Friday, 16 October 2015

Your Body goes to War

In poetry, your body is never your body. It’s the vast skyline across which collisions cause the northern lights; it’s the soft caress that holds everything together. It’s a metaphor, and it is what they need it to be. It is love and pain and above everything else victory. Here’s a metaphor for your body- It’s an army. You are at war and you have given up. 

Did you know that your entire body works together to ensure oxygen reaches you; that carbon dioxide is taken away? You underneath your skin choose to feed you with life than poison.

The white blood cells spread throughout your body burn down themselves to protect you. You are on fire even under attack. Your skin is always on duty, always guarding, always protecting your troops. You body is on alert, one word from you and it is ready to fight. It takes 20 seconds for red blood cells to travel through your entire body, to sound the alarm. Just give the word. 

You have 206 bones, 600 muscles and 22 organs at your service and for you they are more than enough to win a million wars. You are made up of 100 trillion cells, nearly 300 times more than the stars in our galaxy and if this were a metaphor about how your body is a galaxy, every single one of them would be stars. Femur, the bone in your thigh is hollow, all by itself and yet it is the largest, strongest bone in your body. Your eyes may be two in number but sharp and sensitive, on the lookout. And every day, every minute it eradicates your foes in large amounts. With kidneys and lungs, skin, liver and urethra, no ordinary adversary stands a chance.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The F- Word

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows exactly on which side I will be when it comes to the big feminism debate. The idea that there are people who don’t believe in equal rights for men and women, people who claim it isn’t nearly as bad and we feminists should stop making a big deal about everything is so absurd, I find it generally difficult to process. 

However, there is another, relatively more hidden and smaller debate about the feminism like an old dirt road lurking behind the main highway. And today, I want to understand that argument. 

I know people who avoid labelling themselves as feminists because feminism the word is controversial, because ‘we support equality for all genders and not just women’s rights’ , because feminism is an umbrella term for man hating, angry, frigid women who can’t get a man. Ha Ha Ha No.

These are the people who feel more comfortable using terms like Humanists or Egalitarian. I personally know a lot of men and females too who understand that feminism isn’t equivalent to misandry (aka Man hating) but still find feminism controversial because not everyone understands this difference. From what I understand they don’t want to send out a message that they are open to man hating. People who are even scared of identifying as a feminist, even though if you strip away all the negativity and judgement around this word, they are feminists.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Death Cure - James Dashner (The Maze Runner # 3)

"And remember, if any of your body parts become detached due to an unfortunate encounter with a Crank, I highly advice you to leave said body part behind and run like hell. Unless it's a leg, of course." - James Dashner, The Death Cure.

I can rightfully say after reading this series that James Dashner has successfully mastered the art of writing a terrible book that I would however, still recommend to people because as badly written as it is, it remains entertaining.


So let me start right of by saying why The Death Cure is a badly written book. Main character Thomas seems to have become even more of a cliché in this book, taking the responsibility of the world’s fate upon him despite not having enough experience. He is noble, martyr like and hopeless without his friends. His inner monologue is stuck on the same record – flitting between trusting Teresa and not trusting her as and when convenient to the plot. 

This book should have been right up James Dashner’s alley, given that he specialises in creating suspense and anticipation. His books are like long gripping action sequences. And The Death Cure doesn’t require introduction of new characters (with one exception) or any explanation of previously established sub plot. And he does deliver when it comes to the action. But The Death Cure despite its constant action feels disjointed, like a set of escapades encountered by Thomas linked together by fragile connections. It also, by the way of ending, nullifies any purpose that the content leading up to that point had. It feels towards the end like a parody of itself and dystopian Ya novels. Further the lack of female characters remains just as much of a disappointment. 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Context

I hope you know that
When I say I will love you forever
What I mean is I know you
And I trust you,
I trust you to keep doing things
That makes me fall in love with you
Forever is not a promise I can keep
It is a choice that I will make
Every single day till I don’t.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Across the Worlds

I imagine a world where fedoras are an acceptable fashion accessory and each feather is a gift from the birds that paint the sky in vicious colours. These colours have names I haven’t heard off, colours like Amethyst and Claret and Cyan. And even when these birds flock in crowds, they never lose their individuality to be a member of a collective. 

The clouds look like cotton candy and tell stories of dragons, ghosts and fairies in the same frame. No one talks about something as mundane as the weather and the weather, oh it is always pleasant. It’s suitable for long sleeves that reach up to half of your palm and hot chocolate. The wind whispers to the trees and they laugh in merry. The cool breeze envelopes you in warm hugs and runs its nails through your scalp like a nostalgic lover, like lullabies. 

It’s a messy world and sometimes people forget to do their dishes for 3 days. But no one forgets to wish their friends on their birthdays. Sometimes they show up at each other’s house at 1 in the morning with flowers and melted butter popcorn. Laughter is the main language and soft sighs on the occasional Tuesday afternoon. 

Questioning: A Short Guide.

There is a very good likelihood that you grew up believing that it is normal to be in love with someone of the opposite sex. It’s not because your friends and family are necessarily homophobic but because our world is still primarily heteronormative. Straight till proven otherwise is usually the norm. Statistically speaking, this isn’t true and there comes a time when you begin to question everything you have assumed to be normal. And I am here to assure that questioning is far more normal than anything else. 

For most people I think questioning is also a part of puberty, when hormones are running all over the place and there is a deep need to question everything, and not just your sexuality, gender or romantic orientation. But there full grown men who have started questioning themselves in their late 40s, people who have lived their life not feeling comfortable with their identity but never knowing better. It’s the worst kind of identity crisis and it definitely can’t be resolved by a new haircut. 

I guess I should start with sexuality. Heterosexuality we know and see everywhere; its media’s favourite child. These days though, child protective services have called up media and asked it to justify its terrible behaviour to homosexuality. Gay folks have better representation in media these days which is why you probably know that homosexuality is when someone is sexually attracted to someone of their own gender. Guess what? It’s not men liking the colour pink and having a great fashion sense. It’s not men who like one direction’s music. It’s not men with feminine tendencies. It’s more like men swooning when a hot guy walks by and crossing their fingers that he is gay. It is not women with short haircuts and baggy clothes. It is not your filthy fetishes played out. It is someone’s life and it is personal. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

So, You didn't know...

...I guess not, I haven’t done a very good job with telling this to people. Truth be told, I didn’t tell anyone but the word just spread a bit. I guess it never came around to you. Sorry about that, but you know it’s not personal right. Hi, so erm… I changed my stream; I am doing B.A in English Literature. 

If you didn’t quite know this – 1) I have been studying at PACE (one of the several institutes guaranteed to get you into IIT) for the past two years.

2) How do you get internet connection under this rock you’ve been living in? 

And 3) Let’s get coffee, we clearly need to catch up. 

So, I’ve made some changes and most people have been positive in their response. They know about my love for stories and creative writing. I have maintained this blog for nearly three years now, and I have been reading a book every week and reviewing them (NO SPOILERS) for the past five months on this blog. So a lot of my friends have accepted it far more easily than I thought they would. But even the best of them have asked this singular most obvious question why. Why did I make such a drastic change?