Humans of Stella

  • Complied by Samyuktha Shiva, II B.A. English
  • Image credits: Krishna, II B.A. English



Azra Kader – 3rd Year Fine Arts

P. Kavyashree – 2nd Year English

Mariam Anna Alex -1st Year Fine Arts

Nandita – 4th Year Fine Arts


N: When we started practicing,the initial sessions were just normal warm up exercises, games, etc. We never really understood the significance of it though. We thought ma’am was simply trying to get us to do some physical activity because eventually in theatre you would need stamina. With time we stared doing vocal training, and intense sessions. All these things mattered when the actors started getting into their characters. Because in acting, one has to be comfortable with themselves and their co actors, physically. When this happens it automatically translates to good acting as well. I remember in a few rehearsals when the cast didn’t have theirusual partners, they said they couldn’t connect at all, because they had developed a bond with their partner. It was an action and reaction type of thing: one led to another naturally.  They knew their partner, they knew how their partner would react, they could connect with their partner, and that became the factor that propelled them into being a good actor on stage. So if you don’t have your partner to bounce off emotions and ideas on, and it’s just somebody reading out lines, then you simply lose track of what you’re doing and your own emotions.

K: Even towards the end; the last few days before the show, we were still doing trust exercises. This helps because when you’re on stage, if you miss a dialogue you’ll need to trust and depend on your co-actor to help you with it. You will need to solidify your communication and really understand the people you’re working with, and these exercises helped us to do just that.

When you’re put in a room with a bunch of strangers, you really don’t know how to react. Mangai ma’am, our director, gave us the medium to react. All the exercises she gave required us to be creative, not just by ourselves but with the person next to us. As we put our ideas out and observed other ideas, we realized we were truly getting to know each other. There was something about the exchange of these ideas that eventually led to a spark: a connection. Slowly, the action-reaction became involuntary and we inherently started reaching out to our partners. Mangai ma’am, didn’t like us sticking on to just one partner, so she would always call us out on that and push us to pair up with different people. This again, led to us knowing, understanding, and bonding with each member of our group, and most importantly feeling comfortable and at home with them.

N: The exercises she made us do brought us out of our comfort zone. It made us imagine and explore a new space, but what brought the cast closer was us knowing that we were all on the same boat. None of us were being vulnerable alone; we had people with us going through the same emotions, feeling just as vulnerable. It allowed all of us, no matter how different we were, to share the same space, act and react, and do it all together.

KS: After every rehearsal we would sit in a circle, and discuss how the rehearsal went. It was almost a ritual. Ma’am would give us her comments and we’d do the same for each other. We all had to share something we liked about any co-actor’s performance and also what we thought one good aspect of our own performance was on that day.

N: The play by itself is very emotional. Initially, we didn’t realize the intensity, but when we put all the scenes together and the play was set, watching it made us extremely emotional. Some scenes would make one cry, and other scenes would make another. Then we’d talk about it and share how we feel and why we feel the way we feel. So talking about what’s on our mind, how whatever affects us the way it does, or even a few memories, eventually led to rehearsal and the people around us being a comfort zone in each of our lives. I don’t know how it would’ve been if this play was a comical one, but maybe the reason we became as close as we are; as fast as we did is because of how emotionally vulnerable this play is.I remember days where I felt perfectly fine, my usual happy self, but then I’d step into the rehearsal hall and almost immediately I’d feel a multitude of emotions. It was as though everything I had been suppressing all day, every thought and every feeling, finally decided to come out for I felt safe in that space, I felt like it was okay to be vulnerable.

K: The circle also helped us understand how to connect with our own characters and in the process we connected with each other as well. In fact, it was weirdly evident, because during the first few rehearsals our circle would be a pretty big one, but during the last few rehearsals the same number of people sat a lot closer to each other, forming a circle that was a lot smaller, probably reflective of our emotional proximity.

Mariam: I’ve been dealing with set work for the past few years, I did it in school, and even for a few plays in college. And usually, set people don’t get much importance, but it was different here. The work we did was given a lot of importance, and so were we. I’m not somebody who opens up easily. But the way I’ve gotten close to the people working in this play, and how fast I did, is crazy to me. And so when it all ended, I couldn’t help but get emotional. I went back home after it got over and I asked myself why I felt the way I did. As a person who doesn’t connect to people too fast, what I was feeling for a group of people I met only 6 months ago, and the work I started only then, was different. Through theatre, and working on the set, and being with people who gave importance to my work, I allowed myself to open up and let myself get close to them. There have even been instances when they’ve taken care of me like no one else ever could.

K : The set people were extremely hard working, and just seeing how much time and effort they were willing to put in our play was emotional. After each show ended, everyone else would just be running around, talking to their friends, hugging each other, but the set volunteers wouldn’t waste a minute. They’d immediately come onstage and star working on the set for the next show. Be it staying back after college, or huddling behind the English department to finish the set work, they were willing to do anything. You could see how genuine they were and how much they wanted to help. During the last few rehearsals we called the set volunteers to sit with us in our circle as well. This allowed us to get closer, and get to know each other extremely well. We started forming a bond as strong as the cast shared with them as well.

I always knew this whole process would come to an end, but weirdly now that it’s over, it still doesn’t feel like it is. Maybe its because I see all of them here in college. We still share the same bond.

KS: I remember during one of the first few rehearsals Mangai ma’am said we as a cast have somehow owned our script. I didn’t really understand what that meant then, but now I do. I now understand how essential owning the script was for us actors. Before, I had a different idea of acting. I figured one could just fake it. But one day I realized that’s not how it really works. Mangai ma’am isn’t too liberal with compliments. She compliments you only when you really deserve it. I hadn’t gotten any for a while. For a longtime I didn’t really get into the shoes of my character. I didn’t think of how my character’s relationship with other characters would be. But one day, the associate director, Srijith sir, asked me and my co-actor to work a little on our scene and how our characters could interact with each other. And so we proceeded to make a few changes, minor ones that too. But the way we approached our characters changed. It was then that I truly felt like I had become my character and that it was her saying the lines, instead of me. I felt like I was her; I was Jashodha. It was after this that Mangai ma’am complimented us. She said that she could see the beautiful bond between us and how authentic it was. This is one thing that taught me a lot as an actor. I understood the importance of truly empathizing and stepping into the shoes of your character, and how greatly just this one step can change the intensity of your performance. Only then can you do justice to your character.


A: When they first told me I would be playing Manorama, I didn’t know too much about who she was. I was familiar with what had happened in Manipur, and the naked protest outside the army office there. But then ma’am gave me a day or two to read up on Manorama and share how I felt about what had happened. The things I read truly shocked me. I couldn’t help but wonder how I was going to pull this off and portray a character like Manorama. For a long time, the intensity of the character and what had happened to her didn’t hit me as much as I wanted it to. But then, as we did a few exercises that required us to be emotionally vulnerable; andthings somehow changed.

During one of the first sessions, we were all made to take one object; any object and sit down with it. Ma’am then began talking. She asked us to imagine the object to be someone that we hold close to our heart; someone we’re emotionally attached to. Someone we could share all our feelings, our good days and our bad days with. After a while, I really can’t comprehend what happened but we all started to cry.

KS: She then asked us to leave the room and she hid the objects, we had to come back inside and find it. As we were searching for the object she asked us to picture our mother in the object and call out to her. First I didn’t realise what was happening but then later one by one we started to understand what exactly the intent behind us calling out “Amma” or “Ma” was. As soon as it hit us, we all understood the magnitude of what we were doing, and how emotional it could really get. We then brought out the same emotion for a scene in the play as well.

A: All these exercises allowed me to feel and accept things I didn’t even know were buried deep within me. Once everybody was talking about the play and what it made them feel, as well as incidents that happened in their lives. I couldn’t wait to share. But when it was my turn, I couldn’t get a word out. All my friend had to do was place her hand on my thigh and say ‘It’s okay, Azra’ and I immediately started to cry. I felt things I didn’t even know I felt. It was cathartic. I felt as though a weight was lifted off from within that day.

By the time we did our shows, I knew each line by heart and the exact way I would deliver it; including the pauses and the pitch. Everyone said I did a good job with how I did my scene but the one day I truly felt connected to Manorama was ironically when I messed up a little. It was one of the last shows, something happened, maybe it was the fact that it was all coming to an end, or maybe it was how my co-actor acted right then, I really don’t know, but something within me snapped. I felt as though I was Manorama. Not THE Manorama, but my own version of her. I felt and meant each word that was coming out of my mouth. I felt her pain. Until then I sympathized with her, yes, but that day I felt like I began to truly empathize with her. I understood her. In the process I may have messed up a few of my lines but till date I believe that was my best performance, and I’ll never forget the way the I felt right then. That day, I didn’t deliver my dialogues the way I had prepared; I forgot all about the pauses and the stress. The words just came out of me naturally, and whatever I did, be it gritting my teeth or the change in my tone, was all not a conscious effort; it was natural. What my sister, and a few others later told me, made me realize that what I felt translated on stage as well because they too believed it was my best performance, they too felt what I was feeling. It was real, and they could tell.


Why the Information Filter?

  • Aafiya Zainab, III B.Sc Physics


Did you know that colours are actually just light of different wavelengths and that when we see something of a particular colour, we’re really just seeing the manifestation of that thing having absorbed all wavelengths except for the one that is the colour we see?

Regardless of whether you were previously aware of the aforementioned fact, what’s important to me is how you reacted to it. Did you roll your eyes because, “Ugh, science”? Or did you think, “Wow, that’s actually really cool”?

There is an exclusivity that students exhibit towards their chosen areas of expertise in college that I find rather odd. While it is true that we’re all doing our respective courses because we’ve picked them out of our own volition, closing off the rest of the world as potential pools of knowledge is hardly necessary to focus on one.

This is especially true of the shift between arts students and those that have subscribed to a life (at the very least, three years) of science. The number of times I have seen an arts student feign ignorance in the most basic science knowledge is appalling. Several jokes go around about how they’re now no longer in the shackles of school where they had to endure monstrosities like Organic Chemistry and Particle Physics. And yes, the jokes are often funny and I often laugh along, but really, one isn’t going to be deemed a lesser artist simply because they knew the chemical formula for water. Also, the jokes are getting old.

It would be unfair to put the blame completely on arts students. The sciences aren’t far behind. Most of my class treated English classes with a disdain that was painfully palpable, and I’ve heard from others that this isn’t an anomaly. Elective choices of the arts are often met with quizzical looks, as if it is unthinkable that a science student should want to spend a semester painting.

It is hilarious to me that this attitude is prevalent. The movies that you watch, the music that you listen to, the books that you read – they’re all art. You can’t do without them any more than they can do without mobile phones or food.

It is probably even more prominent between the sciences themselves, which is pretty darn ludicrous considering we all get collectively picked on for being nerds and we should really learn to stick together. The physical sciences and the biological sciences are probably the groups that show maximum resistance to learning about the other. I can’t fathom why. They’re all closely related and we’re going to end up doing research with each other at some point, anyway. These equations are just as scary as your intricately drawn diagrams, and while they may just be more information than necessary, I’d gladly listen to you talk about genetic codes if you listened to my rant on Black Holes.

I am a science student, and as much as I love Physics, I really cannot have enough of anything I can get my mind wrapped around. And guess what, most things can be understood if you only had the interest to ask and someone had the patience to explain. Just because I’m studying Physics doesn’t mean a talk on Film and Fiction is a waste of time, or that I can’t take a walk around the campus looking at birds. These things are still a part of the world I live in, so it hardly makes sense for me to actively try to keep them out.

Also, isn’t it weird that we rarely talk about our branches of learning with each other? We’re undoubtedly each other’s best bets if we wanted to actually get a grip on a topic. But then, we’re too busy making jokes and pretending to be driven to sleep by anything remotely unrelated to what we’re studying.

I’m trying so hard to write a cohesive piece while in reality, I just want to shout, “Why can’t we just exchange tidbits of fun, interesting trivia from our fields and  be completely okay?” The protocol I’m adhering to while writing this prevented me from typing the previous sentence in uppercase, so for best effect, imagine a howler (of Harry Potter fame) saying it.

Sharks don’t actually give birth to live young. Their eggs just hatch while still inside their bodies. Ha, I bet you didn’t know that. Also, look, you now know something you’d consider Zoology and the world hasn’t ended. In fact, nothing has changed, except your knowledge of sharks.

By all means, come tell me about something interesting you were taught in African Lit, while I return the favour with a retelling of how Artificial Transmutation was figured out. Let’s widen each other’s worlds with parts of what we know and refrain from limiting our perspectives to only what we proclaim to like.

Mythology and Pseudoscience

  • Dharshini Raghavan, II B.Sc Chemistry

The 106th Indian Science Congress(ISC) was held in Lovely University, Punjab from third to seventh January, 2019.It drew a lot of negative attention this year because, a lot of unscientific claims that were made by two ‘scientists’. Andhra Pradesh University vice chancellor professor G Nageshwar Rao was at the heart of the issue. He claimed that Kauravas from Mahabharata were actually test tube babies and that Ravana had 24 different types of aircrafts. He did not provide any scientific evidence for his dubious statements. The entire Indian scientific community went berserk. This is not the first time ISC has come under fire. When it comes to monitoring the quality of speeches, ISC has a consistently poor record. Few Twitteratis rightly renamed Indian Science Congress to ‘Indian Superstition Congress’.

Mythology and science cannot be mixed up together. Making a pseudoscientific statement, in a science congress, especially filled with children, is not okay. Yeah, that’s right! These claims were actually made at the children’s science congress. Small children aren’t mature enough to distinguish between fact and fiction and brainwashing them is just horrible.

Sure, it’s definitely okay to have your own beliefs, but what’s unacceptable is the audacity to call it science. It tarnishes the image of genuinely good scientists who work hard and do good science.

So, how do we distinguish between science and pseudoscience?

Philosopher Karl Popper proposed that if a hypothesis is testable, refutable and falsifiable, then it is scientific. Now, the statement ‘Kauravas are test tube babies’ is not testable. And if is not testable, it is not falsifiable and hence not scientific. Such statements therefore have no place in the realm of science.

Our country has a lot of pseudoscientific myths floating around like homeopathy, numerology, astrology, mythology etc. As a nation, we are extremely sensitive and close-minded. Those who are critical of religion and mythology are threatened and ultimately shut down. Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was an Indian medical doctor, anti-superstition activist and a rationalist who was shot dead in Pune in 2013because of his attempts to get an anti-superstition law passed in the Maharashtra government. By raising his voice, Dr. Dabholkar questioned age old Hindu beliefs and it didn’t sit well with right-wing extremists because they felt threatened.

Pseudoscience is an epidemic that’s spreading all over and in the age of fake news, our ability to distinguish between science and pseudoscience is diminishing at an alarming rate. We need to ask questions and most importantly, have to learn to let go of our beliefs if they are not substantiated. If we don’t educate ourselves and others around us, and choose to remain ignorant and stupid, then we will never develop as a nation.

Lullaby for Lillian

Radha Rani, II B.Com
Krishna J. Nair, II B.A. English


Sweet, sweet Lillian

I wonder where you are

The star has kissed Orion,

Here I am, near horizon.

Wondering where you are dreaming

Or if the stars where you sleep under

Are as quiet as my breathing.


I would say I wake,

When I feel a butterfly flit across my face

but that would be a lie,

for if I had been asleep,

then word would be I died.


But sweet, sweet Lillian

The lilies bloom in the garden

Under moonshine and shadows

Where I walk past a sign,

That sings, “Garden of Eden.”

Oh sweet, sweet Lillian.



on these oft lonely nights,

I think that I am accompanied

by some light

that stays always by me-

But no.

that cannot be

this is my garden,

and this is just me.


Sweet, sweet Lillian,

The bitter sweet sky is drooping.

The light that you see

Is the darkness in my shadow.

That moves swiftly in the bright

And dances like a dervish in the night.

For nothing is yours,

Nor it is mine.

Lillian, all the world would be ours

If you could see the light in the night.


in the space between twilight and stars,

I hear people say,

sweet dreams.

but what are dreams,

when you know not of sleep,

when there is something always lurking behind your eyes?

waiting for you to say goodnight?




if I were to know what

a dream was, a dream not lost,

I would say

it was the voice I hear

singing from the lily’s frost

and the gentleness

pervading the soft, sweet moss.


Sweet and sweetest Lillian

I see the cruelty of the night

Neath’ the darkness in your eyes.

I wish upon a star that grazes by

I wish you sweet, sweetest dreams

And a good night’s sleep.

While your eyes gaze away,

To the cuckoos in the woods

I’ll sleep by the moss

Who protects the wild lilies.

So, wander away, sweet Lillian.

Sleep, sweet Lillian

While I sing a song on your name.

A lullaby, for Lillian.

Long Way from Home

  • Krishna J. Nair, II B.A. English


On Sundays like these, I remember 
A grumpy young man sleeping
On a wooden swing, swaying slowly.
Snoring in perfect rhythm,
Coughing occasionally.
His pot-belly rising up and down
As each breath flows in ease.
On Sundays like these, I remember
Eating home-made meals in silence
While he sways, sleeping
And the sound of the metal bars ringing.
Sharp at 3PM he rises, grunting and
Mumbling and cussing the time.
He sleeps for another five, and rises
Like a horse, ready for his race.
On Sundays like these, I remember going
To the temple after six.
The grumpy young man behind the wheels
The grumpy young child with the beats.
On Sundays like these, I remember
The waves crashing the shore,
Amma’s soft toes on the sand.
The grumpy young man, my Appa,
With his third chai and snack in his hand.
On Sundays like these I remember,
My better half hunting for restaurants.
For dinner, she is served on Sundays
Where they welcome us as the guests.
On Sundays like these now, here I am
Walking streets in silence, longing
For the ring of the bell, the rhythmic snore,
The uninterrupted beats and the shore.
On Sundays like these now, I long
For a place I call home,
Where my heart and my loved ones belong. 


  • Sera Grace John, II B.A. English


This is a piece of writing where the lyrics of a song is taken, and a story is developed on that. The following story is based on Celine Dion’s ‘Ashes’ from Deadpool 2.


‘Cause I’ve been shaking

I’ve been bending backwards till I’m broke

Watching all these dreams go up in smoke

Let beauty come out of ashes

Let beauty come out of ashes

And when I pray to God all I ask is

Can beauty come out of ashes?


That morning was different. Empty space by my side, no coffee at the bedside. Why was I alone? Oh! You’d left the day before yesterday. You’d left so much of you behind, but why? Maybe you thought it’d keep me company and make me feel less alone, but it haunted me more, reminding me of my loneliness. I didn’t touch anything till noon, it was all the way you last left it. The coffee stain was still there on the table cloth, the remote was under the cushion, the shoe polish leaked beside the rack, the dishes were undone in the sink, the worn-out bristles of your brush had a residue of paste on it.

I was a man of questions, a man of uncertainty. You rarely spoke, but every time I had questions, you just said one thing – hold on. I don’t know if I’d ever done it when you were there but yesterday I did it. I held on to every remainder of yours with weak strength. I held on till I touched your diary. Since you were gone, and I had never bothered to think about how you felt when you were alive, I figured that this was the only way.

Those few pages broke me, the “Dear Noah” on every page broke me. Why did you address it all to me? Were those the things you wanted me to see and hear but I failed to? Why did you think that I deserved someone better than you? Did you really mean it when you said that you couldn’t ask for anything more? Was I that worthy? Did I ever love you the way you wanted to be loved? I couldn’t hold myself together after seeing a side of yours that I never saw.

Your last entry was two days back – how we spent the day watching stand up comedies licking Baskin Robins on the couch and made ourselves espresso in the evening and then settled at the piano. At that, something hit me and I rushed to the hall and fell there at the piano like a broken man. It was my most precious possession after you and the time we spent there was what I loved the most because I had both of you with me. Memories, tunes and your voice echoed in me and I began tapping the keys involuntarily. But this time you weren’t there to sing along. All your favourite songs, I played them again and again. I was shaking like the keys beneath my fingers, swaying back and forth with the notes as if they were passing through my bones.

I stood there playing like a mad man till late evening, till my fingers and heart grew numb. Facing the piano was the painting of the Phoenix you’d drawn. Right below that bird with wings of fire rising from grey dust, you wrote ‘Let beauty come from ashes.’ I couldn’t hold on to anything anymore. That was enough. I opened the tiny cabinet where we’d kept us and our dreams safe – my wedding brooch and your bracelet, miniatures we’d bought during our honeymoon at Vienna, our polaroids and a pair of baby shoes that materialised our dream of a family. I fed them to the flames. All of it, but I spared the platinum you put on my left ring finger.

Shaken. Bent. Broken I sat there by the fireplace watching all those dreams go up in smoke. Only ashes remained. Ashes. I spewed them in the corner of our backyard where they’d buried you yesterday. On returning I took the painting and nailed it on the wall opposite to our bed hoping that your phoenix would give me hope every morning. After placing the only strand of hair I found on your comb under my pillow, I looked out of the window. The moonlight made the ashes glitter like stardust, a sort of shine that always gleamed in your eyes when you sang.

I remembered a woman I loved and the beautiful memories I’d shared with her. I turned to the phoenix on the wall and asked, ‘Can beauty come out of ashes?’


Stellaeidoscope’s December issue is centred around the theme – Comedy, but covers a variety of other topics as well. The internet is currently flooded with memes and one liners, and cafés and pubs are now the hub for upcoming stand up artists to try their new material. Stand up has quickly gained popularity in India, there is a constant influx of new talent, new material and the audience is embracing it with open arms. The YouTube community has its own share of contributors, the big names Liza Koshy and Shane Dawson apart, smaller YouTubers like Benito Skitter, Alex Meyes and Becke Griggs are making viewers’ heads turn.

Apart from comedy, we have a review on the much-awaited sequel to ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to find them’, a movie that, before its release created a mammoth amount of buzz for its (to put it lightly) peculiar casting, and after, for its lack of, well, a storyline.Also finding a place in our issue this month is a review on a newly opened Library Café, ‘Bookworm’s Library’.

The memes, videos and comedy specials provide a much-needed respite from the dark place that the internet can be and urge us to loosen up and maybe even cry of laughter.

Cheers, and happy reading!

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