February 2018

Cover Art by Riya Nagendra, I Year B.A. English
Quote by Madhuri Lalwani, I Year B.A. English

Editorial 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

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The Girl You Didn’t Bother With

-Pooja Krishna H A, III Year B.A. English

If you are reading this,
I am long gone.
Yes, I killed myself.
Why, you ask?
Because of you.
Yes, I blame you, dear reader.
I blame you for the smiles unreturned.
I blame you for the screams unheard.
I blame you for the lies unquestioned.
I blame you for the words spoken in haste.
I blame you for the silence thrown my way.
I blame you for these things and more.
I blame you for my death.
I hope you have a nice life.
Certainly one unlike my own.

Tears,
The Girl You Didn’t Bother With

Discord?

-Pushpamithra N, I Year B.A. English
Image Source: Google

Discord refers to a disagreement between two people or it could be the lack of harmony between the notes sounding together (acc. To dictionary.com). But no! This article isn’t about that. It’s about Discord – the app! Discord with a capital ‘D’. Now you may wonder what this app is for. Quite contrary to its name, it is actually a chatting app, much like WhatsApp.

 

Discord is an application designed for the gaming community. Although now it is being used by various fandoms, it was for gamers to meet others who play games and co-ordinate with them when it was initially released in 2015. Quite a new app, isn’t it? It isn’t well known in our college but there are 90 million users as of December 2017!

 

So how is it better than our other social media applications? Well, as a person who only uses Instagram and WhatsApp other than Discord, I can’t say much but I can give a comparison between these. It has many similar features like DM and groups, which still have certain limits. In this case, servers exist! Servers are bigger groups with better facilities like channels, bots, etc. Channels are pages were you can post stuff and chat with others, and bots are like robots that can literally do almost anything – listening to music, watching YouTube videos, looking up definitions, sending GIFs to others, searching the net, anything.

 

Pretty convenient right? You can voice call and video call in WhatsApp? That’s nothing! You can group voice and video call in Discord (who wants to pay for Skype?) and the quality is great! And as a bonus feature, you get really cute emojis that are perfect for any situation! A warning though, as it is in any social media, people have usernames and don’t use their IRL photos as profile pictures, so be careful of whom you chat with. One feature people may miss is that people cannot post things ‘globally’. Only the people in your group or server can view it. This may be an advantage or disadvantage. Users of Discord find it very comfortable to use it over other social media networks. Overall, discord is a fun app to use – it has its advantages and disadvantages, but it depends entirely on the person who uses it.

Are We Dead?

-Krishna J Nair, I Year B.A. English

“Good morning!”
“Good morning!”
“How are you?”
“SPLENDID.”
“I am fine, thank you!”
“I am good, what about you?”
“Couldn’t be better. What a day.”
Automated message, do not respond.
Cause hey, this was how we all were raised.
Don’t slouch, walk straight.
Aim high, never settle.
Sadness? Pretend to be happy.
Smile, laugh, make jokes.
Drain until all that lasts in you
Is the lump in your head
Driving you to insanity
Like a good chauffeur.
The night oil is burning out
The sparks are flying away
There is a glow in your eyes
Is that what they call ‘life’?

“Good morning!”
No response.
“How are you?”
No response.
All systems down.
No glow in the eye.
No sparks flying.
Cause of death:
Being alive.

In Memoriam

-Maanasi Lakshman, I Year B.A. History and Tourism

In this world of infinite choices, people often choose to go towards negativity, despair and doubts. This isn’t the question of seeing your glass half full or empty, this is real; raw life. There are people who willingly decide to see the wrong and always oversee the right.

At times of human calamity and utter despair that the world has witnessed, where people were at their emotional worst, there have been some people who emerged as icons of happiness. They came in as a symbol and epitome of love, laughter, joy and a source of hope for everyone around them, in such a way that happiness could prevail, even if it lasted only for a second. It just takes one to notice it.

Charlie Chaplin is a comedian known to have spread deep messages, without words. At the time of World War II, Charlie made films in which he mimed in, showing themes of poverty, starvation and deprivation through a funny spectacle. When all of humanity was losing hope, he made reality sound not so bad. His work in ‘Gold Rush’ and ‘Modern Times’, set himself apart from other slapstick comedians- majorly because he connected with his audience. He evoked an array of emotions through his work. He defined an artist as someone who connected with the people and showed them reality through a different perspective- a much happier one. Charlie died due to a stroke, leaving behind millions of fans who fell in love with his work that made them feel happy. He left happiness and laughter for generations to come with his work.

Another humble human who left the planet too soon was the comedian and actor Robin Williams. He has contributed to the film industry with riveting works like ‘Good Will Hunting’, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, ‘Dreams May Come True’, ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’, ‘Dead Poets’ Society’ and many more. His work was a fusion of comedy, powerful messages, deep thoughts and light-hearted slices of life in his movies. He conveyed important issues with an ease that was so natural to him. The favourite of millions, he put a smile on a heterogeneous audience with movies like ‘Patch Adams’ and ‘Old Dogs.’ He was a man with a heart of gold; he was an active campaigner for the rights of the disabled, was a down to earth and a humble man. Yet, he bid us goodbye telling us how important mental health is and was. He put on a smile for everyone and went away without a word. In the 64 years Robin Williams lived on earth, he definitely left a legacy behind for humanity to look on. Hollywood and the rest of the artists around the world will definitely remember him as a legend, and for the common population, Williams could be titled as the “Man Behind Many Million Smiles”.

The man who made us all dance and sing along with him, the king of music, Michael Jackson, too, was a man who spread happiness all around and bid us adieu too soon.

Michael Jackson had a tough childhood – facing child abuse and discrimination for being black. But as he preached, ‘In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope’, he made music that touched millions of lives. He was a brilliant musician and an incredible dancer. His lyrics were meaningful and people found solace in it. Michael Jackson, all his life, unfurled joy to everyone around him.  Fans always mentioned how they never felt distanced from him, which clearly meant how deeply he connected with them. Michael gave his entire life to the world through his love, his music and his devotion to healing the planet. His work left hope for people.

The men mentioned here were just as ordinary as we are. They experienced life and its struggles just as much as we do, but they chose to make their lives much more than that. They switched their sadness into laughter and created magic through work. They left us with happiness that will live on forever, and for that, and much more, they will be remembered till the end of time.

Beats From The East

-Uma Madhu, III Year B.A. English
-Anna Christy, III Year B.A. English
Image Source: Google

Geishas, Sumo, Sushi, Murakami, Anime – we are all acquainted with at least a tiny bit of Japan. The unique aesthetics and distinct culture make this small island country on the far east of the globe a dream destination for enthusiasts of movies, music, literature, food,  art, fashion and just about anything else you could find.

Now, aside from the awfully lit anime theme music, like the Naruto openings or the Tokyo Ghoul soundtrack, you might be missing out on some of Japan’s finest contemporary music and bands. Modern Japanese music spans across a multitude of genres from the catchy glibness of J-pop, to the intensity of J-rock and the calm serenity of Japanese indie and jazz. Here we have a list of five of our favorite Japanese artists who we think would make some great additions to your playlist!

 

  1. One OK Rock

Now, you may have already heard of One OK Rock.  And just as well, for we cannot speak of modern Japanese music without mentioning this band. With Taka’s vocals, Toru’s lead, Ryota’s bass and Tomoya’s drums, the Tokyo-based band which started in 2005 has already made a mark in the global music scene, and for good reason. One OK Rock experiments with different kinds of rock music – their songs are known for their intensity and their powerful lyrics.

Our personal favorite of the band is the 18 Fes version of ‘We Are’. Even after the countless replays, the song and the performance still manage to move us with how it speaks to the youth and the underdogs and the timeless promise of passion, friendship and solidarity. Some of our other favorites include ‘Wherever You Are’, ‘Light’, ‘Clock Strikes’ and ‘Listen’, their collaboration with Avril Lavigne.

 

  1. RADWIMPS

If you’ve ever watched “Kimi No Na Wa” and wondered who was behind that ethereally beautiful soundtrack, the answer is RADWIMPS – an indie rock band who proclaim to be “an excellent weakling” or a “superlative coward.” The current members of the band that debuted in 2003 are Yojiro Noda, Akira Kuwahara, Yusuke Takeda and Satoshi Yamaguchi.

Our favorite songs definitely include those from the “Kimi No Na Wa” soundtrack including the beautiful ‘Nandemonaiya’ and ‘Zen Zen Zense’. Our other favorites include the cheerful, sweet ‘Iindesuka’ and their latest numbers, including ‘Shape of Miracles’ and ‘Mountaintop’. Their unique sounds, poetic lyrics and aesthetic music videos make them incredibly appealing in every mood.

By the way, be sure to check out Yojiro Noda’s solo project named ‘Illion’ – his magical voice weaves in and out of truly stunning songs like ‘Banka’, ‘Waterlily’, and ‘Miracle’.

 

  1. Aimer

If your heart lies in softer music, Aimer’s versatility and gentle voice would be to your liking. Adding to the rich beauty and melancholy of her songs are the heartbreaking story arcs of her animated music videos. Aimer’s music pulses with emotion and could make you cry on lonely nights.

Our favorites include the delicately hopeful ‘Everlasting Snow’, the gorgeously intense ‘Kimiwo Matsu’, the melancholic ‘Kyoukara Omoide’ and the sweet romance of ‘Kataomoi’. Also, watch out for her collaborations with artists like Yojiro Noda from RADWIMPS and Taka from One OK Rock.

 

  1. Utada Hikaru

Utada Hikaru was considered the most influential Japanese artist of the decade in 2009.  You might have already come across her work in the title songs for ‘Kingdom Hearts’ or the soundtrack to Rush Hour 2. In 1998, she released an English album called ‘Precious’ under the name of Cubic U. Her distinctly rich voice and her beautiful vocal range make for great listening, whether you’re in a crowded train or speeding down a lonely road.

Our favorites include ‘Anata’, an incredibly catchy, upbeat number; the deep, husky ‘Forevermore’ and the tenderness of ‘First Love’. Her voice can take you away if you let her, to places where dreams play hide and seek behind tender shadows and love is more than a pretty word.

 

  1. Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

This band, known fondly as Skapara or TSPO, is for those of eclectic tastes, if you crave more than a hint of uniqueness and originality and aren’t afraid to experiment with your music. It was formed officially in 1988 by percussionist Asa-Chang, and initially composed of ten veterans of Tokyo’s underground scene. The band combines rock, electronica, traditional Ska music, and jazz. And somehow, it works so beautifully that you’d think these forms were always meant to be together.

Their music is mostly purely instrumental, so if you’re a fan of instrumental inspiration, we’d highly recommend you to listen to our favorites, ‘The Last’, and ‘Pride of Lions’ and ‘Freak it’, their charged, deliriously fascinating collaboration with Man With A Mission. Seriously, give them a try. We promise you’d love them way more than you expected to.

The Union Looks Back: An Interview

-Zenia Zuraiq, I Year B.Sc Physics
-Sera Grace John, I Year B.A. English
Image Source: Stella Maris College Students’ Union 2017-18 (Facebook Page)

Amongst all the madness and the rush of the elections and campaigning, it still hasn’t sunk in that we’re getting a new union soon. We snatched a few quick moments with the current union – Sharline P. (President), Immaculate Trishia (Vice President), Anitta Jason (General Secretary), Athulya Tessy Mathew (Treasurer), Swetha Ann Thomas and Sangeetha Joseph (Cultural Secretaries) – amongst their busy schedules for a short interview to look back at the year that was.

Well, the Union planned a lot of exciting events this year. Amongst all the events you did this year, which one was your favourite to plan?

Sharline : Organising and planning every single event has been an equally exciting and fun  learning experience but if I have to choose one, it will be the Fresher’s talent hunt. Since that was our first big event and the theme was “food”, both ours as well the freshers’ excitement levels were over the roof!

Trishia : I was part of the activities of college since first year, being event head for the fresher’s talent hunt for first years and inter-years and the secretary of Event Management club in the second year. I was used to organising activities so it was nothing new when I got into the union. I think the most favourite event was the Fresher’s Talent Hunt. It was interesting to lay out our ideas and it was also challenging as it was our first big event together as a team.

Anitta : It was our first event, the Freshers’ talent hunt, because that was the first event we planned on a large scale. We learnt so many things. We bonded so much. And the best part being the theme was fooood!

Swetha :  Choosing any one favourite event is a Herculean task as each event was a learning experience. But if I were to choose one, it would be the movie night we hosted on campus. We had to face a lot of hurdles for that one but we all stuck together till the very end. And I believe that’s why we were able to pull it off, despite it all.

Sangeetha : For me, it was the Fresher’s talent hunt. As it was our first event, we were really excited and worked hard to put up a great show.

Athulya : I don’t have a specific one. All the events are favourites to me. See, till now, we were participants of all the events. This is the first time that we got to organize these events and it was so exciting. Every time we planned something, we thought about how we could do it differently and what new event we could possibly bring in this year. And that’s how the ‘Light a Life’ initiative and the movie screening.

Now, let’s have a flashback. How did it feel when you heard you were going to be part of the Union?

Sharline : All my friends, batchmates and family members around me were excited and happy. I was, too, and I can’t deny that. But I also quickly realised that this was going to be no child’s play and that there is going to be a lot of sacrifice, hard work and dedication involved. As someone who loves meeting new people and being active, I instantly knew I would fit right in.

Trishia : When I heard that I was part of the union, I was excited that I could finally put forth and implement my ideas. But in a way, I knew what I was stepping into because the responsibility is massive. I felt it gave me a better platform to voice out what I wanted to say and to work with people who are very supportive.

Anitta : I was totally stunned! It took a while to sink in, but then I enjoyed my moment of glory. I was so happy and I couldn’t stop thanking God!

Swetha : A lot of effort was put in by my friends for the election, may it be with the posters or helping me with the speech. I was overjoyed that their efforts didn’t go in vain.

Sangeetha : I was so happy and so excited. It was something that I had very little expectations of getting.

Athulya : I had a mixed feeling. I was happy, but at the same time worried if I will be able to manage both my academics and the union work. But by God’s grace, I could. I was the person who decided the day before the e-nomination that I would also contest for the elections. And the entire process got over in three to four days. So even before I could digest the fact that I was going to contest for election, I got the news that I got elected.

And finally, do you have any advice for the incoming first years and/or the new union?

Sharline : For the upcoming Union – It is going to be a bittersweet experience. But it is definitely worth it. Every mistake made is a lesson learnt. Do not take anything personally. Communication is the key. Value everyone’s opinions. Above all, stick with each other no matter what and cherish every single moment.
For the freshers – No matter how different or quirky you are, you will find your tribe. You will find a home in Stella. All you need to do is open up and utilise the opportunities given to you.

Trishia : My advice for the first years would be to grab every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t simply come to college just for the sake of attendance, because at the end of the day it’s all about the fun you had. As for the upcoming union, I want to tell you that it is not a bed of roses as you think, it’s a roller coaster. There’ll be absolute highs and absolute lows. There will be lows, but get over it, move on and look at what’s coming up next, because the year just goes fast. Thinking quickly and critically, getting over your lows and having patience is what it’s all about.

Anitta : We did have our fair share of sorrows and happiness but now, when I look back, I can proudly describe my 2017-18 as’ Zindagi na milengi dobara’. So, all the best girls! Have a great year ahead!

Swetha : As long as the union sticks together as one, no hurdle is going to be big enough. At the end of the day, it all depends on how you see things. Everyone’s got their perspective and it’s about putting it all together.

Sangeetha : To be in a Union is one of the best things that happened to all 6 of us. It was definitely not a cakewalk for us. But, together, we made sure that we supported each other. So I hope the upcoming union members will support each other. If we are united, we can do good things for the college.

Athulya : To the incoming union, there’s only one thing to say – stay united, whatever the circumstances are. Do not stick to your post alone and do that job alone. There can be cases where your co union members may not be able to do some work due to some valid reason. Then, the others will have to take that job and finish it. It’s YOUR UNION. Always stand for it. Whatever happens during the course of being a union member, take everything as a challenge and overcome it and learn from it. Come out of your cocoon and explore the wonderful opportunities you have.

 

An Adieu To Innocence

-Krishna P Unny, I Year B.A. History and Tourism
Image Source: Google

“The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day,” wrote John Milton in his work ‘Paradise Regained’. But what happens when this childhood, the age which is supposed to be the cornucopia of the most treasured moments of a person’s life becomes the age of terror, from which recovery becomes impossible? Children are left with shreds of dread and hopelessness, dregs of disturbing memories and broken hearts, bitter feelings, an unfading fear for the entire race of heartless human beings and a vacuum in those tiny hearts that time will never be able to fill. Today, Khaled Hosseini’s words about the condition of children in Afghanistan holds true for the condition of children across the world – “We have a lot of children. But little childhood.”

 

2 September 2015, Turkey. Alan Kurdi’s pictures made rounds on the internet. No, he was not the son of any famous actor or a prince. He was just another unlucky Syrian refugee kid whose dead body was found lying on a beach.

17 August 2016, Syria. The footage of a 5 year old Omran Daqneesh was telecasted by the BBC and other international news channels. Again, the story is not a very happy one. The footage showed a terribly wounded and bleeding Daqneesh sitting aghast with lifeless eyes, his body covered in dust and debris left by the war.

8 September 2017, India. The news of the murder of a seven year old Pradyuman Thakur made our hearts bleed. As the case later unfolded, it was a 16 year old student from his own school, Ryan International, who had brutally slit the seven year old’s throat; the reason being simple- he wanted a school holiday so that he would get time to prepare for his exams.

 

14 February 2018, Florida. On this day, just 7 weeks post the commencement of the new year, USA witnessed its eighth case of school shootouts of the year. While the world was busy celebrating Valentine’s Day, 17 kids were killed and several others left injured at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

 

These are just a handful of cases out of the list of innumerable instances in which innocent children are besieged, bombed, sniped, massacred, raped, tortured, gassed and starved to death. Even if they don’t die, deep within, a part of them dies, their childhood dies. Even if they survive, that is all that they do – survive, not live. Innocent kids, who know no boundaries or barriers, who are oblivious of religion, race, caste, creed and terrorism become the scapegoats for human animosity.

 Of all the kids who trip down the abyss of violence, those who survive, never completely recover from the fall. As it is rightly said, you cannot always bury the past. It will claw itself out someday. In such cases, they mature unnaturally fast but grow up to be individuals with unstable minds and empty hearts incapable of doing anything. It is in such cases that the highly over-used expression that children are the architects of tomorrow, become obsolete. Hopefully, these gruesome cases of violence against children, this brutal attack on innocence will get as much attention as the cuteness of baby Taimur and the misadventures of Jr. Trudeau.

Trolling To The Top

-Zenia Zuraiq, I Year B.Sc Physics
Image Source: Google

Trolls. Those unmasked, anonymous internet predators – looking to just annoy a few people or engage in actually harmful discourse and defilement. Calling trolls bullies is underestimating them, because they have so much more impact and reach than those ordinary bullies. The characterization of all trolls as misunderstood, young children being naughty is extremely reductionist at this point.

In the world of social media, trolls could also mean anything nasty — from vicious barbs to unkind memes. These are not the trolls of fairy tales, but viral digital motifs that can easily wreck a person’s life or end a filmmaker’s career. Trolls are, therefore, to be greatly feared.

Trolling has now gone to unhealthy levels – with targets and specific attacks being made on people in the public spotlight. Trolling has gone from light hearted ribbing to cybercrime – with the emergence of phenomenona like ‘doxxing’, the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information (especially personally identifiable information) about an individual or organization. Trolls now have the ability to shape and influence public discourse, opinions – and in some case, what is considered to be facts.

This influence is what we need to be wary of. This is best exemplified in the 2016 US Presidential Election. It seems that the old motif of ‘all attention is good attention’ is proving itself true. The 2016 US Presidential election was an event filled with inflammatory memes and trolls, both right and left – each trying to get ahead of the other. What this did was essentially shut down all probability of any intelligent discourse. All scope for nuance and/or debate is lost in a frenzy of dirty tricks and name calling. There are no gray areas – just angry shouting and hateful accusation. Whether you agree with the outcome of the election or not, it is undeniable that troll culture played a significant role in the eventual result.

It is extremely important that we do not let negativity rule our public discourse in this fashion. The most important to remember is – whether it is real life or the internet, our words carry meaning. Very few of us actually consider the weight of our words and the effect they have on people. Impact is a powerful thing, and it is in all our best interests that we use it wisely.

Here’s to moving to more nuanced discourse.

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