Brother

-Krishna J Nair, I Year B.A. English
Image Source: Google Images

“Brother do you believe
In an afterlife
Where our souls will both collide
Some great Elysium”
-Bear’s Den, Elysium

We ran together all through our life. Maybe that was why we thought we were so fit for life, so fit to take challenges, face everything; even an alien invasion. Our imagination took care of us everyday as we ran around the world. Running away from spoons that had green peas, running towards dad’s arms at the end of the day, running behind the school bus with our eyes barely open, running away from responsibilities so that we could feel like we were children again. For me, running was the best exercise. And you, my best coach.

 

Now, as they take the bloodstained shoe covered in mud from the river bank and toss it in a plastic bag labelled ‘evidence’ I wonder with whom I was running with all along. Someone I thought was my knight in shining armor removes his treacherous mask as he reveals himself as the guardian of hell’s door. When we were running towards the edge of the cliff, smiling and tossing our hair back and panting, trying to grasp breath while shaking off the cold wind trying to smother us with his sweet little torture, I thought I was having another best day of my life. I swore to myself to enter that chapter in my diary and read it after ten years to feel young and reckless. Well I feel reckless, for I let go of your arm unintentionally, and you took the giant final leap without turning back. I am looking for your charted plans for you always planned anything, and everything.

 

For a second I was staring at my shoe, adoring the knot you made before we began running. I gazed up and saw you standing there at the edge, and I saw another shadow right beside you. I ran towards you, when you ever so gently pushed your leg towards earth to reach out to death. Maybe you hugged him while floating in air. It was not you who hung onto the ledge, it was me. You left me hanging, alone. As you left your final breath at the edge, I inhaled it. Guess you are not gone forever; I am still breathing yours, brother.

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Question More

-Kavyashree P, I Year B.A. English

“The world is going to end in 2012.”

“The sun is in the shape of a circle with spokes around it.”

“You’ll get ‘cooties’ if you interact with the opposite sex.”

“Swallowing a watermelon seed will cause a watermelon to grow inside your tummy.”

“Five second rule.”

“Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are real.”

These are just a few of the myths we believed in while growing up. These were either made up by parents to get their kids to listen to them or older kids trying to have some fun. Either way, the good thing is we now know that they are not true.

We have all drawn our hearts with two simple curves but 8th std Biology taught us something very complicated. As we grew up, a lot of our beliefs were debunked that way. Some of them weren’t nice, like learning that the heart was way more complex than we thought; some were a relief, like not having to pull out every seed from a watermelon before eating it.

But not all such assumptions were easily shaken off. Some of them have had long-lasting impacts on our minds and they influence everything we do and say, even without us being aware of it. One of them being Beauty Standards.

We all are victims of the beauty standards imposed on us by fairy tales. White skin was equated to beauty. The tinier the waistline, the more love you get. And the culprits are not just fairy tales. Even the textbooks we had as kids taught us to be racist. ‘Beauty’ was defined as a white-skinned girl with blonde hair and pink lips. And ‘ugly’ was defined as a tired looking dark-skinned woman. Even in movies, the dark or plump actors were always cast as the funny characters.

These kind of myths are under the process of being debunked, now that progressive thinkers and change-makers have come about. A lot of people are starting to realise that “Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.” Maybe we spent our childhoods under such delusions and now it is hard to break free from them, but let us work towards changing our mindset so that future generations won’t believe any such myths. Maybe myths are better off when they remain questionable.

M.I.N.E

-Mary Monika, I Year M.A. English

A bottled up voice
A silenced scream
A chained-up soul
A broken human
With no way out
With no way in
Turn to printed ink
Then to pen and ink
The emotions of a decade poured out in words.
How precious, how precious
So don’t you think.
Oh don’t you dare think
You can take it away
You can take them away.
They are mine.
M. I. N. E.
I chain them up. I trap them too
There is no space for you.
There is no space for any of you.

Different Direction

-Arsha Mech Vikraman, I Year B.A. English

Over the years, there have been many boy bands and unfortunately, to the dismay of many teenage hearts, these bands did break up. A good example is the Beatles, where each artist was different and contributed to the music industry in a different way. Similarly, in today’s times, we have the breakup of several bands, and one of them is the popular band ‘One Direction’.

 

While they may not have been great together as a band, they do make fantastic artists individually. Here’s a look at what the artists have forayed into –

 

Liam Payne – Now, he focuses on dance-pop music that attracts all types of teeny-boppers. He might just still remain in the teenage crush phase, after all.

 

Louis Tomlinson- He mostly stuck to his EDM DJs and does collaborative singles with them, along with a few high profile singers such as Bebe Rexha and has achieved moderate amounts of success.

 

Niall Horan- The only one who stuck to an extremely simplistic approach of being a singer/songwriter. Horan hasn’t stopped being himself and that is what has made him successful. His raw originality hasn’t changed at all and that will propel him further in the industry.

 

Harry Styles- Possibly the most stylish one of the five, he embodies old school Mick Jagger and David Bowie. If you’re looking for a classic British rocker with a pop sound, look no further. No one else will give you the feet-stomping music in a good album. His work is a beautiful ode to classic British rock (Bowie and Jagger’s times) with his own personal spin.

 

Zayn Malik- The most anticipated member. Malik has probably made the most R&B music of the five and now focuses on more adult themes in music unlike the teenage themes he used to croon during his boyband days.

Of Changing People And Unchanging Dreams

-Lourdes L, II Year B.Com

There are certain things that never change. For example, I always had trouble beginning something, whether it was my study sessions or writing down this article, I can still see my childhood thoughts and acts seeping into my “almost adult” life. However, when I do sit down and think about it, there has been a major shift in my thought process and understanding of this world. Now, given the random things that life throws at us, it’s only the common perception that we grow and learn through experiences and situations. So, your childhood is that brand new white t-shirt you purchased with so much love and joy. And as years pass on, the stains are going to taint that purity and we learn that things do get dirty.

Sometimes my dad likes to laugh over certain memories of me as a child and this one happened in 2003. I was four years old when my parents had taken me to the doctor for a blood test. Apparently, the doctor had asked me if I was studying and I said, “IAS”. I didn’t say that I was studying in school but this incident makes me think about how I said something that was indeed a huge life option, yet so casually when I didn’t even know what the full form of those three letters meant. That’s just childhood wrapped up in one sentence. After this incident resurfaced in my mind, I went ahead and questioned some of my friends, what they wanted to become as a child. Here are some answers:

“Me and my dad went to Burger King everyday so I wanted to work at Burger King because I thought employees were celebrities.”

“To generally have a good time everyday and be kind to animals.”

“I wanted to be a competitive dancer and win trophies and stuff.”

“I wanted to be the President of India because I wanted to help people.”

You can clearly see that all of these “desires” as a child had no connection to the real world’s financial stability or professionalism for that matter. To them, they want to be the cat in a fish shop; wild, free and filled with whatever their naïve heart wants to own. For instance, I have always wanted to create things. Be it art, stories, music or even cooking, I always wanted to be good at creating. I still do. But the only difference is that the fear of becoming a failure lurks over now, something that was MIA back then. Where did I learn about this though? That whatever I am good at or what I love doing the most may not be “the one” for me? And this failure is always somehow related to making money and acquiring a name in the society.

Something as simple as choosing a different candy just because our friend likes it, or wanting to dress up the same way our sisters or mothers (in some case even brothers) do are examples. Career options aren’t this easy. Our society builds up so much pressure and expects perfection in our decisions. Although I chose B. Com because everyone around me said this was the best option for me, I still stand by my child self. I want to be a creator and today, I am ready to pursue my passion in creating the art I always wanted and this time I will not let the ideology of being a ‘grown-up’ take over my thoughts.

Children’s Day in India may be celebrated to remind us of the welfare towards children, but, it is also important for each of us to celebrate our childhood, our little quirks – maybe an abundance of making puns out of every word you encounter, our innocence and most of all, our ability to express our emotions. Life is indeed short and saying that you’re happy when you are or that you’re feeling low when you’re sad will change your world and your mood. Remember what Barbie said, “Be what you want to be.” Even if your goal in life ranges from being the CEO of a company to being a great mother, you can do whatever your heart desires as long as you don’t forget your roots. With that, let’s make a (virtual) toast to you, your lost dreams and the wonderful child you were and still are.

Foundress Day Celebrations

-Elizabeth P Varsha, III Year B.A. English
Image Source: Stella Maris College website

Stella Maris College’s Foundress Day was celebrated on 18th November with a program at 12 pm in the OAT. All students, staff and sisters of the FMM congregation, came together to offer salutations to Mother Foundress, Blessed Mary of the Passion. The theme was the ‘Relevance of the life, misson and vision of Blessed Mary of the Passion’. The program began with a prayer invoking the blessings of the Almighty and for the grace of Blessed Mary of the Passion. This was followed with a prayer dance by Riya and Ramya of the classical dance club. The western music club sang ‘Mama Passion’ as all Student Union members, the Principal, chief guest for the day Sr. Stella Balthazar and members of the Prayer meeting community walked down the aisle to pay their respects to Sr. Helen de Chappotin with flowers and bowed heads.

Principal, Dr. Sr. Jacintha Quadras and the chief guest, Sr. Stella Balthazar jointly unveiled the portrait of Blessed Mary of the Passion and paid homage. The classical dance club performed a salutation dance known as “Narthanam” and Anitta Jaison, the General Secretary, spoke a few words about the Mother Foundress and the meaning conveyed by the salutary dance about the Mother’s life. Sr. Susan, the secretary welcomed the audience and spoke of the reason why the Stella Maris community has gathered for remembering the foundress, who was the first woman to start a congregation for women.

Sr. Francisco Nirmala introduced the chief guest Sr. Stella who is an alumna of the college and holds a masters degree in Theology. She works for women rights and victims of human trafficking. This reflects the social work done by Blessed Mary of the Passion on helping the poor. Principal Sr. Jacintha Quadras honored the chief guest with a bouquet.

The Chief Guest, Sr. Stella delivered the key note address about how the Mother Foundress continues to inspire people and how she dedicated her life for empowering women. The Mother renounced her easy life in France and came to India for helping and empowering people here. Sr. Stella stressed on Blessed Mary of the Passion being a symbol of womanhood. The western music club, then, sang ‘My end is love’ by Blessed Mary of the Passion. Though Blessed Mary of the Passion was a French woman, she learned Tamil to help the people here better and to honour this, a student from the History department, Krithika, presented a tamil poem reflecting the life of the Mother. As a final salutation, the classical dance club performed ‘Thillana’ and Dr. Shiny John Vairamon of the Chemistry department delivered the Vote of Thanks.

A Day Out

-Gaayathri Sukantha Murugan, I Year B.V.A

I went to the park today. It was full of screaming, noisy children.
Now, as a rule, I hate kids. I can’t stand them. However, walking around, watching them have fun, climbing on monkey bars, swinging on swings, sliding down slides or playing on other things (whose names I’ve grown too old to remember) made me miss my childhood. I remember I used to come to this park as a child, but not much else. I loved the swings; I still do. I miss my carefree days as a child; the days without worries, problems or responsibilities.
The friends you make as a child may not stay forever, but they do make childhood a fond memory for most.
As I walked around the park, I heard balloons. The sound brought to mind the times I’d wake up early on Sunday mornings and run to the gate, just to listen to the balloon seller go by.
When I was a child, I remember making paper boats and letting them go down the tiny streams created by muddy rain water flowing down the street.
I miss when 5P.M. was considered late, and midnight was a time when no one was awake. I miss the times when the biggest worry on my mind was if I’d be on time to school.

I miss the time before my innocence was lost.

Tech Review: iPhone X

-Arsha Mech Vikraman, I Year B.A. English
Image Source: http://www.9to5mac.com

Ah, the day has arrived. I remember quite vividly when I saw the prototypes of the iPhone X (pronounced ten), I was so sure that Apple would never approve such an ugly looking phone. Sure, it’s shiny and beautiful but it is still a really expensive phone. There are only two storage variants- 64 GB and 256 GB, neither of which are cheap. The 64 GB variant costs 94,000 rupees while the 256 GB costs 1,30,000 rupees.

 

Despite the price, it claims to be the revolutionary step forward for Apple which recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of its iPhone. The phone features an ugly notch on an otherwise lovely screen, but it does have a purpose. The notch has two cameras – one for Face ID recognition and the other for the newly improved front facing camera that can make your average selfie look like you commissioned a studio for a picture.

The camera on the back, however, remains the same as on the iPhone 7, but with a few more tweaks. The whole device is made of glass, so it isn’t a surprise when many people have already dropped their phones and shattered them to bits.

 

All the fuss about wireless charging is really not that big of a deal. Samsung and other companies had already brought out that feature in some of their previous models. Apple even tried to market the water-resistance feature, whereas Sony had come up with a model which was water proof upto a certain depth. If you do have an extra 1.5 lakhs lying around and you love Apple, please buy it, it is a great phone but if you already have a previous generation iPhone or a good mid-priced Android, I don’t see how it could possibly be worth it.

The Tale Behind Fairy Tales

-Pushpamithra, I Year B.A. English

Almost all of us have grown up reading/ listening to fairy tales or watching Disney movies, and some of us still do. Disney gives us the “happily ever after” versions of these stories, but how many of us know the actual story?

Here’s a look at the truth behind these famous, much-loved stories:

 

Let’s start off with the least gruesome one. The story is the same as shown in the movie but they’ve retold the story to make it a happy one. In the real version, after the prince returns to his kingdom with snow white, they hold a wedding ceremony and snow white’s stepmother is invited. The queen went to attend the wedding without knowing that the bride was actually her step-daughter. When she arrived, she was shocked and snow white and the prince present her with red, hot iron slippers which she was made to wear and dance with, until she died.

 

Cinderella is a story that has so many variations that it’s hard to know which one is the original. The earliest one known is the story of Rhodopis about a greek slave girl who married the king of Egypt. The most popular, however, is the ‘Histoires ou contes du Temps Passe’ by Charles Perrault which was adapted into a movie. Here too, the story starts the same way. The mother dies, and the father marries a wicked stepmother who has cruel daughters. The only difference is that it is not a fairy godmother who helps Cinderella, but a few doves and other animals in her house. The twist to the story comes at the very end. The stepmother, who is so obsessed with gaining the throne, forces her other daughters to cut off their toes and heels in order to fit their feet into the glass slipper. Finally, during Cinderella’s and the Prince’s wedding, the doves peck her stepsisters’ eyes and made them blind. Not the happiest of endings, is it?

 

The Little Mermaid, written by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson, is a story about a young mermaid who had two wishes: to have a human soul and go to heaven (as mermaids do not have souls, they can live for hundreds of years and turn to foam when they die), and of course, marry her prince. The story starts the same way with her saving the prince but when she goes to the witch, she not only sacrifices her voice but also her tongue for the price of human legs which would feel like walking on knives and cause her incredible pain all the time. She was also given a condition that if the prince falls in love with anyone but her, she will die the day after their marriage. When she washes up ashore, the prince finds her and starts falling in love with her but suddenly some other princess appears to ruin it. The prince, believing that the princess was the person who saved him, marries her. At this point, the little mermaid’s older sister gets worried about her and gives her an enchanted silver knife which they got in exchange for their long, beautiful hair and tells her that if she pierces the prince’s heart with it and if his blood touches her legs, she’d get her tail back and would be able to get back to the sea. The little mermaid, reluctant to kill the person she loved, turned into sea foam and died. The only good part: she became an ethereal earthbound spirit, a daughter of the air for her selflessness. She was given a chance to obtain a human soul by doing good deeds for mankind for 300 years. Well, at least her wish to get a soul came true. (or did it? Let’s be honest: serving mankind for 300 years is too much)

 

Lastly, Beauty and the Beast! It was written by the French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. In the original, the father has three sons and three daughters, and he loses all his wealth due to his ships sinking in the storm. He hears news that one of the ships survived so he goes to enquire after it. He asks his children what they want, when his youngest, Belle wishes for a rose. After this, the story is as we know it and ends the same way as Disney shows it. However, the original story doesn’t end there. Belle wanted her family to live in the castle and invited them. But her jealous sisters took this as an opportunity and killed her by drowning her. The witch who cursed the prince brought Belle back to life and cursed the sisters this time, turning them to stone and says that the only way to reverse it is when someone falls in love with their stone statues.

 

It’s quite evident why these fairytales were not told as bedtime stories to kids, after all. Maybe happy endings and love are all that’s needed for a ‘Happily Ever After’.

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